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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Art Elements Component of the Month October 2017

I always feel like I start these posts with the same statement...How on earth is it October already?!  Wasn't it just February?  It's time again for the Art Elements component of the month reveal!

This time we got to play with one of Niky's hare coin clasps.  As always when I use delicate components, I know my struggle is going to be how to make the component really stand out!  Add in the fact that I don't typically work with much metal, and this month was a particular challenge for me.

Luckily, the deadline for this month managed to sync up with my trip to visit my PiB Kelly for a long weekend.  If you're not sure what I mean by PiB, check out my last two posts about Kelly (Here and Here) and our relationship with each other and beads.  Kelly became a first time home owner earlier this year, and I hadn't been up to see her new digs yet!  We spent the weekend cooking, brewing batch after batch of tea, binge watching shows and videos, and BEADING.  I had brought the majority of my art bead collection, since we intended to do an art bead trade, so when I started playing around quite a few art beads made it into the initial design.  Fortunately, this is as far as I got before I realized it was just TOO MUCH for the clasp.  I cut everything apart to scale back a ton, or I knew I wouldn't be happy with the finished piece.  *cringe* Yes, that is sterling wire....
Here is where I ended up!  This is my take on Aesop's The Tortoise and the Hare.  Much more delicate and in scale with the coin clasp.
I used the dangle on the bottom of the copper component to pull in bright shiny silver to complement the clasp.  Clustering above the sodalite drop are some special beads.  I made tiny dangles with star head pins, teeny labradorite and iolite rounds, and vintage Mercury glass beads.  There is a round one in the center, surrounded by textured flat teardrops.  I have never bought Mercury glass intentionally, but it keeps showing up in random lots of vintage jewelry and beads that I encounter.  It just seemed like the right thing to use to add some more shine.
Kelly works with metal, so she made me this awesome copper disk to use as a center piece.  We punched a big hole on one side to use as the ring side of the coin clasp.  It functions not only as half of the clasp, but the fact that it is large and flat means that the clasp does not have the option to flip or twist to the back of the necklace.  To attach the dangle, and half of the necklace strap, I made two links coming off of my carved sodalite tortoise and passed them through the other holes in the copper disk.  To make for a bit more security, I attached the other side of the necklace strap to another wire link with a flower bead - this meant I didn't need to worry about the beading cable potentially slipping through the link on the clasp.
To add in a third point of silver, on the other side of the strap I went a bit more subtle and used a few wire links with really light labradorite beads, and my favorite iolite beads.  I'm going to be so sad when I use up the last few beads from this strand!  Since the beads are not bright silver like the clasp and mercury glass, I used three in a row to add a bit more impact.  I like how this collection of 3 silver elements keeps your eye traveling from place to place when you're looking at the necklace as a whole.
The bulk of the necklace strap is tubular herringbone with matte metallic antique brass finished bugles and 11/0 semi-matte teal lined seed beads.  The teal seed beads perfectly match the fleeting flashes in the labradorite beads.  Because there are so many precious and sharp elements in this necklace, I decided to string the entire herringbone tube on beading cable for added durability.  This means the beadwork is not taking the brunt of the wear!
By the time I had a chance to photograph this piece I had lost most of the light for the day, but I did manage to snap this picture so you can see the detail in the coin and mercury glass at the same time.  There are so many disparate elements going on in this necklace, but I am really pleased with the results! 

Please do hop on over to everyone else's blog and see what they created with Niky's delightful hare clasps this month!  I'm off to do just that now!  Thanks for looking!

