Thursday, June 24, 2010


Vintage bronze pieces from Ghana. These came from a wonderful African man named Ebrima who with his wife has a store in Oberlin,Ohio called Bead Paradise. My friend Gail introduced me to them a few years ago. It's one of my favorite stops at the show. I'd love to visit their shop one day. These pieces will be used as pendants, combined with my handmade bronze chain and some of the wonderful quartz, jade and lapis that I bought.

Not ancient, even though they look like it. This is lampwork by Joanne Zekowski. I met Joanne in Santa Fe. I think her beads are some of the coolest I've seen (and touched).

More beautiful lampwork, this time by Angi Graham. I am usually so focused on gemstones that I often blow right by great lampwork. Thanks to Gail for pointing these out to me. I bought another beautiful piece of lampwork from my friend Melissa Rediger of Sea of Glass that's not pictured here because I'm in the process of making a pendant out of it. Maybe a photo tomorrow.

Hardware from Urban Remains, found on Gail and my field trip to Chicago. I've never had dirtier hands in my whole life.

Cabochons by the fabulous Gary Wilson, who is always my first stop at Bead and Button. Clockwise from the left, Crazy Lace Agate, Rhodochrosite, Chrysocolla.

More cabs from Gary Wilson. Clockwise from the left, 2 Rulitated Quartz, Native Copper, Hematite Ammonite. The copper piece is really special. It is from the old copper smelting operations in Michigan. The firebricks from inside the kilns became infiltrated by copper after many years of use. The white spots in the copper are remnants of the fire brick. Gary is well known for finding the beauty in the unusual.

One of my favorite things in the world, Lapis. This is from Afghan Tribal Arts. The owner Abdul is a wonderfully knowledgeable person who's lots of fun to chat with.

Ancient quartz beads from Bead Paradise. They are from the Djenne people in Mali and were fabricated 2000 years ago. When I was in college, I spent a lot of time studying African art. Some of my favorite objects in the Stanley Collection (the University of Iowa's unsurpassed collection of African Art) were the objects made by the Djenne. I am humbled by the thought that I own something that they made. I'm in awe of these. I'll need to make something befitting them. The beautiful green beads are jade from Afghanistan, from Afghan Tribal Arts.

More from Gary Wilson. Clockwise from the top, Highly polished Flint (can you believe that?), 2 fossil Coral cabs to make into rings, Turquoise from S and S Lapidary in Tennesee.

African Opal cabs from S and S Lapidary.

Very inexpensive slabs of polished Crazy Lace Agate to practice the prong settings that I learned in Susan Kazmer's class. Beautiful, and only 3 bucks a piece!

Rhodocrosite from Gary Wilson, Turquoise and Brecciated Jasper from S and S Lapidary.

A fancy new German-style goldsmith's Fretz hammer that I got from Joe Silvera, who shares my love of hammers.

A huge piece of Pyrite/quartz from Gary Wilson.

This is a hollow, carved quartz crystal skull done by Gary Wilson. This is drilled as a bead, and truly is a miniature work of art. It looks huge in this picture, but is about the size of a dime.

Ancient Djenne Apatite beads from Mali, purchased from Bead Paradise. I love these. They are quite large, one about the size of a quarter and the other fifty cent sized. These will be great as focal beads with handmade bronze chain and bead caps.

Another view of the Crazy Lace Agate, because I love it.

I know it looks like a lot, but truthfully, I was very restrained. I had a good idea of what I wanted to look for at the show and I mostly stuck to it, though I did go a bit wild in Gary Wilson's booth! The first couple of years at Bead and Button, I wandered around like a crazed person buying what ever caught my fancy. It's really overwhelming when you haven't been there before. It's amazing to see how my taste in what I buy has changed over the years.
I have a show coming up in August at Brucemore for which I will need a lot of finished jewelry, so the timing of my purchases couldn't be better. Of course, it will be hard to let all of these things go, and yet I will. Though, I think that the skull and a few pieces of the lapis, quartz, and apatite might have to be mine.