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Bead Bazaar is hosting a discussion during Bellingham’s Steampunk Festival! Come join us from 2:30-3:20pm at the Fairhaven Village Inn conference room to view fun jewelry samples and learn new ways to incorporate Victorian elements in Steampunk Design. Since Steampunk is mainly a Neo-Victorian movement, or a reimagining of the Victorian era, we’ll be examining a few Victorian jewelry trends and how the elements of Victorian jewelry design can be applied to your cosplay and character.

As with many other Victorian social conventions, Queen Victoria was a strong influence in jewelry of the time. When she became engaged to Prince Albert he proposed with a ring shaped like a snake, with emeralds set in its head. This ring reveals the strong sense of sentimentality that would dominate Victorian jewelry styles. The snake symbolized eternity, and was thus a popular motif in jewelry of the time; making an engagement ring with a snake made it a symbol of eternal love. Emeralds were Queen Victoria’s birthstone, making them another sentimental design choice. We were unable to find any photos of this engagement ring, but below is a Victorian era knock-off, which reveals how influential Queen Victoria was. This would be the first of many trends she set.

Knock off of Queen Victoria's engagement ring

 

The Victorian sense of sentimentality was also expressed by the craft of hair jewelry. Hair was intricately wound, woven, or braided into delicate cords or set into lockets and pendants. These became tokens that reminded the wearer of their loved ones. Sometimes the hair came from multiple family members, as can be seen in the brooch below.

hairjewelry-2 Victorian-Hair-Jewelry1 victorian-hair-snake

Hair was also used as a memento in mourning jewelry, one last piece of a lost loved one.

 

mourning hair

 

After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria set the social standard for mourning. Jet, also known as black amber, was her stone of choice, and the greater population didn’t hesitate to embrace her mourning style. Jet jewelry became more and more popular for its flat black appearance. Queen Victoria remained in mourning until the end of her life, another sign of Victorian sentimentality.

jet brooch jet_necklace_medium

 

Part of what made Queen Victoria a major fashion icon was the social atmosphere of the time. With an increasingly growing middle class, many women started modeling their attire and accessories after the super-rich. This visually set them apart from the lower-class. However, they didn’t have the budget for expensive diamonds, gold, or rare jet, so the market for gemstone alternatives and black enamel grew. Machine made goods also reduced costs, so a woman could now look wealthier with a meager income.

This desire to emulate the upper classes helped make the chatelaine a popular accessory. A chatelaine was the equivalent of the Victorian woman’s Swiss Army knife; a select set of tools was kept at her immediate disposal by hanging them from a decorative brooch pinned at the waist.

chatelain1 chatelain2

 

The chatelaine was originally a housekeepers tool, used to keep her keys at hand. It was held by the woman who directed servants and had access to all parts of the house, making the chatelaine a status symbol. It also was used as a form of watch chain by the upper classes, and as we’ve already seen both then and today, once something is done by the wealthy, the rest follow suit.

So what does this all mean for your Steampunk character and costume? Plenty! You can use your jewelry to tell a story about your character.

–          Is your character in mourning?

–          Is your character lower-middle class, aspiring to appear upper class?

–          Does your character have need for immediate access to certain tools?

–          Is your character sentimental or in love?

–          Is your character fashionable, following trends set by the monarchy?

–          Or does your character set their own rules, and thus break what would be considered Victorian social norms?

This article only scratches the surface of what is possible when you incorporate Victorian elements in Steampunk design. All you rule-breakers may want to look into the Arts & Crafts and Aesthetic Dress movements- the first was a backlash against mass-produced goods, while the second sought to give women more freedom and practicality in their attire. We’d be willing to bet there’s a least a few Steampunks who can appreciate these sentiments. In the mean time, dig in to some history and have fun discovering the world of Victorian Jewelry!

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One of the best parts about working at a bead store is meeting our local artists! Bellingham is rich with creative bead makers, and Judy of Weasel Glass is no exception. Judy is a talented glass artist whose work includes handmade lampwork beads and fused-glass pendants; Weasel Glass also features finished jewelry pieces made by Judy and her sister Lynn. Judy is a successful entrepreneur, and can regularly be found selling her work at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market. Weasel Glass’s finished jewelry is also sold at Good Earth Pottery.

Bead Bazaar is happy to announce that we’re currently selling Weasel Glass beads and pendants for the Summer Solstice Art Walk, an annual event which celebrates the work of local artists. Come wander Fairhaven, enjoy refreshments and admire local art at each participating store. This year’s Art Walk takes place on June 20th, from 5:00-8:00 pm. Weasel Glass beads and pendants will be available in store now through the end of June.

