Tucson Treasures: The Year of the Dragon

Anyone who knows me knows that I've always had a thing for dragons. When the movie How to Train Your Dragon came out, it instantly made it onto my list of favorite movies. Without giving too much away, I loved the way it was all about challenging your beliefs and perceptions,and being true to yourself. And since 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon in Chinese astrology, I thought it would be appropriate to indulge my love of dragons while I was shopping at the Tucson shows this year!

According to Chinese astrology, the Year of the Dragon is marked by fearless undertakings, ambition, self-confidence and creativity. To celebrate all these characteristics, I thought I'd embark on a few new dragon jewelry-making projects, using some of these fabulous components I brought back with me.

Marsha Hedrick is a wonderfully talented porcelain artist, and these two dragon components of hers are beautiful examples of her craft! The darker dragon donut will be hard to match with my seed beads, but I'm sure I've got something I can use. There are two holes in this piece so I can make a wire dangle to hang in the center hole – maybe a bright ruby to add some color?

The dragon cabochon is going to be the focal of a necklace I already had planned out in my sketchbook, except that I hadn't known there was going to be a focal piece! Looking at the mottled tones in the background of this cabochon, I realized that I can include some of my new "desert palette" seed beads and fire polished beads that I picked up while I was in Tucson.

One of the things that had me so excited about my visit to Tucson was the chance to meet Andrew Thornton in person! I love following his blog and reading about his adventures in rural Pennsylvania, and I've recently discovered how much I enjoy using his handmade components in my beading projects.

While Tammy Jones and I were browsing Andrew's table at The Best Bead Show, I noticed a small pile of these beautiful, delicate bronze coins. The dragons, of course, are what caught my eye! Each one was set with a sapphire, which happens to be one of the gemstones symbolic of the Year of the Dragon. As I held the coin in my hand, I remembered a small bag of tiny bronze tube beads that I have had in my bead stash for many years and felt that this was going to be one of "those" beading projects. (You know the kind – they make you giggle with delight just thinking about them!) Sure enough, the day after I got home, I tore through my bead drawers until I located the tiny bronze tubes, found two colors of seed beads to coordinate with the sapphire, and picked out a bronze clasp from my stash to finish the whole thing off. Now all I have to do is find the time to make it!

I'm so excited about my year full of dragon jewelry-making projects! Have you ever been so excited by the idea of a new beading project that you just had to giggle out loud?

I'll be posting pictures of my finished pieces (and possibly some tutorials related to them!) in the coming weeks!

Bead Happy,


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