About Me

Lindsay M Starr is a beadwork and mixed media artist currently based in Nashville, TN. She spent her early childhood in Alaska, and her school age and college years in Oregon. Lindsay has a great appreciation for history, science, and nature and is consistently inspired by insects, sea life, color, and the significance of beads and beadwork throughout human history. She spends her days beading, walking at the zoo, and practicing yoga. Lindsay loves to share her knowledge and passion for beads and beadwork to hobbyists of all skill levels.

Monday, October 27, 2014

500 Likes Giveaway!

I've been waiting a long time for this, folks!  It seemed to take forever to reach 500 likes on my Facebook page.  This weekend it happened, thanks to you all!  And I'm celebrating by giving away one of these little beauties!
The lucky winner of this giveaway will be able to choose from one of these necklaces!  I made them as different as possible, to accommodate different tastes.

The Feather necklace has one of my polymer clay faces, in a shimmery peachy tan.  Combined with an earthy mix of green turquoise, teal and varying browns, she is a definitely making a statement! Dangling below the face, is one of my recent bead feathers, and a single fringe with a smoky topaz dagger on the bottom.  I strung the strap on durable flexible beading wire with an interesting mix of Czech pressed glass beads for accents.  The toggle is antique copper in color, and is connected to a chain before being crimped to the necklace strap.  This means I am able to adjust the strap length for to the winner's specifications!

The Flower necklace also features one of my polymer clay faces in an iridescent purple/blue color.  I paired her with mostly purple beads, then used blue, teal, hot pink and orange for her accent.  She is hiding coyly behind a stitched flower, and a cascade of teal vines wrap around her face and twine below.  I continued with this palette in the strap, strung on durable flexible beading wire.  The toggle clasp is antique brass in color, and is connected to chain so that the necklace can be adjusted to fit the winner's specifications!

There are multiple ways to enter the giveaway, hosted below by Rafflecopter.  Just click the widget below to start entering!  Each option you complete gives you another chance to win.  The winner will be announced here on the blog on November 1st!  Which ever necklace the winner does not choose, will be listed on Etsy the next week, so you still have a chance to own one of these beauties.

Don't forget to follow my daily beading exploits by liking my Facebook page, and you can shop any time on Etsy.  Thanks again for all of your support - it took all of you to make it to this benchmark!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Funday - Week 2

Week of 10/20/19-10/26/14 - Late October

Don't worry, this week's post won't be quite as long as last week!  I worked on a couple of larger projects that took up more time, then transitioned into a few smaller projects today.  Let's see what happened!

 I started out with this beadsoup freeform shard pendant.  It's going to go up on Etsy this week!

I've had this necklace in my head since I bought these hollow Venetian glass beads a few years ago. Originally I had envisioned a more ice and snow theme...but I keep seeing winter inspiration of bare trees, ice, and red berries.  Then I started thinking of the birch trees I grew up with, and Birch Berries was born.  This piece will also be listed on Etsy this week.

During the middle of the week I was occupied with a couple of large blog posts, including my guest post on the Art Jewelry Elements blog.  I talked about the alternative straps that I use on my necklaces...if you haven't wandered over there to read it yet, you should!

And don't forget the awesome collaboration between myself and Sherri Stokey of My MicroMacrame/Knot Just Macrame.  You can read my post here, and Sherri's post on her blog.

I spent yesterday evening working on a few Mobius bangles for a friend - don't they look happy?  I was sad to put this palette away!  On that note, I'm so happy to say that my friend liked my favorite one...I may have to drag the palette back out to make myself a duplicate.

We escaped the apartment today, and headed to the zoo!
One of the petting area camels was sitting by the fence chewing her cud, so I got to get up close and take this picture.  Just look at those eyelashes...they give me ideas!