Guest Designers
Linda Landig
Kathy Lindemer
Divya N
Art Element Team
Claire Fabian
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Cathy Spivey Mendola
Susan Kennedy
Caroline Dewison
Lesley Watt
Diana Ptaszynski
Lindsay Starr
Laney Mead
Niky Sayers

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Art Elements Component of the Month October 2017

I was super excited to see that Laney decided to send off a flock of her zombees for us to play with this month...  If you are not familiar with Laney's whimsical (and sometimes beautifully realistic!) lampwork creations - you should be!  I had bought half a dozen zombees last fall because they made me laugh out loud when I saw them in my facebook feed.  I love seafoam green, and opal type glass, bugs and funny beads so they just ticked every box for me.  Laney sent me one more little critter this month for participating, which expanded my stash into a hoard...oh what to do!?!
My friend Kelly had given me this gorgeous lampwork skull by Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan awhile ago, and I knew he would look great with the zombees.  I had a fun idea, but then decided I didn't have enough time to do it and started beading this halo-esque support for the skull.
My thought was for the beadwork to be the under-structure for a zombee laden flower crown...but I knew I couldn't get it done in time and cramming all the zombees into such a tight space seemed...wrong?  Like they need more space to bumble (because that's totally what zombees do instead of shamble...) around.  Back to the bead board.
So I strewed things around and pulled out a bunch of beaded components and Czech glass, just to make sure I was ok with cutting off the beading I had done.  I hate "wasting" beadwork, but sometimes it's best to stop right when you realize you're going the wrong way.  I ended up re-imagining my original idea of long scarflike netting with bees sprinkled on the ends around the central skull, into something simpler.
I made a zombee hoard, guided by a necromancer with a few bats (also by Laney!) thrown in for good measure!  And a zombee hoard (hive?swarm?) has been on my mind since the first ones came home last fall.

My favorite little zombee is this guy - I'm calling him Beenjamin.  I wanted to set him apart from the others, so he is suspended on a single strand of fringe, opposite the rest of the swarm.
 Beenjamin is really special - I love his smaller, wide set eyes because he always looks beefuddled!
While I love a clasp that blends in, there is so much going on in this necklace that I don't mind having the simple brass toggle right in the front of the piece.
Opposite the swarm, I strung the strap with large opal green and black Czech glass beads, as I needed some substantial weight to balance the zombees.
The ladies of the swarm - Beeulah, Beetrice, and BeeBee...
In the middle you can see Barbee and Beena, along with bats Thomas and Tyrone...
And last but not least, Bambee with Tyrone below and Theo above.
I love these emerald opal vintage glass beads for the texture, and variation in color they add to the whole piece.
I'm just so pleased with how everything turned out!  The swarm seems happy in their new home, and the balance of the whole piece means that I don't fidget with it all day long. 
I do hope you will buzz along and check out what everyone else has done with their zombees!  I am off to do just that!



Laney Mead

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Art Elements Component of the Month August 2017

This month over at the Art Elements blog, we were fortunate enough to be able to play with some of Caroline's new starry galaxy-esque beads.  I LOVE Caroline's work.  Every new things she comes up with is my favorite new thing.  I feel so lucky to be able to work with her components and beads, much less be challenged to use them!

Even with my epic love of Caroline's work, I struggled with inspiration...until...TOTALITY!
Photos of the 8/21/17 solar eclipse, by my friend Katherine.

This year on August 21st, I was able to see a full solar eclipse for the first time in 27 years.  My job organized a mandatory viewing party, so we all got to leave our desks for a few minutes to watch the progression of the eclipse and full totality.  It was beautiful and eerie and curious.  So neat to see the birds all fly home, the cicadas ramp up the evening song, a few bright stars peep out, and all of it reverse in just a few minutes.  But during totality, I just couldn't take my eyes off the hole in the sky!  I know that in reality a black hole would not be visible, but totality looked just like I imagine a black hole would.

And so I created my own version of totality.  Carolines beads so perfectly captured the first stars peeping out so I created an environment for them to twinkle in.

I started my sun corona with a copper hoop, and worked off of it in a combination of brick stitch, herringbone, and square stitch.  This combination of stitches allowed me to make the asymmetrical halo effect that was in my head.  To add a bit more star-like twinkle, one of the rounds of herringbone has a 2mm crystal vitrail fire polished bead in between each stitch.  I love incorporating these beads because you can't tell them apart from seed beads at a glance...but the sparkle they add is eye catching.

