Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome to the 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Hop Party!!!

I am so glad you could make it!
I have my saucy party frock on, I've spiked the fruit punch and my soup has been simmering on the stove for a good long month now. 
I was extremely excited to participate this year as I was in dire need of a challenge and new beads!
Oh, boy, did I get both in abundance!!!

I was very lucky to be paired up with the supremely talented Sharon Driscoll .
Sharon is a lamp worker (whispered in an awed hush) and what this woman can do in glass is nothing short of magnificent.
Lamp worked beads are hard for me to afford, I fill and fill my shopping cart and then sigh while I sadly close out the screen and wait for the right moment to invest in such fine artisan beads.
So you can imagine my utter joy in not only being paired with an experienced one, but 

Her color scheme of turquoise and orange was accented by a chartreuse green and off white.
She sent so much beady goodness, I sat for several hours, confounded and overwhelmed,
thinking, "How on earth am I going to use all of this and more importantly, how will I ever do her glass justice?"
But Sharon reassured me... "you don't have to use all of it."  
So I concentrated on my favorite pieces of the lot.
The first was this glorious long tube bead;

Isn't it wonderful?

I had some weavings from Maire done up in charcoal linen and chartreuse seed beads that I had been struggling to create something with. These weavings were the perfect compliment! So I went with a forging technique of hammered neck cuff bars, a centerpiece of woven linen and seed beads and then created an extra long antiqued copper headpin to slide the orange, white, turquoise, brown and chartreuse glass bead onto.

I feel the simplicity of the design allows the bead to stand out, but its lines of woven seed beads compliment the chevron lines in the long glass tube. There is a mix of textures and materials you do not often see playing along this piece and I am very pleased with the end result.
So I made matching earrings!

Who's a happy bead girl!?!

Next up.....
The hypnotic swirled bead.

I got lost in this bead. 
I wanted to carry it in my pocket for always, it made me so happy.
Instead I busted out some gemstones and a chunk of amber I had been hoarding. Then bit the bullet and using sterling silver stock, I wire-wrapped the heck out of this piece, using the forged sterling "S" clasp that Sharon had sent along with her soup.

Red coral, Amazonite, Taiwan Jade, Soo Joo Jade, Chalcedony and bits of Turquoise create a flow of color that leads the eye right to the mother pendant of Sharon's glass focal and amber briolette.
I know this makes you happy, these colors are so uplifting!

And now for the piece de resistance....

Chosen as such because it spoke to me.
It said "Shannon, you must feature me in a necklace made of metal, drenched in one of your favorite color combinations to wear, with textures that mimic the currents of color inside me."
I swear. 
That's what it said.
And so I obeyed...

I cut rippled patterned brass and copper sheet into diamond shapes, carefully scribing around the focal bead as a template. I then cut the the diamonds out, ground and hammered the edges and busted up yet another pair of hole punch pliers, double hole punching both sides of all 4 metal pieces, plus a triangle drop to hang from the lamp work bead. Tumbled, treated to soot black patina, distressed and then washed with a cabos water blue patina before sealing and assembling to a copper chain and diamond shaped, forged clasp, also treated to the same colors.
A tiny white glass bead dangles from its extender chain.

I love this piece hard.

And yes, I had a matched pair of turquoise dotted earthy brown glass Sharon included and so I continued with a pair of earrings;

 I hope you enjoyed what I had the honor to create with Sharon's bead soup, it was such a pleasurable experience for me!

As a thank you for visiting, I would like to offer the final piece of Sharon's glass, along with a necklace kit, as a give-away.
Using these beads, linen cording and clasp, you can create a variation of the project I stepped out for the

Sharon has been such a generous bead soup partner, I know she would feel the same as I, letting someone else enjoy such luscious glass in fun, bright colors, perfect for the upcoming summer!
So please leave a comment and include your own blog link so I can connect with you when I draw a number next Saturday. 