I am also super happy to announce that I've finally broken the 500 "like" barrier on my Facebook page.  I will be having a celebratory giveaway, starting Monday or Tuesday this week.  There will be two options for the winner...here's a sneak peek!
I know you can't wait to see what they've become, so make sure you're watching the Facebook page in the next couple of days.  You can always keep up with my daily bead exploits there.  And don't forget about my Etsy shop either...lots of new listings will be going up in the next couple of weeks.  As always, thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Beadwork Collaborations: Episode 2

For the second instillation in this series, I will talk about a current project I am working on with my friend Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame and My MicroMacrame.  What Sherri does with cord just blows my mind!  You can see her work on her Facebook page, her Blog, and peruse her Etsy shop anytime.  We've been bead buddies for several years now, and we've done one swap before.  You can read about it HERE on Sherri's blog...unfortunately I wasn't blogging at the time, but she did a great write up about her process.  Well we had so much fun with that, that we had been talking about a second one for awhile now.  Finally the stars have aligned so we both had the time!

We decided to do a WIP swap...what does that mean, you ask?  Well, Sherri and I both have odds and ends of macrame or beadwork floating around.  We decided to each pick out a few pieces to send the other person, to be assembled into a finished necklace by the recipient, then sent back to the original creator.  I knew, with my past sewing experience, that I would have no problem attaching threads and working off of Sherri's macrame.  But I needed to do a bit of work to make my pieces workable for her - they needed to have loops that the cords could be wrapped over, or larger beads that the cords could pass through.  You will have to check out Sherri's post  to see a picture of what I sent her...I was to excited to pop them in the mail to take a proper pic!

I eagerly awaited the arrival of Sherri's pieces...and I was not disappointed!
Isn't she beautiful?  Sherri used one of my polymer clay faces, and made an awesome macrame capture for her - she is covered front and back!  Then added a hoop, and made the lovely, lacy web radiating out from the face.  She also included a couple of smaller macrame disks to incorporate.  And off I went thinking about my inspiration.  As soon as I saw the little face, I started thinking about an Inuit girl with a furry parka drawn up around her face.  I grew up in Alaska, and that visual reminded me of the phrase "land of the midnight sun"...officially any part of the earth that is above the Arctic Circle.  In these regions, the winter months are marked by darkness, only broken when the sun peeks slightly above the horizon for a little while.
I found this image on Pinterest - I figured that even though there wasn't a ton of purple, and a few colors I knew I didn't want to use, that I would take cues from this palette.  I really like the feel of this picture - the serenity of a cold winter day, the sun peeking through a gap in the mountains, the need to be bundled up in order to enjoy the scene.

I had some trouble starting though.  Everything I tried at first either looked like a bad hairdo, or a beard.
I ended up with this swath of golden luster farfalle beads, drawn up around her face like a shawl or wave.  It hit just the right feel for me, but after all the struggle I had to put her down for a couple of days...I stitched a circular peyote disk, slightly larger than the macrame disks in the meantime...circles are a recurring theme in this piece.

But how to attach the circles together?  All on one side, or distributed between the two?  Did I want a more literal interpretation of the midnight sun?
I woke up one morning with this sun in my head...I knew exactly how to attach and stitch it.  And it turned out exactly like I had envisioned!  It's really gratifying when that happens...makes up for all the times something doesn't.  At this point, I knew all the circles needed to be on one side - like a cascading reflection of the sun.  But what to do for the other side of the strap?
I ended up attaching 3 strands of beading wire to the opposite side of the face ring - the width of 3 strands balanced the visual weight of the circle side of the strap.  But this combo wasn't working for me.  And I still had the dilemma of how to finish off the circle side...it just wasn't going to be long enough.  I kept re-stringing, re-working things until I was happy, adding a bit more at the bottom of the face as well, to balance out the heavier side of the strap.  Here are the results of my endeavors!
I just love how she turned out.  This is the second time I've tried a looped fringe woven together with 2-holed twin beads.  You might remember the first effort from my recent Auction necklace.  I got a bit more elaborate with this one.  I had to add some more embellishment to one side of the face ring too - to balance the strung side of the strap, both visually and physically.  I am so happy to have found a home for that fish bead...I know I bought him when we were still living in Alaska!  
 She looks warm now, right?

