Sent and received

The reveal date for the Bead Peeps Blog Hop is almost here and I since I haven’t actually posted anything about what I sent and received I thought I would do so now.

I received a very generous selection of pretties from the Dry Gulch girls. All in very feminine pastels. Although extremely pretty, this felt like a real challenge for me as I have been focusing on organic materials and designs for a long time.

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I choose to send earthy and organic beads to the ladies. Some of my Raku beads, traditional ceramic beads, Amethyst, Czech beads etc. It is going to be so exciting to see what they have created!

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Partner intro

So sorry for neglecting you, dearest blog!

I started out with the best of intentions but real life, work and young kids had to get priority over you for a while.

I am taking part in a blog hop called Bead Peeps Swap N’ Hop. You will find more info here: http://fromthebeadboard.blogspot.com/

I would like to introduce my partner in this swap to you:

Interestingly, I am not swapping with just one person but a whole three generation design collective: ‘Dry Gulch Beads and Jewelry’.

These ladies have been trading since 1994 and sell their jewelry and supplies online as well as in boutiques: http://www.drygulch.com/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DryGulch

A Dry Gulch creation in lace and leather

Their joint knowledge of techniques is impressive, they make components in everything from lampwork to ceramics.

There is a lot of variety in what they create as well, but I do feel that the love of vintage stands out.

Romantic vintage style earrings a la Dry Gulch

I spoke with Catherine La Vite from Dry Gulch some time ago about the origin or our company names and I love the story of theirs. I think I’ll let Catherine tell you herself:

‘For us, our name actually came from my great-grandpa and grandpa!  It’s an old cowboy saying my great-grandpa named his ranch in Texas.  When his son (my grandpa) moved up here to the Ozarks in Missouri, he named his ranch Dry Gulch Ranch too.  Our property has tons of dry gulches, deep ravines in the rolling hills, so when it rains all the water just goes down the gulches.  So, we kept the name for our jewelry business and haven’t looked back since!’

I love this story and the fact that their brand name carries a piece of their family history. A constant reminder of the value of family and working together.

Pretty green lampwork leaf head pins by Dry Gulch

I have been a very lucky girl and received a most generous package from the Dry Gulch ladies (so many treasures!).

Saving pictures and further thoughts on this for a later blog post.

Stay tuned!

The reveal…

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Feather necklace

Lentil necklace

Lentil necklace

Lentil necklace

Lentil necklace

Lentil necklace

Lentil necklace

Bracelet

Bracelet

So, the time has now come to reveal what I have been working on…  I have been kind of busy as I have been away to Prague on an enamelling course (but I’ll cover that in another post).

I would also like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Lori Anderson http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/ who is the organizer of the Bead Soup Blop Hop Party .  She has had to struggle with ill health at the same time as juggling all the practicalities of a large scale event such as this.  Her passion and endless support for creativity in all forms is deeply appreciated:)

The bead soup I received was wonderful with shimmering colours and very elegant lamp work beads. This must have made the creative process easy you might think? No, this was a real challenge for me as the focal pieces (I received two) were large. I am not saying this is a bad thing, it is just that I am not used to making big statement jewellery. There were two options as I saw it: I could make something very simple and just hang the glass on a silk ribbon or similar as this would put the focus on the pieces Silke sent me. The second option: Go big and bold. Just have fun and let the focal pieces inspire me and take me on a creative journey. I chose the second option as this is a challenge which is meant to be about going outside of your comfort zone and try new materials.

I started by making some silver clay component which would compliment the glass. Two of the silver pieces were hand carved.

I created three pieces of jewellery. Each has got its own identity, but I do feel that it is clear that they belong together as a collection as well. Let’s call it the ‘The Drama Queen Peacock collection’. 😀

The bracelet: hand made silver clay focal component using one of silke’s glass bead as an accent (I think it looks like an eye). Purple suede, teal waxed linen, mostly gold vermeil beads, Thai Hill Tribe toggle.

Necklace with round focal: clasp and frame around focal plus leaf shape are hand made silver clay pieces made by me (hand carved pattern in the latter two), Silke’s glass beads, Silk ribbon, clasp and Swarovski Crystals sent by Silke, Amethyst, American Turquoise and Thai Hill Tribe silver from my own stash.

Lentil necklace: Focal piece and the purple glass beads sent by Silke, Purple Suede, Waxed Linen in various colours, Swarovski Crystals (sent by Silke), Czech beads, Vermeil, silver beads, Silk ribbon, Hand made (silver clay) clasp made by me.