Please visit Sharon's Bead Soup post to see what she has been cookin up with the soup ingredients I sent her,
And please enjoy shopping her lovely glass goodies in her etsy shop 

Thank you to our lovely hostess, Lori Anderson, who overcame personal trials and tribulation in order for the Bead Soup Party to go on.
We love you, Lori!
Thank you for bringing us all together! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hammered Copper Tube Beads

He sat at my kitchen table (an exclusive, difficult chair to achieve) and I tried to stay focused on what he was saying but in reality, I was transfixed by his hands....
Rough, work hardened, experienced, and oh so capable...
He gestured as he spoke, stopping only to sketch a quick drawing of his work place.
My brain halted on the words;
"cut copper tubing"
You can purchase pure copper tubing and cut it to size?!?!?!

Oh yes, you can.
I fumbled with the tube cutter, purchased with the last $15 in my bank account.
I couldn't get it to cut through the copper tubing.
I tried and tried and tried.
It squished the tube and even though I affixed my dremel with a saw off blade to cut all the way through, I couldn't get a clean cut.
But then he showed me how. In mere seconds, he showed me how to place the tubing, work the cutter and pull off a clean cut, pure copper bead. 
I was so excited to have a new project, I couldn't wait....
I showed my son, "See, this is how you can cut the copper cleanly.
He sat and formed a blister over the tube cutter and raw copper, cutting me various sizes.
They tried to talk over the the sound of my hammering the newly cut copper but it took a lot of strength to hammer those down. It was loud and HARD.
A little bit of finagling to add texture to the sides.
But once tumbled smooth, I had 
Beads to color.
Oh, I almost wet myself with excitement.
These would fit over thick leather cording.
These would look awesome on the hammered bead frames.
These would work as spacers. Pandora had nothin on me.
Spaced between gorgeous lampwork or ceramics, I couldn't get to the bead table fast enough...

Here's what I did with mine, in black and silver.
Yes, fused silver copper tube beads.
Now for a trip to Radio Shack for the etchant, cause I have loads of rubber stamps in the coolest of designs and some solvant ink that will make the next batch even more fun.

Hammered Copper Tube Beads

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Heck Yeah, I'm a Gatherer!

I often think about how things used to be, still is in some areas of the world, before the industrial age, before the pioneer age, before the age of exploration by sea. Living off the land you were born to, making use of the resources around you.
I don't know how well I would have fared, being mostly decorative and kinda useless, but I do know I could have gathered the heck out of things!
I constantly walk with my head down, scouring for little things I can collect, so much so that I have to remind myself to look up, look around and see the world around me (make eye contact and smile, Shannon, they're not all demons).
But I can't help it! 
I love to gather; shells, pods, stones, pebbles, nuts, seeds, bits of wood or man made objects left to the elements. Each tiny piece has a story.
I think that is why most women are pegged as "shoppers". We shop in place of gathering now, it's in our biological make-up.
Stores have simply made it easy to gather.
Although reeeeeealllllllllly expensive. 

And so I have titled this piece as; 
The Gatherer 
I had the verdigris brass neck cuff with an African recycled glass bead forever, just sitting and waiting.
Then when Erin and Lorelei's book came out, I added linen to both sides of the focal bead, inspired by their use of cording with metal. But it still sat and sat....... never having any meaning or direction, until I started selling off my bead collection. I pulled every bead I owned out of drawers and found I have a nice little hoard of natural materials that look very cohesive when mixed together; melon buri seeds, panya seeds, horn, coconut, amber salwag and red bahay seeds!
The polymer clay focal is hand carved by Artybecca
It has two, very detailed sides.

I attached it to the African glass with a knotted leather bail and because the back hook of the neck cuff does not have a right or left, you can turn this piece around and wear the sun follower side of the necklace.

Yep, I think I would have done my tribe pride.
Peace and Prosperity, 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Ok, Enough of That! Now onto This!

