"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"I'll Follow The Sun" ........................ ........................Bead Soup For Lori

"Light-enchanted sunflower,thou 
who gazeth ever true and tender 
on the sun's revolving splendour."  
  - Pedro Calderon de la Barca     

    One of the things I love about sunflowers is that there are so many different varieties.
    In every warm sunny shade you could possibly imagine.
    I think the bright fiery variegated ones are my favorite.

    Sunflowers are native to North America and have been around for at least 3000 years. Maybe even as long as 5000 years.
    They are quite the versatile plant.
    Their seeds and oil are both edible.
    An excellent source of Zinc, to keep the immune system strong.
    Vitamin B for a healthy nervous system.
    Even Vitamin E to help relieve stress.
    The leaves can be used for cattle feed and their stems contain a fiber that can be used in paper production.
    Their tap root can grow to as long as 6 feet in search of a water source to help withstand drought.
    Combined with the fact that they are annuals and can grow up to 12 feet tall in a single season with flower heads up to 12 inches across.
    I'd say that's a pretty renewable resource.

    Some varieties like the very rare King's Kong Giant Sunflowers claim to grow up to 24 feet tall.

   There are even records of sunflowers that allegedly grew up to 40 feet tall in 16th century Italy.
    Given the perfect Mediterranean climate, I wouldn't doubt that it's true.

    An interesting tidbit is that the florets in the center of a sunflower head always demonstrates perfection mathematical equations. Exhibiting the golden ratio with Fibonacci numbers to create perfect concentric spirals.
    Amazing that nature is so precise.
           I'm a closet science junkie, so this kind of stuff fascinates me.

                I'm a Leo. These are my flowers.

    My Bead Soup partner is Lori Bowring Michaud.
    I chose a sunflower theme for her  soup mix because Sunflowers have a very special personal significance for her.
    If you head on over to her blog, Artfully Ornamental,  and do a little back reading, she'll tell you all about it in her own words.

Variety is the Spice of Life!

"Follow The Sun" - by XAVIER RUDD
Follow, follow the sun
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done.
Breathe, breathe in the air.
Set your intentions.
Dream with care.
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,

Brand new moon, brand new sun.
So follow, follow the sun,
the direction of the bird,
the direction of love.
Breathe, breathe in the air,
cherish this moment,
cherish this breath.
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
brand new moon, brand new sun.
When you feel life coming down on you,
like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society,
adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest waters edge
remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.
So which way is the wind blowin',
and what does your heart say?
So follow, follow the sun,
and which way the wind blows
when this day is done...

    I had a blast making all sorts of components for Lori's soup. 
    I work in both copper and fiber so I made a mix of the two. 

Vintage glass & Coral Seed Beads
The Clasp:
    The hook is made from hammered 16 gauge copper wire with a vintage amber glass bead. The eye is a hammered copper washer, wire wrapped with coral seed beads.

"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows follow behind you."  
     - Maori Proverb     
I forged a couple of sunflower blossoms from copper scraps. These have holes drilled in both ends to use as links.
     A section of hand made chain. Fashioned from copper washers. They've been hammered for texture and character.
    I didn't want to solder the links closed, so it could still be taken apart if Lori should choose to use it in separate pieces. So I joined with them double jump rings for strength.

    Some hand spun Art Yarn with a wire core. 
    Felted beads with copper swirl bead caps. 
    Both spun and felted from the some fiber mix. A blend of Merino, Ramboulet, and Coopworth  wool, Mulberry silk, Sari silk, aluminum, Angelina fiber, Llama, and probably a few other things I've forgotten. 
    This kind of gives you an idea of the different effects you can get from working the wool fiber in different ways. 
    The bead caps were sculpted from 20 gauge copper wire and shaped on my dapping and doming block.
   I also tried my hand at resin for the first time. 
    I made a Treasure Box for Lori. To hold her memories, wishes, hopes, and dreams, close. 
Chocolate Sunflower
    An upcycled Burt's Bees lip balm tin. Decoupaged, and infused with with all the love and white light and magic to protect and manifest those things she holds dear.
Sunflower Faux Druzy
    Sprinkled with crushed Citrine for sparkle.
    The Focal:
   A sunflower faux druzy.
     The bezel is made from a slice of copper plumbing pipe, which I have "coerced" into an organic shape with my trusty hammer.
    The backing is forged from a piece of copper scrap.
    The faux druzy is made from crushed Citrine, with a darker Garnet and Obsidian center, set in  Ice Resin.
   The resin seemed to make the stones look darker. I wasn't expecting that, or I might have gone with a brighter colored gemstone.
     It was hard to get a good photograph, but the surface is quite sparkly. You glimpse a little bit more of that sparkle from the crushed citrine in the photo of the treasure box. 
    Some coordinating goodies:
Golden Pheasant Feathers & Printed Wood
Cultured Sea Glass & Vintage Luster Glass 

Venetian and Lampwork Glass 
"Bring me the plant that points to those bright Lucidites swirling up from the earth, and life itself exhaling that central breath! Bring me the Sunflower crazed with the love of light." 
   -Eugenio Montale

Tiara Glass Crystals for ZnetShows
I'm a design team member for ZnetShows, and every time I do a challenge they very generously gift me with lots of goodies.
    This is just a mere sampling of the collection of crystals I received for the last challenge.

A few gifts from the sea: Red and Golden branch Corals, red Mother of Pearl discs, and golden fresh water Pearls. 

A few gemstones to round out the mix: Mookaite, Mystic Quartz Crystal Points, A Dragon's Vein Agate egg, Carnelian rounds, Honey Jade rondelles, Red Jasper drops, and a carved orange Magnesite pumpkin.
 What sunflower patch could possibly be complete without a song bird.
 A sweet little black bird in polymer clay by Beady Eyed Bunny.
the Raven knows...
    The Raven knows the mystery of life. He is a master magician, whom embodies the energy of transformation and shows us how to eliminate our inner demons.
        In some Native American cultures the Raven is heralded as the Bringer of Light that escaped from the darkness of the cosmos. Thus associated with creation because it brought light where there was none.
    To other tribes the Raven is considered a gift of sunlight to mankind.
    Because the Raven is a carrion, it's said to have a special relationship between life and death and to carry messages to and from the great beyond.
I had a great time creating and gathering all the ingredients for Lori's soup. I do hope she enjoys working with them. I can't wait to see what she makes.
    The big reveal will be on Saturday, May 3rd.
    Don't miss it!
    Stay tuned and I'll reveal the soup I received from Lori next......
"I'll Follow The Sun" - the Beatles


 Happy Beading                    Adventures!

" True friends are like bright sunflowers that never fade away, even over distance and time." 
- Marie Williams Johnstone 



  1. The felted beads are beautiful with little caps and the sunflower themed items are super great. but I had great difficultly in reading your post, its so distracting with so many colors and width - if you could simply your template it would be really great

  2. Wow! I needed your post this morning. It is finally sunny, though cold this morning. I would love to be able to see a flower growing in this sunlight, but for now your beautiful components and photos will have to do. Sunflowers are great! I will have to go visit Lori's blog now.

  3. ooohhh love the colors and all the pictures of sunflowers cant wait to start my garden when it gets warm in mass.

  4. Your blog is just one of the most interesting ones and I've been looking at all the soup posts. You can be my sun anyday