Weasel Glass Dichroic Glass Pendant  Weasel Glass Handmade Dichroic Glass BeadWeasel Glass Dichroic Glass Pendant

An Interview with the Artist

Q. What materials do you like to work with?
A. Glass of course, particularly dichroic glass. Frit, precious metal leaf, and latticino that I have made myself. Semi-precious stone beads. I love color and texture.

Q. What techniques do you use?
A. My beads are made using a “wound” technique, rather than being blown. I layer, pull, shape, and add silver or gold leaf, frits, my own handmade latticino. Possibilities are endless.

Q. How long have you been making beads?
A. 20+ years

Q. How did your business get started?
A. In the 80’s I started collecting contemporary art glass. At one point I heard of a one-on-one bead making class offered my Michael Barley, and although I had never thought of actually working with glass myself, I realized it was an obvious progression of my love of glass and an incredible opportunity. I was hooked. My business followed. Not wanting to be too serious, I named it Weasel Glass. My sister, Lynn, soon joined me.

Q. How would you describe your style?
A. Loose. I usually don’t choose to be precise, I like irregularity and things that don’t quite match. I like to make people laugh, and often that is reflected in my work.

Q. What inspires you?
A. Nature, people, events. Sometimes I make beads for specific people to commemorate an achievement or event, or just to make them smile or laugh.

Q. Has anyone been an influence to your work?
A. My sister, Lynn, who is a jewelry designer. Her sense of color and form is awe inspiring. And Tamar Groffman, for whom I make crazy, humorous bead heads and props to go with her whimsical sculptures.

Q. What other hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
A. I like yard work and growing dahlias. My volunteer work at the Whatcom Humane Society, where I walk dogs, “wrangle” animals for the photographer, and assist in the vet clinic, enriches my life in so many ways.

Q. Do you have any hopes or ambitions for your business in the future?
A. I’d like Weasel Glass to continue to grow in sales and offerings, and to have continued success at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market. Work that evolves with time is critical.

One of the best parts about working at a bead store is meeting local artists and seeing their creative projects. Manutéa has returned to us, having previously worked at Bead Bazaar in 2006, and we’re happy to have her back and see her new designs. We’re currently selling her work in preparation for the Fairhaven Gallery Walk, November 29th-30th. Her items will continue to be available through the end of December.

Kambaba Jasper earrings Red Adventurine earrings with Chain Blood stone Earrings

What materials do you like to work with?
A: I work with natural stones and precious metals (sterling silver and gold). I like all of the stones, especially earthy tones and colors. I also enjoy working with other natural elements like shells and recycled glass.

What techniques do you use?
A: Free form wire-wrap, silversmithing, and beading. I’ve taken multiple smithing classes, working with copper, brass, and silver through Pouncing Rain (now the Bellingham Metal Arts Guild). I’ve learned ring making, metal folding techniques, and pendant making. I’ve also learned enameling.

Q: How long have you been making beads?
A: Since I was in the 6th grade. We don’t need to mention the year.

Q: How did your business get started?
A: Just through word of mouth. I’ve sold at a few different boutiques here in town, specifically at Covet Boutique in Fairhaven. I’ve done private wedding parties where I’ve made all of the jewelry for the bridesmaids and the bride.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I like to have an earthy/bohemian style in my jewelry. I think it’s important to notice the stones when you work with them. I try to enhance the true beauty of the stone rather than overpowering it in every piece.

Q: What inspires you?
A: I’m inspired by nature; I also do photography so I like to look back at photographs I’ve taken and draw inspiration from the natural elements when I’m working on jewelry pieces.

Q: Has anyone been an influence to your work?
A: Laurie Little and Jessica Levin have been significant influences in my artistic career. They both have experience with many types of art and inspired me to explore other art forms.

Q: What other hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
A: I am a self-taught craftenitsta! I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, photography. I enjoy charcoal drawing, pastels and water color.

Q: Do you have any hopes or ambitions for your business in the future?
A: I would love to eventually open an online or retail store called Collage Two. The inspiration for that comes from my Grandma, Beverly, who ran a store called Collage in Tiburon, California. She imported hand-made goods from Mexico, including clothing and jewelry.

 

One of the best parts about working at a bead store is meeting local artists and seeing their creative projects. The world of art beads is especially exciting, and we completely fell in love with Denise Annette’s adorable lampwork glass critters. A Washington State artist, Denise has built a strong presence on Etsy, becoming their #4 glass-seller! Her work can be found at DenniseAnnette, or you could check out her Blog. Denise’s little lovelies will be available for sale at the Bead Bazaar through the end of May, so make sure to come by; you may just fall in love! Below is an interview conducted with Denise.

Denise Annette Beads Denise Annette Beads Denise Annette Beads

What kind of glass do you work with?
A: I work with soft glasses, like SodaLine glass and Bella Donna Glass. I also love the metalic glass from Double Helix Glassworks.