Reflections of the sun?  Planets?  Magnified suns?  Ripples in the water?  You decide!
Three straight strands just weren't doing it for me - they were just too stark of a contrast to balance the circle side of the necklace.  So (after a friend suggested it) decided to pass all three strands through large vintage lucite beads in sections...I like the swoops that the wire now makes, plus the corresponding circles of the larger junction beads.
To finish out the circle side of the strap, I decided on wire links, partly to pull some coppery colors up the strap, and also to add some physical weight up there.
You can see it better here:

The clasp is a neat hook and eye clasp with a lampwork bead and an enamel ring that Sherri sent.  I used a bit of purple coated copper craft wire on the ring, just to keep the strands evenly spaced.  
And you know I always have to end on a beauty shot.  I love how serene she looks here!

I do encourage you to check out Sherri's pages, especially her Facebook page...she's always posting neat pictures.  I'm sure she's going to do another blog post when she's done with her piece too.  You can follow along with my beadly exploits on my Facebook page, or shop on Etsy...look for lots of new listings next week!  As always, thanks for looking, and don't forget to stop by tomorrow for Sunday Funday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Freeform Elements - Types

Most of you can probably tell just by looking at any of my pages, I am seriously into freeform beadwork.  It was simply the natural progression for my beadwork to take...my brain just works this way.  This post is the first in a series where I will talk about different elements that will help you understand freeform beadwork better.  If you are on the verge of trying freeform for the first time, I hope that these posts will help encourage you to take the first steps.  If you have done freeform in the past, perhaps you will read or see something in my posts that will inspire you to try something new!

First lets define the word freeform - ok, so I know they're using a hyphen, but in my head it's one word.  This is from Dictionary.com

Free-form - 

characterized by free form:
free-form sculpture.
not organized or planned in a conventional way:
a free-form international conglomerate.
encouraged to function or evolve without advance planning; spontaneous:
free-form management.
without restrictions or preconceptions:
The children were allowed to paint free-form
So freeform beadwork is beadwork that evolves during the creation process.  It may or may not be planned in advance, but does not follow a conventional pattern.  I often like to say that I bead improvisationally  - this spontaneity is at the heart of much of my work, even if I started with a sketch or overall concept.  I let the beads tell me what they want to do and how they want to do it.  Alright, on to today's episode!  

Episode 1:  Types of Freeform Beadwork

When you start looking at collections or galleries of freeform beadwork (I love books and Pinterest for this) you will start noticing that it seems like each piece is as unique and beautiful as a snowflake or fingerprint.  And they are!  However, there are several broad categories that a freeform piece can fall into.  Please keep this in mind as you read this - these are simply the terms that I use to keep things straight in my brain.  They are by no means industry standard terms.  I find it helpful for me to categorize my own work like this, and I am hoping that defining these styles will help you refine your own skills.

Embellishment Freeform - 
This is where I started, and I really think it's the easiest type of freeform for a beginner to pick up.  Embellishment freeform starts with a foundation (flat or otherwise), and then random embellishments are stitched off of the foundation.  The embellishments can consist of anything you can imagine - components, loops, fringes, anything you can dream up.  Here are some examples:
 This is the very first freeform I ever stitched!  You can see all of the embellishment here - I was trying to make an environment for the anaconda to live in.
Here you can see my foundation - alternating between 3-bead netting, 2-drop peyote, and 5-bead netting.  I am pretty sure I only knew netting and peyote stitch at this time.  This goes to show that you don't need to have a huge stitch repetoire in order to make a freeform piece.  Just use whatever stitches you know!  Check out these other examples of embellishment freeform for more ideas:
 This bracelet is embellished with fringe, components, and art beads.
 Here you can see the multicolored freeform netting foundation.
 This bracelet is embellished with ruffles, short seed fringe, loops, and animal beads.
Here you can see the 5-bead netting foundation that I worked off of.  

