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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Art Bead Scene September 2014 Challenge

Full disclosure, the main reason I started blogging again is because I've always wanted to be able to participate in all of the blog hops and challenges out there.  I am a weirdo that thrives with an assignment or deadline.  Usually I find that it pushes me to stretch outside my comfort zones, and that's always a good thing!  After all, you never know when someone is going to request a piece that is outside your comfort zone...I think of challenges as practice for that eventuality.

I was super ready for the Art Bead Scene blog monthly challenge...until I saw the art inspiration for this month.
You can read more about this gesso panel and the artist HERE.

Oh, if ever there was a palette that did NOT inspire me, this is it.  Where is all the color and tonal contrast?  I had to really look at this piece of art to find things that got my creative juices flowing - but that's what a challenge is all about.  I love all the different layers of texture and lines.  I love how subtle the faces are, and the small beads of saturated color in the midst of all the blandness.  I started pulling beads and components to work with (the step I always forget to take a picture of).  Shortly after starting this process, I came to the realization that I was going to have to get really creative with my seed bead choices...I simply don't have true matches to all the beigeness in my stash.

Luckily, I found some seed beads I though I could make work, along with one of my polymer clay faces, and lampwork beads by Valerie O'Neal and Sharon Ryman.  I captured the face, attached the lampwork, started adding some swooping lines of beads...and hit the Ugly Duckling Stage:
If you're not an artist or creative person of any type, you might not be familiar with this term.  The Ugly Duckling Stage (or UDS as I'll call it from now on), is a soul-sucking period in the creative process.  You're not sure why the piece isn't doing it for you, you're not sure how to fix it, you just know that it doesn't look good yet.  Often I find that the bigger or more conceptual the piece is, the longer the UDS lasts.  A lot of times people never make it past this stage in the process, resulting in a perpetual WIP (Work In Progress) or straight up UFO (UnFinished Object).  Part of my issue on this piece is that I wasn't looking at the inspiration picture while I was beading (yes, I was too busy watching Hulu to switch tabs)...so the piece took a bit of a departure from the direction I was intending.  So I called in some help from my online bead friends.  I showed several of them the inspiration art, and then the picture above and asked what was missing.  One said it needed more mauvey pink.  Another said it needed to be "pointy".  And after reading all of their comments, I could tell that the wispy texture that had inspired me in the first place was missing as well.  So I went back to work.
Definitely past the UDS now!  I addressed all of the issues brought up by my friends, and it's ready to have a necklace strap attached.  

Here are some pictures of the finished necklace, with a little bit more explanation:
I decided to go for a two strand neck strap, and each half of each strand is different.  The shorter inner strand is blue and silver-beige on the attached side, and spaced out mauvey pink on the clasped side.  The longer outer strand is garnet luster and silver beige on one side, and denser mauvey pink on the clasped side.  

Here is the centerpiece close up so you can see the artist beads.  I didn't even notice that this face had a beauty mark until I was photographing this necklace.  Valerie's large oval lampwork bead was such a great jumping off point for this necklace, and I love how Sharon's little bumpy bead plays on the texture in the inspiration art.

Here you can see the clasp situation a little clearer.  I used a metal cloak or jacket frog for the clasp.  I found the scroll work in the design appealing - it reminds me of the ornate designs of the early 20th century (the inspiration art was created in 1902).  I really wanted to incorporate the perfect mauvey pink vintage glass ring, and struggled a bit on just how to do that.  I finally decided to make a wire wrapped link to attach the ring, the two halves of the clasp, and a blue foiled Czech lampwork bead.  The clasp is actually used backwards from what it would be in a garment.  The wire links are strung through connects the normal stitching holes.  The hook side of the clasp grabs directly onto the mauve section of beadwork by the face!  The loop side of the clasp is what I crimped the two necklace strands to.  I do love a front closure!  And I feel like this solution breaks up a part of the necklace that could have gone overwhelmingly pink...   

Ah, the beauty shot!

Thank you all for looking once again!  Please make sure you visit the Art Bead Scene blog (I will edit this link then) on October 1st or 2nd to see all of the other awesome works inspired by this piece of art!  As always, you can keep up with me daily on Facebook, or check out my shop on Etsy.  


  1. Beautiful! Your bead work is fantastic.

  2. Thanks for sharing the honest creative process many of us go through. I always feel so much better when I tackle an U.F.O. to its completion. I really do love all the work and thought that went in to this beautiful necklace!

    1. Thanks! I feel it's a part of the process people don't usually get to see, and it's not talked about enough.

  3. I am glad you persevered through the UDS! Sometimes I make things like this and just learn some lessons and keep them hanging around to remind me of that. This is ethereal and complex just like the challenge inspiration. Enjoy the day. Erin

    1. Ah, the UDS...it is funny how much a piece will grow on you when it's a hard labor :) Thank you for your comment!