Trollbeads Inspiration: Honey Bees

 

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IMG_1967Honeybees! 

Don’t you adore the new Trollbeads Honey Bee Spacers?!  I am so enjoying them, and am using them on everything from Fantasy Necklaces and bangles to chain bracelets and even the new Ring of Change.  Just one Bee at the bottom of a fantasy necklace beautifully balances a bead on its wings, for a complete design in a snap.  A pair of bees frame a bead for a simple but dramatic bangle.  It’s an instant design maker with fabulous flair.

IMG_1970Full disclosure demands that I admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for Bees.  I’ve always identified them as being a special totem animal to me… Industrious, useful, working for the good of their family and community, and in harmony with nature… these are creatures that are inspiring and well worth emulating.  Historically virtually every culture has revered bees as being a very magical and special part of nature.  The Kalahari believed that the bee played a key role in the creation of the first human.  The bowstring of the Hindu god Kamadeva is said to be made of bees.

IMG_1969Bees figured prominently in the myths of the ancient Greeks, with several gods being affiliated with the tiny creatures.  Apollo, the sun god, is said to have acquired his powers from the Thriae, a trinity of bee goddesses that were far more ancient than the familiar pantheon of Greek gods. Among the later, classical Greek gods Aristaeus was the god of beekeepers.  In ancient Egyptian mythology the tears of the god Ra are said to have become bees.  These are only a few examples of the importance of bees in ancient and indigenous cultures… they have been revered from the beginning of humanity.

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IMG_1968Today we read almost daily of the plight of the bee.  With our increasingly industrialized farming techniques, bees have become a commodity and a cog in the farming machine.  Their hives are transported from one side of the continent to the other, rushed from one crop pollination to another.  The plants they hover over are sprayed with complex fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, that impact not only on their immediate health, but modify their DNA to change the way generations of future bees function.  Bees are under physical and biological stresses that we are just beginning to understand – and they need our support in order to survive.  Imagine our world without bees… Consider the profound impact on our farms, our gardens, our wild places.

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These remarkable little creatures have been quietly working in the background for millennia, making our world a better place.  Perhaps it is time that we saw them with some of the reverence that was paid to them by ancient peoples.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Copper Spacer”, “Unique Glass”, “Translucent Flower”, “Unique Glass”, “Cherry Blossom”, “Unique Glass”, “Black Gold”, “Tigers Eye”, “Unique Glass”, “Honey Bee Spacer”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Honey Bee Spacer”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Amber”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Blossom Bead”, “Golden Quartz”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Copper Spacer”.

C.

 

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2016 Trollbeads Challenge: Finale

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IMG_1854Well.  Here we are at Day 14, and the end of this year’s fast and furious Trollbeads Challenge at Tartooful.  Normally I’d be just getting warmed up, with many days left to explore all the facets of my collection, but this year we shortened the challenge to encourage more of you to take the plunge and join in.  Like every year, I feel as though I really am just getting started.  Every day that I perform the ritual of creating a fresh design, I have more and more ideas for future designs.  Like every year, I have ended the Challenge with more unexplored inspiration than when I began.

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IMG_1855I’d like to thank so many of you for your support and participation.  Having all of you playing along with me each day gives me a real sense of the extraordinary community of Trollbeads collectors that I’m privileged to know, both in the gallery and online.  I’ve been delighted and inspired by so many of your creative and beautiful designs.  Your daily encouragement and kind words for both my designs and the compositions of other collectors brings an element of joy to this exercise that goes far beyond the pure aesthetics of our designs.  Thank you, my friends….

