Chance Connections Inspire New Designs

Serendipity is fun. The adventure of blog hopping Bead Soup Blog Party 8 entries revealed multiple sources of creativity: talented bloggers, amazing projects – not just necklaces, but earrings, ornaments, wearables and more – and clever use of fibers.

An entry from Clare Etheridge, probably in the first 25 or so that I visited, caused me to look differently at my stash of waxed linen.

Suddenly I envisioned my knotted silk “Barely There” necklaces in an entirely different way. “What if I used waxed linen?” Oh, I knew I couldn’t fit waxed linen through my pearls. But…

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, 25 “Barely There”

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, 25 “Barely There”

From Clare’s blog I found Lori Bowring Michaud of Artfully Ornamental, who talked about participating in a waxed linen blog hop coordinated by Suburban Girl Studio, who sourced waxed linen etsy stores and pinterest boards with knotting ideas. Do you get the sense that I lost all track of time? Now you understand why I must set timers for myself on the Internet. But I digress.

The important revelation for me was the instant connection between linen, a fiber I’d only considered for bracelets,) and my Barely There necklaces which have become something of a staple in my collection.

First, I played with a beautiful bead gifted to me by the talented director of Amapola Gallery, artist Kristin Parrott. The delicately painted oval bone bead paired perfectly with bone-colored shell heishi. I love the juxtaposition of uniform donut shapes and irregular knots.

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot Turquoise

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot Turquoise

Then, I experimented with purple, raiding my stash for other items languishing unloved, unnoticed and unmade. (HINT: There are many that fit this category.) A focal from Molly Wilson Perry of Anthropicart.com caught my attention.

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot So Purple

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot So Purple

Heady with new creative juiced discoveries, I incorporated more color, bigger beads and longer dangles. Blue and yellow played out in a treatment that won accolades from my informal focus group.

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot too Blue

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot too Blue

A lapis donut joined a few vintage African trade beads and some small, transparent blue donuts I’d picked up in Oregon last year. (NOTE to Self: Continue to buy things you’re crazy about. They’ll come in handy.)

As of this writing, I’ve got another idea on the workbench and several more in my imagination.

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot Yet Done

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Knot Yet Done

I’m excited to unveil these items at the Old Church Corrales Show May 31 and June 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, take time to play and notice the little creative prompts that pop into your life.

How will you add chance to your beading?