Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ta-daaaa!

I'm guessing that will be the title of many blog posts today as we reveal our Bead Soup Blog Party pieces. I'm actually writing this on Monday, February 21, days before the party itself because tomorrow is my back surgery, and I don't know if I'll be able to sit up and type come the end of the week. I figure I'll get the post ready now and set it to upload later. That's the plan anyway. (If you're reading this on Saturday, February 26, 2011, you'll know my plan worked!)

My date for this event was Jenni C of Jenni's Beads, and she sent me the most amazing collection of beads all the way from Australia. I know many readers and Flickr viewers were envious. I surely would have been if they had gone to someone else. (Hop over to her blog and leave a comment begging her to sell her glass beads. She doesn't now, so the only way to get them is how I did -- from the goodness of her very big heart!)


I will admit up front that I kept those glowing pinky-purple glass beads and the chunky mookaite in the back for myself. They are not part of my Bead Soup set, which I've already donated to a charity auction for this group. Nearly all the other beads that Jenni provided went into the two pieces that follow, however -- (1) a long, long funky necklace with lots of moving parts that can be worn at various lengths or even doubled, and (2) a chunky bracelet, also with motion, composed of many of the same beads but a regular pattern. To Jenni's fabulous selection, I added only a few lampwork rondelles from Beadabundant and Firelily on Etsy, some tiny faceted tundra sapphires that I wired into some of the links, and dull plum and cranberry freshwater pearls, since I've hardly made any jewelry in the past 10 years that didn't have a pearl somewhere or other.

I loved what Jenni sent me because they were the sort of muted palette that I'm most comfortable with, plus some of my favorite stones (citrine and smoky quartz), PLUS that focal was just killer. I'm not one of those enviable people who sees a great bead and knows exactly what they're going to do with it; never have been. I tend to play around and see what happens. But as soon as I held that focal tab -- a perfect mix of colorful foreground and crackled background, of modern and old-looking -- I knew that I wanted it to slide on some chain. It needed to be something you could play with as you were wearing the piece. I took four pieces of one of my favorite chains -- which is very fine and loves to tangle, so you have to use multiple strands for presence but only short lengths -- and placed them through the focal and then added one free-swinging freshwater pearl to each chain. Both the pearls and the focal move up and down the chain, and the focal can get stopped mid-slide when it "runs over" a pearl. You can see this best in the second photo below, but I'd need a video to really show you.

I made an unusual clasping system by wire wrapping a longish thin but strong piece of chain to the handmade clasp and feeding the chain through a ring to act as a sort of pulley, so that the hook could be doubled back and attached to any of a number of large rings to vary the length of the piece. The necklace could even be worn as a single strand at several very long lengths or doubled at several more different lengths using this system (and not change lengths itself), which becomes obvious when you play with it but is hard to explain.

I had a devil of a time getting a decent picture of the necklace, but here are some individual shots and then a collage-style collection, showing some details and the piece clasped at various lengths.



Some of the variety of beads used in the piece.
Handmade clasp and two of the several possible closure points (rings).
Sliding focal "caught" on sliding pearl.
Tundra sapphires wired into chain links.
The large bronze pearls are static, the smaller purplish pearls move.

Some of the various lengths that are possible.


It's a fun and funky piece with lots of movement and doodads to fiddle with (a few other pieces beside Jenni's beautiful spotty focal tab slide along a short length of chain), but I think the focal lost its "focality" (?) because of all the other stuff going on. That's a drawback and something I'd do differently if I were starting over.

Here's the bracelet, which features the fantastic sterling box clasp Jenni sent and which is considerably more straightforward.


I had to provide values and minimum opening bids for both pieces for the charity auction. I valued the necklace at $240 with a minimum bid of $50, and the bracelet at $80 with a minimum bid of $20. Given the value of the semiprecious stones, pearls, wire, and chain, the work that Jenni put into the glass beads, and the work I put into construction, I figure even if they auction off at full retail value, the buyers are getting a pretty good deal and can feel like it's money well spent.