Do you want to hear me talk about some fun stuff for a change?
I had the honor of chatting it up for a podcast with Cara Rae of
Cara is incredibly easy to talk to and she had me spilling the beans about creating, combining children, home and business tasks, production work versus one of a kind pieces and sources of inspiration.
(I promise I do not mention man trouble once during the interview!)
You can listen to the show on Monday, the 3rd.
Here is a link to the chat;
icreateflix radio

I am working on a series of downloadable videos to turn over to Cara that will be available for purchase during the Spring.
They'll be super affordable and a great introduction to basic metalsmithing that I'm sure will spark a fire for creating your own metal components for your art jewelry.
My goal for the video instruction is that you just simply..... 
Don't get bogged down with acquiring tools and setting up the perfect work bench, just pick up a hammer and start learning what happens when you lay into a piece of metal!

Before I go, here's a joke;

There was an old blacksmith who realized he needed to quit working so hard and start training an apprentice for the small town forge he ran.
He choose a strong young man to assist him.
The old blacksmith was very crabby and exacting;
"Just do exactly what I tell you to do", he instructed the young man.
The next day he took an annealed piece of metal from the forge and laid it on the anvil.
"Now when I nod my head", he barked "Hit it real good and hard with the hammer."
The town is now looking for a new blacksmith.


Friday, January 3, 2014

The Run Down....

There's a video on facebook that I couldn't bring over here. The camera microphone on the computer kept muffling our sound and you couldn't hear what we were saying, so we used my phone and uploaded it to facebook. I don't know what happened to the computer recording microphone, I might have messed with it when I was looking for a way to increase the volume on my netflix movies.

So here is the run down;

I am so excited to see what is in store for everyone in 2014. 
I hope for peace and prosperity for us all!

2. SALE!!!
20,000 items sold online means a PAAAAARTY!
Here is the coupon code for 20% off your entire purchase until Friday the 10th.
Thank you for your support of and I hope you continue to find joy in creating!

Maire is back at the metal bench and stamping out little copper charm pairs in her special font!
They are selling quickly and she hasn't finished a new batch yet,  so don't wait!

There were times I seriously questioned my decision to remain in business, the obstacles that I have had to overcome have been substantial and while I wanted to keep it going for the kids, I couldn't if it continued to fail in its provision for them. 
Often times I would wake up to a sale from this customer that did more than ease the financial burden of providing for two kids on my own, it gave me encouragement to keep producing work, to continue to share the designs my brain can't seem to stop and to rest in the fact that someone enjoyed creating from materials I provided them with. 
I don't think she knows what an angel she is.
 But I would love to send out a $100.00 gift certificate to
Debby Bergstresser. 

Debby, thank you, from my family to yours.
(I've got your address, Girl!)

Oh, and look what I made...
Aren't I dramatic and fancy?

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Re-purposed Christmas Accessories

Although they are slimming down a bit there are still great pickings of antique and vintage brass stock that can be cleaned up, drenched in color and re-assembled into modern fresh accessories.

Like this extra long woven link chain!

And this one; domed teardrops in black combined with antique chandelier crystals 

I'm really hoping I get invited to a Christmas party so I have a place to wear it!!!

Peace and Prosperity,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mood Indigo

Oh Nina, sing to me....

You ain't never been blue
Till you've had that mood indigo

While I just sit here and sigh
Go along blues

And in the evening when the lights are low
I'm so lonely I could cry

I'm just a poor fool that's bluer than blue can be
When I get that mood indigo...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Copper in the Arts and my new friend Jennifer

I was recently interviewed by author Jennifer Hetrick for a digital magazine called Copper in the Arts, which is sponsored by the Copper Development Association.
This online publication was a new discovery to me and I poured over its pages, learning technique and artistic skill from the talents of admired artists like Cynthia Jimenez,

This publication also has fascinating articles about the history and smelting of copper which I never really gave much thought to until having read some of the information made available to us through the various sources that this online magazine gathers for us. 

