Drawer 27: Vaseline Beads

“Things Rare and Strange”

 

 

My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an 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 27/Drawer 27: July 5, 2017: “Things Rare and Strange”

 When I found these opaque aqua beads in a section of Drawer 27, I gasped at their beauty, mostly due to the intensity of their color. As I fondled them, I realized there were subtle differences in their aqua shades; I also observed they were so old that their faceted surfaces had become smooth! They are trade beads, after all. These discoveries made this strand mysterious—what secrets were they sheltering?

Since the secrets are unknowable, let me address “What the heck are Vaseline Beads?”

Beads have been made in Bohemia (Czechoslovakia) since the Romans occupied it in 400 AD. Until 1400, they mostly made rosary beads.  In the 1500’s, a major expansion in bead-making began, attracting Spanish, Italian and English traders.  In 1800, the Industrial Revolution invented machines that produced pressed glass beads in great volume, different designs, and at lower prices.

One of those innovations was fluorescent Vaseline glassware and beads. The fluorescence was created by the adding uranium salts to the glass.  They kept lowering the amount of uranium to the 1-2% that worked.  It actually shone in the dark!  Today, with electric lights, a black light is needed to see the fluorescence.

Vaseline beads had their heyday from 1900 to 1920 and continued to be made until artisans lost their ability to buy uranium when governments became universal procurers in the 1940’s.

 

 

 

 

 

Typical Vaseline beads are transparent in color and usually yellowish green.  The short strand third from left look to me like they may be shine-in-the-dark variety! 

 

They were so named because their color resembled the petroleum jelly sold in the 1900’s under the Vaseline label.  Doesn’t that sound so mundane for beads made from uranium?

My opaque aqua beads are called Vaseline Beads, but they are a variation: during the Depression, iron oxide (a glass-ceramic) was added to the formula to create opacity.

Today’s collections of Depression glass, milk glass, Fire King tableware, etc. all have roots in Bohemia, uranium, and iron oxide!

Before closing, let me name the other beads I used in this necklace: aqua serpentine which is a cousin of jade; Czech glass “spades” drops; round matte glass which looks like ceramic due to iron oxide.  Also I was quite pleased to find an aqua glass circle in my “creative clasp stash” and made a sterling silver toggle for it.

The necklace is 20”. $115.

OPEN STUDIOS SEASON IS HERE!

July was crowded with brisk sales; August 20-21 is next with lots of new work; October 15-16 is a bonus last opportunity for artist-made gifts!

Open Studios in Hull is like Christmas in the summer!  This year there are 39 artists creating their visual treats to present to you in August and October!  Get your info on www.hullartists.com or pick up a free map-flyer at a local business.

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Now for my Beadleful updates:

My July Open Studios was filled with old and new friends and art appreciators!  I waved goodbye to 29 pieces, mostly necklaces, but earrings and bracelets also.  I love watching my work go to a new home and it motivates me to design more fabulous pieces to take their places!

Why such success?  In addition to my beads’ fabulousness; I also cut my prices to below wholesale, making it easier to splurge on jewelry in a still-soft economy.  I am also working on re-focusing my creativity to four styles, down from my previous eclectic six + styles.  As I approach a big birthday, I’ve indulged in goal-setting and refreshing my work.

More on what’s upcoming in the next blog.

Right now I’m working on new pieces:  glass is my current bead love!  Here are a few images:

Priscilla glass orange-white pendant 5161

Priscilla tan glass small beads 5179

Priscilla Lampwork Glass green-brown pendant 5188

Here’s more on Open Studios (OS):

There are additional reasons for large crowds in July.  Hull Artists, now celebrating our 21st annual Open Studios, has grown up!  We have engaged in a branding program under the leadership of our own Graphic Artist, Paul Goes.  Notice the clean design of our map-flyer, followed up in the posters on the doors of local businesses; yard signs; large signs alerting visitors on 228 and Geo Washington Blvd that it is Open Studios Weekend; our wind sock in distinctive aqua and white; even signs and balloons on street corners where artists are showing!

Additional improvements are establishing a data base to alert our visitors about upcoming events (best to state right now it is for our private use only).  We jettisoned our old website and introduced a better one…same name…www.hullartists.com.

Lory Newmyer and Connie Crosby organized us experienced hands to share our seasoned knowledge of OS with new artists, at two workshops, resulting in upgrades to our customer service.

Of course we wouldn’t be fully of age until we engaged social media!  Two tireless members set us up on Facebook (Bart Blumberg) and Instagram @hullartistsopenstudios (Connie Crosby).

And none of these efforts would have happened without our Fearless Leader, OS Chair Karin Nauth-Shelley.  Karin is a Patron Member of Hull Artists and a technical Marketing Whiz in her professional life…as well as a volunteer like the rest of us.  Thanks, Karin!

I’ll be looking for you August 20 or 21!

Priscilla Beadle                                                                                                                 Bead Jewelry Artist

 

Welcome to my Open Studio

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Teal windsocks on cross streets in Hull will mark the locations for fascinating studios where real artists work!

Please visit me in my studio in Hull Village on July 9 or 10, Saturday or Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

23 Andrew Ave (3rd Left after Library on Main St), Hull.

781-925-0484

Be prepared to find newly designed Beadleful necklaces, lots of my trademark chunky bead jewelry, some bracelets and earrings!

Also, Marilyn MacDonnell returns with fabulous totes, key chains, purses and a new line of beach towels!

OPEN STUDIOS has been proudly presented by www.hullartists.com for 21 years. Visit our website for a map and info about the 39 participating artists

 

HULL ARTIST, PRISCILLA BEADLE’S OPEN STUDIO THIS WEEKEND

Teal windsocks on cross streets in Hull will mark the locations for fascinating studios where real artists work!

July 11-12 and AUGUST 22–23, 2015

Please visit me in my studio in Hull Village on Saturday or Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

23 Andrew Ave (3rd Left after Library), Hull.

781-925-0484

Be prepared to find newly designed Beadleful necklaces, lots of my trademark chunky bead jewelry, some bracelets and earrings!

Also, Marilyn MacDonnell returns with fabulous totes, key chains, purses and a new line of beach towels!

OPEN STUDIOS has been proudly presented by www.hullartists.com for 20 years. Visit our website for a map and info about the 34 participating artists

Beadleful Sign

 

IT’S MY 20TH ANNIVERSARY AS A BEAD JEWELRY ARTIST!

Do you know I made my 2773rd necklace yesterday?

Ok, that number includes a few bracelets and earrings.

I gave myself a present: a carved wood sign with a “beaded”edging in the middle of my garden near the street.

OK, winter 2015 ruined my old sign. Let me know what you think of its replacement.

Venice in June!

Venice, June 2013

Venice, June 2013

 

While vacationing in Italy, I resolved to take the vaparetto to the storied island of Murano, established a millennium ago exclusively for “flame workers”, as the glass bead-makers were called, due to the fear they would burn down Venice.  Fires never happened but glorious beads were created!  I found exquisite large, minutely detailed beads never before seen in the States plus more exotic, larger versions of some I’ve seen here before.  Designs were swirling in my head on the vaparetto back to Venice…look for them at Open Studios, July 6-7 weekend!