The Bunch Series

“Clarity and Subtlety”

A couple of years ago, I had the idea of bunching a group of related-by-color beads with a two-color necklace. I was pleased with the results, so I make one whenever the inspiration strikes. Presented here is November’s offering plus one from this year and another from last year.

They are fun to make, even if the wire work is a tad laborious. But they serve another purpose: I can utilize my special beads which don’t suffice for a full necklace, but can be the highlights of a Bunch Necklace. That is how they are born—open a drawer, find a bag of a half-dozen beauties left from a big project—lay them down on my desk and keep adding more beads until some colors announce that they are happy with each other. Lay those colors on a design board, search other drawers to find what’s missing, then celebrate the “aha” moments as a real necklace designs itself!

Not easy for a beginner, but after 25 years, I’ve learned to look and listen to the beads. They know what colors they want to be beside. Sometimes they surprise me. They have been wrong a few times and I have had to take them apart and return them to their drawers for another chance at greatness.

November’s choice could get you through this year’s holiday parties. The necklace is composed of sparkly black and clear faceted crystal glass with some rhinestone spacers. The bunch features black and white swirls on clear blown Venetian glass with additions of silver, vintage pearls, a vintage plastic flower and leaf, and vintage Japanese black glass drops. Matching asymmetrical crystal earrings. The necklace measures 20”. $99 for the set.

This necklace was born in my busy 75th year (2017) when I set aside a bag of vintage molded glass shells from 1950’s West Germany. They posed a design challenge (how to wire them) until this summer when I said, this is easy, and threw them together! I think you can see how the beads dictated that the jasper semi-precious and vintage yellow (plastic) colors would work together. Length: 19”. Matching earrings. $99 for the set.

 

 

 

 

This Bunch started when pink and aqua met on my desk, so I built on it. I wire-wrapped Venetian blown glass, “sugar” beads as I like to call glass with dotted textured surfaces, and vintage glass leaf stick pins and bunched them. The pink became matte and shiny Czech glass juxtaposed with a bit of aqua. 19” length. Wear with your silver earrings. $79

 

 

 

 

A Max Moment

I worship at Glastonbury Abbey, Hingham, MA, which has beautiful woods and grounds walked by locals and their dogs.  A long-time occurrence each October is the Blessing of the Animals.  Max was a beneficiary this year, under a gorgeous blue sky, along with about two dozen other dogs and some cats.

 

 

Me holding Max tightly so he won’t jump on Abbot Tom who celebrated the Blessing.  The Abbot had just finished asking the human participants what their pets meant to them.  I answered that he is someone I can talk to and no one thinks I am crazy but was upstaged by a 9-year old who said “a lot.”  Clearly the best answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the occasion of my husband Don’s interment in Glastonbury Abbey’s Columbarium, my four sisters funded a bench in his name inscribed with these words:  “In memory of Don Beadle who had a smile for everyone.”  I wanted to connect Don and Max and here is what it looked like.

Blue and Green Colors. Transparent and Opaque Beads.

“Polyglot”

When I found myself stating at a blank page not knowing what to say about this necklace, I telephoned my sister Nancy who is mad for blue and green, on her person, in her home, in the world. “Why?” I asked. “Because they remind me of the sky and grass,” she answered. “They feel fresh, soothing and welcoming.”

This was a happy necklace for me to make.  I love the beads and I agree with my sister.  But I didn’t know quite what to blog since there is no story. So I will tell you about the beads.

This necklace started with three Venetian blown glass beads combining cobalt blue and lime green, inspiring the blue/green mix.

Next, I placed the cobalt and lime drawers on my work table and the necklace practically designed itself.

The two large lime lampwork glass beads were purchased from Marj Bates from nearby Scituate. A strand of vintage frosted faceted glass lime beads was selected as the basic infrastructure to hold the necklace together. I found the funky, chunky glass spirals in the cobalt drawer and do not remember where or when I bought them.

Feels strange not to have any stories about the beads…but allow me to distract you with the clasp. It is 18 karat gold-plated with olive crystals bezeled onto both sides of the circle as well as the ends of the toggle. An elegant ending to the poor necklace with no story!

