I don't make beads or cabochons myself, so I am completely in awe of the people who do. I have ideas for beads, but as is always the case there's just not enough time to execute all the ideas I have. So I satisfy myself by finding extraordinary beads created by bead artists, and then I try to do them justice in my beadwoven creations.
Two artists whose work I really admire are Dee Wilder (Malodora) and Lisa Peters (LisaPetersArt). I drool over their new pieces every time I see them on flickr or on Etsy, and despite the fact that I DO NOT NEED another bead, I can't resist adding to my collection. Not that they're the only artists whose beads I love, but theirs are the beads and cabs I've used most recently.
I finished and listed Kalliope a little more than a week ago using one of Dee's Natasha beads as the focal. The bead has shades of dark teal, pale mint green, a tiny bit of purple, and black; so I made four ndebele ropes using those colors and braided them (thanks to my grandfather for teaching me to four-braid) to create this asymmetrical necklace.
Just last night I finished a necklace, very different than anything I've created before, using one of Lisa Peters' gorgeous raku cabochons. Lisa's going to be exhibiting at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee at the end of this month (booth 1213), and she sent me two cabs so I could make something for her to use at the show to demonstrate how her pieces can be used. This is the first one I've completed, so now I'm under the gun to make something with the second cab. (At least I have an idea for what I'm going to do, even though I haven't picked up a bead yet!)
This piece (which is called Cybele, the name of the Phrygian goddess of fertility and nature, later worshipped by the Greeks and Romans) was great fun for me. I started out with a very different idea, but then I kept looking at the cab and seeing the earthy colors in it, so I decided to use some of the many pieces of driftwood I've collected from my walks on the Lake Michigan shores. (And my husband's happy that I'm finally using some of it.) I added a few coats of clear acrylic to seal the driftwood and make it shiny, and the addition of the acrylic brought out more of the wood's colors so it wound up matching the cab even more. I had the perfect bunch of beads to use -- metallic lined delicas in shades of olive and gold. Then it was just figuring out how to put it all together. I didn't want any one aspect to overpower, so I used varying widths of peyote strips to hold it all together. The back of the cab is covered with a piece of really soft brown leather.
I actually get to go to the B&B show this year, so I'll get to see how Lisa exhibits this. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be walking away from her booth with a melted credit card and a really heavy box...
You can see more pictures of this piece in my flickr photostream. And you can see more of Lisa's work in her photostream.