Well, checking a few of the blog links showed that people seemed to have started posting already, so I guess I'm not going to worry about my timezone making me ahead of schedule. :) My partner is Terry from Starseed Jewelry (guess I better use the US spelling, since its her business name ;) ). Terry works in Polymer clay, which is a totally new medium for me. While I have seen some techniques that remind me of the look of some lampworking techniques, they are basically very different, and the charming rustic style of this bead soup in particular. Lori's goes to a lot of effort to pair us up, and one of her criteria is the aim to push us outside our comfort zone and in a different direction. The bead soup I received is quite a departure from what I usually work with, so it was an interesting challenge.
One of the suggested approaches for this exchange is to mix beads you already have with the Bead Soup you receive. At first glance, I didn't think that was likely to work for me. I didn't think the style of my own handmade glass beads was going to suit, and the Swarovski crystal and Bali Silver I normally use just didn't seem to 'speak to' the polymer clay beads I received. In search of inspiration, I rummaged through my jewellery cupboard (I think all crafters, and jewellery designers in particular are terrible hoarders) and looked for some materials that were a little more earthy, and had some interesting texture, that would work to the best advantage with Terri's beads. I stumbled across all kinds of things I didn't know I had.... elephants carved out of bone, copper spacer beads, chunky crystals and a range of small glass beads.
With all of that laid out before me, the next step was to work out what to string them on, and what sort of design I was going for. I have never worked with a clasp like that. I wanted to make a feature of it in the jewellery, and show off the beautiful colour and interesting texture, but I wasn't sure how to even attach them. I'm used to working with clasps with a loop and generally rely on softflex and silver crimps, but it looked like the toggle would need wire wrapping. I did consider fibre, and found some just the right colour, but the holes in some of the beads were not large enough.... Back to rummaging through my 'stash' and I discovered some brass wire, and my kit from a class in silver wire crochet from Glasstock in 2009. An idea started to emerge - I wanted something eclectic and textural, to match the variety of beads I was going to use. I had to google crochet to remind myself how to start off, but then it all came together. I crocheted 2 strands filled with beads, featuring Terri's focal front and centre, and twisted them together, wire wrapping the ends onto the funky clay toggle.
I was pleased with the result, and I hope you like it - it was a real challenge to move away from my 'norm' and do something different. The colour is a bit off in some of the pics, due to a fairly hurried photo shoot this afternoon, but hopefully you get the idea. Thanks Terri and Lori for the fun of this exchange - and the creative challenge!! I don't think I'll be temped away form glass any time soon though - I just love the high gloss finish and the smooth texture of glass.