Monday, September 10, 2012

Show and Tell

    Do you remember the first time you heard about "show and tell"?  I was in kindergarten. I remember the euphoria I felt when the teacher explained that I could bring things from home that I really cherished to share with the class. In fact, I probably didn't learn anything that day because my head was swimming with ideas of what to share with the class.
     I can still remember what items I treasured at that age.  There was the standard lucky rabbit's foot, a box of shiny rocks, and the ever popular Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker on a rope. 
     Those of you who had a lip smacker knew it was also a great recess snack, too.  My friends and I would swipe a little off the top and pop it in our mouths. What yummy grape goodness that was!
     I don't remember much of what the other kids shared. The exception was the rotund, beady-eyed, furry pet that inevitably escaped someone's grasp. That usually created a lockdown situation with everyone on hands and knees looking for it. Oh, what fun and chaos ensued!  That sense of fun returned when I attended my very first beading group.

John Stephens, owner of Bohemian Beads & Buttons created this amazing leather wallet. Lisa Stephens, co-owner, hosts our bead group and supplies us with Czech beads, Toho seed beads, and one of a kind buttons.

     After beading for about an hour, we were reminded to bring "show and tell" for the next group meeting. "Show and tell?" I thought. My ears must have lifted a couple of inches just to be sure I heard that right. Then, that euphoria I felt in kindergarten came back.
     What am I going to share?  Being new to beading, I felt very unsure of myself and of my work. These women have been artists for year and here I come, having no clue about jewelry design.  I just wanted to make "pretty stuff".
    My fretting and worrying about how my work came to nothing! They accepted me right away and have put up with me now for three years. They encourage me, instruct me, and also uplift me with the beautiful jewelry they create.

Inga Sager's beautiful designs. Look at her necklace below!

      Just look at Inga Sager's designs. She's fairly new to beading. What a natural talent and great addition to our group! She has an etsy store where her creations can be purchased. I'll post it as soon as I get it.

     Inga's amazing bead embroidery necklace. This picture doesn't really show the vibrant colors and intricate details of this piece.

     The top three bracelets are designs by Kathy Simonds. Her use of color is truly dynamic. She can be found at the Idaho Falls Artisans Market on Saturdays or contacted by e-mail.

     These pieces are from various members of our group. The bracelet at the top is my design. Debra Kerns created the polymer clay cabachons.

     Sheri likens this cabachon to a Reeses' Peanut Butter Cup. She used Super Duos to create a funky focal! I wonder how she's going to use it. Knowing her, it will be whimsical!

Sheri Woodberry wearing her wirework earrings

     Sheri Woodbury loves doing wirework and seed beading. She's now venturing out into soldering! She's very brave! I can't wait to see how that new skill adds to her designs. She also teaches classes at Pandoras Baubles and Beads. Her next offering is Sept. 19th. You can check out the class schedules on their website or on Facebook.

    Debbie Orme, of Deb's Designs, created this bracelet design and, oh, is it gorgeous! Debbie started working with rocks, stones and pearls. But, that all changed when, as she said, "I met those little pieces of glass that have slowly taken over my life and house. Now I'm hooked".  Debbie can be foumd at the Idaho Falls, ID Artisan's Market every Saturday and be contacted by e-mail.
     I am a few years older now and have hopefully matured a little.  Now, I love show and tell not primarily for sharing what I've been working on, but because of what everyone else brings! 
     The creativity, color, and interesting use of materials always surprises me. I come away such admiration for my fellow beaders and great appreciation to be in that group. One beader that always impresses me with her use of bold colors is Debra Kerns.