Meeting Jenni and participating in the Bead Soup Blog Party was my absolute pleasure. Thanks again, Lori Anderson, for all you do for the beading community. And thanks, Jenni, for a soup that will be very hard to follow!

85 comments:

  1. Grace, first of all hope all went well and you are recovering.
    Secondly, the pieces are awesome! You have put so much in to them both , lots of wrapping and pearl dangles etc, they are so interesting! I really love what you did to them both! You have made my simple beads look very stylish, thankyou! I'm hope they will be successful at the auction.
    Jenni

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  2. Oh Grace, they are stunning! You worked your magic and the pieces are amazing. I love the length of the necklace, but then I love longer pieces. The bracelet with that clasp, perfect!

    I hope that you are up and about a bit today.

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  3. These are really lovely! Really like what you've done with both the necklace and the bracelet!

    I'm going blog to blog using the last person that commented in that blog... I tried following the list and there are too many that haven't posted... So I know that you have managed to sit up and post a comment on your partners blog! Hope the surgery went well!

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  4. Both pieces looks amazing! All the different elements work so well together!

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  5. Both pieces are so, so lovely - but I absolutely adore the blacelet. Supercute but elegant. Get well soon!

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  6. I love them both. The pulley idea on the necklace was fabulous. And I just plain want the bracelet.

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  7. Both pieces are so pretty. I like all the little details with bead dangles etc in the necklace and how you can wear it in many different ways.

    Hope everything has gone well with your surgery and are recovering good. And good luck with the auction.

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  8. Oh Grace! Your work is stunning!!! I hope your back surgery went well and will look for you over on the drawing lab flickr site… All the best!

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  9. Grace, I hope all goes well with the surgery.

    Now, I just love your pieces-especially the long necklace. I like that it's versatile and can be worn many different ways. Good luck!

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  10. hey gorgeous! I LOVE these pieces....I love the fact you can "play" with the necklace...and the colours are beautiful!

    can't wait for the next bead soup!

    have a great weekend...

    hugs

    hello gorgeous xxx

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  11. I was SO wrapped up in the rest of the post I forgot to say I hope your surgery went well and your recovery period is quick ;o) xxx

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  12. Wow, you really got an amazing bead soup! Both the necklace and the bracelet look stunning! They are so wearable, and love the way you made the necklace so versatile. Very nice job!

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  13. I love specially the bracelet <3

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  14. Such beautiful pieces Grace! I just love your style! Hope your back is healing and you are feeling better. :)

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  15. WOW these pieces are so stunning! I love you can change up the necklace! Great job! So creative!

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  16. YOWSA -- great work! These pieces are absolutely beautiful and definitely should sell for full retail value. Best wishes for a full recovery from your surgery, and thank you for sharing your creations with us!!!

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  17. Wonderful composition. Anybody would be lucky to own either piece.

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  18. oh wow!!! first of all the color pallete is gorgeous!! second the finished piece is fabulous!! wonderful job. HOpe you're feeling better today.

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  19. Mmmm, want some of those beads!!

    Hi Grace, I hope you are healing well. I am over the moon with your gorgeous design. I love kinetic pieces and pearls and lampwork beads, basically all the stuff you put into your necklace.

    I decided to start at the bottom of the list (I'm in the middle at #95). I hope you get a really good response from the swap/hop and from the charity auction too -- So much fun!

    Emanda
    ArtymeziaATyahooDOTcom
    Artemisia's Studio

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  20. #209 Here...absolutely beautiful...great job...

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  21. BEAUTIFUL! I just adore that bracelet

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  22. Both gorgeous pieces!! Very nice work!

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  23. I love the flow and dance of the pieces you created! I can feel them dancing against me, my skin, and with every breath I take. Excellent talent with a huge kick of creativity! Love these works of art!

