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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Every piece has a story....

Native Americans are storytellers.  They grow up hearing stories told over and over again.  Many of the stories are true, historical stories told to preserve the history and knowledge of the people.

Some of the stories are not true.  But they tell of an event from a non-scientific perspective which can bring us understanding and healing.

Everything has a story.  Rocks, trees, mountains, streams, animals and people all have a story to tell.

Even the jewelry that we make tells stories.  How the piece was made is one story.  The properties of the stones and metals that you choose to incorporate in the piece is another story.  Even the animal images and decorative designs that you use can communicate a message. 

We can connect with each other through the sharing of our stories.  I think the key for us as jewelry makers is to find the best way to share these stories with our customers.

When I create a piece of jewelry, I try to learn the properties of the stones that I am using.  I want to be sure that I use elements that are harmonious.  When I put the item on my sale table, I display it with a card like this:
Display card for "Iron Tiger"

and this:

Display card for "Purple Passion" necklace

These cards tell the stories of the stones that I have incorporated in two of my wire wrapped pieces.  (If you would like to see them, just click on the link below the photo).

When I design a beadweaving pattern, I also try to tell a story about the motifs that I choose.  I include some of the information on the pattern itself.  Some of the story also appears on the site where my pattern is displayed and still more of it will often appear here in my blog when I introduce a new piece. 

Several of my fellow beaders have told me that they enjoy learning the stories of my patterns.  If you enjoy the stories, I bet your customers would also enjoy hearing them.  So why not share them? 

Here are some ideas to help you share stories.
  1. Make cards to use on your display so the piece can tell the story if you are working with another customer.
  2. Make smaller cards to put in the package with the piece when you sell it.  Then the customer can take the story with them.
  3. Strike up a conversation with your customers when you see they are interested in a piece.  If you have something special to tell them about that piece, it might make it even more appealing to them.
I hope this information will encourage you to tell the stories of your jewelry to your customers.  Teach them and preserve the knowledge that we have as jewelry makers and human beings.

Blessings,
Beth


original Native-style beadweaving patterns are available at:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Native... in my heart!

I have been told that my family has Native American roots.  But I have yet to be able to prove it.  Although I have looked, the connection seems to ellude me.  But, my Native American friends, tell me that is not just about my bloodline, but also about what is in my heart.  And I can tell you, my heart is very native.

I live my life trying to make the smallest footprint possible.  Ask my family, nothing in my house goes to waste.  I save the smallest bits of fabric and leather.  Stray beads are collected and used in collage pieces, and leftovers... well, I am the queen of "Let's see what happens when we mix this with this."  Usually, we are not disappointed.

Well, in the Native community, everyone has a place and a purpose.  And my "family" has put my beadwork skills to work.  One of the projects that I am honored to do for my family members is a beaded feather quill.


I think I was asked to do my first one about two years ago.  It was an Eagle Feather that had been gifted as an anniversary gift.  The quill was very fragile and the couple wanted me to bead it to help protect it. 

I wanted to be sure that I did it "right" so I started by doing research about beaded quills.  I visited several native sites, and took my inspiration from their teachings.

I learned that the beadwork should reflect the individual.  So I set about designing a pattern that represented my friends.  I can't show photos of that feather here, because it would be disrespectful.  But I can tell you that it incorporated the 4-colors of the Lakota Tradition (for the man) and a blue sky (for the lady).

Since then, I have done several others for family members, and I have designed a few that I have published as patterns.  Here are three that I have available now.  (please note:  the feathers in these photos are all hand-painted reproduction feathers.)


                             The Four-color Zig Zag Feather quill features the four colors of the Lakota
                              Tradition (black, red, yellow and white) and a medium blue background color.



                                     In honor of our Vietnam Veterans, I designed this quill which
                                     features a design similar to their service ribbon and flag.
 Welcome Home!


And my newest quill pattern:


                                      Turtle medicine reminds us to slow down and take a
                                      look at the place where we find ourselves. 

These one-page patterns feature full color beading charts, color keys, suggested colors and bead counts, and instruction on preparing your feather for beading.  They are all available at www.beadpatternsboutique.com/catalogue.php and http://www.thebeadcoop.com/

I would love to have you bounce by and take a look.

Blessings,
Beth


Monday, March 8, 2010

Just one class...

That’s all it took for me to be hooked on yet another passion.  As if quilting, sewing, beading and baking were not enough for one person.  Now, I had found “WIRE WRAPPING” and I love it.

My teacher was a very patient lady and I was blessed to be the only one in the class.  She was conservation minded, just like me, so she did not mind that I felt compelled to save every last scrap of the sterling silver wire that I had to cut off.  She showed me a lot of pieces that she had done, then encouraged me to be creative.

