Nov 15, 2013

The Season of Goodwill Starts with LOVE: Beads of Courage Art Charm Exchange, Reveal, Hop, & Auction

Welcome to the Art Charm Swap, Reveal, Hop & Auction!


                       Iris - Keeper of the Rainbow
Throughout the ages, the rainbow has been the symbol of hope, a promise of better things to come. The ancient Greeks personified the rainbow as the goddess Iris. Carried by her shimmering wings, Iris travels so swiftly that mortals can see only the trail of her rainbow-coloured passage across the sky.

THE ART CHARM EXCHANGE and AUCTION SUPPORTS BEADS OF COURAGE, a non-profit organization caring for children with serious illness, their families, and clinicians.

Hosted by Jennifer Cameron of GLASS ADDICTIONS and  ART Jewelry Elements,  THE BOC ART CHARM EXCHANGE & AUCTION  brings together bead and jewelry artists FOR THE CHALLENGE OF CREATING ART CHARMS to benefit Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage supports children with serious illnesses by helping them tell, record, and honor their story of courage with beads. Each overnight stay in the hospital is signified by certain color beads. A procedure is another. Handcrafted lampwork is given for great courage. Every bead tells a story of strength, honor, and hope. 

"Love will find its way through all languages on its own." ~Rumi

For this year's Beads of Courage art charm exchange, we were challenged to create charms with the theme: "love" 

Creative Commons. Lilla Iris Randers.

Love should grow up like a wild iris in the fields,
unexpected, after a terrible storm, opening a purple
mouth to the rain, with not a thought to the future,
ignorant of the grass and the graveyard of leaves
around, forgetting its own beginning.
Love should grow like a wild iris
but does not.

Love more often is to be found in kitchens at the dinner hour,
tired out and hungry, lingers over tables in houses where
the walls record movements, while the cook is probably angry,
and the ingredients of the meal are budgeted, while
a child cries feed me now and her mother not quite
hysterical says over and over, wait just a bit, just a bit,
love should grow up in the fields like a wild iris
but never does
really startle anyone, was to be expected, was to be
predicted, is almost absurd, goes on from day to day, not quite
blindly, gets taken to the cleaners every fall, sings old
songs over and over, and falls on the same piece of rug that
never gets tacked down, gives up, wants to hide, is not
brave, knows too much, is not like an
iris growing wild but more like
staring into space
in the street
not quite sure
which door it was, annoyed about the sidewalk being
slippery, trying all the doors, thinking
if love wished the world to be well, it would be well.

Love should
grow up like a wild iris, but doesn't, it comes from
the midst of everything else, sees like the iris
of an eye, when the light is right,
feels in blindness and when there is nothing else is
tender, blinks, and opens
face up to the skies.

"Like the Iris of an Eye"  

                    -- Susan Griffin

"Light of Iris" Georgia O'Keeffe. Creative Commons Wiki Paintings

Thinking of our theme, I decided not to create individual 
art charms, but instead chose to make sets of three art charms
--  for love is generous. 

3's a Love Charm
(Love is Generous)

"LOVE IS A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH" Kristi Bowman Design 
custom made copper tags, copper chainmaille diamonds, 
Swarovski Black Diamond crystal hearts. 

Kristi Bowman-Gruel was wonderful, creating a custom order (in about a day!) of 26 handcrafted Kristi Bowman Design copper LOVE tags. The art charms are reversible, with a sparkling romantic Swarovski heart on one side of the Japanese diamond weave chainmaille, and a cool, modern
 copper tag with the word  LOVE on the other. 

"LOVE You Like Sliced Bread" Amazing Designs by Marlene Cupo 
custom made clay bread slices with heart shaped butter, 
Czech opaque hearts, Argentium silver, brass, copper. 

 When talking with my friend Margot Potter one day, she told me as we signed off, "love you like sliced bread!" Click! The moment she said it I was inspired. I had been talking about the charm challenge. I'm not sure if Margot was guiding me in that amazing author-of-tons-of-great- jewelry making books and genius-designer-way of hers, or if she just loves me like sliced bread, but it was a great idea! And my friend, the incredibly talented Marlene Cupo of Amazing Designs made it come true as she created 24 custom bread slices with heart butter (or toast, as I told Margot, "love you like toast ;) for our art charm exchange! I love the fun design and the bright Czech hearts. Created with Argentium silver, brass and copper. 

"LOVE IS A KEEPSAKE" Vintage brass heart lockets, vintage brass 
heart cages with Swarovski heart chakra green crystal rondelles,
 heart stamped brass hearts, LOS antiqued brass, Vintaj brass. 

Stephanie Gard Buss was an angel when I came across 10 brass heart lockets -- as well as some very cool brass heart cages -- at her beautiful vintage shop, Olla Podria. She put days of work into finding additional lockets -- enough to make 22 vintage brass art charms! In addition, Margot Potter's beloved husband, my friend Andrew Potter, sent along 4 styles of heart stamps for my project! I patinaed the brass with LOS and added Vintaj findings, so the heart art charms and locket are ready to gently jingle this Holiday and hold your cherished photo or special keepsake.

 The BOC Art Charm Exchange & Auction is always popular, and this year nearly 40 artists created 500 art charms. After we've been torching, wrapping, weaving, dapping, etching, sculpting, and firing away, Jenn confidentially 
organizes and swaps our art charms.  Until today's reveal and blog hop, most of the art charms have not yet been seen -- surprise!