Along with Caroline's fantastic beads, the fringe also contains lampwork headpins and a bead from Sue, along with a couple of other lampwork beads from local artists.  I wore the necklace to work today and was reminded why my favorite necklaces all have fringe with large beads in them...I love the sound of beads clacking together.
Both sides of the strap are herringbone.  One side is tubular herringbone with seed beads and bugles, and the other is a modified flat herringbone using 2 sizes of seed beads and 2 holed dome beads.
I also love doing this type of front closure lariat-style necklace.  I think of them as "gravity" clasps - where the weight of each half, and looping part of one side through the other is the only thing that keeps the necklace closed.  This also gives you a lot of variations to play with - maybe not as big of a variety as a traditional lariat, but more than if the two sides were stitched in place and a traditional clasp were used.  Plus...if you get bored you can change it up all day long
Thank you Caroline for sharing your beautiful twinkly beads with us!  Thank you all for taking the time to see what I've been up to.  I hope you will all hop along and see what everyone else has created with Caroline's lovely beads this month too...I'm off to do just that now!

Art Elements Team

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Art Elements Challenge July 2017 - Scarabs!

This month over at the Art Elements blog, we had the wonderful opportunity to play with some of Sue's recent creations - lampwork scarab beetle beads.  If you have been following my recent posts over there, you will know that I have also started catching and preserving insects this year.  Being able to tie two of my hobbies together was very inspiring!  I think I'll be wearing this piece a lot!
Sue had also sent me this really cool fused donut previously, and the colors worked perfect with my metallic scarab.  "Oil-slick" iris finished beads have been some of my favorites since I was 10 years old, and I love how it incorporates the iridescence that insects have naturally.
A donut is one of my favorite components to incorporate in a long pendant.  There is just so much potential for embellishment and suspension, along with it being such an eye catching shape and size.
To suspend the scarab, I worked a strip of square stitch into a loop, and hung the scarab like a single strand of fringe.  The strip then needed some embellishment to balance out the heft of the scarab and donut, so I stitched beads in layers until I was happy with the texture and colors.  Just look how much color is in the scarab itself!
After the scarab and donut were attached, I made a warped square of peyote stitch - this is one of my favorite techniques to make a bail to suspend a large pendant.  Because the opening is large, it leaves opportunity to pull the pendant off of the necklace, and suspend it on a ribbon, cord or piece of leather too.
Right now I decided to do a strung strap to hang the pendant from, since I had coordinating beads pulled out.  The front section has coordinating fire polish, cathedral and pressed Czech glass beads.  Then the majority of the necklace is sections of large peanut beads spaced out by seed beads and single small cathedral cut beads.  Right before I crimped, I strung a series of just the small cathedral cut beads to allow my fingers a smooth place to fiddle with the clasp.
I hope you enjoy my creation this month!  I think this will be my new good luck bug catching necklace!  Thank you so much Sue, for allowing us this chance to play with your creations.  I hope you will hop along and see what everyone else has created with their beetles.  I'm off to do just that!


AE Team

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Art Elements Challenge June 2016: INSECTS

I was pretty excited when Diana announced her inspiration for this month's theme challenge.  It's no secret that I love bugs.  I always have.  I can't even tell you how many peanut butter jars I requested holes to be made in to house caterpillars and sow bugs as a kid.  Growing up in Alaska meant that I didn't have a huge variety or quantity of bugs (other than the skeeters) to hunt and capture, but that didn't stop me from trying!  This fascination increased when we first visited relatives in South Carolina and Florida - the animals are smaller in the South, but the bugs are SPECTACULAR.

Now I find myself living in the South, and you can see my recent escapades with bugs here.  Besides continuing to hunt and collect and create with real bugs, I was excited for this challenge to get back to beading and make something with some of the fun components I've collected.

Top row, L-R:  Base metal charms and components, sterling and Thai silver, Peruvian ceramic.  Middle row, L-R:  vintage glass cabochons, vintage Chinese porcelain, Czech glass. Bottom row L-R:  Czech glass, carved plaster, carved stone.

