Saturday, April 18, 2020

2020 Bead Peeps Swap N Hop REVEAL! 

Welcome to our annual Bead Peeps Swap N Hop Reveal!  This is the 6th year that we've joined this creative project; it's an event where beaders and jewelry designers partner up, swap beads, create and then showcase their creations in blog and social media hops.  Take a look below at the swap we sent and the swap we received!

Our partner this year was Rozantia Petkova from Bulgaria!  She is a regular jeweler blogger known for her accomplished wire work designs, especially creations with beautiful sea glass.  We were so excited to have her as our partner this year, her passion for her craft really shines through in her wonderful creations. ♥

We sent Rozantia a curated collection of beads that focused on gorgeous lampwork beads and a lampwork pendant made by the Dry Gulch gals.  We also sent glass, crystal and stones plus Shibuichi findings.  We can't wait to see what Rozantia creates with her Swap N Hop mix!


The beautiful components Rozantia sent us include amazing creations from Bulgaria!  This whimsical collection features pretty lampwork Angel Cat and Hamsa Hand beads from Petrovna Lampwork in Bulgaria, a cute hand painted pebble by Bulgarian artist Niuffa, a flower ceramic component from an artist in Kentucky, USA and finally a BEAUTIFUL hand wrapped sea glass pendant from Rozantia along with her own decoupaged washi tape wood beads.

Each of us tackled a specific item in this collection - the wide range of artisan pieces really made us think out of the box!

Also, we had a twist in the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop this year!  Participants had to add something colored in the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year to our projects.  The color is Classic Blue, so we sent metallic blue crystal beads for Rozantia's project, and she sent us a handmade washi tape bead in Classic Blue for our project.


Our first creation came from Gianna, our resident seed beader!  She used Rozantia's washi tape beads as beautiful accents for her design.  She was inspired by the Asian style the washi beads exhibited, so she hand forged an oriental inspired pendant out of iron wire and dangled a gorgeous mother of pearl "gong" pendant from it.  The beautiful Classic Blue bead in the pendant (as well as several beads in the chain) is Rozantia's washi tape creation.  Gianna also wired together two matching linked chain necklaces with vintage glass, freshwater pearls and blue Chalcedony stones.  To really bring a taste of the Orient to this design, she also incorporated several colors and shapes of lovely cloisonne beads! 

Next, Deborah tackled the brightly colored Hamsa Hand lampwork bead.  She hand knotted coordinating colors of beads using nylon cord and made a fun orange tassel for the pendant.  This bright and summery necklace features vintage Czech glass beads, blue Jade stones and a hand stamped "Good Vibes" brass charm from Catherine.  This necklace is actually a Mala, which is a design made with exactly 108 beads and used by ancient monks and modern yogis alike.  Fun fact, the warm pine wood beads in this Mala have been scented with delicious cedar.

The other artisan piece was a fabulous black Angel Cat bead made by the same Bulgarian artists that created the Hamsa Hand focal.  Catherine loves to wear bracelets and earrings, so she incorporated the Angel Cat into a multi-strand boho leather bracelet.  We've actually featured this Gypsy Spirit bracelet design in several classes for our bead shows, but Catherine used copper glass rings and Czech wampum tubes to "weave" the leather cording in her Angel Cat bracelet.  The clasp features a gorgeous red and gold Czech glass button too.

Finally, Rozantia's beautiful wire wrapped sea glass focal didn't need much to create a gorgeous necklace!  In this collaboration, Deborah hand knotted olivine sea glass beads and sparkling crystals on nylon cord.  Catherine then forged the "bail" connector and the clasp from brass and copper wire to finish off the hand knotted necklace.  This necklace absolutely glows and we love the nature-like colors. ♥

Thank you all for viewing our 2020 Swap N Hop creations!  We want to send Linda Anderson of Bead Peeps a big thank you for hosting the 6th Annual Swap N Hop.  Don't forget to hop to all the links below to see what the other Swap participants created!

2020 Bead Peeps Swap N Hop Partners! 
NON Seed Beaders 
Catherine La Vite YOU ARE HERE!

 Seed Beaders 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Dry Gulch Weekly Pick ~ Amazonite Stones

Welcome to the Dry Gulch Weekly Pick!  Each week, the gals at Dry Gulch Beads & Jewelry feature a bead or component or color of the week, and this time we're showcasing the very beautiful stone Amazonite.  We'd love to see what YOU have created with Amazonite, let us know in the comments!

Amazonite is a gorgeous and classic stone that has been used in jewelry since ancient times.  A form of feldspar (a common mineral within the Earth's crust), Amazonite is a brilliant blue-green opaque stone that is also relatively soft, which makes it perfect for beadwork and carvings.  In the country of Jordan, archeologists discovered over 2,000 pieces of Amazonite jewelry dating from ancient times!

The word Amazonite is actually relatively knew, a mineralogist in the 1840s renamed the stone from its original title Microline.  It is believed he derived the name from the beautiful colors of the Amazon River and jungles in South America, however, there are no known mines of the stone in the Amazon.  Today, Amazonite is mostly found in Russia, Myanmar, India, Brazil and the USA.

There are several varieties of Amazonite, including Russian Amazonite which features a deeper green color with zebra-like white striping, and Flower Amazonite, which features earthy colors like black, rust and cream mixed with the blue-green colors.  Flower Amazonite is a variety of Amazonite mixed with minerals like black Tourmaline, white Albite, metallic Pyrite (rarely!) and other minerals.  It is technically considered a lower grade of traditional Amazonite, but the range of earthy colors paired with the lovely sky blues really make this variety a true show-stopper.  Other trade names for this stone are Rainbow Amazonite, Black Cloudy Amazonite and Black Gold Amazonite; it is usually mined in Africa.

