Black and White Glass. Happy New Year.

“Illusory Simplicity”

This necklace began with the black and white polka dot beads. Polka dots are a favorite pattern of mine and once I started this necklace, I couldn’t stop.

There is a Japanese artist I love not only for her colorful bobbed hairstyles nor only for her wild and crazy clothing, but for her life-long obsession with polka dots. In February I will see Yayoi Kusama’s work live at Boston’s contemporary art museum. Kusama is now 90 years old and has featured polka dots in her art since she was 10 years old.

In the necklace pictured above, the plain black beads are onyx; the XL black and white beads are made in India; the clasp is a simple silver metal one. The centerpiece and the two earrings that almost match are lampwork glass made by a friend of mine from Palo Alto in the late 90’s. The earrings drop 1 7/8″ from the ear lobe.  The necklace is 19” long. It weighs 4.5 oz.  $99 for the set.  Free shipping.

“Pattern and Motif”

This black and white necklace has a craft feel. All of these beads were Helen’s (see story below). I made it this week as a companion to the polka dot necklace. Note the pale hints of pink and lavender in the striped beads. The clear glass beads with the squiggles were also used for the earrings.   There is lots of black and white going up one side of the necklace and down the other side. The clasp is pewter. The earrings hang 1 3/4” from the ear lobe. The necklace is 19” long.  It barely moves the scale, weighing only 1.4 oz.  $75 for the set.  Free shipping.

The Best Bead Shopping Ever!

Who ever knew I would return home from a recent trip to California with five bags of beads that made my suitcase ten pounds heavier? My friend Helen is switching from beading to quilting and offered me a unique shopping experience right at the kitchen table!

Once home and as soon as I had the time, I emptied them onto my work surface and they covered it entirely! It was bead heaven. What fun I had sorting them by color and putting them away in the drawers of the apothecary chest! Even more fun were the 15 piles of beads (see tray, top right) that immediately inspired me as future necklace potential. I will let them percolate into necklaces during the next few months. Yesterday I pulled out the glass bead centerpieces and found a half-dozen artist-made lampwork beads to add excitement to the percolation. I’ve promised to send Helen pictures of the finished product.

A Max Moment

Max is wearing the latest couture for groomed dogs. Gone are the bandanas with pinking shear edges. In is the sophisticated bowtie!

Max is now 20 months young.

2020:  May it Bode Well for All of Us!

I am feeling awed that today is 1/1/2020.  I have a deep seated feeling that this year, this decade, may  be good for humanity.  I can’t predict the future, but I can pay attention to my feelings and share them with you.

No matter what 2020 brings, doesn’t 2020 have a nice ring to it?  Let’s make the most of this New Year!

 

This is my 3000th Necklace

“Persuaded by my Own Rhetoric”

I’ve been telling people about making my 3000th necklace in August and their first reaction is “Amazing” but there is always a second and it is always “How do you know?”

When I started making necklaces 24 years ago, I told myself to run it like a business.  So I bought an accountant’s notebook in which I numbered and named each necklace;  listed all the beads I used and their cost; and noted my labor which I valued at $25 an hour (and still do).  I’m on my fifth notebook.

It only took seven years to reach one thousand; eight years for the next thousand and nine years for the third millennium.  Estimating ten years to achieve 4000, it will be in 2029 and I would be 87 years old.  That is too scary to think about.

I made a necklace similar to this about 15 years ago and I found my “record shot” of it when I recently went thru my files of record shots.  I stopped taking them when Instamatic cameras went out of fashion.  I used the same yellow glass circle and found its twin in my circle storage box.  It was love at a second sight and I had my inspiration for number 3000.

The necklace is two strands of shiny black and yellow seed beads punctuated by black onyx and opaque muted yellow beads.  It is 28″ long and has an antique cone shaped button closure.  The 6″ dangle features the yellow circle and a rectangle of onyx attached with matching seed bead rings.  Earrings are included and are 2″ long.  $109

A Max Moment

This is what Max the Labradoodle looks like without his hair.  His groomer got sick and he had to wait 11 weeks.  In the meantime he got all matted and had to be shaved to a stubble.  I snapped this at the vets and realized he lost one pound of hair.

 

Drawer 33: Teal Blue

“Yin and Yang”

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 33/Drawer 33: August 16, 2017: “Yin and Yang”

I’m really going out on a limb this week as I attempt to make a case that my necklace embodies the principle of Yin and Yang. I will state it was an after-the-fact discovery as I stared at my finished necklace while searching for a title from my collection of pithy phrases.

Yin and Yang is a fundamental, ancient Chinese philosophy which states all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites (young-old, dark-light, etc.). These opposites attract and complement each other, and as the icon’s small dots  illustrate, each side has an element of the other…which is my necklace!

 

What I didn’t know until I researched it was Yin is feminine, black, provides spirit, is the winter solstice, orange, a tiger and many other attributes. Yang is masculine, white, provides form, is the summer solstice, blue, a dragon, and more.  I think I did marry the opposites by placing one after another, allowing them to attract and complement each other.

The necklace features two melon beads—marked by a distinctive ridged surface which gives the look of a melon. The larger ones are antique dyed onyx melon beads carved in Bali and its ridges reflect the roughed-up onyx au naturel.  The smaller beads are Chinese silver—they add lots of nickel which accounts for the dark silver color—with blue enamel applied to the ridges.  One example of yin and yang is the blue teal of the dyed onyx becomes the blue teal of the Chinese ridge.

I used small sterling silver spacers plus sterling silver wire to attach the centerpiece bead plus a hand-crafted sterling clasp.

The necklace is 20” long and the center dangle falls 1.75”. Wear your silver earrings with it; large or small will look good.  It is $99.

P.S.: I bought the onyx beads in Bali during our 1993-4 Southeast Asia sojourn.  Don and I returned to Bali about five years later.  It is idyllic and beautiful.  I will declare it to be my favorite Southeast Asia destination.  If you are curious, Venice is my favorite Western destination!

 

Drawer 22: Black (Matte)

“22nd Century”

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 22/Drawer 22: May 31, 2017: “22nd Century”

There are four black drawers! As I have stated, I am re-organizing/tidying/tossing as I go through my 52 bead drawers.  I approached the four black drawers, three sections each, with enthusiasm, wearing my organizer-in-chief hat.

Drawer 22 ended up with all the matte black beads and the shiny ones went to Drawer 23; I am still sorting the next two black drawers, deciding how to proceed since they are black with other colors. I guess I just named them!

My discovery in #22 were the meteorite beads pictured above. I thought they were lava beads which I have worked with for several years, but the label said meteorite…that sent me straight to Google.  Meteorite is a first for me.  As you can imagine, a meteor entered out atmosphere 50,000 years ago, crashed and splintered and lingered, and only 50 years ago, ancient gravesites were found in the Midwest with beads formed from the iron nickel fragments.  With the emergence of treasure-hunters with metal detectors, meteorite made its way to bead shows and my Drawer 22.

Black and chunky, these beads are coated to protect them from wear and oxidation. I test-drove this necklace and it is comfortable and smooth on the neck.  It is of medium weight, perfect for wearing to an event as opposed to all day.  It will start many conversations!

I added a few matte onyx beads and a pewter clasp to make the back as much fun as the front! Matching earrings in sterling silver, lava and matte onyx.  The set is $89.  The necklace measures 19.5”.