A Bead Journey

Beads – How my passion got started

I have always done something crafty or artsy.  I wanted to go to art school but my parents thought that an art degree wouldn’t be practical.  

My grandmother taught me sewing.  She was a seamstress and worked in a sweatshop mill in upper state New York sewing clothing for a manufacturer until the mill moved south.  I even designed some clothing patterns.  She also taught me knitting.  And being me, I also taught myself to design some knitting patterns – pretty easy ones.  I took a painting class and it didn’t inspire me.  I loved doing needle work in the form of needlepoint and cross stitch.  I was designing cross stitch patterns for a shop in Las Vegas when we lived there.  The owner coaxed me to “name” my business and I chose Desert Bloom. Of course, I instantly designed a pattern in cross stitch for the business.  I showed it to Shirley, the shop owner, and she said “why don’t you add some beads to the design?”  

So I walked into a bead shop….OH MY!

bead journey

Beading can be overwhelming.  What technique did I want to start with?  I chose seed beads for the Desert Bloom cross stitch.  You might not be able to see them in the photo but they are there. And as soon as I finished that project I taught myself how to stitch designs and jewelry with seed beads. 

This is one of the first bracelets I made. (designed the pattern too).  And sold several hundred copies of this pattern online.  I decided that trying to sell the finished product was not feasible.  It takes a long time to complete, and I would never get the price to compensate for the hours of work.

bead journey

I designed more patterns, but I was having a hard time finding button closures.  In the meantime my youngest daughter was in college in Portland, OR and I went up to visit.  I had some time that weekend and decided to attend the Embellishment conference at the Convention Center.  And that is when I saw my first lampworked bead.  Of course I was familiar with Venetian beads.  But the lampwork beads I saw at this convention were tiny works of art.  And I was hooked.  And my journey with glass began in 1997.creating the desert in glass and metal

It’s HOT

So I’m outside in the pool…..

But here is an illustration that I like – found on the internet somewhere…..

Have a great weekend

creating the desert in glass and metal

Druzy – do you like it?

druzy

What Exactly is Druzy?

Druzy quartz is made up of many tiny crystals and it has a velvety and soft appearance to it. There can be large formed crystals or many medium crystals with the formation. Treated colorful crystals are sometimes coated with a film of gold, platinum, sterling silver, or titanium. When the Druzy has titanium on it, this adds cobalt, purple, or various rainbow colors.

In geology, druse refers to a coating of fine crystals on a rock fracture surface.  Druse occurs worldwide; the most common is perhaps quartz druse.  Generally, it is possible to find druzy natural gemstones in any location in which there is a place for water to collect and evaporate on rock. It most often appears along river beds and shorelines. 

Using Druzy in Jewelry

I really love druzy for the sparkle it adds.  It is very distinctive.  And sometimes it adds a flair in the piece of jewelry I’m creating.  It is also cheaper than some other gemstones, so that is also a benefit.

druzy

These are earrings I made a few years back.  I just got some more druzy so this fall I’ll have them in my shop again.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

A little bit about Louise

So it’s 1973 and I was living in Baltimore, Maryland.  I finished college at Johns Hopkins University and was working in a lab at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  A medical student was spending some time in the lab and she was very insistent that I should meet one of her classmates.  She knew us both and thought we would like each other. So a blind date was set up.  Did I really agree to that?

Nothing could be finer than to float down the river on a summer day.   It was the 4th of July and the blind date turned out to be tubing down the Patapsco River in Howard County Maryland.  A lazy float with another couple, drinking Boonesfarm Apple Wine.  Does anyone remember that?  The water was cool and the sun was hot.  But most of all I remember laughing and having the time of my life with a guy who made me smile. And as we drove back to Baltimore the skies lit up with fireworks.

2017

Forty four years later, (yes, I married him), we decided to relive that day in Yuma, AZ.

Here we are getting ready to go tubing down the Colorado River.

Life is Good
La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vida by the way will be the focus of a line of jewelry I am sketching now probably for a spring 2018 release.


Rebranding and Tiny Alien Monsters from the Studio

Rebranding

So I am working with a team to help me rebrand.  

It’s going to take until September.  

I am busy creating a new line which will debut this fall in a brand new shop.  

I am also working with the team to design a new logo and packaging etc etc etc.  

It is time consuming but fun.

Later this summer I will have a flash sale on some old designs.

In the meantime here is a picture of a work in progress in the studio….

rebranding

creating the desert in glass and metal

Salsa Cravings

Pico de Gallo vs Salsa

So are you eating salsa or pico de gallo.  They are similar, but I discovered it’s pico de gallo that I love …  and really that could be called salsa fresca.  It’s a mix of chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions and cilantro.  It’s fresh and chunky and not as juicy as salsa.  I love it on eggs, potatoes, chips, meat and fish or just as a salad.  Or put some in your guacamole…. Ummmm

salsa

Here’s a great recipe from Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman.