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  24. Hi Grace, I hope the surgery went well and you are recovering fine. I am just speechless at your creativity in these pieces. The idea to use necklace in so many different ways is so very unique and the bracelet is so pretty.

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  25. Everything you made is just wonderful!!

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  26. what a fantastic soup you got! Your pieces are stunning - both of them!

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  27. Stunning. You really got a great soup mix. I love all the lampwork beads you got. What a lucky girl.
    Love your work.

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  28. Your pieces are just beautiful. I love long necklaces and the way the focal bead and the lampwork beads simmer together are breathtaking. These pieces will surely garner a high bid for the auction.

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  29. Amazing, I need a long necklace like that.

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  30. I love how you can adjust the necklace and create so much out of one.

    I hope your recovery goes well.

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  31. Wow...love the long necklace...you've inspired me to try one down the road.

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  32. Grace, love them!!! The long lovely neclace is awesome. ... Hope you are doing well.

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  33. Oh I love Jenni's beads! Gorgeous sofisticated necklace!!! Beautiful job!!!

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  34. All of your designs are wonderful! Love the pearl dangles! :)

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  35. Okay, I must say...your clasp design? Genius....just genius. This is a great way to make jewelry wearable for a wide range of audiences. I LOVE it. Congratulations on a job well done!

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  36. Lol, I would never think of a necklace in terms of 'doodads to fiddle with' but I instantly got it. Beautiful pieces!

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  37. OMG I LOVE IT! And as a maker of long necklace, but only for myself because I'd have to charge a heck ton of money for the TIME and the MATERIALS, I know what a labor of love that is. And you are so incredibly generous and kind-hearted to donate it. Good Karma on you, my friend.

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  38. Those were definitely beads to die for. Your necklace and bracelet turned out lovely!

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  39. I hope you are doing ok and yes she so needs to sell these beads!!! I love what you did and that you are self taught on some of it. Awesome work! Feel Better Soon!

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  40. Wow! Your work is gorgeous!!! You did a wonderful job with your soup beads. Cheers!

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  41. Here's hoping you are recovering well and comfortably.
    as far as your bead soup piece, they are just lovely. I would have NEVER thought of placing that large lampworked bead on chain like you did. Smarty! It worked out beautifully!

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  42. so pretty, great wire work plus fabulous pearls & lampwork.

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  43. Hi Grace! I hope your surgery was a success and you're on the mend. I think you made a stunning set and whoever is lucky enough to buy them will be very pleased with themselves! I love all the fiddly bits and doodads, they make the necklace so interesting to look at and I would imagine to wear as well.

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  44. Most excellent! I love all the textures and the versatility of this piece. You've really created a truly exquisite piece! Good job!

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  45. Wow. There's a lot going on here and so much to look at. Absolutely stunning!

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  46. A stunning piece-- the colors, the flow of the elements, subtle but very sophisticated!

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  47. total beauty. Should bring in tons of bucks.

    Hope all is well with your back.

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  48. Both your pieces are fantastic! Love the length of the necklace and all the colors!

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  49. Jenni sent you some fabulous beads and I love what you made with them! Beautiful!

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  50. Amazing! I love how you showed how to wear the necklace at various lengths! Awesome job!!!

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  51. wow the work is very detailed and the multiple strands is a great idea. You really did a professional job, lovely and really deserves to be in the BSP album ^_^ Virginie ViviBijoux.com

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  52. Gorgeous! I love the way the first piece is so versatile and fun. The second one is so classy and chic. Fabulous!

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  53. This was great..I looked at your soup mix and then I saw your first creation then I looked back at the soup mix and then back at the jewelry piece....Which is stunning by the way!! and then I scroll down to to see the next piece and then I scroll back up to see what you pulled out of the soup mix for that one...I love how you brain works to come up these wonderful creations!!! Fan-tas-tique!!!

