Monday, October 19, 2009

Yowza--Free Beads!

Wow, what a gift! I had to blog about it.
Recently I received an incredible gift of beads from a student of mine, Laura Bittner of Antelope Beads. While teaching a workshop series at the Bead Weasel in Midland, Michigan last August (to read about it, visit my previous post), I was fortunate to meet Laura and her family. They have a wonderful family business selling beads and components at bead shows across the US as well as through their Web site.
During class one day, Laura said to me: "I'm going to send you some of my beads, I really want you to try them." She was as good as her word! Above you can see a selection of Tagua Nut beads in delicious colors that Laura thought I might like (yes, love them!) but no photo can do them justice. They are brightly colored, polished and very lightweight (important for jewelry). Thank you, Laura!
In the same package, I received these gorgeous Kazuri Beads in some of my favorite colors. Kazuri are African clay beads: handmade, painted, glazed and fired by people in Kenya who make a fair living (read the full story here) by selling their creations through the Fair Trade Act. I strongly support purchasing Kazuri beads for your jewelry creations because they are not only beautiful and durable little works of art, but they also do much to support people who might not otherwise have any employment.
Laura also sent me some Metalcraft beads by DeZine (pictured above), which are handmade brass and copper components crafted in a small village in Africa. The selection you see here gives you an idea of how beautiful they are. I love them for ethnic-style jewelry! Can't wait to design my first necklace with some of these components.
Knowing that the sale of these items provides employment for women in Africa (20 percent of them are disabled) makes me feel very good about making jewelry. It's nice to know that you can help others simply by creating your art, and incorporating the art of others into your own creations.
Finally, on the same day (believe it or not) that I received so many free beads from Laura, I also received a package of resin beads in brand-new shapes from my friend Judy Tomsky at Natural Touch Beads.
I've been making jewelry with Judy's incredibly beautiful eye-candy beads for years now, and she has frequently sent me packets of free samples to try out as she obtains them in new sizes, shapes and colors. She sent me too many to photograph, so I just chose a few of the beads in some brand-new shapes to show here. If you haven't been to Judy's Web site recently, you must visit right away. Click here.
Thank you, Judy and Laura, for your kindness and generosity! It was a real treat to find such beautiful gifts in my mailbox, and I really appreciate it. I look forward to making some new creative jewelry with your beads.


seedlingsjewelry said...

I love the tagua nut beads -- I need to make some friends who make them, haha! I've seen the Kazuri beads at one of the bead shows that came through town and love their mission.

One source for Ghanaian beads that I've found recently is who also work with a small group of artisans in Somanya-Krobo.

Thank you for posting your photos!

Anonymous said...

Sharilyn -

Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing the story about our beautiful beads!

Antelope Beads

justaskanna said...

wow lovely beads, lucky you Sharilyn, I look forward to seeing how you use them.