Left column, top down:  pewter by GreenGirl, bronze by Cynthia Thornton and PMC by me, polymer clay (artist unknown), Joan Miller porcelain.  Middle column, top down:  laser cut wood by PorkChopShow and an unknown artist, stag beetle cab by Anthropologie (drawer pull with hardware cut off!).  Right column, top down:  Czech lampwork, zomBEES by our Laney, fairies by Dana Swisher, our Jenny Davies-Reazor
 As you can see I had quite a few things to choose from.  I ended up in that strange situation where I had everything pulled out and way more ideas than time to actually create.  But I ended up with something that I am pretty pleased with.
I used one of my large pairs of butterfly wings from PorkChopShow (seriously I have an addiction).  Originally I intended for this to be a necklace, but I didn't want to add that much - once the beadwork was done the piece just didn't want anything else!  So I made a wall hanging instead - I mean, it's certainly large enough...
The wire I used for the hanger is fairly lightweight because I didn't want to risk snagging the thread of the edge beads when I inserted it.  One of the best things about working with laser cut wood is that even when the pieces are large, they weigh next to nothing!  So I think the light weight wire is not only sturdy enough to keep its shape, but I also like the ethereal look - it almost disappears into the background and the butterfly looks like it is flying rather than suspended.
I did three rows of embroidery with no bezel - I didn't want to cover any of the wing, so it's glued really well.  The wings are so bright that I stuck with neutral browns and bronzy colors for the seed beads.
I did want to pull a bit more blue back into the piece, so I suspended two faceted glass drops from the edge beads at the bottom of each wing.  This placement also reminds me of swallow-tail butterflies, and I love the movement that they add too.
The body and antennae are my favorite things!  For the body I used giant striped seed beads to give a typical segmented look, and then enhanced further with loops of seed beads crossing over the gap between each body bead.  The antennae are made from brown craft wire, twisted with teeny bronze seed beads so they don't disappear against the brown background.
This is a gift for a friend and I really hope she loves it.  I need to carve out some more beading time asap too!  I have two more sets of wings and can't wait to turn them into something for my own wall soon!

I hope you enjoyed my butterfly's metamorphosis this month! Please buzz along to see what everyone else has been inspired to create this month!  I am off to do just that.


Art Elements Team

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Art Elements Component Challenge May 2017

Hello, and yes, it is that time again!  Time for the Art Elements Component challenge.  This month, we were fortunate enough to play with some of Lesley's new shell shaped components.  
 She offered us a choice of colors, and though I normally ask for a surprise as a challenge to myself, this time I opted for one of the ivory and deep teal colored pendants. This post will be light on text, simply because we had a lovely and FULL Memorial Day weekend.  I hope you were all able to spend this weekend with your family or family of choice too!  We had a fantastic time, but I am just about worded out.  I will try to show you with pictures instead...

Fantastic depth of color in this teal glaze
Strange carved serpentine face...
The beadwork connector looks a bit like a tongue.

The strap is half leather, half strung with vintage German glass beads and seed beads.
I like how the depth in the color lined seed beads goes with the teal glaze.

This may still be a WIP.  I want to do a more detailed beadwork bail to string the pendant by, but I can leave that for a bit later  I will probably also do a metal crimp for the leather part of the strap, but my waxed linen was at hand.  Lately, more and more, I want to wear a couple of necklaces in different lengths that I can toss on and layer.  I think this will probably be in the normal rotation for awhile, as it's a nice length for every day wear at the office.

Thank you all for looking!  I hope you will hop along and check out what everyone else has made this month!  I'm off to do just that.  Keep in mind, next month's challenge at AE is an open entry challenge - insects!  Watch for my next AE post (5/31) - you will understand why this is so exciting to me.  If you would like to play along in June, just let one of us know!  If you don't have a blog, we can share your work on one of our blogs for you!
Linda Newnham

Art Elements team
Laney Mead
Lindsay Starr - You are HERE!