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Archive for the ‘Beads News’ Category

In the posts I’ve made so far, I’ve talked about materials such as metal, vinyl,  gemstones, and crystals, but I haven’t yet talked about glass.

After seeing an article today about an opening of a new exhibit at the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi called Glasswear:  Glass in Contemporary Jewelry, it was clear that it’s time to talk glass.  In this exhibit, while most of the work can be worn, the focus is on the glass as art.


This string of huge beads spans the exhibit floor. According to an article in the Caller-Times by Dr. Elizabeth E. Reese, the beads are strung on black yachting rope, with knots between each bead. The installation was meant to have 32 beads, but only 28 were used because the weight caused the rope to stretch. This is a problem that jewelry-makers face when stringing and knotting on silk, only on a much smaller scale, of course. Photo by Todd Yates, reprinted with permission of Corpus Christi Caller-Times

If you have not spent a great deal of time at bead shows or in the company of serious glass bead artists, you may not be familiar with glass beads beyond those of the artisans of Murano in Italy.

If that’s the case, you might have missed the spectacular art beads produced in borosilicate glass by Tom Boylan:

I used one of Tom's beads for this pendant.

I used one of Tom's beads for this pendant. Photo by Linda Castellani

Here’s another Boylan bead, from his website http://www.tomboylan.com:

No one works magic in borosilicate glass like Tom.

No one works magic in borosilicate glass like Tom. Photo by Martha Bouquin

or the whimsical beads produced by the incomparable Sharon Peters:

SharonSharon has a skewed – in a good way – perspective on the world around her and finds ways to reproduce what she sees – real or not –  in glass.  One example is this egg bracelet, featuring whole eggs, sunnyside-up eggs, and a matching egg clasp.   For more examples see her website at http://www.smartassglass.com. Photo by Jim Trenkle.

Sharon and Tom work in traditional materials designed for glass beads.  According to the article about the exhibit in Texas, the glass used in the collection also includes found window glass, blown glass,  glass lenses, and laboratory glass, as in the work by Sandra Enterline shown here:

The glass tubes contain various found objects, but there is no doubt that this is jewelry. Photo by Todd Yates, reprinted with permission of Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Here are two other breathtaking examples of what can be seen at this exhibit.  Too bad I don’t have plans to be in South Texas for this; I’d love to see all of the 130 works in the exhibit.

This lighter-than-air necklace of blown Murano glass bubbles by artist Giorgio Vigna is called Gorgoglio. Photo by Todd Yates, reprinted with permission of Corpus Christi Caller-Times

This necklace by British artist Wendy Ramshaw is called Chain of Glass Tears for Weeping Woman. Photo by Todd Yates, reprinted with permission of Corpus Christi Caller-Times

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Women in Uganda rise from poverty to build a better future for themselves and their families. Beautiful handmade bead jewelry – necklaces, bracelets and Bead Parties!

I love to bead, I love beads, I love to buy beads.  Sometimes I think that, speaking figuratively, of course, that if I couldn’t bead I’d die.

And then I heard about BeadforLife, a group of women in Uganda whose handmade beads of recycled paper are “eradicating poverty one bead at a time.” For them, beads are the way to a better life.

These industrious woman make beads and sell them, and make jewelry from their beads and sell those, along with gorgeous handmade satin-lined gift pouches, CDs of their singing, and note cards.

The proceeds of the sales are used to buy food, medicine, and pay for school fees, but it goes way beyond that.  They also developed a vocational training program in an area where traditional education is simply either not available or beyond the financial reach of most and they are building a village with help from Habitat for Humanity.  They also fund loans to other businesses to become as successful as they have.

The women of BeadforLife and some of their beads

The women of BeadforLife and some of their beads

You might not think it’s possible to make such beautiful beads out of paper, or such beautiful jewelry out of paper beads, but take a look:

Bangle bracelets made from paper beads

Bangle bracelets made from paper beads

The beads and jewelry are astonishingly inexpensive, and available from their Website:  http://www.beadforlife.org/

Here’s a video on the basics of making paper beads:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/video/1016/how_to_make_paper_beads.html?cat=46

And here’s step-by-step instructions:

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Paper-Beads

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