Debra Kerns bracelet with buttons from Lisa Stephens collection. So cute!
Debra Kerns bracelet
      Debra made this vibrant bracelet using two adorable buttons as closures.  She also created the polymer clay pieces in one of the photos above.
      The buttons she used are from Bohemian Beads & Buttons.  Lisa Stephens, co-owner, has a passion for buttons and a Coon Hounds nose for sniffing out the most beautiful vintage buttons around. Her collection is sought out at bead fairs all over the Northwest. Her next show will be in Salt lake City, Utah at the Southtowne Expo Center. The bead fair is on September 21st-23rd.
     Another artist and "rock hound", Sharon Nicklas just taught our group how to bezel around cabachons.

     Color by Nature, owned by Sharon Nicklas, specializes in Spencer Opal cutting and opal jewelry. She cuts and polishes each stone to perfection. Recently, she started incorporating seed bead bezels because of all of the colors that could be used to highlight her gorgeous stones. She can be reached by e-mail.


     If you are a beader, I hope you are a part of a group as fabulous as mine! Even though I moved away 2 years ago, I still try to attend as many meetings as I can. The 2 1/2 hour drive each way is worth spending time and learning from them. Through their encouragement, I have become more comfortable sharing my jewelry and asking for input from them. I can't say enough about them!  
     If you are not in a bead group, I encourage you to seek one out. A great place to begin is at your local bead store. If you live in the Boise, Idaho area, Bead Street is a great place to begin. The classes are cutting edge and fun! The bead selection is vast and Eileen's knowledge will help you get going.
     Blessings and happy beading!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

More Button Jewelry and Mental Gymnastics

     Just the other day, while stretching after a work out, I attempted doing the splits. In my very distant past, this was a common position that I could make my body do. As you can imagine, it wasn't a pretty sight. I'd imagined beautifully pointed toes and the perfect ballet arms swirling as I balanced so effortlessly on my perfectly straightened legs. One leg in the front and one in the back.  What I believe I ended up looking like was a Yak splayed out after slipping on a frozen lake in upper Mongolia. I might've even sounded like one when I tried getting myself out of my predicament. I'm so thankful no one was home to see how ridiculous I looked! My body just can't do what it could 10 years ago. I guess the same is true for my mind.
      Have you ever made a piece of jewelry but never took any pictures of it? I'm guilty of this. My problem is that I still believe my mind can remember, in vivid color, everything I've made! I silently say to my brain, "There's only 5 colors and two stitches I've used. That's easy to remember!" Unlike the reminder that physical pain brings when attempting the splits, my brain doesn't send out electrical shock to tell me, "Take pictures! You're middle aged brain won't remember a thing!"
     Fortunately, some of those pieces are owned by friends. So, my new camera got a good work out recently as I paid some visits to friends to take pictures of jewelry I made for them.

     Here is a necklace with a Czech button used as a focal. It's very vintage looking. Don't you think?

     This necklace has three lovely vintage buttons that look to have an asian motif. Thanks to Lisa Stephens for letting me play with her amazing buttons.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grandma's Button Box Necklace

     There are so many things one can do with buttons! It wasn't until a year and a half ago that I realized there was a vast world of button collectors out there. Mind you, they are not as flashy as Star Wars fans (think San Diego Comic-Con). Nor, as boisterous as the Shriners in a 4th of July parade. They are knowledgeable and passionate about buttons.
     Many vintage buttons are prized by collectors and can be worth hundreds of dollars.There are also fun and funky buttons that one can find in antique stores or in grandma's button box.  I've found some beautiful ones in my mother in-laws button box that have been used as clasps for necklaces and bracelets.  Lisa often gives me buttons to use as focal points in designs. Here is a necklace that I made for her. She and her husband, John, own Bohemian Beads & Buttons. You will find out more about them in upcoming posts.

     I used the patttern in the buttons as a starting point.  Para-wire in vintage bronze shaped into spirals, double spirals, and triangles help to unify the three differently patterned buttons.  Silver washers from the local hardware store as well as silver findings give it a little contrast. Czech beads, Labrodite gem stones and pearls soften the geometric lines.
    A fun and funky way to use those buttons that are just sitting in a box! Happy beading!

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