Studio Musings

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Briny Blue Bead Soup

Wrack and Ruin, freeform beaded necklace & earrings by Karen Williams
Wrack and Ruin, freeform beadwoven necklace & earrings
This year's Bead Soup took a number of twists and turns before I finally hit on the right track.  I thought I was going for polished at first.  

But the wonderful lines and striations in the stone Judy had sent called out for something more organic and freeform.  And who am I to resist that call?  I have no willpower where that's concerned.

So here's Wrack and Ruin, so named because I kept telling myself stories of buried pirate treasure as I worked.  

closeup of Wrack and Ruin, freeform beaded necklace & earrings by Karen Williams
closeup so you can really see the stone

The bead strands reminded me of kelp or seaweed, of tarnished bronze and deep sea water.  So even though I hadn't intended a sea piece, that's how it turned out.  I should just admit by now that all of my Bead Soup projects somehow relate back to the sea.  The briny soup from whence their inspiration came.

I don't normally use props in my photography, but the driftwood was just to perfect not to use it for a photo!

Oh, and Judy checked on the stone for me.  Turns out it's dyed Jasper.  I should have known - I seem to have a love affair with Jasper, even when I don't know it! 

Be sure to check out what Judy Riley of Three Red Beads made with the beads I sent her, and all the other fantastic Bead Soup creations.  And thanks again to Lori, our wonderful hostess, head chef and bead wrangler! 

Process photo - freeform beadwoven necklace  by Karen Williams
Just getting started - captured the cab, not much else
Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss, Moonsafari Beads 
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin'
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann's Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents
Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen

Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle,  Jasper Gems
Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
Cheryl Foiles, Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry

Process photo - freeform beadwoven necklace  by Karen Williams
Looked rather like a demented octopus at this stage!
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards, Live to Design
CJ Bauschka, 4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith, Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs, Cynth's Blog
Dana Fowler, Trunk Full of Treasure
Dawn Pierro, Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie, Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous

Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Eileen Snyder, Dorset Hill Beads
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Eva Kovacs, Ewa gyongyos vilaga!
Evelyn Duberry, Sheba Makeda
Fay Wolfenden, Torch Fairy
Fen Li, Bead Flora Jewels
Gail Zwang, Angel Moose Enterprises
Geneva Collins, Torque Story
Grace Dorsey, Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation,  Art Food Lodging

Wrack and Ruin, freeform bead woven necklace by Karen Williams
Full view of Finished necklace
Hannah Annear, Squintessential
Hajer Waheed, My Beaded World
Heather Goldsmith, As I Bead It
Heather Otto, The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier
Jane Haag, Did You Make Something Today?
Janeen Sorensen, Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter, Jean P. Designs

Jennifer Judd, Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman, Soul's Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk, Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown, Jo's Jewels
Joanne Lockwood, Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker, Joyce's Joyful Gems
Judy Riley, Three Red Beads
Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams, Baublicious - You're here!
Karin von Hoeren, Creative Ideen

wirework and bead earrings  by Karen Williams
Earrings with driftwood background
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kashmira Patel, Sadafule .. always in bloom!
Kate Richbourg, We Can Make That at Home
Katrin Lembke, AllesPerle
Kathy Combs, Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Kelley Fogle, My Life, One Bead at at Time
Kelly Hosford Patterson, Traveling Side Show
Klaudette Koon, Only Road
Lara Lutrick, Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther, Blue Antiquities

Laurie Lalonde, Simply Mod Jewelry
Lilik Kristiani, Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman, Lindy's Designs
Lisa Chapman, Beach Cat Beads
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures
Loretta Carstensen, Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
Lori Dorrington, Lori's Adventures in Etsy Land
Lupe Meter, Gem's PC Corner
Lynn Davis, LLYYNN


wirework and bead earrings  by Karen Williams
Closeup earrings w/ my wirework (including ear wires)
Beaded bead pendant  by Karen Williams
Extra Credit: Beaded bead pendant
Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron, Craft-o-licious
Mandy Williamson, Mimi's Beading
Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow, Willow Street Shops
Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas, Room for Change
Marelene Cupo, Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal, Marsha Neal Studio

