Bringing it All Together

Nothing comes from nothing, and everything comes from somewhere.

Lampwork Glass Bead Necklace with Argentium Sterling Silver Spiral Chain 17.5 inch
A few weeks back I agreed to take Carol Evans (a fellow artisan) up on an "bead giveaway" on some of her unsold lamp work beads. I "know" Carol through my online professional group of jewelry artisan, Self-Representing Artists in Jewelry Design. Carol was hoping to get her beads into the hands of a few jewelers who would, you know, make something beautiful and give her credit for her bead work. I think this was a great idea.

Jet Black Lampwork Bead Earrings with Argentium Silver Earwires and Spiral Dangles
I am not a bead artist (so far).  I am a wire artist who uses beads. As I work, I become more curious and more aware of the parts of jewelry making that I do not do - I do not mine the metal from the earth, I do not draw it into wire, I do not store large amounts of wire in my warehouse waiting for people to buy it. I do not cut, carve, mold, bake, and fuse my own beads out of clay, glass, wood, bone, and stone. I have learned I have a true fondness for beads of all types (I was a rockhound as a kid, and still am). But in particular, I have grown in my appreciation of the work and artistry it takes to produce lamp work glass.

I have spoken to lamp work bead artists who describe their process, and it seems like quite a magical thing. Their houses must look like a crazy array - like a mad-scientist who started messing with the color wheel. They don't even know what the beads will exactly look like when they are done - the colors themselves can be surprising, and getting an exact "matched pair" is far more challenging than most people would know.

So Carol Evans of C. Evans Designs sent me her marvelous beads. She did ask me what colors I might like to receive.  I thought this was very nice of her, but I had faith that I could work with any colors she sent me, and besides, I like a surprise. I must admit, though, that the orangish / red colors along with the black contrast was a little startling at first. There were different patterns (Stripes, Dots, Plain) and it was clear I had more than a single project on my hands. It was also clear that I was going to have to "go bold" and just try something new.

To my surprise, the striped and black beads, became my "fancy" necklace with the amazing Argentium wire spiral chain, and the polka dot bead became my leather cord necklace, simpler in style, but terribly eye catching. I love how the bead looks like the petals of a flower, and the charm looks like the leaves. The earrings just came together of their own accord - the classic black beads were lovely, but when I put them together with the wire spiral dangles, I had a true "aha" moment. My favorite moment in the creative process (I think) is when I see what I've made, bringing together elements from so many places and times - elements that always begin as part of the earth itself - and creating a single piece that is unique, unified, and amazing. Now that's fun.

I hope you enjoy what I've created.


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