It has definitely been a very useful exercise in trying something new. I just hope I have managed to make something attractive enough to do Silke’s work justice… I have been working too closely with these to be able to judge myself but I would love to hear what you think (good or bad).

Please do visit my very talented Bead Soup Swap partner Silke’s blog to see what she has made with what I sent her.

This is the soup I received from Silke

This is the soup I received from Silke

: http://just-beads.blogspot.com/

Thank you Silke for being my partner in this years event!  It has been an absolute pleasure:)  Wishing you a sparkling future with your beautiful glass creations!

This link will take you to the complete list of participants of this years event: http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/2014/05/8th-bead-soup-blog-party-participant.html

On a different note: I have just opened up shop on Etsy offering ceramic beads and components (earthenware, stoneware and porcelain).  I used to sell semi-precious beads in this shop some time ago, so it doesn’t look ‘new’, but it has been dormant for a long time now and this is a totally new direction – offering things I have made 100% with my own two hands.  I am a bit scared and excited at the same time.  I would genuinely love to hear what you think!  I have got lots to list and it is going to take me a while to get the volume up, but please do visit and like I said: any feedback you could give me would be so, so appreciated!  Shop web address: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ZestyFrog

The soup I received

Content yet to be discovered...

Content yet to be discovered…

Small organza bags with labels.

Small organza bags with labels.

The soups out!

The soups out!

My lovely new earrings:)

My lovely new earrings:)

Here it is!

Here it is!

The parcel I received from Silke was beautiful in itself!  The brown rough textured box with spring green ribbons sat there on my kitchen table promising yet unknown delights…  Ah, the sweet anticipation!  

I opened the parcel and found quite a few small organza bags with beads, clearly labelled with the delightful contents.  Once I have picked up all the beads from their bags and get to admire them all together I am struck by the beauty of this symphony of harmonising colours Silke has put together for me!  I am not exaggerating – the collection is amazing!  

Silke has sent two focals which are lampworked beads she has made herself.  One huge lentil and one round bead of generous size.  A collection of smaller lampworked beads to match,  silk sari ribbon which a friend of Silke has hand dyed.  Bright silver beads and clasp, shimmering pastel Swarovski Crystals.  If this wasn’t enough, she also sent an extra gift to me which is a very stylish pair of glass/silver earrings in a cool green colour.  

I just need some alone time with the beads now so I can work out what to create:)  

The soup I sent

Sent soup

Sent soup

Close up of focal and clasp.

Close up of focal and clasp.

I will start off by showing you the beads I sent as both my Bead Soup Blog Hop partner Silke and I have received our soups now.

I sent a focal which features a cabochon made from ceramic clay and tinted with gilders paste.  The actual frame holding the cabochon is made from silver clay.  After firing this has been oxidised to give it more depth and life.  The leaves are also tinted with gilders paste.  The metal clay part is made using techniques invented and taught by the very talented Polish Metal Clay Artist Anna Mazon.  I also included a few other ceramic beads to match the focal, red sponge coral sticks, Apatite rondelles and free form beads.  The clasp is also made from silver clay and it includes a little cubic Zirconia.  I am very excited to see what Silke will make with these:)

Meet my talented Bead Soup Partner Silke!

Silver Glass Bead made by Silke

Silver Glass Bead made by Silke

Landscape Bead made by Silke

Landscape Bead made by Silke

I have previously told you about the Bead Soup Blog Hop Party I am taking part in.  Now, let me tell you a little bit about my partner in this swap: Silke from Kirchheim unter Technik near Stuttgart in Germany.

Silke told me that she got introduced to glass bead making via a friend in 2010.  She was taught how to make a glass encasing by her favourite glass dealer, but is pretty much self taught.  She has however attended some classes with a few talented artists/ teachers in the last few years ( such as Angela Meier (Switzerland), Jens Christian Kontrup (Denmark), Michael Barley and J.C. Herrell (USA)).

I asked Silke what her favourite type of beads were and she said that there were two: Silver glass (http://just-beads.blogspot.de/search/label/Silberglas) and Landscape beads (http://just-beads.blogspot.de/search/label/Landschaften).

Silke: ‘ -With one silverglass you can make beads with many different colours. The way how you work with the glass (temperature, ratio between gas and Oxygen, working time) is the reason for the wonderful colours.’

My ‘Bead Soup’ partner has recently opened up a shop on Etsy and I highly recommend a visit: https://www.etsy.com/shop/justbeads4all

I have always admired the other worldly beauty of beads made with this technique.  Silke’s creations are superb and she has promised to send me some for the swap!  I look forward to the challenge and cherish the opportunity to admire her work in real life.