Trollbeads Inspiration: Coastal Hues

kidsSkookumchuk Narrows

emeraldwaterA recent weekend away with the children reminded me of the rich inspiration to be found here on our West Coast… The way the beams of sunshine illuminate the emerald waters of the bay at left… the acid contrast of the new growth on the trees… The soft grey of the granite, dappled with shadows and every kind of moss and lichen imaginable… Oh, the moss!  I LOVE the moss.  I just had to indulge in a series of photos, just to capture a fraction of the colours and textures of the moss.

moss1Moss Joy

lichen1Over the years I’ve cultivated satisfying carpets of mosses in the front garden, but I’m gobsmacked by the carpets of moss to be found on the arid rocks of the Sunshine Coast.  I’m particularly delighted with the aqua green-grey specimen above, which I’ve only seen in a very few spots in BC.  Isn’t it the most beautiful colour?  It’s like “Silver Mountain” Moss.  I’m almost as entranced by the delicate aqua of lichens that hug the seaside rocks… again, a most wonderful shade, and so inspiring.

play10Inspiration Found

play8Freshly recharged and newly inspired, it was easy to toss together this bracelet using the lush colours that filled my head.  Perennial Tartooful favorites such as “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Magical Lamp”, “Blue Desert”, and “Silver Mountain” all help to set the natural, West Coast tone.  Note how the band that circles “Traces” feels like the

play5stones on the beach, or perhaps the rough bark of the trees… The tapestry of pebbles on the beach is captured in “Fossils”, with its wet look and gently rounded accents.  It looks the way pebbles appear in shallow tidepools, with their shapes softened through the water.  Recently we’ve been ordering this bead very frequently, as there seems

play6to be a fantastic color variety being produced.  Individual examples range dramatically from plum, to slate blue, to silvery green, down into grey and of course, lots of warm coppery rusts.  Newcomer “Ancient Palace” gives a hit of rich blue to help balance “Traces”, and captures the blue of a clear sunny sky on the Sunshine Coast.


play4“Silver Whorl” makes a wonderful nod to one of the natural wonders that we saw on this trip: the changing of the tide at Skookumchuck Narrows.  There, one can see the wild eddys and whirlpools that form when the tide rises and rushes to balance a two meter difference in height between the ocean and the inlet.

play9… You knew I couldn’t resist “Azure Bubbles” for this design, didn’t you?  Nope.  In fact, I selected two of these beauties for this bracelet design, and placed them right at the heart of the bracelet.  I always try to place the beads that I want to set the tone right in the middle of the bracelet.  Whether it’s to create a certain theme, or to really

play12savor a favorite bead, I find that the center grouping ends up being the most prominent.  Sigh… love the way that the light glows amber through these “Azure Bubbles”, I had to share two images of them!


play7Clockwise from clasp:  “Freya Lock”, “grey Prism”, “Chalcedony”, “Rolling Waves”, “Ancient Palace”, “Black Flower Mosaic”, “Jugend”, “Moon Ocean”, “labradorite”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Silver Whorl”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Labradorite”, “Traces”, “Paradise Birds”, “Fossils”, “Silver Mountain”, “Three in One”, “Blue Desert”, “Purple Rippling Bubbles”, “Unique”.  (Handmade Tassels of Green Jade, Labradorite and Chalcedony by Tartooful’s own, the very talented Melanie).




Trollbeads’ Newest Designer: Scott Bouwens


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…


Trollbeads Inspiration: The Soft & Subtle Side of Spring 2013


There is ample inspiration to be found in Trolls’ new “Rocky Beach Kit” of glass bead designs.  With fascinating depth, complex patterns and subtle, shifting colour, these beads are a radical and fresh design statement.  We couldn’t wait to play with these lovelies!

DSCN5343Of course, the entire kit looks wonderful together, with complementary tones of soft denim blues, sandy greys and browns, and warm golden and rust hues.  It may also be broken down into two distinct palettes.  one focuses more on the blues and ivories, and the other is an unusual combination of dominant amber and a touch of lilac.  Today we’ll take a closer look at the blues…

DSCN5348DSCN5350Viewed under macro the detailed texture of these beads is truly amazing.  There are so many colours blended together to create these subtle tones, the design possibilities are virtually endless.


The new ocean themed silvers beautifully complement this seaside palette, and of course, the new “Dendritic Agate” is a must for this bracelet.