Click our banner below to shop these gorgeous stones on our website!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Shabby Chic Necklaces from Dry Gulch

Happy New Year from Dry Gulch!  It's been a while since we've blogged, but we've been hard at work behind the scenes creating and making for a big and fabulous 2020!  We joined the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop again this year, which is a blog/social media hop event where we partner up with other beaders around the world to swap beads and then post the creations we make with them.  Be sure to check out the Facebook group for more info on this fun event!

In December 2019, we started doing our Dry Gulch Weekly Pick videos, which are short snippets and info bites of some of the beads and stones we carry on our website.  Be sure to take a look at our newest video this week here on our website.  Some of the jewelry we've created with past edition's Weekly Picks are displayed below, you'll notice that we have a love for soft colors like cream, clear and pastel as they're perfect for making designs that you can wear with any outfit.  Let us know which of these creations is your favorite in the comments below!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

2019 Bead Peeps Swap N Hop Reveal


Welcome to our 2019 Bead Peeps Swap N Hop Reveal!  We joined this event for its 5th running year; an event where beaders and jewelry designers partner up, swap beads, create and then showcase their creations in blog and social media hops. 

First, take a look at what we sent to our partner Sarah Auerbach from New York.  She likes to work with simple and striking styles, so we sent funky stones, crystals, vintage glass and our art solder pendant and links.  We can't wait to see what she created with the rustic and eclectic selection we sent!  We'll add a link here when she posts what she created for the 2019 Swap N Hop. 


Here is the collection of colorful beads that our partner Sarah sent us - it includes vintage glass, seed beads, brass stampings, and some very fun handmade comic book beads that our partner created.  There are 3 of us creating for this Swap, and we all have different styles of jewelry that we like to play with, so our partner sent us all different kinds of beads and findings to inspire us.

While we have seen comic book beads and some of the creations that artists use them in, we've never actually worked with them before, so we were very intrigued when we saw our partner's handmade ones in our swap collection.  We loved that they were so lightweight, so we knew they'd be perfect in earrings.  To keep in line with the lighthearted comic book theme, we created Wonder Woman chandelier earrings!  These bright and colorful earrings feature a filigree crown that we've adorned with Swarovski Volcano crystals and a brass star, etched Czech beads and hand stamped dangle rays that read "She Imagined It Was Who She Was Supposed To Be."  The comic books beads from our partner were made with Donald Duck comics, so we used a little Modge Podge to add our Wonder Woman comic book strips to the beads.  These earrings were a collaboration from Deborah and Catherine.


Our next creation was made by Gianna - she really created a beautiful seed beaded collar necklace using the triangle seed beads from our partner's swap.  This statement necklace features a lovely almost ombré effect as it changes colors from black, navy blue, silver and back to black again.  It also features tiny crystal beads as well as seed beads for even more sparkle!  Gianna used a right angle weave to create the net-like effect.


Thank you all for viewing our 2019 Swap N Hop creations!  We want to send Linda Anderson of Bead Peeps a big thank you for hosting the 5th Annual Swap N Hop.  Don't forget to hop to all the links below to see what the other Swap participants created!

Hope Smitherman
Catherine La Vite  YOU ARE HERE!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Art Bead Scene Art Journey 2 - Fairytales, Knotted Crystals and Art Solder

We've been working on some new jewelry designs and components for our upcoming shows and we found some fabulous inspiration by the creators at Art Bead Scene.  We joined their Art Journey 2 challenge this month, and we're excited to show you some of the designs that we were inspired to create!  For the Art Journey, creators are inspired by 3 Art Nouveau illustrations made in the early 1900s.  These beautiful works of art were created by Virginia Frances Sterrett and feature lovely colors, textures and elements reminiscent of fairy tales.

Our first design features gorgeous opalescent crystals and Czech glass cathedrals in colors found in the "Blondine and the Tortoise" - Gianna loves to match colors and we think she did a beautiful job pairing up the pretty blues and pale peaches.  The necklace was hand knotted by Deborah on nylon for a soft, supple look.  We also created lampwork headpins that we can't wait to design with - these pins are our new Unicorn Horn shape made by Catherine and they feature gorgeous mottled blues and greens similar to the Tortoise shell featured in the illustration. 

Our second design was inspired by "Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs", this pretty illustration features ocean and mermaid themes.  For our design, we again created a hand knotted necklace that features delicious ocean colors of crystal glass beads and cathedral cut Czech glass.  This necklace was designed by Gianna, and knotted by Deborah on a coral colored nylon cord. Our focal echos the coral in the illustration, it is a vintage piece of bright orange branch coral that Catherine topped with an art solder cap.  We used rubber stamps during the molten solder process and we love the barnacle-like texture that came about!


Our final design was inspired by the 3rd Art Journey illustration "Blondine Threw Her Arms Around Him" which features Art Deco elements and a lovely white deer.  This bold, geometric illustration prompted Gianna to put together many different kinds of crystal glass beads and Czech cathedrals that Deborah then hand knotted into a long, sparkly necklace.  The focal for this design features several handmade elements like a vintage chandelier teardrop and druzy quartz nugget that Catherine accented with art solder bezels and caps, and a lampwork glass leaf charm from Jennifer.  We have loved adding art solder elements to our designs, the textures are so much fun!


We have thoroughly enjoyed creating for the Art Journey.  Be sure to check out our entries at the Art Bead Scene gallery, and come see these jewelry designs and many more at our shows this spring in Kansas City, Joplin, Tulsa and Branson.  Don't forget, it all starts with one little bead!