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On countless occasions I’ve explained Trollbeads to neophytes as “Like Lego for Ladies”.  In other words, Trollbeads are cleverly designed components that can be built and rebuilt as many times as you like, in endless combinations.  To emphasize the versatility of Trollbeads,  I’ve chosen to finish the Challenge by creating a “convertible” design that can easily be worn as either a bracelet or necklace.  For this design you’ll need three bracelet chains, with two of them the same length.  You’ll also need two decorative locks that are similar in form. They don’t have to be identical, here I’ve chosen two one-piece locks with different patterns.  You’ll also need a third lock to close the necklace at the back of the neck.  Place a simple but elegant group of beads, and center them on a bracelet chain with a pair of stoppers.  On the other two bracelet chains add a handful of beads that are twins, so on each bracelet are a very similar group of beads, in the same order.  connect these two chains to the bottom one with the centered grouping using the matched pair of locks, and voila!  A necklace.  Remove the center portion, and it can be worn alone as a bracelet.

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There are endless variations on this – filling all the chains with beads, using a leather for the back of the neck and so on… but the basic concept that you can create a necklace – by combining your various Trollbeads components remains the same.

In the end, Trollbeads is simply a creative toolbox to design whatever jewellery you wish… and it just begs for play!

Thanks for playing along with me!

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Dream Away

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IMG_0866Today I’m playing with “Beautiful Blue”.  This hard-to-describe shade of blue is one that appears in a number of unexpected spots in the Trollbeads collection.  You’ll find it, peeking out from among the sandy speckles of “Milan”… or hiding right at the edge of the light stripes in “Khaki Stripe”.  There’s even a hint of it in the petals of “Flowers on Indigo”.

IMG_0867Two of the most delicious bead designs from the Autumn 2015 collection also feature this “Beautiful Blue”.  “Dream Away”, with its distinctive raised and textured glass dots is an intstant scene stealer of a bead… Often oversized, it  demands the spotlight, and we find ourselves centering it an many bracelet designs.  Here I’ve given the center spot to a lovely “Blue Tigers Eye” and

IMG_0869gave it further emphasis by framing it with a pair of “Lotus Tops” and then a pair of “Dream Away”.  It makes for a strong, symmetrical heart for the bracelet design, and firmly sets the colour palette.  Next the challenge was to find more “Beautiful Blue” to build out the rest of the composition.  I reached for “Black Flower Mosiac”, and the new “Pure Heart”.

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Additional hits of blue are provided by “Traces” and “Ancient Palace”, while navy to black grounding is given by “Black Silk” and an exceptionally deep “Azure Bubbles”.

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“Pure Heart” was the first bead from the Autumn Collection to find its way onto my personal bracelets, simply for its uncanny ability to play with “Milan” and “Black Flower Mosaic”, two very beloved patterns.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Large Flower Lock”, “Pure Heart”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Rolling Waves”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Traces”, “Khaki Stripe”, “Compass”, “Dream Away”, “Lotus Top”, “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Lotus Top”, “Dream Away”, “Hong Kong Junk – Limited Edition”, “Milan”, “Ancient Palace”, “Flowers on Indigo”, “Sea Urchin”, “Black Silk”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Purity”.

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Finally, when selecting the silvers for this design I imagined a little story… a sailing trip across a moonlit sea, with ripples of “Beautiful Blue” dappling the surface of the water as the little shop bobs along… so you’ll find a tiny boat, waves and even a compass to guide your way.

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: Spring Safari

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safari5With the new wave of uniques came a handful of sunshine coloured beads that inspired me to design a fresh and wearable new Safari bracelet.  I immediately saw classic leopard print in the crisp spots of this little yellow and black design, and imagined them sharing space on a bracelet with some of Kathy Perras’ Siberian Tigers…

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safari3I wanted lots of crisp black to give snap to the palette, so I reached for the new faceted “Sahara Night”, the “Diamond Bead, black”, and the “Black Armadillo”.  The newly retired “Eye Bead” is graphically punchy and echoes the dots of the uniques.  A “Black Silk” with lovely bronze iridescence nicely balances a “Smoky Quartz”.

safari4The honey tones of the bracelet are just as important.  I couldn’t resist this lovely, caramel coloured butterfly.  We’ve been playing with this bead and it’s gorgeous with ambers, so warm and organic.  Two warmly striped new uniques continue the bronzed caramel palette, and a maple syrup coloured amber glows

safari6opposite this super sparkly, bronze “Magic Carpet” patterned unique.  The greenish undertone and little red dots on this classic core unique offer a little emphasis at each junction, and make it tie in even more perfectly with its neighbour on this bracelet design.  Note how it picks up the same colours of olive and flame red at left…

safariscurve2purrr…

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safari8Finally, a pair of crisply patterned, black and white classic core uniques from the new series help to finish the bracelet design at the lock with emphasis.  This bold yet tapered note on either side of the lock is a satisfying and balanced gesture that pleases the eye when the clasp turns to the back of the wrist while being worn.

