Freeform Friday: Skeletons in the (bead) closet…

April 18, 2014 , In: Beadwork, General, Studio

 Now – we all love beads.
Seed beads. Czech glass. Gemstones. Artisan beads. Polymer, ceramic, lamp work… Metal, Bali, Hill tribe… bicones, super duos, magatamas… lentils, daggers, rondelles, briolettes… Sorry I got lost there for a sec. But I know you are with me.

These last 2 weeks have been a flurry of productive time for me – getting ready for Spring festivals and shows. And as such I have been in the clay cave (basement ceramics studio, you know) for much of the time. Once tiles and pendants are glazed I can create new wearable pieces in clay, gems and polymer.

What’s your point, Jenny? Oh – well… I have nothing really unique and new to show you from the jewelry studio – yet. But I do have a few skeletons that I recently uncovered, and thought I would share.

Zoey guards the entrance to the Studio Closet of Doom

Ah! The Chaos! The treasure! The perils that await our intrepid explorer! 

Spiral rope in 2 pieces. That’s NOT supposed to happen. St. Petersburg stitch? chain? (w/ blue teardrops) app 3″.
Tubular/circular peyote. Yes, that is a taped together toilet roll. Ha. I wanted to make amulet bags. Still do, actually. 
Here we have unearthed evidence of my love-hate relationship with seed beads.  While I am currently loving seed beads, these false starts are at least 10 years old. And yes – I had them packaged with their ingredients, like space explorers in cryogenic chambers. Just chilling, waiting to be revived. 

 Egads! A relic from the past! The tins that used to arrive via post with a CD inside for AOL. Whoa. That places this artifact in the popular culture timeline. What’s inside?!

Why its more seed beads! A blue and silver peyote soup in progress as a bracelet. Not very old – as it includes a stoneware cab made within the last 4 years. Was I planning on stitching a bezel onto the bracelet? We may never know. And on the right – I don’t even know what stitch that was GOING to be! Its a lovely raku leaf pendant from a mother/daughter team based in Washington state. We carried their pieces at the Shepherdess ( San Diego, CA) when I worked there  – like 12 years ago! 

Speaking of the Shepherdess/San Diego years… this wasn’t really hidden as I go to this tray often. When I worked at the Shepherdess I was the lowest bead girl on the totem pole. I spent many, many days tubing seed beads. After I punched in I would be handed a tray with half a dozen gram bags… of beads. To tube. Scoop, scoop, tap, scoop, lid, hammer. Repeat. The left overs were bagged and sold on the cheap. Yes, I personally felt compelled to adopt many, many bags of orphaned 11’s, delicas, 8’s… I do still use them in pieces today.

And now – a little bead confessional:

1. Vintage/antique crystals from necklaces I took apart to repurpose. I was in my teens. Still have these in my stash. 
2. Bells. While I wasn’t hippy enough as a teen to wear bell anklets, I love these bells, man. 
3. Hand painted beads fro Peru. I think I was in high school when my older sister travelled to Chile and Peru. These aren’t my style any more, but I still have them…. 

What skeletons are in your closet?

What projects are buried treasure waiting to be rediscovered and reworked? 

What tools or materials did you purchase with good intentions and lofty creative plans – that have  languished in solitude? 

I myself will definitely revisit the peyote in the round. Peyote stitch is the one stitch I feel comfortable doing… and I would love to make amulet bags with a wee ceramic icon or charm tucked inside. Maybe I will look at the St. Petersburg (?) again; I like the drops on the edges, and I have seed beads friends now! Thankfully Kristen has done a AJE tutorial on spiral rope so if THAT urge flares up I can tend to it… 

Please share your skeletons with me! I don’t want to be lost and alone amidst the abandoned projects… 


Jenny Davies-Reazor

Jenny Davies-Reazor is a mixed media artist inspired by myth, folklore and the natural world. A proud Jack-of-all-trades, she concentrated in metals and painting in art school, turned to clay during her teaching career, and is truly happiest when mixing materials in unusual ways. From clay to resin, paper to polymer... Since leaving her ceramics classroom, Jenny is always in the studio: fabricating jewelry, creating ceramic shrines and decorative tiles, and teaching in a variety of mediums. " I love sharing my passion for art, and seeing sparks light up in student's eyes..."
  1. Reply

    OMG, such scarily pretty skeletons. I do have stuff from 6 years agao when I first started beading – Plastic beads that I used to practice on, some weird painted wooden beads and metallic findings and I plan to use/reuse them within a year

    • Reply

      I was too embarrassed to photograph the plated metal beads. And why have i kept them?!