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  54. Hello Grace first of all i really hope u are well following your back surgery, i broke my neck 8 yrs ago & had surgery to put it back together so i can relate for sure please get well soon:) & omg that necklace is abso amazing all the little details the dangles with the balled headpins i only use balled headpin in my creations(make them myself)they add such an artistic flare don't they & for u to donate this is a true generous gift & the pif will come back to you, i hope the best for a speedy recovery & will follow your blog to see more of your wonderful designs and check in on how you are doing take care :)

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  55. Wishing you a speedy recovery from your back surgery. And,you did a beautiful job with your design. I think your price for the charity auction is more than fair. You make good soup!

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  56. what beautiful jewelery you have made, while I have loved most of what I have seen in hopping from blog to blog, your pieces really spoke to me, I absolutely LOVE them!!! they are beautiful!

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  57. Both the pieces are just wonderful. Love all the danglies and sliding pieces. Great job!

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  58. Beautiful pieces. Great flow and wonderful designs.

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  59. Wow so much going on and it all is really quite beautiful! Great Soup.

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  60. Your soup mix was yummy and you served it up beautifully. Be Blessed

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  61. What beautiful, decadent pieces! These would look so lovely with a very sharp outfit; I'm thinking black blazer with a solid-color undershirt, maybe in ochre or a blue-gray. So pretty! The bracelet is my favorite, though. ;) It's cool and sophisticated for a really confident look. Luscious designing! Wonderful work. :D

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  62. Just a wonderful, versatile piece. You did a fantastic job, and I don't think the focal is lost at all, it can play where it wants to. And you did all this contemplating surgery. My word. Hope you are recovering nicely and easily.

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  63. I think the reason why my piece reminds you of yours is the colors and eclectic feel of them :)

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  64. Love love LOVE all the layers! You showcased your soup and design skill wonderfully!

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  65. First, I would like to wish you a speedy recovery. Second, these are gorgeous pieces you have created. The beads are beautiful and your designs wonderful. Love them both. It is good you are donating both to charity.

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  66. After looking at over 175 of the Soup sites, yours was one of the few that has made me stop and gasp -- truly beautiful pieces! You had some wonderful things to work with, but the care and detail you put into highlighting and complementing them was spectacular.(Seriously, wiring the little sapphires into the chain links? Genius!) Fabulous!

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  67. you are wonderful and you made two of my fav. pieces. shhhh ! it is a secret! I think you have great talent!!!

    jean yates

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  68. Fabulous BEAD SOUP Friend!!! I love what you designed with all your components... Beautiful work!Thanks for sharing your creativity!!
    Smiles,
    Susie

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  69. Oh I LOVE it! The first necklace is so fun with all of the pretty beads, spacing and two strands.

    The bracelet is very elegant. Nice and neutral.

    Great work!

    Sorry to hear about your back surgery. Get well soon :)

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  70. Oh, they are great! Great beads and great pieces!

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  71. Grace, your necklace is stunning... when I saw your Bead Soup I knew I'd love what you would create with them. You started with such gorgeous beads! I'm a big fan of long necklaces, and I specially love how you created random sections with such visual interest. I know I'd find a way to wear this necklace ALL the time! :-)

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  72. What a lovely light summery necklace, your bead soup really sensational!
    Jackie

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  73. I love what you did! The clusters and the sliding focal... all very nice and very pretty!

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  74. Ohhh my your "soup" looks delicious. I love your super long necklace and I adore the bracelet - that box clasp really sets off the piece. Well done!

    Karyn
    Australia

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  75. The necklace looks amazing - its a really great design that lets the beads do the talking! Love it.

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  76. Doodads, fiddling, and movement...all are happy things and you really put them together into two fantastic packages! That necklace is amazing!

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  77. beautiful pieces, I really love the bracelet & the pearl dangles

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  78. Wonderful eclectic look with all the different components! I love all your creations! Love the multiple looks! I really appreciate you modeling it, too!

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  79. I absolutely love the necklace - so many parts, so much movement and so many different things to look at and play with!

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  80. Love the bead soup mix you received,everything you made is just wonderful!!

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