I have been asked to participate in the Battle of the Beadsmith (BOTB to most, B of B to me), a large single elimination tournament, which has been put together by Beadsmith Steven Weiss, to celebrate the art of beading, and to me, it's one huge party. The group is fun and the works of the artists involved are just mind-blowing!! I stop in every day to see what new wonders have been added to the photo albums. I was going to blog some about the tournament, but so many folks who are involved already have that I feel it would be redundant. I'm honored and excited to be involved, and if you'd like more information on it - or would like to see some incredible eye candy - please come check out the Facebook page HERE. In the meantime, I'm working on a biggish project but I can't share any details or photos until the tournament reveal. I think that some of the pressure to create might be getting to me, as I have been fighting with the piece almost constantly - I have always had issues with deadlines. In order to move on and get to a place where I can work on my big project again, I went rummaging in my stash for something smaller to do.
My husband and I occasionally get the polymer clay out and play. I have to wait until he feels like playing too, because conditioning the clay is just too much for my hands, and using the pasta maker to crank it to condition it does the same thing. Thank goodness he likes clay! Awhile back we were messing around with some face molds, and we came up with a cabochon that we both actually liked - as opposed to the 'playing' ones where we just sort of mushed some colors together to see what happened (mess - sludge - smudge are the results of those usually, but they're lots of fun).
Digging around the other day to try to find some inspiration, I ran across our cab again and decided to bead it up. I think this particular face mold is very peaceful and dreamy looking, and we had added some gold foil and crystals to it, so I chose my matte gold 24kt plated delicas to dress it up - another unusual thing, as I hoard expensive seed beads as 'too nice to use.' (A shout out to my friend Cynthia here, who blogged about using up her own 'too nice to use' beads at long last this year - and inspired me to get mine out!) I had some 8mm rivolis that I had hidden away in Pacific Opal that I thought would look nice with the face, and grabbed those too. Here is the result - Serene.
I was really happy with how Serene came out, and thought I was ready to go back to work on my B of B piece... nope. A few hours worth of staring, a few more hours with maybe one line of beads stitched down... nothing.
A friend had asked me to put together a bead soup mix for her, as she was working on some freeform right angle weave and while I was putting hers together, I got mesmerized by the beads and decided I really wanted to try working on some freeform myself. It had been awhile since I had tried it and maybe it would knock that muse off the block!! My friend's palette was denim and silver; I decided I wanted to try denim and copper. I threw in some sunstone, some lapis lazuli, crystals, freshwater pearls and came up with Coalesce. (And almost ripped it up in frustration near the end; in fact, on FB it's known as The Doo Doo Piece, lol.) It is 3.5" wide and 8" long. It has an overlap for the closure however, with two rows of snaps to secure it - it can be worn at 6.5" or 7" and it looks odd laying out flat because the ends are wonky, but it looks quite nice ON!
My final bit of news is - I'm offering Custom Bead Soup Mixes in my shop now! I had several ladies ask me if I would make up bead soup mixes for them after the freeform bug bit my favorite online group of beaders, and then they suggested that I might offer them for sale. The listing I've made is for approximately 15 grams of mixed beads, and it works like this; if you purchase the listing, you convo me on Etsy or send me an email to let me know what palette you are looking for in your mix, and I will hand pick beads to make up the soup. Each mix has a large variety of size 11s, 15s, 8s, bugles (or not, if you don't care for them), shaped seed beads (cubes, triangles, drops, etc), fire polish crystals, Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, glass and/or semi precious stones, and whatever I have on hand that looks like it belongs in there. To me, this is a ton of fun. I love playing around mixing beads together, and I think the mixes work wonderfully for both free form and bead embroidery (cuffs!!!!!!). If you'd like to have me create one, here's the link to my shop, and I've posted a few photos below of some soups I have made for myself in the past.
I'm probably going to be a double fisted blogger this weekend, and hit you with a book review tomorrow or Sunday. The book I'm going to review is wonderful and I really hope you'll take the time to read it and look at the scrumptious pictures - even if you don't work in the medium, you will be inspired by this artist, and the artists he has included in his book. And that's all I'm sayin' for now! ;)