  2. Reply

    I love that cupboard!! I am too embarrassed to share any skeletons in my bead cupboard but you might have inspired me to have a bit of a sort out!

    • Reply

      Caveat: the closet of doom is filled with mostly art supplies and found objects for sculpture. Many of the beads, the good ones are out where I can fondle them. I love a good cathartic cleansing!

  3. Reply

    Is it bad that when I saw your open closet it looked organized to me?

  4. I haven't been making jewelry long enough to have a closet of shame, Jen 🙂 Now, tubs of fabrics left over from my days as a seamstress… oh Lawdy, Lawdy 🙁

    • Reply

      I have a few boxes of fabric scraps that are soooo pretty. What am I going to do with them? Who knows. I feel your pain!

  5. Reply

    Ummm. Well I have a "Room of Doom" as I sew, crochet, scrapbook, AND bead….maybe one day when I "clean" up I will maybe show it off…..(NOT). But, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, those beads from Chili/Peru especially the ones with purple…I am a purple freak!!!

    A challenge maybe with them……a soup….(pant, pant)

    • Shel
    • April 18, 2014

    Well, if you must know, I have resin and polymer clay that's been sitting for a couple of years (does that stuff go bad??) and then I have oodles of seed beads (some that are almost 20 years old!)and I don't even do bead weaving/stitching. They were just pretty and they make good spacer beads. Oh, and I have a kumihimo type thingy that I got about 4 years ago at the gem show with my sister and neither one of us has used ours!! (lame,…I know!!)

    • Reply

      1. We sound like supply sisters!
      2. Resin has a shelf life of a year. Let it go… (Cue Disney music)
      3. Seed beads are perfect spacers! Great pop of color!

    • Jean
    • April 18, 2014

    I agree your closet looks quite well organised!

    I recently changed my jumble of different bead storage boxes for a stack of matching boxes that sit neatly together. The beads are are arranged in them by colour and it looks pretty swish and well organised. The only problem is, I can't find anything! I knew exactly which odd box contained what beads before but now
    I have to go hunting – the price for being tidy!

    I do have two unsorted boxes though – beads for filing and unfinished projects. My skeleton in the cupboard is the unfinished shambala bracelets. I tried really hard to like making them, then they could be bought for next to nothing on the local market stalls so
    I thought "why bother?"

  6. Reply

    Closet confession – I have leather scrpas stored in a cardboard Easter Egg box. I received the chocolate egg when I was 20 and in Glarus Switzerland at a friends for Easter – I was in London for the semester of college. That box returned to London, then to college, then has made through 2 cross country moves.

    So while I applaud your new organization – I too, know whats in every random, or special box.

  7. Reply

    I actually have two amulet bags in the making. One needs to be fixed and the other has a design problem that I gave up on. I love them both so I really must fix them. My big shame is a full set of patinas from Missficklemedia that I have never used. I am retiring in June and that is one of the things on my long to-do list.

  8. Reply

    Sigh. Sometimes I wish we could do swaps. I'm embarrassed to say I have a rigid heddle loom and resin supplies that I don't plan on doing anything with anytime soon. I also have a small collection of UFO–unfinished objects that I don't know what to do with. One is a necklace length complete chain mail chain

  9. Reply

    Lol. I am not sharing!!! It is a current disaster!

  10. Reply

    I have all sorts of WIPs right now… I finished a chianmaille skirt two or so years ago and I need to solder all the rings closed (thousands upon thousands of rings), some bracelets that need repairs, a book from 2008 that needs illustrating, some necklaces that need to be repaired or repurposed, a maille necklace that I need to finish, a knotted bracelet I started years and years ago, and others.

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