The earrings feature two different shapes of the blue/green Venetian glass with old but charming blue glass dangles. Warning: it’s an asymmetrical look!

Details:   The necklace measures 20.5” in length. The earrings are 1.75” long from where it hangs in your ear to the bottom of the dangle.  Price:  $119 the set plus shipping (about $14) since I prefer to double box this much glass and ship it priority.

A Max Moment

I am so embarrassed that he has also has nothing special to report this month. He mostly behaved. His hair is growing back far too slowly for me. Some wise guy called him “the dog with a lion’s tail.”  This shot shows his growing obsession with his “blankie”  (security blanket) as well as his goofy tail.

Venice: Is It Goodbye?

It was during my last few hours in Venice, sipping my last Aperol Spritz, this bag on a gal’s shoulder was suddenly at eye level with me.

She let me take a picture and I just saved 1000 words.

Venice grabbed hold of me on my first visit in the 80’s.

Don and I returned on a cruise in the late 90’s.

I went back in 2013 and blogged about it here on June 29 of that year.

I went again on May 5, after a cooking trip in Verona, convinced I would say goodbye.  Maybe I will; there are so many other places to explore.

Verona was certainly one:  Roman and medieval in art & architecture, handsome of people, lovers of dogs, low prices, fashion-forward, great food and Prosecco!

Venice does not reveal herself so quickly.  Venice is a mystery.  Venice causes you to get lost, give up looking at your map, and allow you to discover.  Some delights I found include door knockers, Carnival shops with ready made costumes and masks as well as artists’ studios for custom masks, marbled papermakers, old churches with amazing art, food markets with interesting restaurants close by, cafes, canals small and large with their bridges just tall enough for a gondolier or delivery boat to glide under,

 

 

 

 

 

and building decoration,

such as a stone carving

or this magnificent Della Robbio.

 

 

 

There was something very new this time:  chichetti, pronounced chi-ket-ti. Wine bars!  Stand up only, serving wine, beer and prosecco from which the Aperol Spritzer is made.  Looking out my hotel window on the rainy windy Sunday I arrived, I noticed a group of people milling around a storefront with drinks in hand.  I grabbed my umbrella and went to inspect.

So glad I did.  I ordered an Aperol Spritz…paid my 3 Euros and wondered how they can make money at those low prices ($3.37)!?  There was a bench for two inside and there I perched, chatting with Sam, the owner/barman about this novel concept.  His space was 23 square meters (247 square feet!!!)  He also served slices of French bread with toppings such as prosciutto or salami.  One euro!

Monday was Murano glass bead shopping with several opportunities to get lost and Tuesday was a discovery day on a route never traveled before to end up at the Rialto Fish Market.  Lunch at a fish restaurant on the Grand Canal.  Both days were sunny and concluded with a stop at Sam’s chichetti.  There were three times as many people as on rainy Sunday.  Volume is how they make a profit.

That concludes the travelogue.  A brief philosophical analysis will help with the “Is it Goodbye?” decision.  I’m kidding, it’s not philosophical.  I operate a lot by intuition.  To that end, there are three incidents to ponder:

  1. As I am dining in the hotel restaurant at a table with a view of the bridge over its canal, an older nicely-dressed gentleman pauses on the top of the bridge, turns to gaze behind him, then continues across.  I believed he was saying goodbye.  Like me.
  2. Back in my room, I gaze out the window and see a sea gull gliding along the canal.  When he gets to the hotel, he turns back and flies into the dusk.  He too is saying goodbye and going somewhere else.

3. I bought a charm for the Tiffany’s bracelet my friend Sandra gave me. It is the large heart on the right.

It says “Please return to VENEZIA.”

I confused myself.  This doesn’t say goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Corrugated Necklace

“A Corrugated Necklace”

This necklace draws attention coming and going. I strive to make all my designs attractive from the front, but it is only a few necklaces that can achieve that high mark from the back. This is one.

These paper beads were made by an unknown artist in Murano, Italy. I bought them on a trip there four years ago. They look like corrugated paper sliced in ribbons and crafted into architectural shapes…to my mind. What a labor of love! They are treated with a matte varnish to protect the surface. They are very sturdy.