What techniques do you use?
A: What I do is sculptural lampwork, particularly making animals, like owls and mice. I’m totally self taught, learned it all through trial & error; now I make all of my own latticno cane and I have taught classes in the past.  I just got an electroforming kit, so I’ll be learning how to electroform on beads.

Q: How long have you been making beads?
A: I started in 1997, so 16 years.

Q: How did your business get started?
A: I was a pediatric nurse for many years, but then was involved in a serious car accident, and as a result I couldn’t walk for almost 2 years. I started doing beading during this time, to keep myself busy and to remind myself that I could still do and create. I wanted to buy lampwork beads, most of what was around at the time were really large sized, bulky and gaudy, so I couldn’t find any that I particularly liked. I took a class at a local bead shop on making glass beads, using a lampworking torch. I just sat down and “did.” After doing this a while an x-ray tech at my doctor’s office really liked my work & encouraged me, so I would sell my made jewelry every time I went in for a doctors appointment This led to a jewelry party and I’ve been selling my work since then.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Whimsical; they make me feel good & make me smile. The beads have a lot of personality, so they are their own little characters.

Q: We noticed that all of your critters are named. How do you choose their names?
A: I call my mice “les petits souris Frances”, or “little French mice”. They all have French names, which plays into my heritage since my father was French. For owls I like old fashioned-names; I see owls as old & wise, so I want to play with this.

Q: What inspires you?
A: I love nature and animals, and have two miniature daschunds that are always in the studio with me. I feel that I was led to beading as a gift from God to help me feel better. I love working with my hands and make beads everyday! I like being able to take nothing & creating something joyful from it. If I have a stressful day, it makes me feel better to light my torch- it’s active meditation.

Q: Has anyone been an influence to your work?
A: Very early on I remember seeing the work of Sharon Peters, who made fun little animals. I thought her work was fabulous & I would love to take a class from her. As it is, not taking any classes means I’ve really been able to create my own style, rather than emulating the work of someone else.

Q: What other hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
A: I love baking, knitting, crocheting, reading. I just recently took a pottery class and made – owls, of course! I really liked sculptural pottery.

Q: Do you have any hopes or ambitions for your business in the future?
A: I really just want to continue to improve my technique. I’m very happy to stay at home & sell beads on Etsy rather than doing shows. I hope to keep selling well on Etsy- I’m currently in their top 1000 sellers, and the #4 glass seller.

One of the best parts about working at a bead store is seeing what beautiful pieces our local artists create, from breathtaking jewelry to intricately detailed beads, and the floral motif lampwork beads created by Sabrina of Sabrina Design are no exception. We’ve been swept away by Sabrina’s floral motifs and petite ladybugs; paired with her fresh and feminine colors, these beads are perfect for the coming Spring season! Sabrina’s beautiful lampwork beads will be available at our Bellingham store through the end of March; or you can purchase them at her Etsy shop. Sabrina has also designed her own website, proving to be a versatile and savvy lady! Make sure to stop by and marvel at her wonderful work. Below is an interview conducted with Sabrina.

Handmade Lampwork Beads Daffodils Handmade Lampwork Beads, Flowers & Cubic Zirconia Handmade Lampwork Beads, Ladybugs & Flowers

What kind of glass do you work with?
A: The glass I use is SodaLime glass or Soft Glass. I regularly use Moretti/Effetre, Vetrofond, and CIM glasses.

Q: How long have you been working with glass?
A: Since 2004, so 9 years. It started when I needed to fix a broken bracelet, which got me started making jewelry. I realized I wasn’t always finding what I was looking for in the bead world, so I decided to start making my own. I’m entirely self taught!

Q: How did your business get started?
A: I really wanted my bead-making to be self-supportive, so I decided to sell my beads. I wouldn’t buy new glass until I had covered my costs.

Q: How did you come up with the name for your business?
A: I wanted my name in the title of the business, so people know these are Sabrina’s Designs.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My tagline on my business card is “Funky, Unique, Feminine . . . One of a Kind.” While most of my designs are feminine, there is variety in my work.

Q: What inspires you?
A: My sisters and my kids. I’m also inspired by flowers & color. I love looking through scrap-booking magazines; they have great images of colors, textures, and floral designs.

Q: Has anyone been an influence to your work?
A:  My entire family has always supported me 100%. Whenever I’m selling my work at a show, there’s always at least one person who comes to show support.

Q: What other hobbies or activities do you have in your life?
A: I like to make resin charms. They’re fun because they’re like mini dioramas! I teach classes & have tutorials on my Etsy page, and I designed my business cards and my website, http://www.sabrinadesign.com/   I also like collecting pictures that inspire me for my beads.