Bead Soup Freeform - 
I am pretty sure the next type of freeform I attempted was bead soup freeform.  The best part is making the soup of beads - simply choosing beads to mix together into a large pile, or soup.  I like a lot of variety in my soups - the texture of different sizes and shapes is challenging to work with, but the end results are spectacular.  Again, you can do any stitch!  Simply use your bead soup as you would when stitching with a single color of bead, improvising for different bead sizes as the need arises.  This type of freeform is a real lesson in spontaneity...the trick is to figure out how to use the beads on your needle, no matter the side or shape.  Here are a few examples:
This is one of my first pieces of bead soup freeform (ew, see that big fat knot?  I've come so far!).  I made a whole bunch of these one year as brooches for my aunties.  In the beginning it's really hard to control the shape of a bead soup freeform...all of my early pieces had this flare, from increasing the bead count in each row.
 Ah, Christmas beads, oh how I love thee...  This fun bag is stitched in tubular peyote.  At this point, I had gotten much more skilled at controlling the shape of a piece.  
I made this bead soup freeform just this week.  In this case, I went into it knowing that I wanted the end results to be organically shaped, so I just embraced what the beads wanted to do!

Bridge and Patch Freeform - 
This style is probably what most people think of when freeform beadwork is mentioned.  It can be open and lacy, or dense and textural, but the piece should consist of patches of the same bead along with bridge like transitions from one part of the beadwork to another.  
 This watch is the first bridge and patch freeform I ever stitched.  This is a good example of a densely stitched piece - the bridges are single strands of larger sized beads, filling in the negative space.  Each patch of color or different type of bead transitions into the next, and even though there is a lot going on, everything comes together to form a cohesive whole. 
Here is a more recent example of a more open bridge and patch freeform.  While I still have some single strand bridges, there are also stitched bridges in this piece.  
This is one of my most recent experiments in bridge and patch freeform.  You can see with this piece, I have very few single strand bridges...nearly all of them are stitched.  I like how structural this piece turned out.

Encrusting Freeform - 
Any time I stitch over and around a form (also known as an armature), capturing it with beads, I think of it as encrusting freeform.  I make my own polymer clay components to encrust, but I've also worked over other items.  I've seen a lot of really cool encrusted rocks, bones, dishes...etc.  The possibilities are endless!
This a piece of tumbled petrified wood.  When I saw it I knew it would be a perfect pendant for my boyfriend...but it had no hole.  No problem, says I, I'll just bead around it!  I did as minimal of an encrustation as I could, particularly on the front, so you can see as much of the stone as possible.
 On the back it was necessary to stitch a few bridges to keep the stone from falling out.
Tentacle Baby is a much more complex encrustation freeform.

Component Freeform - 
This is probably the type of freeform I do the most.  It consists of stitching multiple different freeform elements together to create a whole.  
Man in the Machine has several of my encrusted cabochons, plus a strap of bridge and patch freeform going up one side.
This piece came about in a way that many of my component freeforms do...  I made components for a few different projects and ended up not using them.  Much later, going through my (giant) box of WIP's, I realized that several of them coordinated.  Then comes the fun parts - laying them out in different configurations and figuring out how to attach them all together.  Make a few extra components or embellishments to complete the whole thing, and voila!  A freeform is born!

Sculptural Freeform - 
No pictures for this one yet...I'll work on it!  Sculptural freeform can be very similar to encrusting freeform, a dimensional beaded form, but without the armature that encrusting freeform has.

Here are a few more notes to think about:

 - You can freeform ANY stitch...one stitch may do what you want better than others.
 - You can combine multiple stitches in one piece.
 - You can freeform with any beads...though some may be more appropriate to your project than others.  Straight sided beads make curves difficult...yes, I am talking about Delicas.  Remember those Czech beads you have stashed away because they won't stay flat like your Delicas will?  Break them out for freeform.
  - You can combine multiple types of freeform.  For example, you can make a bead soup freeform that has bridges, or (like Man in the Machine) combine your encrusting freeforms into a single piece.
Your own mind is your only limitation when it comes to freeform - the possibilities really are endless.  What aspect of freeform should I discuss in the next chapter?  Do you have any requests?

