Saturday, July 9, 2011

1st Cup of Bead Soup with Lisa Boucher of Clayworks

Today is my first showing of work made with ceramic beads by Lisa Boucher of Clayworks.  You can read more about the Cup of Bead Soup project by clicking here.

I knew I was really going to be challenged by this month's beads.  I don't typically work with this style and the bail of the pendant I chose to work with today is a tough one at times to design with.  If you string with it, you have to be sure to but larger holes at the ends of the "tunnel" so the beads don't slide back and forth and you lose your center.  Then you need to make sure the beads aren't too big because you don't want the wire to show when the necklace is held up.  Making wire loops is an option, but then you get an entirely different drape.  All good things to keep in mind!

I wanted to challenge myself with some fiber this time and chose a length of raw linen I got from Stephanie Lee at a class I took with her.  The idea was to create a "caught in the sea by a net" image.  I have no idea if I created that or just created Amateur Hour.

As with most new mediums, I'm apprehensive and fly by the seat of my pants.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  I don't draw out plans.  I just wing it.  And sometimes that makes a really cool piece -- and sometimes it creates a piece that needs some work.  So I welcome your comments on how to make this better.

I started by knotting the linen at the sides of the pendant so it wouldn't slide.  Then I took some smaller pieces of thread and knotted on a few copper spacers, like flotsam caught in the net.

Next I added a ring from Vintaj that I filed to weather it a bit, knotted on the matching ceramic beads, more copper (both strung and knotted on), and finally the clasp at the top.  When I originally received this box of beads, I had plans for the clasp on the side of the necklace, but it just didn't look right this time.

I honestly have no idea what I've created.  Is it interesting?  Is it a flop?  Does it need something?  Should I start all over?  I know what I had in mind but I'm not sure I got there.  Any constructive comments are welcomed -- please don't say "oh lovely you rocked it you are the queen" when you have ideas!  That's how I learn.

One thing that shines, though -- Lisa's beads.  Not a THING wrong with those.  So please visit her at the following sites:

Happy Creating!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.


  1. I like the idea of the net. Do you have any more of the linen? I wonder if a loose braid of the fiber might make it more netlike?

  2. Lori, I understand the concept you are talking about, I'm just not sure if the linen conveys it as well as you're talking about. I agree, the stones are truly lovely, and I like your idea about the copper washers too. Hope that's better than a "you rock" comment. :) (even though you do).

  3. I actually really like it. It's hard to say if it needs anything else without it being worn.
    Do you have anything in the darker color you can add or a fish in the braid like Ann said then you would really have the feeling of the ocean and a net. I do like it though and I am not just saying that.

  4. I'm not sure. I do like it the way it is. But maybe if you unraveled part of the linen or had a piece of actual net to put in somewhere, maybe even with a couple of beads or spacers attached to it somehow, it might convey the caught in the net idea a little more. Not sure what else to say without thinking a little more about it. But I think you did a lovely job with it.

  5. My first reaction was - "I Love the Look". I really like how you spaced the beads apart and the use of the ring and darker metal pieces. It's a great theme for that piece Lori! I'm not sure if I would do anything else to it, but it's interesting hearing everyone's ideas.

  6. I really like it Lori, but if I was looking at it with the view to do more, I would consider two options - firstly (and this I would definitely do, but because I like it rather than because it necessarily needs it) would be to put a wee dangle inside the Vintaj ring. Secondly, I would think about doubling the linen, to make it a little more substantial. I think it's a great design though and adding to it may or may not improve it - you'd have to give it a go, my ideas may not work!

  7. I love it. The linen reminds me of the ropes used to tie up boats when they dock. Makes me wish I was in Crisfield or on Smith Island.

  8. I'm not too crazy about the linen look, but I do get that beach feel to it. The deep blue is pretty and it'll complement well with silver in my opinion.

  9. Another option presents itself: use a really large chain and weave the linen through it, that way it will look more like a net, the chain will reinforce the design as I fear the linen will fray and unravel.

  10. Hi - I am just starting to make ceramic beads so not qualified to comment (but it's never stopped me before, ha ha). Not sure if I will use them myself or sell them yet but it is a change from my usual teaching and pit-firing work. I really liked the linen effect as it certainly does conjure up the seaside. Perhaps though, you may like to join the copper ring with a little metal chain for contrast. I think that way the linnen would 'pop' while also giving a more sophisticated look. I like the fact that you jumped into this project without plans giving spontaneity a chance. Just taking another look and think little glass transparent beads in the mix may enhance that sea feel, or even some shells...

  11. This comment is quite late in the game. I'm just new to beading so I hope these comments aren't too simple. First off, I love the beach look of this necklace! I surf and I can see a lot of my beach/surf girlfriends wearing this. It would definitely convey their love for and spirit of the ocean. Another idea is to pair the linen string with a rope-like material such as cord, or a coarse string. Maybe it would be too much fabric, but I think with the right colour and texture it would conjure thoughts of rope used for tying boats, as mentioned above. But I don't think you need to add to it: perhaps all that's missing is someone to wear it! Gorgeous work!


Thanks so much for commenting! It always makes my day!