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Clockwise from clasp:  “Troll Tree Lock”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Three in One”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Black Armadillo”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Smoky Quartz”, “Kathy Perras Artisan Bead”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Three Siblings”, “Sahara Night Facet”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Black Silk”, “Transformation”, “Classic Core Unique”, “The Eye Bead”, “Classic Core Unique”, “Snake”, “Unique Amber”, “Classic Core Unique”.

C.

 

 

 

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: A Fresh take on Black and White

The black and white bracelet is a classic that never goes out of style… but with a tiny addition of unexpected colour, this simple wardrobe staple feels freshly minted.

JR recently redesigned her tuxedo bracelet to include a touch of cobalt blue, a change that was inspired by the acquisition of this amazing unique, with it’s rich dots of metallic platinum.  With black, white, and blue also included in the design, its palette pulls together a new look for the whole composition.

We delved into JR’s collection to find one additional bead to balance out the touch of blue and found this retired “Blue White Armadillo”.  This bead was introduced in 2006 and retired in 2008.  Isn’t it perfect in this bracelet?  Again, just an unexpected hint of brilliant cobalt blue makes all the difference.

The most dramatic change to the bracelet comes from the addition of a coveted “Tourmalated Quartz”… this bead was recently introduced in extremely limited quantities, packaged with the Lovely Trollbeads Book, which features mouthwatering photographs as well as detailed information about the history of the company and the designers who have created all our favorite beads.  This natural stone bead displays dramatic inclusions that make it a perfect centerpiece on this tuxedo bracelet.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Heart Stopper” (retired), “Black Dot”, “Ying Yang”, “Unique”, “White Bubble”, “Donna” (retired), “Triple Pearl, White”, “Tourmalated Quartz”, “Triple Pearl, White”, “Donna” (retired), “Diamond Bead, white”, “Blue White Armadillo” (retired), “Plait”, “White Flower”, “Black Armadillo”, “Brown Dot”, “Silver Stopper”.

Doesn’t it make you want to take another look at your own tuxedo bracelet?

Thank you JR…

C.

Trollbeads Inspiration: Blue Lagoon

Sometimes the simplest designs are the most powerful.

Inspired by the brilliant, peacock blue flash in this “Triple Pearl, Black” I framed it with these two blue agates, for a simple and stunning necklace composition.

So simple, so beautiful… so very Troll.

C.

 

 

Trollbeads Inspiration: A Hint of Autumn

Today the weather here on the West Coast has turned dark and rainy.  It’s the first rain in a long, warm, sunny month, so we can’t complain at all – in fact, the gardens and forests are desperately in need of a good drink.  It’s the kind of steady rain to which we are accustomed in the Autumn, so today feels like a little taste of the season to come.  This cosy bracelet design is just right for today and the months ahead…

Clockwise from clasp:  “Freja Lock”, “Unique Amber with runes”, “Golden Quartz”, “Treasures”, “Black Gold”, “Grey Squirrel”, “Dark Leopard”, “Zanzibar”, “Universal Unique – black & white”, “Transformation”, “Dark Leopard”, “Universal Unique – Sienna”, “Diamond Bead, Black”, “Treasures”, “Translucent Flower”, “Grey Prism”.

…Stay tuned this week for all the details of the 2011 Autumn Trollbeads Collection.  Official Announcement is expected Friday Morning!  (Truly, we’re giddy… Four more sleeps!)

C.