I wanted them to be paired with special beads, both texture- and color-wise. For that honor, I found a dozen handmade glass beads from the tiny shop in Carmel, CA, called Two Sisters. The remaining spacer beads are pale wood.

 

The creative clasp is a resin circle in pale beige coupled with a wood toggle featuring four different woods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matching earrings of the stylized paper and sterling silver are 1.75” long. The necklace is 21” long.

$149 for the set.

GOLDSTONE

“Grand Illusion”

As I reach the end of my second regular blogging year (weekly in 2017; monthly in 2018 and onward…), this Goldstone research produced my first big “Aha!”

For almost 25 years, I have assumed Goldstone was one of my beloved semi-precious stones found in Nature.  It’s called stone, right?  But no!  It is a glass product cooked up by artisans!  I am not disappointed, dear readers, because it still is a fabulous glittering glass and it makes a great necklace.  I am now informed!

The original goldstone manufacturing process was developed in 17th century Venice (and Murano) by the Miotti family and exclusively licensed to them by the Doge.  The ingredients include silica, copper and other metal oxides to produce glass containing tiny crystals of metallic copper.

I have also used blue goldstone which I now know substitutes cobalt for copper.

This 22″ necklace contains two sizes of facteted goldstone with a center bead called a briolette, also faceted, which plays up the glitter very nicely.  Copper clasp and matching earrings.  $69 for the set.

 

 

 

 

March 15: Creative Clasps, Chapter 2

Why bother with unique clasps? Answers: it’s all about the hunt; it’s a challenge to put something creative at the back of the neck; it makes me stretch.

Anyone can use store-bought clasps or even seek out artist-make clasps at the big bead shows. I too use these old stand-bys for the majority of my necklaces. But it is fun to rummage through my drawers and cubbies to see what odd find can be made into a clasp.

I made a decision early on that I didn’t want to create beads. It suited my personality to engage in a hunt for the odd, quirky, overlooked, repurposable, full-of-character item that can function as one part of a clasp—either the circle or the stationary part or the toggle or moving part of the clasp. Yes, I am a collector. My finds are my treasures.

This particular clasp find is a 1960’s vintage plastic circle that was a good color match to the necklace. Plus, it added texture to the already-rich necklace: look closely at the crisscross pattern.

I designed the toggle part of the clasp from sterling silver wire.

The centerpiece is thick handmade glass I purchased in Murano, Italy, with a distinctly aqueous pattern in bold tones of aqua and pale grey with some darker streaks. It is 2” diameter.

In a stroke of great bead karma, Drawer 15 (Grey) contained the palest shade of grey faceted Czech glass beads which are the base of the necklace and speak to the centerpiece. Also note the four artist-made lampwork glass beads bookended with rare vintage Italian oval glass beads in aqua.

Statistics for this necklace follow:

Title: “Murano Waves”

Length: 21” plus centerpiece.

Featured beads are described above. Matching earrings with 7/8” dangle are included.

Price: $110.

 

I made a trip to Murano & Venice in 2013 and blogged about it here on June 29, 2013.

Drawer 36: LIME: Venetian glass

“Dreaming the Dreams”

My Chinese Apothecary Chest:   in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during my husband’s ex-pat assignment.   Serves as the repository for my beads.  Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers, mostly sorted by color.

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

Week 36/Drawer 36: September 6, 2017: “Dreaming the Dreams”

I’ve expressed my love for Venetian glass many times and the romance continues with this week’s choice. This shade of lime is especially dreamy.  Actually, I do believe the gold foil centers of most of the beads causes the lime to impart a special glow on your neck.  I have worn this twice and the compliments were many!

It is my opinion that Venetian glass is made by true artisans on the Island of Murano, a vaparetto ride from Venice ( details of my visit there in Blog dated June 29, 2013).  Those artisans are the designers and the flame workers:  they both have their hearts involved in achieving outstanding results.  You don’t find any of the Venetian beads I’ve showcased this year in a bead shop (apologies to my local purveyor, Beaucoup Beads in Scituate…I still love to shop with you!), rather you have to go to shows where vendors lay out their best stuff, and make you drool!

