Trollbeads Road Trip: A Beautiful Day….

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It’s a special time of year in LaConnor, Washington…. the Tulips are in bloom!

tulip-close3The village of LaConnor is a century-old riverside town, filled with charming vintage homes, pretty cottage gardens, quaint shops and fascinating museums.  At times, it’s tricky to tell the museums from the shops, as there are an abundance of quirkily wonderful antique shops, bursting with all the vintage treasures that we remember from our grandparents’ attics.  Each Spring this sleepy town comes to life with the Tulip Festival, when the fields become broad bands of colour.

kidsOn Sunday we took a family day trip across the border to go experience this amazing sight.  We were fortunate to have cool, clear sunshine for our day, and we were able to walk the fields, surrounded by millions of nodding blossoms.  It’s like stepping into a painting.

tulip-close1You first see the fields in the distance, like a ribbon of crimson across the brilliant green of the farmland.  Unlike similar tulip fields in the Netherlands, LaConnor has the dramatic backdrop of the Coastal Mountains, giving the experience a distinctly West Coast twist.

flowers&mountainsOf course there are cut tulips and bulbs for sale, but there’s so much more than that.  Well organized farms present hayrides, historical displays, gift shops, art shows and childrens’ activities to keep Mom, Dad and all the children happily occupied.

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However, at the heart of it is the simple, yet dizzyingly beautiful experience of simply being at the edge of a field of flowers in full bloom.

sb-beads2Ah, but what about the Trollbeads, you ask?  Well, you may recall that new Trollbeads designer Scott Bouwens of Bearfoot Art Glass has his studio in LaConnor… We took advantage of the day trip to stop in and see what is new in his studio.

IMG_0012I hadn’t been before, so it was such fun to see his cozy space, filled with shimmering glass treasures.  Even the rainbow of colour on his supplies shelf is a treat for the senses.  All the glass elements are made by hand in the studio workshop, and Monica Bouwens creates ready to wear jewellery out of Scott’s glass jewels.

sb-jellyfishThere are small and large core glass beads, glass creatures such as dragons, caterpillars, jellyfish and “friendlies” – odd little creatures that may or may not be actually friendly.  In addition there are necklaces, cufflinks, bracelets, and sets of beads for one’s own creations.  A tree drips with lampwork glass earrings in shades of blue, lavender and green.  For the glass artists among us, Bearfoot provides supplies and a line of exceptional tools to enhance one’s own work.

sb-glitterI couldn’t leave without picking a few lovely beads for myself in Scott’s distinctive, West Coast style.  One can see at a glance why Bearfoot’s work caught the eye of Trollbeads.  The complex, detailed style that is seen in the Rocky Beach kit from

sb-beadsSpring 2013’s Collection is evident in much of the work in this little studio.  I stood and agonized over the choices before me… I now feel full sympathy for the difficulty in choosing “just a few” lovelies to take home.  (Well, maybe more than just a few…)

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daffodilsI came home with my head filled with stunning mental snapshots, and plans laid to bring more of Bearfoot Glass to Tartooful.  We already love the Rocky Beach kit, and soon we will be able to treat ourselves to some of the Bouwens’ glass earrings as well.

Cathy&kidsIt was an inspiring day… wonderful to have that time with family, and to be able to share in a beautiful experience.

C.

 

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Trollbeads’ Newest Designer: Scott Bouwens

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Here at Tartooful we are huge fans of the work of Scott Bouwens and of course in particular, his series of designs for Trollbeads.

scott-bouwen3 The Rocky Beach kit was released as part of the Spring 2013 collection, and it immediately struck a chord with us here in the Northwest.  The colors are subtle and wind bleached.  The patterns and textures are highly complex and unusual, and feel genuinely

scott-bouwen2.jpglike our rugged West coast.  There’s a reason why Scott was in tune with our aesthetic:  he lives in nearby La Conner, Washington.  He and his wife Monica have their studio, Bearfoot Art in the heart of that historic and charming town.

scomophoto courtesy of Bearfoot Art

Our own Greg recently visited him in his studio and found him to be wonderfully down to earth, engaging, and so very talented.  His shop is full of gorgeous lampwork glass creations, including focal point beads, finished jewellery, and even hilarious creatures such as caterpillars and dragons.  I can’t wait to make the trip down too!  We look forward to working more closely with this talented designer…

C