Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beginnings: The Origin of My Obsession

Much like some of you out there, I have a room crowded with beads...some are nature's bit of stone or pearl, but many of them are handmade miniature bits of artwork. I watched Hoarders recently and laughed with my friends about how a lot of us have hoarding tendencies that we try to deny by putting things in organized boxes that we label nicely. If you saw my crafty room, you'd know that's the case for my growing obsession with all things jewelry-making: wire, metal, tools, paper, clay, more tools, and, most importantly the beads. Everything's in its place, so I don't have any problems, right? Haaaaaaaaaaa

As a challenge from my Art Bead Scene friends and a group of writers in the Carnival (which you'll find out more about on the 17th of February on the ABS Blog), I've been focused on "beginnings." And, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go back to the start of my bead obsession and share the work of my very first "art bead crush." I don't think Lisa will mind that I put it that way...haaaaaaaaaaa

I first found Lisa New's work on Ebay; she's the Beadamaniac! (with the exclamation point, which of course makes me like the name even more!!!) Having just learned my stringing basics, I was caught up in the joy that is bead shopping. I won my first auction and got the little box in the mail from was my first set and I couldn't stop touching them. The colors were amazing and I was enthralled by the etched could this be glass? How does this whole melting glass thing work? I finally got down to making something and ened up with this bracelet called "Jumble Love" which actually won a Beading Daily glass bead challenge! I was sooooo excited! The flames of my obsession were fanned!

I went back for more (and then a few more) of Lisa's beads because the color and patterns were just so fun. I bought a couple of lots of "orphans" which are the onesies and twosies that are left from a batch or set. They were perfect for my designs because I could draw color combinations and pattern ideas directly from the bead which would then be the focus of the designs. Here are some bracelets that grew directly from the palettes of the beads. And, note the crappy has taken me a long time to get any improvement in the way of photography. Another reason why I wanted to highlight Lisa is that she actually mentored me regarding my pictures...she is the first one who really made it hit home that no matter how gorgeous your piece is when you're wearing it around the house, it's not going to jump out of the screen or your portfolio with poor quality pics. You can check out her bead photography on Flickr.

I was happy with the orphans because I can work on different pendant designs that are fun, simple, and not all that time-consuming. With the "real job" going on most of the time, I really enjoy focusing on the quick rewards that a little pendant can give. Plus, it can feature the mini-artwork of an art bead perfectly. Like this one of Lisa's that was a one-off in my stash--I combined a little wire work and a funky collection of gems and glass that all work from the focal bead's inspiration.

Last summer, as the obsession continued, I was shocked and thrilled to see one of my necklaces featuring Lisa's "Feelin' Groovy" bead set on the cover of Stringing! Seriously?! Again, I followed the beads to the design and ended up with something really cool that, apparently, someone else thought was cool, too! haaaaaaaaaa
In the last few years, I've expanded the selection of artists in my collection, but I will never forget my joy over that first set of beads from Lisa. So, once the Carnival starts on the 17th, be ready...there's going to be a giveaway on my blog! It'll be my first, so we'll see how it goes...come on back to see the art bead delights from Lisa and others that I'm going to share with you!!! That proves I'm not a hoarder, right? haaaaaaaaaaaa
One last note...

I've got to give some shouts out to the other bead artists featured in the pieces above...
MaryAnn at Linden Avenue Designs does yummy colors.
Heather at HMB Studios is my go-to disk girl!


  1. Beautiful beads, Jen!! I love what you've made with them...every single one!! So you'll be having a giveaway??? Hooray! I can't wait to see what it is. I will surely have to enter :)

  2. Lisa's beads are so happy! It is no wonder you fell in love with them. Do you ever just run your fingers through your beads? I know I've got a serious addiction to bead, dare I say it, fondling. Oh and I watch Hoarders occasionally. Always makes me feel a bit better. Most of the things I hoard are small, like beads.

  3. Thanks for sharing your beginning, Jen! You do, indeed, Rock! :-)


  4. Oh I love your bracelet! Those beads are fabulous!!!

  5. Those are wonderful beads you shared with us. I would not have seen them otherwise. Thanks so much for the great post.

  6. Great post! Oh, and I've stopped watching hoarders, it just hits too close to home. I'm trying to keep my creative mess in one cabinet and hoping that when I close the doors it really does disappear and it's not just a figment of my imagination!

  7. love it! so glad you found your way along the art bead path, you make our beads sing.

  8. You have such a great eye for color combinations. Love that green/orange pendant near the middle of the post!

  9. What a great post Jen!
    I recall completely the first time I was enthralled in BeadStyle magazine with an artisan bead maker. It was Heather Powers. I didn't know what a blog was but she had one. I posted a comment. And she responded. A real person! I thought. And she was talking to me! Now, over time and some interesting circumstances (not the least of which is finding out that we share the same birthday) I find myself as Heather's friend. And I still cannot get enough of her beads. Thanks for introducing me to Lisa New. Will check her out again! Enjoy the day! Erin


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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