Q: Do you have any hopes or ambitions for your business in the future?
A: I want to do more art shows! Since I’m self-taught, I would also enjoy taking a couple of classes, maybe in metalsmithing and Lampwork, something for fun rather than for the business.

One of the best parts about working at a bead store is meeting local beaders, every day introducing us to new artists and projects, and we were excited to discover the hand-made lampwork glass beads by Terry Seiber, a Bellingham local. Terry has been selling her pieces as Misty Creek Studios both on her Etsy page and at Barefoot Glass. Terry’s customers have reached an international level, and she has several private customers who keep her busy with custom orders. We’ll be selling her colorful bead sets and pendants at the Bead Bazaar through the end of February, so make sure to come by and immerse yourself in the colors and textures that Bellingham has to offer! Below is an interview conducted with Terry.

Misty Creek Studios Misty Creek Studios Misty Creek Studios

What kind of glass do you make?
A: I exclusively use borosilicate glass, which originally had more scientific purposes, but has evolved over time from scientific glass to art glass. Borosilicate is interesting because it has striking which brings out new or different colors when placed under the torch. Your finished piece looks a little different from the original color.

What techniques do you use?
A: I do lampworking. I like it because it’s more challenging than making fused glass.

Q: How long have you been working with glass?
A: I have been working with glass for almost 12 years. I’m from California originally and learned how to do lampwork from a friend there. I’m a member of the ISGB and have taken classes from many talented people, like Lori Robbins.

Q: How did you come up with the name for your business?
A: My husband and I custom built our house on some property with a creek running on it. You can hear the trickling of the creek from the house almost all year round. The name came from that and the mist that sometimes settles around our home.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Organic.

Q: What inspires you?
A: Colors inspire me- I’ll see something while I’m out on a walk, or I’ll encounter a particularly vivid color that pops out at me, and I’ll want to reproduce that color with the glass. The colors of the glass itself inspire me as well.

Q: Has anyone been an influence to your work?
A:  More than anyone else would be fellow glass-worker Lori Robbins. We’re friends and stay in communication.

Q: Do you have any hopes or ambitions for your business in the future?
A: I originally made a lot of focal pieces and have evolved into making bead sets. Next I’m thinking of expanding to make more sculptural work; I’d like to make sculptural pendants that incorporate organic materials like driftwood.

One of the best parts about working at a bead store is meeting local beaders, every day introducing us to new artists and projects. Ed and Elena of Glass Mountain Studios have become regular faces at the Bead Bazaar, so naturally we grew curious about their work. We were delighted to learn that this couple works collaboratively to create beautiful blown glass beads and designs, and we knew we had to share their work with you. Glass Beads by Glass Mountain Studios will be available for sale at the Bead Bazaar through the end of December, so make sure to come by and marvel at the home-grown creative work that Bellingham has to offer! Below is an interview conducted with Elena.

What kind of glass do you make?
A: We do a little bit of everything! Blown glass, lampwork glass, beads, marbles, functional glassware as well as sculpture and gifts.

What techniques do you use?
A: We us a mix of traditional an contemporary techniques, some of which we have invented- sometimes it’s reinventing the wheel. We use some Italian colors and some home-made colors.

Q: How long have you been making?
A: I have been working with glass since about 1989, Ed from about 1985 or so. Together we have over 50 years of combined experience.

Q: How did your business get started?
A: Ed an I met at Pilcheck glass school in Stanwood and worked together for several years before moving to Bellingham around 1994. We’ve been at this location since then. We built all of our equipment and the studio from scratch out of refurbished and recycled materials. It’s kind of a mechanical wonder!

Q: How did you come up with the name for your business?
A: We both are pretty prolific artists, so we almost literally have a mountain of glass. We also generally love mountains an skiing and snow.

Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Whimsical. I have a more abstract aesthetic, so I make more of the swirly spotty beads. Ed is more representational, so he does the figurines and animals. He’s more specialized in penguins.

Q: What inspires you?
A: History, our children, family. The outdoors and nature. Other art is also something that really inspires us, going to museums and aquariums or looking at children’s art.

Q: Has anyone been an influence to your work?
A:  While we work collaboratively, we also have some local artist friends such as Brian Kerkvliet. We’re inspired by impressionists, post-impressionists and contemporary artists as well.

Q: What other hobbies or activities do you have in your life?
A: We love to go climbing and crabbing an skiing, going to the beach. Nature walks.

Q: Do you have any hopes or ambitions for your business in the future?
A: We just want to keep growing in the community. We help and interact with the community by hosting demonstrations and field trips. We do teach lessons in glass blowing and we have self-published books about glass blowing. We would like to make glass blowing accessible and affordable. We want people to be able to see it an try it because it’s such a rewarding medium to work with. The process is very magical.