Here is a look at the BEAUTIFUL art charms I received. Every LOVE art charm you see in my post -- the sets of 3 that I created and the individual charms -- will be available at the auction. More charms will be listed every few days, and the listings will run for a week. BINS (Buy it Now) are $20. Take a look at the auction & check back for more charms. Have fun bidding & winning because 100% of the proceeds is donated to Beads of Courage!

 What a beautiful collection of art charms! Lampwork, metalwork, clay, ceramic, resin.
Work by (top, left to right) Alenka Obid, Jenn Cameron, Lennis Carrier, Toltec Jewels featuring Kristi Bowman-Gruel, Caroline Dewison, Ginger Bishop, Shai Williams, Toltec Jewels featuring Marlene Cupo,  Monique Urquhart, Michelle McCarthy, Toltec Jewels featuring Olla Podria vintage brass, Renetha Staziano, Linda Haskell, Vanessa Gilkes, Susan Delphine Delaney, Nancy Dale, Jean Peter, Shelley Graham Turner, Perri Jackson, Terri Del Signore, Carolyne Chenault. 

 A word on ART CHARMS

ART CHARMS are charms handcrafted with handcrafted -- the components are created by artisans, so the beads, metalwork, wire work, findings, and design are all unique and special. The book to the left shows some examples of art charms: swapables, keepsakes, trinkets. 

 Last year I realized how special the one-of-a-kind art charms indeed are: I cherish all my art charms, but I especially treasure having a matching set of Beads of Courage handcrafted art charms. My set of Carolyn Chenault charms (one was swapped and the other gifted to me by the dear Shelley Graham Turner)is cherished : 

"Laugh" Art Charms created by Carolyn Chenault for the 2012 Beads of Courage Art Charm Exchange & Auction.

As happy as having charms makes me, missing out on charms stands out too: determined to win one of Jennifer Cameron's awesome lampwork LAUGH charms, a trip to E.R. on the last night of the auction kept me from bidding -- and oh, were those charms cute!! This year, I'm ready!

 The beauty of handcrafted, the OOAK designs and unique annual themes, and the 100% donation to Beads of Courage make this jewelry arts event an experience of goodwill and giving at its best!  Won't you join us? 

I can't think of a better way to begin 
the Season of Hope!

Caroline Dewison
Alicia Marinache
Terri Del Signore
Cheryl (Lee) Koopman:
Jacqueline Carlson:
Charlene Bausinger Jacka


  1. What a wonderful WONDERFUL post, and your charms are amazing!! I am completely and utterly in love with your toast!!! and impressed and inspired by your workmanship and the time you took to write your blog post. I was so wiped out last night that mine feels very small indeed after seeing yours. :)

  2. WOWOW just plain WOW. Your post is amazing!

  3. You are such a lovely, beautiful person. And your charms are so generous and fun. I don't know how you had time to make 66 charms...I plan on winning a set of your charms. Great post. Loved reading it.

  4. I cherish the charms I received from you. They are elegant and complex and wonderful.

    Susan Delphine Delaney

  5. What a beautiful post! A grand way to start my morning! I love your charms, so original and beautiful.

  6. Rita!
    I am so happy to have received some charms from you in this swap. You are such a loving, caring, generous person. XXOO

  7. Love is indeed generous, and I felt blessed to receive a set of your thoughtful, layered charms. Your eloquent description makes me cherish them that much more, to know exactly how much work went into creating them, not just by you, but also by the wonderful artists that created components. Thank you so much, Lennis! Beautiful work! - Julie

  8. What amazing charms! So full of meaning.

  9. I was lucky enough to receive a set of your generous love charms, and they are wonderful! My daughter, who turns 13 today, immediately made off with the "love you like toast" charm, but I am left with the two others, and I can't wait to use them :-)

  10. Love, Love, Love your charms - and the poem was just plain perfect! I'm hoping to get one of the buttered toast charms - the thing that my hubby and my grandaughter first bonded over was toast with butter - She always asks, he always complies and cuts the crusts off for her. There is nothing more tender to me.
    Thank you for your generousity of spirit, Miss Rita. :-)

    1. That is such a sweet story - I would be willing to mail mine to you in the spirit of generosity that Rita started!
      Email me if you would like that
      After all I was lucky enough to get 3 from Rita and it seems you have the perfect reason to need one!

  11. As much as I loved your beautiful creations when I received them, Rita, I now feel I understand them. Thank you so much for this wonderful post and for sharing your talents with us!

  12. Rita, what a fantastic post! You're such a generous soul, and your charms are all gorgeous! Love the story behind each of them, and I wish I had received a set :) Time for the auction, I believe.

    P.S. I have just received the Octoberfest prize(s) - thank you so much!!

  13. I feel so lucky to have received your triple pack of charms! They each are just precious!! I think you set the bar a little higher:) I enjoyed your post and feel so lucky!! My daughter wants the locket charm! Thanks so much for the generosity!!!

  14. As always your post is amazing Rita and you charms show a wonderful and varied interpretation of the theme.

  15. I am as honored to have this year's charms as I am to own the one from last year. I always get compliments on it and these will too.

  16. Rita your talent and generosity always amaze me and make me want to be a better person!! Thank you for explaining your charms in this post, I didn't quite understand who made what but now i do! I'm so sorry to hear that you cut yourself...I hope your hand is healing well and quickly.

  17. You got a wonderful collection, I love your charms too!

  18. What a wonderful post!!! I so admire your work and your generosity and these charms are beautiful and so full of meaning!!!
    I have not received your charm this year, but I can see you've received of my "From the bottom of my heart - pie charm! ;-)


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Namaste --