Apr 25, 2013

Meet my two BSBP7 partners, Nan Smith of Canada and Pam Hurst of the USA

I can't think of anything more fun than participating in  Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party® -- except perhaps double Bead Soup Blog Party®!  Yep, I'm having double the fun because as luck would have it, I have two BSBP7 partners this year!! :) And both are incredible, very gifted jewelry artists. I'm honored to get to  be partners with Nan Smith of Wired Nan and Pam Hurst of Pam Hurst Designs.

Nan Smith is a Toronto, Ontario artist who lives in an apartment in  the heart of the city, across from a 400 acre park. Progressive, outgoing, and extremely bright, Nan creates jewelry in a "studio in the wall" -- a closet she converted into her studio (look for the cool  picture of her studio on her blog :) She is super creative! 

Having been partnered with Nan from the start, we've had time to form a friendship, and getting to know Nan has been a gift for me. She is a good friend. And with the gift of time and friendship, I also had the chance to interview Nan for our Bead Soup Party reveal, so that you too can get to know her. As Nan commented to me recently, the Bead Soup Party is a wonderful way to meet artists and friends, within a very supportive and loving community. I'm happy to introduce you to the delightful Nan Smith! 

Nan Smith of "Wired Nan"

Tell us about where you live, Nancy.

"I live in Toronto, Ontario in an apartment building across from High Park, a beautiful 400 acre park in the heart of the city. From my balcony I can see a vista that includes the trees of the park and Lake Ontario to the south and the lights of downtown Toronto looking east. What's not to love? Since selling my house and downsizing to an apartment I have much more time and energy for jewelry making!! Toronto is a great city for jewelry making. There  is an area downtown on Queen St. that is littered with beading supply stores and there's always great deals to be had. I have to limit my visits to the area or I wouldn't have enough money to eat! There are several large bead fairs every year including 2 sponsored by the Toronto Bead Society of which I'm a member .So many goodies to be found there."

Tell us about your jewelry making and favorite techniques. 

"I have been making jewelry for 5 years and have explored many techniques  through exploring the internet and many books......pretty much self-taught through trial and error. My favourite  activity at this point is wirework including wrapping stones, viking knit, hammering and designing with the results.I really enjoy working with copper because it is so malleable and forgiving and since  I make a lot of mistakes that's a good thing. I like the warmth of copper and it takes on a fabulous patina through  oxidation  and the use of liver of sulphur. I've starting using a butane torch to get some effects .....next step is soldering and enameling.
I took a workshop recently at Jewel Envy, a jewelry studio near me, and had the opportunity to use a serious torch and flexshaft but I won't be able to have a larger torch in my apartment. They do rent out studio space once you prove you're capable. Perhaps after a few more classes I'll be able to do that.
Of all the tools I own my new Lindstrom chain nose pliers are my favorites. Up to now I've been using cheaper tools and I can't believe the difference quality makes......much easier on my arthritic hands as well. So my advice to someone just starting jewelry making is to buy the best tools you can manage. They'll pay you back a hundred times and will last forever if you take care of them.

I create jewelry because it speaks to that part of me that has been submerged most of my life while I spent most of my energy taking care of others. Now that I have fewer demands on my time and energy I thrive on exploring my creativity while designing and making jewelry. I have bought "a lot of beads" over the years and have them sorted by colour.  When I'm creating I usually focus on one or two colors and pull out those boxes and  pick whatever appeals. Then I try to think how I can individualize the beads with some wire technique. If I have a creative block I'll pull out one of my jewelry making books for inspiration. I admire Denise Peck, Sharilynn Miller ,Gail Crossman Moore and for true out of the box ideas I love Mary Hettmansperger's book "Wrap,Stitch,Fold & Rivet"

What advice would you give a young person? 

"My advice to a young person is to follow your dreams.Life is short and you will never regret exploring your creative side. Richness exists in life and doesn't mean how much money you have."

What is your favorite quote? 

"My current favourite quote is from C.S.Lewis and adorns my tea mug...."You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me"

I'd love to also share some examples of Nan's lovely copper jewelry work. 

 Art Bead Scene March Challenge. Design by Nan Smith. 

Art Bead Scene April Challenge: "April Showers" by Nan Smith. 

The Colour Challenge Blog Hop. Design by Nan Smith.

The Colour Challenge Blog Hop. Design by Nan Smith.

And last but not least, I must share a little about Nan's significant other, who is wonderful company and so entertaining! I think he is rather a star of our party, don't you? Please, meet Nelson.

Nan's significant other: the wonderful Nelson! :) 

And now here is the fabulous bead soup Nan sent me! She gifted me her own handcrafted art -- a pendant made of bloodstone set in a copper wirewrapped bezel-- faceted gems, wood, and beautiful metals. The antique shades of copper are my new favorite color to work with, and I'm delighted to create using the woodsy brown metals and strong gems of this rich, empowering soup. 

