Jewelry Television 11 years ago, I could feel it was special. The trays of sparkling gems, informative hosts, and super prices made the world of gemstones come alive. Now, hundreds of exotic, precious, and semi-precious stones later, JTV has opened the world of jewelry design with Jewel School -- a mixed media array of televised jewelry making supplies, free instructional videos, the best jewelry instructors, varieties of jewelry making techniques, and even an annual, completely free workshop with the best jewelry designers in the field!
Because of JTV, I began making jewelry four years ago when my little Facebook JTV fan group grew by the hundreds -- hundreds of jewelry artisans! Shortly thereafter, JTV began releasing Jewel School videos for purchase, featuring wire wrap with the amazing Dale Cougar Armstrong! With many customers then wanting to know how to create beaded jewelry, JTV released a basic beading video for sale. As Jewel School grew, the instructors, products, and information did too, and now there is even a community of Jewel Schoolers sharing art, ideas, projects, and successes.
The jewelry making community is one of the most positive, inspiring community of artists I've ever met! And as new jewelry artisans learn from & connect with the experts, a kind of magic is created -- generosity, encouragement, kindness and beauty are the way of the day. Sharing and respect are everywhere.
One of the coolest examples of this amazing community is Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party, now in its fifth run. Open to all skill levels, participants are partnered and send each other a focal, some coordinating spacers and/or beads, and a special clasp. The idea is to get creative, try new designs and findings, and have a blast. This is the inclusive community of jewelry artists, who like Lori Anderson, appreciate sharing and filling life with pretty things!
As I learned about the Bead Soup Blog Party, I began to seriously consider my stash of four years, and what I'd contribute to a jewelry artisan's bead soup. Seeing the soup mixes of artists such as Jill MacKay and Margot Potter, and the beautiful jewelry they made, I was inspired to get out of my comfort zone, and try some different style jewelry making goodies. With joy and luck, I took time to really browse and shop the annual Fire Mountain Gems & Beads $1 clearance sale, and with bead soup in mind, purchased hundreds of new jewelry supplies, trying new beads, focals, and findings to stretch my creativity & inspire my imagination. I'll have to post a "haul video" when it all arrives!
In the meantime, here are some beautiful bead soup mixes to inspire your inner jewelry designer!
The Bead Soup Mix Jill MacKay received:
The Bead Soup Mix Margot Potter received:
And another mix from Bead Soup host herself Lori Anderson,
from her blog "Pretty Things" -- Lori's first bead mix:
I won't reveal everyone's creations here, but you can use the links to all the artists' blogs above to see what beautiful jewelry came from this fun event! And you might also want to consider participating in Lori Anderson's Fifth Bead Soup Blog Hop, keeping in mind the party is open to ALL skill levels. Or like me, you might even create your first jewelry making blog just to be able to join in the fun! Registration is early January, 2012 (see BLOG HOP widget to the right)and this hop will be run like a lottery, with a certain number of participants (the Fourth Hop had 300! Jill MacKay has a great list of the partners & links to their designs on her blog)all paired up by computer.
Inspiration is everywhere, and whether or not you join in the Blog Hop, it poses a great question -- one that inspires and stretches the creative artist within to reach for new designs, try new techniques, or simply add different products to renew one's jewelry making stash: What would you put in your bead soup?