Beads, Baubles & Jewels: The Artistic Process – Start to Finish

Making art is a process. On this episode of Beads, Baubles & Jewels, artists share their process and how designs come together. But first, I share my bead material of the day: shell.

When we think about beads, we usually think about glass or crystal, stone or metal, or something along those lines. But, beads can be made from all sorts of materials, including shells. Shells have been used for trade and adornment for thousands of years and they are still very versatile today.

Some of the first shell beads were basically just shells with holes that made them easy to string. Basic shell beads today are not too far from their predecessors. The ones shown here have been cut, polished, and drilled so they’re more uniform and easy to string into jewelry designs.

Beads, Baubles & Jewels

The elegant shell pendants shown above are laser-engraved by Heidi Viau, the owner of Lillypilly Designs. Different shells give different effects. And, Heidi applies colors to the engraved portion of the shells to highlight the intricate patterns she creates. This is a lovely way to incorporate this natural material into your jewelry.

I bought the shell ring on a family vacation to Santa Monica, California. We stopped in Poseidon Paddle & Surf, I spotted this treasure, and it had to come home with me. The entire ring is carved from a single shell, proving just how strong and versatile shells are for jewelry.

Beads, Baubles & Jewels

left to right: pod cabochon by Marianne Kasparian of Maku Studios, lampwork cabochon by Amber Higgins of Worn Beadies, lampwork cabochon by Kris Schaible, lampwork cabochon by John Winter

To explore what an artistic process means, Tammy Honaman shares her bead embroidery process start to finish. She covers working with different shaped cabochons, as you can see in the picture above, and takes a design all the way to completion.

Beads, Baubles & Jewels

Next, meet Katie Baum as she takes you through a sterling cuff from start to finish. Katie B also shares information about kilns and working in sterling metal clay. In the next show we feature ways to speed up your artistic process. Hope you can join us on Beads, Baubles & Jewels!

Katie Hacker
Host, Beads, Baubles & Jewels and Marketing Director, Halstead

Check this space for more on each episode of Beads, Baubles & Jewels, 2600 series.

For step by step instructions on bead embroidery, be sure to also check out Tammy’s Bead Embroidery course. For more on metal clay, see the metal clay series by Darlene Armstrong.

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