And here’s a great video on salsa…. (it will make you smile)

Yeah I still watch those reruns….

Work in Progress

work in progress

new lariats too

lariats

 

Have a wonderful day!!! I’m off for a week in Coronado Island, CA.  Taking a class

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

My Anniversary

anniversary

June 7, 1975

Forty two years ago

Baltimore, Maryland

two daughters

1 gandson

ups and downs

Life is Good

 

 

Those Bad Bad Beads

Virginia Blakelock

I think it can be said that Virginia Blakelock is the mother of the bead movement here in the US.  I bought her book “Those Bad Bad Beads”  along time ago.  And it certainly got me hooked in beading with seed beads.  I still love seed beading but consider it my “hobby” now as my jewelry making has gone in a different direction.  But every now and then I sit down and bead myself something.

Red, White and Blue

American Flag

Last year I sat down one evening to bead this American Flag bracelet because I was going on a trip to Great Britain and would be gone over the Fourth of July.

It was a nice conversation piece.

American Flag

The American flag is the national flag of the United States. It consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S.  Nicknames for the flag include The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, and The Star-Spangled Banner.

To me the American Flag is an icon for Americanism.  It has gone through many iterations over the years as states were added to the union.

I was impressed to find out that a 17 year old, Robert G Heft was responsible for designing the current 50 star version of the American Flag.  

He created the flag design in 1958 as a high school class project while living with his grandparents in Ohio.  He received a B− on the project.  According to Heft, his history teacher honored their agreement to change his grade to an A after his design was selected.

I wonder who that history teacher was……………

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

 

Spirals

spiralThe spiral is an ancient symbol. It appeared thousands of years ago in southwestern Native American tribal areas on cave walls and on ancient pottery.  I have read that spirals can mean water, or wind.  The spiral also symbolized a way of planting, starting at the center and moving out in circles as they planted. In Navajo this was called ha’oolmaaz
And the spiral can also be representative of man’s journey on earth.

Spirals in my Art Jewelry

Since a lot of my inspiration comes from the southwestern deserts I use the spiral a lot in my bead designs and silver jewelry.  It’s a soothing stroke to create in glass.

spiral,labyrinth ring

 

Man in the Maze

The Man in the Maze is a type of  labyrinth, represented in the basket making and silversmithing of the American Southwest, especially among the Tohono O’Odham nation.  It usually is characterized by seven concentric circles.  There are many stories about the meaning of the Man in the Maze. Interpretations of the image vary from family to family, and the symbolism is a sacred belief. A common interpretation that the human figure represents the O’odham people. The maze signifies the difficult journey toward finding deeper meaning in life. The twists and turns refer to struggles and lessons learned along the way. At the center of the maze is a circle, which stands either for death or for the ultimate realization of identity or eternity.

I participated in a collaboration with bead artist Heidi Kummli several years ago.  I provided lampworked beads and she created a necklace with them.  The theme of the collaboration was wind, earth, fire and water. I provided her with 5 beads –  the bottom of the piece was one of my artifact beads with a spiral in silver.

spiral

creating the desert in glass and metal

Talisman

Definition

A talisman is an object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.  But it really could be any object that has come to have meaning to you.  To me a talisman is a special piece that evokes a memory and makes you feel good.

Talisman Necklaces

talisman

A few years back I designed and sold a series of “Desert Talisman” necklaces each with their own story.  I sold them all; but of course I had to keep one for myself.  I think of it as my summer necklace.  I first wore it on a trip to the ocean back in 2010.  I called it “Wings” as it was the perfect adornment for a walk on a sandy and breezy beach in the morning looking for shells.  Now when I wear it I think back to that week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina and all of the happy memories.

The necklace is a collection of five elements.  The round bead is a hollow lampworked bead that I made.  It’s surface decoration is a series of scrolls or swirled lines.  Next to it is a beautiful feather that I wired to the necklace.  The orange color in the feather speaks to me.  The third piece is a series of metal disks strung with crystals and beads.  Another piece is a remnant of a coin that I purchased when visiting the Island of Kos in Greece.  I set it in gold with a small amethyst.   The last piece is a stone that I purchased some years back at the gem shows here in Tucson.  It is a fuchsite stone with ruby in it.  Then the stone was tumbled for a lovely matte finish.  All the elements hang from a darkened sterling silver chain.

The necklace slips over the head.  It is 26 inches and when worn hangs about 16 inches including the elements.

Everything except the feather can be cleaned with a damp soft cloth if necessary.  The dark patina will change with age.

talisman

A new series of Desert Talisman necklaces will appear in my new shop this fall.

creating the desert in glass and metal