Regarding this necklace, the 11 squares trimmed with yellow measure 7/16th of an inch…small, but large enough to be noticed.  There are smaller squares, only 1/4” across, that I used as spacers.  Be sure to notice two round lime beads with gold foil centers that comprise the focal point.  In fact, all these beads except the distinctive square ones have gold foil centers.

This 18.5” necklace comes with matching earrings.  Gold metal clasp.  The set is $109.

Drawer 15: Peach & Gray

 

“Emotionally Rich”

 

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 15/Drawer 15: April 12, 2017: “Emotionally Rich”

Since I had just a few peach and gray beads, I put them together in Drawer 15 and they have co-existed over the years. While rummaging through the drawer, I was excited to find two strands of gorgeous peach aventurine to feature this week.

Aventurine is a crystal with a lot of quartz in it, mostly opaque and often green, leading some to incorrectly identify it as jade. Peach is a lesser known aventurine color which is achieved by the presence of the minerals orange mica and pyrite (aka “fools’ gold”). These minerals are said to enhance creativity.

When I found the four large peach aventurine ovals, I knew I had enough to make a two-strand necklace! Notice how the sparkle of the coppery seed beads brings out the brightness of the minerals.

The highlight of the necklace is the lampwork glass creation of Gail Crosman Moore. Gail is special to me: a familiar face at the many CA bead shows where I shopped; she is from Western MA; and she is a redhead!   Mostly she is a truly creative artist as she wields colorful glass canes in one hand and in the other hand, she shapes the molten into a unique bead, all while wearing protective gear in front of flame!

Shaped like a bell, the centerpiece is peach with striations of green and blue. The bottom has beautiful blue pods waiting for your caress.

Read Gail’s website and be sure to note her shop in P-Town!

This necklace demanded a copper clasp and is accompanied by a simple pair of copper and aventurine earrings. It is 20” long.  $115.

Drawer 2: Winter White is so Ethereal!

"Light Fantastic"

“Light Fantastic”

My Apothecary Chest: We brought it back from Hong Kong in 1994 after an ex-pat assignment there; it is also where I discovered beading.

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

Week 2/Drawer 2: January 11, 2017: “Light Fantastic”

I am writing this in the middle of a raging blizzard with 8—10” forecast, so can you blame me for thinking white?

This delightful necklace is a white-out! But it will go with everything, unlike snow.  There are five white striped and one opaque white Venetian glass beads, each of a differing stripe and distinct size.  See Blog dated June 29, 2013 for my ode to Venetian beads, also called Murano beads since they are made on the small island just a vaporetto ride away from Venice.

Besides Venetian glass, there are many American Art Glass beads made in Rhode Island. Again, all clear and/or white.

Finally, there are white “sugar” beads. I coined this name myself, so let me explain:  they are opaque white beads coated with what looks like glittery sugar, but it is powdered glass.  There are more white sugar dots on clear glass beads at the end of the necklace and in the earrings.

Since I like the back of my necklaces to look as good as the front, note the asymmetrical glass clasp with a sterling silver toggle.

This 19” necklace is $99. It is fragile, but the glass is not as thin as the Drawer 1 necklace is.  Matching earrings are included to keep the white vision.

See you next week!

Week 1:  Gold glass from Venice

"Romance Retold"

“Romance Retold”

2017 Necklace a Week CHALLENGE:  from 52 drawers of beads, create a unique handmade necklace using only the beads from one drawer at a time.

These large (1″ around) mottled gold Venetian glass beads will make any complexion glow!  They are hand-blown thin clear glass with splatters of gold.

The centerpiece is a Nautilus-inspired shell in cranberry color with gold flecks which turn iridescent in the light.  It is an artist-made lamp work glass bead.  Other spacer beads are glass with gold foil inside.  Secured by a gold metal clasp.

These Venetian beads are lovely to look at and wear, but please, handle with care since they are fragile.  Don’t drop the necklace and don’t wear dangle earrings that are long enough to hit them as they swing from your ear.  Truth in advertising now satisfied, don’t lust for this necklace unless you like attention because compliments will be endless!  I guarantee it or refund offered!

Wear it with your own gold earrings.  Title:  Romance Retold.  Length is 18.5″.  $99.00.