Since then, I have gone on to wrap a lot more stones and create a lot more necklaces.  If you were to ask me “Which comes first? the Pendant or the Necklace design?”  I would tell you that 99.99% of the time it is the pendant that comes first.  I love to collect beautiful stone.  Some are semi-precious and some are not.  As I make the pendants and necklaces, I try to learn something about the stones and their meanings and properties.  I try to share that information when I share the pieces with others.

Here are a two of my latest pieces.  They are all for sale at www.beadpatternsboutique.com/catalogue.php in my Designer Jewelry category (Bouncing Wolf Creations)



I am attracted to Tiger’s Eye and when I saw this beautiful 1.75 inch Tiger Iron donut with all of it’s added pink and peach colors, I had to wrap it.  I used four strands of square sterling silver wire for the wrap and the bail accents.

Tiger's Eye is a symbol of Commitment, Strength, Creativity and Courage. It is said to help the wearer focus through pain and stress. It sharpens your perception, focus & clarity. It balances & brings prosperity.

The 19.75 inch necklace features 4mm Tiger Eye beads, Tiger Eye nuggets, base metal spacers, and 8/0 glass beads. The clasp is sterling silver. It is strung on 19 strand nylon coated stainless steel wire.  This is a one-of-a-kind piece.


Necklace and Earrings


Lapis Lazuli is a semi precious stone prized for its deep blue color. It is said to have the ability to increase the wearers psychic ability, virility and calm. It enhances creative self-expression, making it a great stone for teachers and speakers.

The pendant in this one-of-a-kind piece features a 1.5 inch Lapis donut wrapped in four strands of square sterling silver wire. The bail decorations include twisted wire rosettes, a sworovski crystal bicone and sterling silver beads.

The 20 inch necklace is strung on 19 strand nylon coated stainless steel wire and features 4mm and 8 mm Lapis beads, Czech glass beads, sterling silver spacers and a heart-shaped sterling silver toggle clasp.

The matching earrings are 2 inches long and feature 4mm Lapis beads, and Czech glass bead. The ear wire are sterling silver.

This is a one-of-a-kind set.

Hope you like what you see.  If you would like to see some more, check out my Designer Jewelry page at www.beadpatternsboutique.com/catalogue.php.  I offer free Priority Shipping to the US and Canada.  But, don’t be afraid to ask for international shipping.  We can work something out.

Thanks for looking and sharing with me.

Blessings,
Beth “Bouncing Wolf” Rudy
Original Native-style bead weaving patterns available at:
www.beadpatternsboutique.com/catalogue.php & http://www.thebeadcoop.com/

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And I don't even smoke....

Why would a person who does not smoke spend so much time creating beaded lighter covers?  Good question.  Here are my answers.
  • Lighters are a handy tool for everyone.  They are not just for smokers.
  • A lot of people around me smoke and ask me for a light
  • If my lighter is has a beaded cover, I know it is mine.  It's harder for someone else to pocket.
  • I can make an ugly lighter look a lot more attractive by beading the cover.
Lighters are not just for smokers.  They are a useful tool.  I use mine in my crafting.  They are great for fusing a rope or cord, and they can also melt the cut end of a piece of ribbon to keep it from fraying.  When we are camping, I use my lighter to light camp fires and citronella candles.  And around my house, I use my lighter to illuminate the candles that I have all over the house.  They are much easier to use than a pack of matches.  So I like to keep them all over the house.


When I am at pow-wow's in the spring, summer and fall, I am surrounded by people who smoke.  You would be surprised at how often I am asked for a "light".  When I share my plain lighter, I often don't get it back.  However, when I share a beaded lighter, I can very easily claim it as mine.  Although I must admit that sometimes it makes it harder to get back because of the bead work.


My beaded lighter covers also give me a great way to show-off and share my beading passion.  Lighter covers also help me to personalize and unify my accessories.  They make great gifts for the smokers and candle lovers in my life.  They are quick and easy to make and can be done in almost any style.

Lighter covers are not just for smokers.  They are a useful tool for anyone.  You don't have to carry a plain, ugly lighter.  Bead a beautiful, creative cover and you'll be proud to carry a lighter too!

The photos in the post include (top to bottom) "Wolf Tracks", "Turtle Tracks", "Bear's Paw" and "Owl".  I have several other designs in the works right now.  The list includes Horseshoe, Gecko and Feathers.  If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please e-mail me or leave me a comment.

Blessings,
Beth
Bouncing Wolf Creations

beading weaving patterns can be found at
www.beadpatternsboutique.com/catalogue.php &
http://www.thebeadcoop.com/

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