DSCN5412Current collection beads to consider as companions for this new kit include local favorite, Labradorite, “Blue Desert”, “Silver Mountain”, “White Paper Fold”, “Conch”, “Urchin”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Morning Dew”, “Desert Flower”, “Traces”, and “Cosy”…


Clockwise from clasp:  “Dolphin Lock”, “Seahorse Earring” – repurposed here as a dangle on the clasp, “Cliffs”, “Coral Branch”, “Stone Flower”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Sand Beach”, “Starfish”, “Sandstone”, “Labradorite”, “Stone Flower”, “Sea Urchin”, “Cliffs”, “Dendritic Agate”, “Stone Flower”, “Sea Horse”, “Sandstone”.

DSCN5415This kit is an instant essential for many of our Tartooful collectors… including both Cristi and myself!  We’re excited to add a kit to each of our collections, and see how all the beads play with our soft west coast greys and blues.

The photos don’t really do these beads justice.  You’ll just have to come drop by the village and experience them for yourself!

Next up:  Amber for Spring!


Trollbeads Inspiration: Moody Blues

Here on the West Coast we are still waiting for any hint that Summer may eventually appear!  The kids are getting out of school soon, the Summer Solstice is around the corner and it’s so cold that my vegetable garden is miniature and shivering.  Ridiculous.  Today’s bracelet might as well be called “Summer Skies”…

Fortunately for us, we really do love those moody, grey-sky blues.  They’re soft, beautiful, wearable and perennially interesting.

For this composition we showcased the remarkable “Tourmalated Quartz”, and surrounded it with some of our favorite soft grey-blue beads, including “Blue Desert”, “Silver Mountain”, and “Light Blue Shadow”.  In addition we added some interesting, charcoal coloured glass and stones, such as “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Blue Goldstone”, “The Diamond Bead Black” and some lovely uniques.

I included the Retired Zodiac star with the golden Tigers Eye for a touch of warmth.  I like how the brown is echoed subtly in the Large Unique Amber, in the gold dust of the “Blue Desert”, the warm grey of the “Grey Prism” and even in flecks of the “Silver Mountain”.  I also spot a few hints of blue and brown hiding in the Unique at the top left of the bracelet…

Clockwise from clasp:  “Swan Lock”, “Pisces”, “Blue Goldstone”, “Blue Desert”, “Malawi Unique”, “Silver Mountain”, “Zodiac Star” (retired), “Blue Tigers Eye”, “Planet, large”, “Tourmalated Quartz”, “Endless”, “Unique Amber”, “Planet, Small”, “Silver Mountain”, “The Diamond Bead, Black”, “Light Blue Shadows” (Retired), “Unique”, “Grey Prism”.

Still hoping for sunny skies…


An Azure Obsession

All of our Trollies know that Cristi and I have what we could term a mild obsession with “Azure Bubbles”….You only have to look at the most recent version of my blue bracelet to see that it’s a favorite bead – there are not one, but two dramatically different examples on this bracelet alone!  (And my green bracelet has one of its cousins, “Organic Bubbles”…)

So for our most recent shipment, we requested a big beautiful batch of “Azure Bubbles”, to fully explore the huge range of colours, textures and tones.  This morning we have 10 different Azures on the display… but of course before they were put into stock I just had to make up a play bracelet, and hold a little photo shoot!

How.  Much.  Fun.  Is.  This!

What a luxury to have so many of these gorgeous glass to play with… I always thought that there was enough variation among this one pattern to justify having it alone on a bracelet, but of course I had never before had the opportunity to experiment and actually try it!

Green, purple, grey, brown, terracotta, indigo, sand, vicuna, pink, lavender, and cerulean blue are all hidden in the depths of these beads.  Just when I think I’ve got a favorite “look” for these beads, I come across another one that is totally fresh again, and I change my mind.

Perhaps its the Pacific West Coast  speaking in me that makes me love the indistinct, wisps of colour and the subtle, blue on grey on plum on green so much.  They have all the colours of a West Coast beach, with the cool grey sand, big surf ocean and storm swept sky.

It’s going to be such fun over the next few days, trying these beauties on all the different bracelets that come in for the Mothers’ Day Special Pricing Event.  I have a feeling that there will be so many unexpected palettes that sing with the addition of one of these designs…

Clockwise from clasp: (This will be fun)  “Lace Lock”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Planet, Small”, “Azure Bubble”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Zodiac Bead (retired)”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Happy Universe, gold & silver”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Endless”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Azure Bubbles”, “Planet, Big”, “Azure Bubbles”.

“Tiny bubbles…. make me feel happy….”

Come and see them while they last!