You can keep up with my daily bead exploits on my Facebook page, or shop on Etsy.  As always, thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Funday - Creative Week in Review

Starting today, each Sunday I will write about my creations for the week.  If you follow my Facebook page, you will likely have seen some pieces in advance, but I will also be posting different things here.  Possibly a color palette, a tray of components, a work-in-progress, art, non-beadwork, or maybe a pile of folded clean clothes with a cat in the middle...you won't know unless you check it out!

Week of 10/13/14-10/19/14, Mid-October:

I'm including the end of last week in this post, since I hadn't started this series yet.   Last week's creations include two pieces that I've already blogged about, so I'll just post a picture and you can click the link if you would like to read more about the necklace.

Did you know I was one of the lucky people chosen to receive the component of the month from the Art Jewelry Elements blog October challenge (read more here)?  I'm really excited for the big reveal at the end of the month.  My piece is already done, my blog post is already done...just have to wait for the days to pass now!  Here's a sneak preview!!!
I can't wait to show you more!  Well, ok, if you want to you can see the pictures on my Facebook page...but you'll have to wait for the post with all the details!

After working with the component of the month, I thought I might try a similar thing on some raku donuts I've had for ever.  This featherweight necklace was the result, and it is already listed on Etsy

And while I had the raku palette out I also made a freeform peyote bracelet featuring a raku scarab I've had even longer than the donuts!  I think I bought the scarab during my first visit to Embellishment, and the donuts the next year - they are by the same artist, but sadly, I don't remember who that person was.  

At this point, I was on a freeform peyote roll.  I slightly tweaked the raku palette to work with these awesome ceramic charms from Diana at Suburban Girl Studios.  Earrings are a challenge for me...it's a hard to bead so teeny!  But I love how these turned out (look for them in my Etsy shop tomorrow), and they weigh next to nothing.

Well, I had so much fun making these, and they turned out so well...I decided to make another pair...
Festive, no?  I almost never bead with red, so this palette was a fun challenge...one I enjoyed so much that I decided to make a matching necklace with the rustic donuts (also from Suburban Girl).
I love that this palette is festive yet earthy and organic.  I might get into using more red!  This set will be listed on Etsy later this week.

My friend Sherri (of KnotJustMacrame on Etsy) and I are working on a neat swap.  We have each sent the other person a few UFO's, to be incorporated into a finished piece of jewelry by the recipient, then returned to the originator when complete.  Well, she is getting a head start on me (see it here).  My package just arrived last night, but earlier in the week while we were chatting I asked her to give me an assignment to keep me occupied until the package arrived.  She said to try beading a sugar skull, or some other homage to the Latin American holiday Dia de los Muertos.  I've been wanting to try something like this for a while now...I spent that evening pinning ideas on Pinterest, and got this beauty finished yesterday:
I even used cord for the strap, since Sherri is the knot and cord master!  I think I still have a little bit of work to do on this piece.  I'm not entirely happy with the skull, but I'm pretty sure of how to fix that.  I'm also having issues with the button hole in the center of the red flower...I'll probably fix that by adding a row of 15/0's in the center.  

I've also made some components this week...
Feathers!  Not sure when/where/how these will be used yet, but I'm loving them!  I keep making more out of each new palette I've got out for other projects.

Flowers!  These are destined for another, much smaller, sugar skull necklace.  I just couldn't put away this happy palette yet.  

I have been a busy beader this week, that's for sure!  I also wrote several blog posts and Etsy listings that will be active during the first part of the week.  Gigi is recovering from an ear infection, so she's been taking it easy, and the apartment is clean...for 5 minutes!  What have you been beading this week?  What should I blog about next?  Do you have a beading assignment for me?  Please let me know by commenting on this post - I would love to from you!  As always you can keep up with me on my Facebook page, or shop on Etsy.  Thanks for looking!