Friday, February 28, 2014

Jewelry Mojo Challenge Week 2: Bead Soup

To help many of us jump start our creativity and shake off the winter blahs, Heather Powers of Humblebeads is hosting a 12 week challenge over on her blog.  You can read all about the Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge HERE.  This is perfect for me since I really need to be getting some new designs completed to build my stock back up after my holiday open house and almost a month and a half of down time.

Week 1 challenged us to enter a jewelry challenge or contest.  The timing worked out that I had entered two challenges last week, so I'm off to a good start getting my mojo back!

This week's prompt is "Bead Soup."  For those of you not familiar with this term, bead soup is a random mix of beads that are leftover from other projects or that you have just thrown together.  The idea is to gather some possibly orphaned beads and make something with them.  Since this challenge is just to get us making, Heather cautioned us to keep it fairly simple.

I decided that the perfect starting place for my bead soup project would be some of the bead mixes that I've gotten from Andrew Thornton's destash events.  I've bought a couple of different color themed mixes and have also gotten some "soup" as little thank you gifts with my purchases.  I also found a little bag of my own soup made up of beads I pulled for a past project and never put away.  

As I sorted through my little bags of beads, I took Heather's advice about finding unifying elements for the beads I chose.  I stuck to mostly round shapes in two different sizes in deep reds and oranges.  I grabbed a bunch of goldstone rounds, some carnelian, and a selection other glass, shell pearl, and crystal beads out of the mixes and started making links.  I decided to add in some small glass rounds in bright and dark red to add in between the larger beads (a great use for beads that I've had forever and a day!).  When I realized that I wasn't going to have quite enough beads for the length of necklace I envisioned, I dug up some barrel shaped red beads from one of Andrew's mixes and my bead stash.  I had really hoped to use the stripy glass ovals in the bottom left of the picture above but, once again, they just didn't really fit.

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon making a ton of links (53 to be exact although I only used 48 of them..stupid stripy beads!)  It was a lot of work all at once but there was something soothing about just sitting there bending and cutting wires and then making all those loops.  I got them all arranged how I liked them and then it was time to put it all together.  Now to open 48 jump rings and string little gold colored seed beads onto them as I connected all the links to form a long, no clasp necklace!

I'm really amazed at how well this turned out.  I think it has a rich and luscious look.  There are a lot of things going on that bubbled up from my soup, but there are enough unifying elements to keep it all together and looking very intentional... at least that's what I think.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the bead soup project I cooked up!

You can see more bead soup projects as folks finish their cooking over on the Humblebeads blog HERE.


  1. I love the necklace! It's a perfect bead soup creation. The little gold beads on the jump rings is a great touch. You should wear this on the cruise! Maybe your little striped beads would work in a bracelet?

  2. Oh my what a gorgeous piece! I'm not a big fan of red but this necklace is so very elegant. I applaud you for making all those links, something I don't always have the patience for.