Drawer 8: Honey Brown

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“Rich Varietals”

My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an ex-pat assignment there. Serves as the repository for my beads.  Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 7/Drawer 7: February 22, 2017: “Rich Varietals” 

Drawers 8 & 9 are labeled Brown, but I did not find a lot of traditional brown color; rather there is honey, root beer, caramel, brick and mahogany.

This necklace has a second name: Susie’s Beads.  Susie Whitinghill is my beloved husband’s beloved daughter-in-law…lots of loving going around in the Beadle Family!  She gave me a necklace for a special occasion and I loved wearing it…until it broke and, like the bead vulture I am, I put the beads in Drawer 8 instead of re-stringing it.  I present it now, reincarnated.

The 16 large Indian glass beads of root beer and olive are from Susie’s necklace. I added honey beads—Czech glass in faceted cylinders and squares—which I repeated in the earrings.

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I found a perfect large lampwork glass bead in my stash for the centerpiece! It is a cylinder bead with a brown branch wrapping around it plus abstract color dots of red, orange and yellow plus a brilliant honey-on-steroids sun image.  Then, to make it more complex, the artist-maker puffed up the cylinder with a clear layer of glass and laid raised multi-colored flower forms above the brown branch!  I feel so bad the original tag was lost and I can’t credit the maker.

By now you know I treasure my beads stories as well as form my own opinions of them. I have a special characterization of the three kinds of glass beads I use frequently:  Venetian glass (see Drawers 1 & 2) is the most sophisticated, hand worked and well-designed; Czech glass is my standby filler, well made and affordable, appearing in 80% of  necklaces presented so far; and Indian glass, the newcomer to the bead industry with decades of history as compared to centuries for the other two, is cheery and colorful.  Lampwork glass stands alone since each is artist-made.

This necklace is 21” around with a dangle of 3”. Earrings included.  $59.

Drawer 7: Off-White

 

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“Song of the Earth”

My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container in California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading, after an ex-pat assignment there, to serve as the repository for my beads. Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 7/Drawer 7: February 15, 2017: “Song of the Earth” 

My Apothecary Chest has seven drawers across and seven down plus three large drawers as the bottom row. Each time I pull out a drawer, I admire the handcrafted dovetail details and the fascinating maroon black color of the interior.  Sometimes I conjure a vision of the medicinal herbs it used to contain.  Today, I celebrate reaching the end of the first row!

In the third compartment of this drawer, a surprise awaited me. During a fabulous shopping spree at the 2015 Beadesigner International’s annual October show, I purchased three kinds of Druzy, packaged them together, stuck them in drawer 7 which was, and still is, a catchall for vaguely white beads.  Today I present you the results.

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images of three polished substrates (non-druzy side)

 

 

 

Druzy is the glittering effect of tiny crystals on top of a mature colorful mineral, often agate, appearing sparkley and delicate, but in reality, very durable. The agate substrate is polished to show off the mineral layers.

The almond shaped off-white druzy are supported by delightful grey druzy. Druzy is easy to cut and the grey ones demand close inspection since each one exposes just a touch of crystalline sparkle.  In a final step, these beads were electroplated to produce the satin finish.  The silver druzy of the earrings compliments the white and grey druzy.

This necklace will enliven clothing of any solid color from pink to blue to black. In spite of its sparkle, it is quite conservative.  It measures 20”.  The set is $99.

 

Drawer 6: Red

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Vintage Trade Bead necklace showing some White Hearts

I’m challenging myself in 2017 to create one necklace a week using the beads from one drawer of my 52 drawer Apothecary Chest. Welcome to Drawer 6.

Judging by my mail since last week, Valentine’s Day is pretty soon. The MFA issued a lush brochure announcing its revival jewelry exhibit opening February 14; Chico’s wants me to come in and accept a free necklace; HullArtists.com’s own  Gallery Nantasket invites everyone the Sunday afternoon before Valentine’s Day; even my inbox is exploding with jewelry created for the occasion!

I too must rise to this annual red heart fest. Once in the over-flowing red drawer, I couldn’t stop myself—so I made three necklaces!

#1 is a long simple necklace of red Czech glass made distinctive by a Paul Vien (Westport, MA) ruby red dichroic kiln-fired glass pendant coated with the most lustrous shade of gold etched with delightful images of stones (if you are a beach girl) or bubbles (if you are a champagne girl)! It is 28” + a 2” pendant.  $69.00img_1303

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#2 is featured at the top of the blog and is created with trade beads only. The true definition of a trade bead is a glass bead made in Venice and traded around the world, especially in Africa , from the 16th to the 20th centuries.  My definition is they have patina which is evidenced in chips and crevices darkened by the dirt of ancient markets as they are bartered and change hands.

The larger red beads are glass made to look like faux amber, the agate center bead has that trade patina, and the small red ones are called white heart beads and have a long history. Red glass beads were historically made with gold.  In 1480, beadmakers added a white layer at the core of the bead (see photo) to reduce the amount of gold needed.  Production of white hearts was finally ended in 1960.  It is 22” long. $69.00.

drawer6-1#3 is a medium-length necklace of red Czech glass with Valentine heart dangles. A faceted red crystal heart hangs near the sterling silver heart clasp which can be worn at the back of the neck—it also looks nice worn by your collarbone.  A red circle holds three dangles:  a vintage Swarovski heart It is a clear heart which reflects the ambient light); a sterling silver heart and bead; and red beads on a cool sterling silver triangle.  23” + 2” long dangles.  $69.00drawer6-2drawer6-3 

 

 

Drawer 5: Green, light to medium

 

 

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“Grown-up Stories”

I’m challenging myself in 2017 to create one necklace a week using the beads from one drawer of my 52 drawer Apothecary Chest. Welcome to Drawer 5.

This week was fun to look forward to: Drawer 5 had so many shades of green from the lighter end of the spectrum that, before I knew it, a large pile had accumulated.  Pulling out four harmonious strands plus spacers, seed beads and a few accent beads was easy.  More difficult but so delightfully intrinsic to the creative process was moving the beads around my design board until harmony emerged.  Only then could I start stringing.

I worked until I had four strands of 9—10” on each side of the centerpiece. Then came the challenge of conforming four straight lines into a necklace that hangs around a neck in a flattering way. My model is Ada, a turn-of-the century mannequin I found in a Lisbon flea market in 1965 and put into service in 1995 as a neck model for multi-strand neckpieces.  I pin the strands on her velvet form and figure out how many more beads are needed to fit each strand to where the clasp sits at the back of the neck.

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A word about the centerpiece. Luminous and glowing green on top and opaque and creamy on the bottom, it is a fat lampwork glass circle which is perfect for gathering four strands.  Artist-made and acquired in California twenty years ago, it found a happy home in this necklace.  A strand of green and cream Japanese ceramic beads which I have had equally as long are also featured.  Taking them out of Drawer 5, I noticed an old paper tag which said “Made in Japan”.

Starting in the 1920’s, the U.S. Customs Bureau required imports to be labeled or marked with the country of origin. In 1952, paper tags were mandated, launching an era of collectibles referred to as the Golden Age. The tag is attached to those beads in this necklace.

Other special beads are the vintage six-sided Italian glass canes, the square Czech beads from the 1940’s and the faceted sparkling vintage Italian seed beads between the canes.

I chose a gold clasp to reflect the warmth of this necklace. I also made 2” long earrings to accompany the vintage beads in the necklace.

This four-strand necklace is 22” long. $139.00