Marta Kaczerowska, uhuhu
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett, Reverie and Revival
Michelle Escano-Caballero, The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati, Uniquely Yunikua
Milla Hope,  LB Creative Arts and Crafts
Mimi Gardner, Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley, MirandackArts
Natalie McKenna, grubbi

Noemi Baena, fuego, metal, y color
Pam Ferrari, Ferrari Originals
Pam Sears, Crazy Creative Corner
Penny Neville, Copper Penny
Rachel Baron, R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers, Rockabead Jewelry
Rana Wilson, Definitive Designs by R. Wilson
Rebecca Anderson, Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Riki Schumacher, Riki Jewelry


Rose Binoya, Ahtee's Blog
Rossana De Gaspari, Rdegas Blog
Sally Anderson, Wild Sally Road
Sandi James, Do Be Do Bead Do
Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg, City of Brass Stories
Sarah Goode, Pookledo

Sarah Small, blog by salla
Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Shawn Mills, Shawn Marie Designs with Bent Wire
Sheila Davis, Stone Designs by Sheila


Beaded cabochon by Karen Williams
The cabochon's back
Sheryl Stephens, Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie, Secret Song Designs
Solange Collin,  Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads
Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan, Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
Sweet Freedom, Sweet Freedom Designs
Tabatha Dinger, Modernly Created
Tania Hagen, Pelima Jewellery Design

Tanya Boden, Fusion Muse
Terri Gauthier, Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs


  1. lol @ demented octopus. It did turn out just fine in the end :) Love the beaded bead!

    1. Kashmira - I tell myself funny stories while I work, and about the stage of that photo, the story went along these lines.

      Once there was an octopus who desperately needed a new hidey hole. It was shark migration season and his old spot was simply too exposed. So he scooted on over to the sunken ship in the neighborhood to check it out. Most of the best spots were already taken, but the octopus, being curious by nature, kept exploring.

      He came across this object with smooth, shiny sides. It narrowed towards one end and the texture changed. Curious, he played one tentacle around that end and discovered someone had stuffed something into it. With a good tug, it came free! Whatever the plug had been, it wasn't good to eat. But looking at the now open cavity, he realized he'd found his new hidey hole. The opening was pretty small, but he could squeeze through. Something no shark could possibly do! So in he went.

      Unfortunately for the octopus, his new lair wasn't quite as empty as he thought. Even mixed with the sea water, the rum from the half full bottle was still quite potent. Several hours later, when the octopus got hungry, he discovered none of his tentacles wanted to do quite what he said. They went every which way, splaying out around him and he couldn't get anywhere. Three even got so tangled that he couldn't pull them apart.

      The only good news was, for the first time in his life, he had no fear whatsoever of sharks. He didn't think about sharks, not once, during the seemingly endless time it took, hanging there, to untangle his tentacles. But by the time he did, a small school of fish had wandered into the wreck. So he had a great dinner and climbed back into his bottle.

      Kind of scary, huh?

    2. OMG, that is hilarious... lucky octopus, indeed, Karen! Perspective and attitude are so important in life (and a little rum never hurt)... If these projects are the result of talking to yourself, I hope you will continue to do so. Scary? Naw, just scary beautiful!

  2. fantastic and so very original

  3. Karen I love the necklace, earrings and extra credit! :) You do such wonderful work!

    1. Thanks Judy! You sent such wonderful beads and baubles for me to work with!

  4. Such a talented bead-er...gorgeous pieces! Great octopus story too!

  5. What a spectactular necklace, Karen -- I love your creation and the different colors you worked with. All the soup offerings are fantastic, and a tribute to your incredible talent!

