Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Gentle Reminder :: What the Bead Soup Blog Party is all about.

This is the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party® and I am so thrilled to experience the excitement this event brings.  It's always a thrill to wonder what will show up in your mail box to create with.

That being said, every now and then I like to stop and make sure we're all on the same page.  It's been a while since I've done that so I thought I would talk about some things and make sure I'm still presenting the BSBP as it was intended to be.

Earrings I made in BSBP6 with lampworked head pins I was sent.

First, please know that I have no control over what your partner chooses to send.  I lay out the rules and photo examples in many places -- here, in the Bead Soup Cafe, in the "here is your partner email", and of course, at sign up.   When I pair people, there are many things I take into consideration first:

  1. Where the person lives
  2. Where the person wants to swap (overseas, etc)
  3. What reveal a person wants
  4. If the person is a seed beader, if they want to swap with a seed beader
  5. If the person makes beads, I try not to pair them with someone who makes the same thing.
  6. I try not to match anyone with someone they've had before, not just in the BSBP, but in other swaps I've hosted.

From BSBP5 -- I chose just one bead from the Bead Soup I received and used beads and chain from my own stash to create the rest of the necklace.  From this soup, I made many pieces.

Something I've learned in life is never, ever to judge a book by its cover.  While some people start their blogs just to do the party, others are long-time bloggers.  That doesn't mean that one or the other is a "better" swapper.  A person may have an enormous stash or make exquisite beads but not send  what you might think they would.  On the other hand, a person who is just starting out beading may send the most amazing Bead Soup you've ever seen.

There is flat out no way of knowing what you will get.  And that is something you have to be prepared for.  

From BSBP6.  I do not normally work with earthtones.  I chose a piece of copper to back up the gemstone pendant (don't forget about layering, adding extra beads, and the like as ways to enhance a focal).  In the bottom picture, I used polymer clay beads from my own stash to complete the look.  The ceramic diamond cubes and the Czech glass was part of the soup I received.

If you receive beads and don't know what to do with them, try to look at them in an entirely different way.  If you work in, say, vintage and are given wildly colorful, funky lampwork beads, embrace the challenge.  Don't be upset you didn't get a vintage soup!  I tell people to make up their soups before they get their partners for a reason -- I WANT you to work outside your comfort zone.  This is when you can really pull out your "I'm an ARTIST!" name tag and show you can work with anything.

From BSBP6.  I created a pendant with the wrapping paper my soup came in. 

If you are stumped, by all means, email me with a photo.  I have yet to meet a soup I couldn't figure out something.  Remember:

  • You MUST use the focal and the clasp. 
  • However, you do not have to use them in the same piece (you can make one piece or thirty -- it's up to you).
  • Dig into your own stash to add your own flavor to the soup you got.  Add salt and pepper, so to speak.   
  • You don't have to make jewelry!  In the past, people have made fan pulls, purses, and other pieces of art.

From BSBP6.  I made a keychain with a focal.  My soup also included the glass teardrops and the cording.

Let this blog hop help you grow in some way, be it in design, color theory, photography, or blogging.   Don't forget to get to know your partner a bit along the way, and that there is a Facebook group you can join -- it's a great place to share and learn!

And finally, you are allowed to do what you wish with your piece -- keep it, sell it, donate it, or present it to a magazine for a tutorial.

As always, let me know if I can help.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.


  1. Thank you Lori for all your hard work. I hope that things are going better for both you and Zach!


  2. i am so excited about what i have received and look forward to the reveal! xoxo

  3. Couldn't agree with this post any more! For those of us who don't know about the BSBP, THIS is it summed up beautifully :)

    1. Kayla totally used my words to sum up that I feel the same about this challenge. It is the creative journey that we are all taking part in and the results and challenges should be engaging and interesting for us all. Thank you for the out-of-the box suggestions that others may over-look. We should be looking at this as a creative growth experience on many levels.

  4. Thanks Miss Lori for all your hard work....xox

  5. This is my first BSBP and I'm loving it. Thank you!

  6. Great reminder, Lori.
    What is fun about this BSBP and Kalmbach's this fall is getting things I would not normally buy for myself. It's great to challenge myself with new materials.
    Thank you again for your hard work and dedication.

  7. I understood from the start what BSBP was about, and that is exactly why I joined. I am eager to be pushed out of my comfort zone since I believe it will make be a better artist and boost my creativity. Thanks for restating the goals.

  8. At first I was stumped by what my partner sent me as I don't do pastels or really shiny beads very often. So I decided to take and Artsy Path. That works for me. To some people it might not be the most wearable piece but I am having a blast doing that. Because I love to recycle materials I added that to the mix and that has gotten my creative juices flowing. I have one piece done and I really like it. If you are stumped ask yourself what you can add to the soup to make it yours and play to your strengths. Now I have some more to do and one bead is particularly challenging for me so I am sitting on it for now for the vision to come through. I am again going to play to my strengths here to and use the same approach as the one piece already made. I am looking forward to seeing what comes.

  9. This is a great post thanks for letting us know how this works. I love the fact that we are challenged to make something we usually would not make :) I love my soup I received and I hope my partner likes the one I sent. I have to say I was a little worried she might not like it but I sent all the things I would love to get like you said. Now I am in the process of making things and I wonder is there a certain date to post our finished product or do we just post them whenever? Thanks for all your hard work! I think we should definitely give you a big hand for putting this on!!! Your awesome!

    1. You have to post on a specific date. Dates are listed in the banner of this blog, and your reveal group is mentioned in the partner email. (There are also blog posts with the different reveal date groups.)

  10. Thanks Lori, There is a lot of work in this bead soup. I'm thrilled to be part of the fun!

  11. Lori, Thanks so much for all you have been doing to keep things rolling it's not easy keeping the pluses on such a project. I'm thrilled to be a part of this BSBP as a first timer I have enjoyed reading the blogs of other like minded people. Deanna

  12. Thank you for this gentle reminder. I think it's easy to get intimidated when participating in any event with this many jewelry artists...but if you think of it as about fun and helping your muse to stretch, the fear falls away. I hope people aren't complaining about the soups they receive--I would rather get something I normally wouldn't buy myself to force me out of my zone. I think this is one of the best exercises I have done for myself as an artist!

  13. Thanks for posting this. I am so nervous about the whole thing, but I know when I feel over whelmed I can re read this post and know I have options and that it will be okay.

  14. Great reminder. I'm 100% with you. An artist's challenge is to make beautiful things with ANYTHING. It's always okay to think/do/create outside of the box!

  15. Thanks for the clarification/reminder. I'm going to have fun w/the whole thing. I hope to expand my horizons, make a friend or two and ease up on myself. I hope my partner likes what she got because what she sent me ROCKS!

    Thanks for doing what you do.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!