This was a positive experience for me and I dare say I learned a little bit about myself through the process.
Here is a link to the article;

But I want to talk about Jennifer....
Every once in a while the internet puts me in contact with a truly beautiful soul. It amazes me as I know that before 2005, I would have never had the opportunity to meet some of these souls that not only open my eyes to unique perspectives but makes a connection with me that touches my heart.
Jennifer is most definitely one of these souls; friendly, open hearted, patient, easy to communicate with and intelligent. She is also genuinely appreciative of artists and supports handmade as she demonstrated to me by sending me one of these magnificent sample boxes of homemade fruit butters from her town of Sassamansville, Pennsylvania;

Oh So Worthy of indulging in a few carbs.

These fruit butters are made by The Bauman Family using natural ingredients and no preservatives. I'm sure I do not need to tell you this would make an awesome gift!

Thank you to Copper in the Arts for the work they do, promoting this sublimely versatile metal that has given my own work such beauty, Thank you to Jennifer for your wonderful article that gave my self-esteem a badly needed boost and thank you to Christi Dick of Lost Marbles Jewelry who mentioned my name to Jennifer.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sharing...... but just the Good Stuff

Oh my. I can hardly remember how to write. What sign in? What log in? How do I start a new paragraph? Where's my pictures? Can I just write in abstract poetry?

I do not know how I had the time to write and read blogs before. It is a comforting time to think of though, curling up in my comfy chair with chocolate coffee and a sense of wonder and empathy for my ladies...
"Oh she's making that! Ooooooo, pretty."
"you're doing how many shows?!?! Girl, that's just crazy."
relating to what is being written by the author and wanting to connect through comments so you start with 
"YES! I feeeeeeeeeeeel the same way........" 

Things are different now; my feeeeeeeeelings aren't always positive and shouldn't be shared. That cuts down on the writing and sharing and relating.
(Plus I still do not have living room furniture so I have no comfy chair in which to write from.)

But I have been creating!

I've brought a few things back that I enjoy making;

And some new Fold Formed Leaves in a rainbow of color!

With little fluttering pairs for earrings!

 I made a pair with grey moonstone brios;

Then I took a new Weavings offered by Maire and created this necklace with a leaf pendant, seed beads, cotton cording and more moonstone....

Some soot black pieces...

Some large, flamboyant chain for my bold ladies;

And some hammered and stamped Neck Plaques for us Divas;

Ahhhh, yes, the satisfaction and reward from creating....
Just plain Ol' Good Stuff.

Now I'm off to spend an afternoon visiting some fun designs with Diana Patszynski's
I'll see you there in comments.....

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Bow to You in Respect...

I have visions in my head that I cannot complete because of my inability to invest in anything new.
I KNOW you know what that feels like.
The need to create a special adornment for your body that reflects the state of mind, body and spirit that you ARE, that you feel at this moment in your life.
I feel it when I look at the work of Kathy Van Kleeck , Lorelei Eurto, and my special Maire... 

I am an admitted ceramics whore, I flit from one to another, as if I was the fickle miss my shop name suggests. But the yearning stays the same, to feel the weight of fired clay in my hands, against my chest and brushing against my neck is a very REAL need. There is something infinitely satisfying about creating with something directly from the earth, molded and shaped from the hands of women I admire so much.

And it is even more poignant as I research.....
1. the cost of a kiln (did you know there are several different types that you use for specific techniques?)
2. the cost of a studio... (I researched any where from 100 a month to 300 a month JUST to sit and use their clay, firing schedules where priced differently)
3.  the temperatures needed for different clays, (high fired is simply not offered).
4. I don't want to sit at a wheel: I want to form, shape, texture, cut, color.... and then just magically wear the finished ceramics (all that comes between is often not mentioned in product descriptions because they know no one READS, but they are still steps that require time, experience, muscle control and knowledge in order to complete successfully). I couldn't for the life of me find a class just for that, they all involved a wheel and learning firing temperatures. E-gads!!! Numbers!!! 

And so I pay homage to my loves;

(you will forever be the original rustic clay shard creator)

(you are my first love affair with ceramic beads!)

And my new loves...

I do not know if the future holds clay shaping for me, but until then I will be haunting the shops of these artists!

Peace & Prosperity;