Bead Soup – an introduction


For the first time ever, I’m participating in Bead Soup!

Pretty Things - Bead Soup Blog Party

Those in the beading world will know that Bead Soup is the ne plus ultra of bead blog hops. It’s the brain child of Lori Anderson of Pretty Little Things and is hugely popular. This year is the 7th edition and features more than 500 participants from all over the world.

The idea behind Bead Soup is pretty ingenious. Beaders are paired up and each pair exchanges a selection of beads. Each person then creates a piece of jewelry from the “soup mix” sent by their partner.  Each mix must contain a focal bead and a clasp, but the rest is up to the imagination (and stash) of their partner.  On a pre-determined date, the final product is revealed on each person’s personal blog.  Given the large number of participants, this time around there are three “reveal” dates between the end of March and mid-April.

For someone like me, who loves jewelry and beading blogs, the Bead Soup Blog Hop is a huge smorgasboard of ideas and creativity. It’s possible to spend several days roaming from blog to blog, just checking out what people have made. While not every piece is to my taste, I do admire the originality of the designs.

Although I’ve followed Bead Soup for several years, I’ve never participated. For one, each participant has to have her/his own blog – I didn’t set up mine until last year.  Truthfully, I was also seriously intimidated – a good number of the regular participants are professional jewelry and/or bead artists. Their work appears regularly in magazines and some of them have authored books on aspects of beading. These people make a living being creative. A rather hard act to follow for someone who dabbles in several types of crafts (jewelry, sewing, knitting, scrap booking, etc). It`s fair to say, I haven’t really mastered any one genre. Basically, I just like to make stuff.

However, I also like a challenge. When I signed up for sewing lessons, I bypassed the beginner project (a tote bag) and went right to the Level 3 class. Since my dress isn’t actually even cut out yet, I may have over-reached just a bit, but I learned a lot. Plus, I re-discovered that sewing is fun.

I’m not a total newbie to bead blog hops. Last year, I participated in Erin Prais-Hintz’s Challenge of Travel Blog Hop. I’ve also participated in a couple of Art Bead Scene’s monthly challenges (including this month, if my focal bead arrives in the mail on time). But Bead Soup is another level of challenge altogether. My beading muse tends to run hot and cold. We can go for weeks without speaking. This is where dabbling comes in handy – I can always make a card or knit a scarf, while the bead muse is off inspiring someone else.  However, Bead Soup comes with a deadline. Muse or no muse, I have to make a piece of jewelry and write a blog post by April 13th (I decided to play it safe and sign up for the final reveal).

While I’m a little nervous, I’m also excited. I get to experiment and play around with beads. Since I have bo idea what I`m getting, right now it`s tabula rasa –  the possibilities are endless. I also get the pleasure of seeing what another beader creates from what I sent her. I’m partnered with Marina Kosavic, who is from Serbia. Our beading styles are very different – Marina works primarily with seed beads. I put her package in the mail earlier this week and I’m crossing my fingers that she’s happy with the contents. I`m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

Stay tuned – I`ll post an update as soon as my bead soup arrives and tell you more about Marina.


10 responses »

  1. All skill levels welcome to this party. Maybe you’re the newbie now. Hopefully you get a partner that can teach you a few things. Maybe the next time you’re the one who has skills to share with someone else. We all start somewhere. I’ve been doing metal work for less than a year, but even in that short time I’ve acquired some skills. My partner has never done metal work. I get to be the teacher. She’s a marketing guru. Things there I can learn from her. We all win! : )

    P.S. – You can borrow my muse. She won’t let me sleep.

  2. This sounds like such a great idea. I know nothing about beading or jewelry making but I do love a swap. Are the red and turquoise beads in the pictures the ones you’ll be working with? Looking forward to checking out your creations.

    • The beads in the picture are examples selected by the organizer, Lori Anderson. The really cool thing about Bead Soup is you don’t know what you’re getting – it’s up to your partner. We’re asked not to share pictures of what we send until later so it’s a surprise. So neither Marina nor I will know what we’re getting until the parcel arrives.

  3. It’s my first bead soup too! The thing about beaders is everyone is accepted at any level of skill and any type of technique! One can’t go wrong! It’s about a shared passion. I like your blog and love birdie!! – Debi

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