I was completely delighted when Lori contacted me with a prospective additional blog partner. Could I really be so blessed as have the honor of partnering with Pam Hurst of Pam Hurst Designs and Nan Smith? Yes, I really was to be so blessed as to have two Bead Soup Party partners!

My many thanks to Lori for this gift. She never ceases to amaze me! Lori has been a constant source of strength  and friend at my side since my daughter's sudden death last July, and somehow, despite the tremendous struggles she herself is going through this year, she is always thinking of others. "You mentioned you would be willing to have a second partner, right?" she remembered. And so lucky for me, because Pam's first partner had been unable to reciprocate beads, I have the honor of pairing up with Pam too!

And so allow me to please introduce you to the lovely and inspiring   Pam Hurst, an incredibly talented jewelry designer, lampwork artist, and gifted metalsmith. 

Pam Hurst of Pam Hurst Designs

"The individual textures of metals, the glimmer of gemstones, and the luxurious feeling one gets when wearing jewelry are what I truly love about jewelry. Combining all these elements into a distinct piece that conveys these feelings to my  customer is what gives me the satisfaction of creating.
My studio is in a repurposed church called The Art Sanctuary and it has become my sanctuary.  My style is simple, yet unique and versatile.  I pride myself on having the ability to listen to what my customers want and delivering to them something even better.
I have been making jewelry forever. I began making Mother's Bracelets with my sisters around 2000 as an official business.  After a few successful years, we all started moving in our own directions, I moved toward taking lampwork classes and making glass beads.

Since then, I have taken many classes in several different mediums and combine them to create the jewelry I do.  I currently am working with metals and loving it! I am certified in Artclay.

Personally, I am a wife and mother. I have two children.  Prior to my jewelry creating, I was an Industrial Engineer and worked in metal fabrication. I feel some of my formal training rolls over into my jewelry business which helps me immensely.

i use the finest materials and gemstones I can find at places like the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  I have self taught myself along with taking classes and workshops with some of the best.   Some of my teachers have included:

• Metal Clay: Hadar Jacobson, Donna Penoyer,  Holly Gage, Katie Baum, Marti Icenogle, Myra Perrin
• Lampwork: Heather Trimlett, Jari Sheese, Kim Hickcox
• Metalsmithing: Michael David Sturlin, Kim Conrad, Irina Miech, Lisa Claxton"    
                                                                                                                  -- Pam Hurst, About Pam Hurst Designs )

I'd also love to share some of Pam's gorgeous work! 

"Aztec" by Pam Hurst, Pam Hurst Designs Gallery.

Pam Hurst Sterling & Sapphire Necklace, available for purchase.

Pam Hurst Designs, Gallery.
Pam Hurst Designs, Twig Series, Gallery. 

And for the grand finale, here is the gorgeous Bead Soup Pam sent me! She gifted me her own handcrafted metalwork -- a fine silver floral pendant and fine silver clasp -- both works of art! -- and an array of beautiful gemstones, from finely faceted rondelles of iolite & amethyst to labradorite coins, amazonite, moss agate, even rhodonite garnet. I'm especially delighted she included a cab for me too! I hoped for one. I'm enjoying creating with the yellow jasper cab, and one of my very favorites to design with, opalite, which has captured my heart as the light dances through the lovely faceted glass rondelles. 

Please join me on Saturday for the reveal of the jewelry created with these two gorgeous soups!  I'm very excited to see what Nan Smith and Pam Hurst have created, too! It will be the third, and final, reveal of  Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party® . Over half a thousands jewelry artists have participated this year in the annual event, and new to the party this year, our third reveal will be followed by a design contest at Pinterest.

There is a great deal to take in and enjoy, with a wealth and abundance of jewelry design, and global styles to appreciate and relish. There are new techniques to try, new artists to discover, and new jewelry art beads and art components to fall in love with. I will gain inspiration, and most importantly, create connections and friendships with artists around the globe. 

You rock, Bead Soup partners! And Lori, bravo! Gracias, you are amazing. Lori, oh captain, our captain! 

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. Nice to meet you, Nan and Pam :-D
    What great soups from both of you!

    You know, Rita was my BSBP-partner last time, and she is the greatest partner and the most lovely person I'd ever know. She is SO special <3

    I'll follow all the three of you!

  2. Wow, Rita, those are BOTH gorgeous soups. I can't WAIT to see what you make!

  3. What a nice post. Beautiful designs.

  4. I'm looking forward to checking back. This was a fabulous post on your two partners. ;) They do beautiful work :0 Hope you have a wonderful visit with the family!!!! Karla


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