Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Art Bead Collection: A Bug's Life...

Over the years, I've amassed quite the collection of art beads and jewelry components.  I thought it might be fun to start up a series of blog posts that take a peek into my private collection.  But where to start?  After so many years of serious collecting, the prospect of diving in and documenting all my treasures is a little daunting.  I decided to start off small.  One might say, small as a bug!  It's summer and that means it's prime time for our tiny bug friends.  During the day, when I'm out in the garden, I'll see caterpillars inching along, beetles scuttling about, and butterflies drunkenly dipping from flower to flower.  In the early evenings, the twilight is punctuated with the glow of fireflies.  And if you're quiet, you can hear the hushed thudding beat of moth wings against the porch light, crickets playing their chirping leg violins, and the electric trilling and buzz of cicadas. So why not start with a sampling of art beads inspired by the insect world?
Anne Choi
This sterling silver barrel bead was created by Atlanta-based metalsmith, Anne Choi.  I love pieces so much!  They're inspired by little snatches of literature and poetry or motifs she discovered through her background in antiques and folklore.

Wendy Wallin Malinow
I think that Portland-based artist, Wendy Wallin Malinow, originally intended this to be a holiday ornament, but this laser-cut and printed wooden pendant is too nice not to admire all year long.

Gina Chalfant
Pittsburgh-based artist, Gina Chalfant of White Swan Illuminations, uses ceramic decals that she's drawn herself to adorn this honey-colored ceramic pendant.  When Gina isn't using her decals, she also creates hand-glazed vases and tableware based off Medieval and antiquarian inspirations.

Bob Burkett
Bob Burkett, located in California, has inspired a generation of metalsmiths.  This double scarab bead is made out of cast sterling silver.  You can see the influence of the swirling arabesques of Art Nouveau on his work.

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Intrigued by fantasy, folktales, and mythic arts, Delaware-based artist Jenny Davies-Reazor, uses nature to fuel her ceramic and mixed media creations.  This moth pendant is made of ceramic and is embellished with lovely, satiny matte glazes.

Heather Powers
Artwork and nature play a big role in the work of Heather Powers of Humble Beads.  This author and artist uses polymer clay and mixed media jewelry making techniques to express her unique interpretations.  This cicada pendant was crafted out of polymer clay.

Kerri Fuhr
Canada-based artist, Kerri Fuhr, uses molten glass, heated with the flame of a torch, to make beads like this butterfly one.  To capture this painterly style, she mixes sculpture and drawing techniques.
LeaAnne Hartman Edwards
Do you like moving things?  This mixed metal pendant by Albuquerque-based artisan LeaAnne Hartman Edwards is articulated!  The body is made out of a metal alloy called shibuichi, which is a mix of copper and silver.  The wings are made of cast sterling silver.  You can usually find LeaAnne's work through Maureen Henriques of Pumpkin Hill Beads.

Diane Hawkey
Hailing from Detroit, artist Diane Hawkey utilizes her unique aesthetic and artistic sensibilities to transform ceramic clay into little works of art.  This cicada pendant is an example of her mastery of the medium.

Dwayne Thornton
Speaking of shibuichi, this elaborate focal pendant was made by my brother, Dwayne Thornton, out of this unique material.  Shibuichi, depending on how it is treated, can take on deep cherry reds, nutty browns, steely grays, or rainbowy silvers.  He doesn't make jewelry components much these days, but every now and then he'll make new work.

Weren't these fun?  I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into collection!  Do you have a favorite art bead maker who creates bug-inspired work?  I'd love to hear!  This is just the first of many posts highlighting some of my favorites from my collection and scratches the surface of the hoard. I plan to add more curated selections as time goes on, exploring different themes, mediums, and techniques.  

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