  6. Oh wow that is amazing! So inventive and organic and beautiful!

  7. this is why i love coming here when i can...Beautiful! Free! Flowing! Fun! and i love the touches of wire. Another spectacular Karen Piece :-)

  8. I love your finished piece. And the rummy octopus story too ofcourse!!

  9. I'm not sure which I love more -- the necklace or the story to go with it! From one storyteller to another, I don't think it's scary at all -- just awesome. :)

  10. Extra credit made me smile, just because of the name. Your soup turned out well. I bet it lays beautifully.

  11. Lovely bead work...such lovely creations!! Nice job!

  12. I can't do free form for the life of me. My inner control freak needs symmetry. I imagine it's quite liberating. Beautiful work :)

  13. I just love it when the beads speak. Great job!

  14. Simply stunning! You did an amazing job!!!

  15. Very impressed- looks amazing!

  16. Great job!
    I love the earrings and beaded bead pendant.

  17. Great job with your soup ingredients! I'm impressed with your use of seed beads, they are such a challenge for me. The focal is an amazing color and I love that you thought of the sea, very creative. The seed bead pendant is fabulous; I think it's my favorite. Cheers!
    Lori D.

  18. Freeform is my favorite - no rules! Stunning necklace - congrats!

  19. What an awesomely quirky story.I meditate when I bead but nothing as fun as your story LOL YOur piece turned out wonderful considering he was a little drunk LOL Love and hugs Tanya

  20. I love your earrings!
    ciao dall'Italia

  21. Gorgeous Necklace! The colors are amazing.

  22. I love the necklace!! it's so airy!! You did a great job!!!

  23. free-form beadwork really amazing! cogratulations!

  24. I always think of you and freeform together -- you do it so well! Having a story behind your piece is so cool. I rarely have that! And I admire the work that goes into a piece like this!

    thanks for coming to the party!

  25. Bead weavers always amaze me. You are no different. Great soup by a great artist.

  26. Wow, that is a lot of beadwork. But it turned out very nice. I have a love affair with Jasper, too. And my partner sent me a fabulous jasper focal for my soup.

  27. I always love seeing your beautiful freeform bead work. It is truly inspired. Great job!

  28. Great job. Lovely beadwork. I love freeform beading!

  29. Beautiful designs,and colour I love the necklace!!!

  30. Beautiful designs and colors, awesome bead work and love seeing the work in progress photos.

  31. I love the blue and brown together. The bead work is amazing.

  32. I absolutely love your designs, I too tell myself stories as I bead (if only I could put those to paper) and your story of the sea is so perfect for you necklace. It truly does look like all elements of the briny deep. Gorgeous work.

  33. What an original necklace, I love it very much!

  34. I don't know if it's the driftwood or the actual design, but I totally get that seaside feeling from your piece too. It's lovely. The earrings and beaded bead pendant you also made are really wonderful as well!

  35. My jaw dropped at the first piece! I love the color, movement, and texture in this beadwoven necklace! Of course the other pieces are great too, but I keep going back up to the first one. Love the name you chose too!

  36. When I first saw the first piece, I thought this was perfect for Syrena, the timid mermaid in Pirates of the Caribbean installment. These are all lovely pieces that certainly remind us of the underwater. That necklace just exudes magical aura that's perfect for a getup with character.

  37. you necklace is really well named, a beautiful creation and very innovativ!!
    super job, congrats!!

  38. Amazing free form necklace and love your beaded bead necklace - great designs!!

  39. Wow looks hard to make - love the ensemble!

  40. Absolutely fabulous! Love the "wrack and ruin" name, too. ;)

  41. I love your briny design! The many strands of seed beads remind me of the seaweed strewn tide lines. I love the earrings too!

  42. Nice! Thanks for showing your process! Love that last beaded bead too!

  43. Beautiful! The delicacy of the freeform gives perfect focus to the great jasper focal - doesn't overwhelm, just highlights and enhances. (And the demented octopus comment made me snort laugh...not terribly ladylike of me...) It's taking me forever to work my way through this hop, but your pieces were worth the journey!

  44. I love your necklace and its name suits perfectly. And I love the story of the demented octopus, can just imagine what got you thinking along those lines! Cute earrings too!