July 17, 2015

Inspired by Nature Fall Retreat

It's that time of year again! General registration for my fall retreat opens tonight at midnight EST.

I'm super excited about this year's projects, they are filled with color, texture and motifs inspired by treasures found on the forest floor. We'll play with polymer clay, copper and wire for three days of jewelry making bliss surrounded by the most beautiful woodland setting with a picturesque river as our backdrop.

This is my favorite event of the year, the one closest to my heart where I share my hometown and inspiration with my students. It's a small event will only 20 spaces open. My past retreat students get the chance to sign up early, so we are 1/2 full right now.

If you have been pining to join me for one of my retreats this is the one not to miss! It's Halloween weekend in my sleepy hometown of South Haven, MI. You can read all the details here.

I'll leave you with a few photos of the class projects.

Psst...East coast friends, Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery is hosting a 2 day retreat where I will be teaching polymer and metal classes inspired by the waterfalls of Pennsylvania. That event will be the weekend of September 18th. We'll have details soon. (That's in Ligonier, PA)

July 15, 2015

The Editors Take the Art Bead Scene Challenge

This amazing painting was painted by Dutch Renaissance painter Balthasar van der Ast in the 1600's! You can read all about our monthly challenge here. When I saw this painting I fell in love with that collection of shells. Shells were considered exotic to the growing upper class during the Renaissance, collected from tropical locations from merchants traveling the globe. The Dutch would paint still lives with flowers, insects and other mementos that would not only show off their wealth but had a deeper meaning that all the things of this world are temporary and transient. 

I decided this month to create beads for the challenge. One thing I loved about the painting was the play of pattern, color and shapes from one shell to the next and created small collections of headpins inspired by the shells and berries in the painting. 

These are one-of-a-kind sets and can be found on my website, here

Stop by the Art Bead Scene today to see what our other editors were inspired to create! 

June 30, 2015

AJE Firefly Challenge

Earlier this month the Art Jewelry Elements posted a challenge for summer inspired by Fireflies. I had to jump on it. I love these night time dancers that entertain us during hot and humid summer nights. The fields around my house light up with their display and I have fond memories of chasing fireflies as a kid growing up in the country. 

My first pendant is a simple design with one of my firefly charms, Czech glass, a feathery Humblebead disk and a brass colored dyed hematite. I worked the chain up with a series of large jump rings juxtaposed by a copper flower clasp.

My next piece is a bracelet that uses similar beads to match my pendant.

My final pendant I pulled out a bead I had been hording for years, years I tell you! Isn't that funny how you can fall in love with a bead but you have to wait until it really speaks to you before you take it out of the bead box. 

This pewter pendant is Mamacita Beadworks. I stacked a series of art beads on top of the pendant to suggest a summer night - a golden disk bead with tree branches wrapped around it. A lampwork bead from Sea of Glass that looks like a starry night. A ceramic bead from Earthenwood Studio that reminds of wood and the forests, along with a little wooden bead. And finally a tiny disk bead with wings wrapped around it. 

The best part of the firefly pendant - those squirmy little legs underneath! It reminds me of a character straight out of Tim Burton's James and Giant Peach.

Visit the other participants and see their firefly inspirations!

Guest Designers:
Melissa Trudinger - https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/aje-firefly-challenge-reveal/
Mary Detray - http://www.brassrabbitstudio.com/blog
Keren Panthaki - https://vasdea.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams - http://www.paisleylizard.com/
Veralynne Malone - www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Terri Del Signore - http://artisticaos.blogspot.com/
Heather Powers - http://www.humblebeads.blogspot.com (you're here!)
Susan Delphine Delaney - https://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com

June 27, 2015

Bead Soup Mix Challenge Gallery

A sea inspired bead soup bracelet by Despina featuring a Humblebeads urchin and starfish charm. Despina's dreamy mix of beads look fit for a mermaid!
Michelle was also inspired by a beachy bead soup mix with a Humblebeds bracelet connector as the focal. The copper really makes the teal green colors pop in this design.
Melanie picked a few teal shades of bead soup to create a bird and nest necklace. She mixed in some texture with knotted beads on cord to balance out the large oval chain. The focal bead features a Humblebeads nest and a ceramic bird by Kylie Parry. 
Julie gathered a fun and eclectic mix of bead soup, she used larger focal beads unifying the design with elongated beads. She used a Humblebeads long bead (that is almost vintage! I remember making it when I lived in Texas!) and transformed it into an awesome dragonfly with just a bit of wire - seriously clever! 
Debra gathered up a playful bead soup to accent a trio of Humblebeads nesting dolls. She used sari ribbon to complete the design.
Kathy not only created a bead soup, she did a little double duty by recycling pieces from an older necklace that she wasn't crazy about. She used a Humblebeads peacock disk beads with a lotus focal from Jenny Davies-Reazor.
Alice created two pieces for the challenge! Her first piece with a turtle focal used a mix of Humblebeads disk beads to accent her pendant.
Her second pendant paired up a mix of Humblebeads from a Totem set with a word bead from Swoondimples. 

Anna Chase rounded up a bead soup of glass, ceramic and Humblebeads disk beads. I love the beaded part of the bracelet and the earthy colors are so compelling. 

Cory mixed two Humblebeads feathers with a few her polymer clay beads, Czech glass with accents of teal cord to tie it all together. Get it, tied together. Sorry. I like the addition of the beads on the cord to add in movement, texture and color to a design. 

Thank to everyone who played along with me this week! It was so much fun to see what you whipped up with your soup. We are some mighty fine bead soup cooks. Now, it's time for the winner - everyone's name went into the hat and I drew: 
That's Debra Beach! Congrats Debra - have fun shopping with your $50 gift certificate!
(Where did the extra entries come from? I have my blog published at humblebeads.com too and those comments and the ones here both qualified.)

June 26, 2015

Bohemian Bead Soup

Earlier this week I put out a challenge to create a bead soup mix piece of jewelry. How is it going? Almost done? You need to share your link with me by today to enter to win the $50 gift certificate. You can find the details here.

So this is the piece of jewelry I had in mind all weekend and couldn't wait to make! I wanted something that was bohemian inspired that featured my new Monarch beads.

The beaded portion of the necklace - my soup - combines Czech glass, crystal, a few stones and copper beads knotted on green waxed linen. I wanted the necklace to feel like a butterfly garden, speckled with blooms and wings. The clasp is a pewter button from Green Girl Studios.

The pendant features a ceramic bead from White Clover Kiln, a lampwork beads from More Skye Jewels. At the bottom of the pendant the leaf headpin is from Nikki Thornburg and the drop is Genea Beads.

 Love making these Chrysalis beads! 

I could so see this necklace being worn by artist Vanessa Bell, she owned the famous Charleston home. A hot gathering place for artists, writers and other bohemian types known as the Bloomsbury Group. Vanessa Bell was a painter herself and created the most amazing home with fellow artist Duncan Grant. She is also the sister of Virginia Wolf. 

She'd wear the necklace with something like this: 
Photo credit: Tom Allen via We Are So Droee

While she painted this:
 Painting by Vanessa Bell

Hanging out in gorgeous rooms, lounging around with her artist friends in rooms like this - heated and intellectual conversations were a must, of course. 
Photo from the Charleston website

And while she read and illustrated books by her sister like this:
Photo via Little Augury

Yep, that's where I see this necklace! 

Don't forget to click on this link - right here - to share your bead soup creations.