Nov 9, 2012

Kalmbach Bead Soup Reveal: "Night of the Autumn Equinox"

Welcome to my Kalmbach Bead Soup Party Reveal!

In honor of the fabulous and beloved Lori Anderson and the release of her new book, "Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap Their Stash, " Kalmbach Publishing is throwing a bead soup party! Galleries and Bead Shops across the nation gifted beautiful bead soups to artists, and now the designs can be seen at Kalmbach's Facebook page. 

I was surprised and honored to receive a bead soup for the event! Being a part of an art-gala-bead-soup-event hosted  Kalmbach Jewelry Books is a jewelry designers dream come true. 

And no wonder: just look at the beautiful soup gifted to me by the lovely Colleen Ewart of Island Cove Beads & Gallery! The soup I received was full of vivid, rich beads, a hand enameled leaf, ceramic, perfect fairy-sized crystals,  and wood. It was exquisite, and full of nature. Colleen Ewart's love of the ocean fills the bead soup with a unique, renewing beauty. Our tropical paradise home, Florida,is brought to life in the colors and creative powers of the beads.

 I realized the Island Cove Beads & Gallery was very near the home of  my daughter who had just passed in July, and got thrill bumps. Friends commented, too, that the soup was magical.

 The dragonfly clasp stood out to me right away. Dragonflies are a symbol for my daughter, and since her passing, have manifested in special ways. As symbols of eternal life and a message of well-being from loved ones who have re-emerged into the non-physical,  the dragonfly touched my heart.

The cool enameled leaf pendant is reversible, with speckled blue-purple-copper on one side and color-blocked green and blue on the reverse. At first, I was drawn to the simple blue side of the leaf; then I received the most incredible Pantone Bead Swap package from my partner, Lori Anderson,  including beads by Juls Cannon.

 Immediately, all the greens and royal blues came together for me and the jewelry came to life.

Beads by Juls Cannon, a gift from Lori Anderson for our Pantone Fall Color Bead Swap.

I created "angel wings" for the blue and green beads using brick stitch, and made a beadwork spiral component with the beautiful blue and copper beadwork sized crystals. I started to create " Mardi Gras Beads" with the wooden square beads using square stitch, but discovered I'd woven a strand that perfectly fit a very special faceted green agate focal: a bead worn during my daughter's funeral. I had wanted to re-make the necklace and now the agate bead was coming to a new place -- one that seemed destined for it--  in the special dragonfly jewelry.

                           "Night of the Autumn Equinox" 

Combining beadwork with Lori Anderson's gift of Juls Cannon beads, I used several techniques,  hand-knotting the butterfly wing beads on silk, stringing spiral rope into rondelles and copper, wire wrapping the lampwork beads in copper, adding touches of both bright and antique copper to compliment the colorway of glass and crystal. 

With the dragonfly used as part of the focal, gently resting upon the leaf, I beaded a bead for the toggle clasp. The beadwork is called "angel wings" as the beaded bezels fold together to slip through the clasp, then open up again like a flower, holding the necklace securely. Once clasped, the necklace has a seamless row of beaded beads and the clasp becomes almost invisible.

                           The green agate bead gets a colorful sash,  the dragonfly moves front & center, the branch                              is wrapped with both blue and green wire, coordinated with the color-block enamel leaf focal.

"Night of the Autumn Equinox"

 Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning jewelry techniques. She is the host of Jewel School Friends, a community of expert and emerging artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. Join her on Facebook for networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, jewelry making challenges, contests, give-a-ways and of course, cool beads and jewelry!


  1. Hi
    So where is the Mother Earth post for today 10 November??

  2. Love the name of this gorgeous never cease to amaze me with your flow of creativity <3

  3. That is absolutely stunning! You were right when you told me those beads made it work!

  4. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's passing, but I like to believe things happen for a reason in this life and you were MEANT to get this soup with that lovely dragonfly clasp.

    Not only that, but you definitely used all your components absolutely beautifully. That necklace is stunning!

    I'm also a fan of the bracelet, too :)

  5. Lori,
    Thank you for your kind words and thank you for the beautiful beads! They did just bring it all together! I don't know how you do it, but everything you do is magic. MMMhhhwwwaa!

  6. Birgitta,

    Your beads arrived TODAY from Sweden! How is that for timing? Just give me a few hours because now I get to create with YOUR beautiful beads.


  7. Well You could have told me about the shipping problems and that You were not going to POST!
    one other did as the storm seems to delayed my beads
    normal shippingtime is 6-10 days from Sweden!

  8. Beautiful beads, wonderful soup, purpose, and meaning all came together for this wonderful tribute piece. Thanks for sharing your process, the richness of your beads, and the special sentiment with your agate and dragonfly... Just beautiful!

  9. Birgitta,

    That is me -- I am the lady who told you my beads had not arrived yet! :) I emailed you and I also commented on your Mother Earth reminder pot. That was me. And I also posted that my beads ARRIVED NOV. 10th, the very day of the hop! Isn't that wonderful? So,since I purchased them for the hop why not use them -- instead of another artists beads as was my back-up plan? Why are you being angry here with me, your customer who waited patiently and is happy to get a little miracle just in time to use your beads? How can you keep posting here (on the wrong post) and actually be angry with me, hon?


  10. This is a truly wonderful piece. My brain couldn't even think about how to put that together.

  11. Gorgeous piece with so much meaning. The colors are so rich and it looks like it took forEVER to make. I love it. It's a stunner.


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