Beads From Around The World

We here at Blue Door Beads have recently had the pleasure of meeting lots of people from all over the world. When we’ve asked these folks what has brought them to the Bay Area, their answers are almost always the same: it’s summer vacation time!

That got us thinking of all the fabulous places we would like to visit, and all of the amazing beads we could pick up in far-off lands! Although we may not be able to visit Africa, Venice, or the Czech Republic in the near future, we can enjoy looking at gorgeous examples of the types of beads these countries are famous for, and so can you! Enjoy!

Japanese Tensha beads are handmade by applying detailed decals to acrylic beads. They are then sealed and protected with an acrylic coating. Definition and photo courtesy of bohemiabeads.com.au

Japanese Tensha beads are handmade by applying detailed decals to acrylic beads. They are then sealed and protected with an acrylic coating. Definition and photo courtesy of bohemiabeads.com.au

Beads from Afghanistan are often made of Gillit, a coin based alloy metal with a low silver percentage. They are then embellished with compressed semi-precious stones, such as turquoise. Photo courtesy of look4treasures on Etsy.

Beads from Afghanistan are often made of Gillit, a coin based alloy metal with a low silver percentage. They are then embellished with compressed semi-precious stones, such as turquoise, lapis, or coral. Photo courtesy of look4treasures on Etsy.

German glass bead artist Michou Pascale Anderson creates amazingly colorful focal beads. Photo courtesy of michoudesign on Etsy.

German glass bead artist Michou Pascale Anderson creates amazingly colorful focal beads. Photo courtesy of michoudesign on Etsy.

Although the style millefiori ("a thousand flowers) has been used in many cultures, Italy made the style famous, especially when making beads. Photo courtesy of reddogbeads.com

Although the glasswork style of millefiori (“a thousand flowers”) has been used in many cultures, Italy made the style famous, especially in the realm of beads. Photo courtesy of reddogbeads.com

African beads are often made of many different materials, since they have been traded with folks from many other countries over the centuries. Photo courtesy of africanbeads.org.

African beads are often made of many different materials, since they have been traded with folks from many other countries over the centuries. Photo courtesy of africanbeads.org.

Traditional Native American jewelry often contains intricate inlays of semi-precious gemstones, such as turquoise and coral. Photo courtesy of rubylane.com

Traditional Native American jewelry often contains intricate inlays of semi-precious gemstones, such as turquoise, sugilite, and gaspeite. Photo courtesy of rubylane.com

These hollow, carved wooden beads were created using an old Chinese (specifically, Cantonese) bead style. Photo courtesy of earthlyadornments.com.

These hollow, carved wooden beads were created using an old Chinese (specifically, Cantonese) bead style. Photo courtesy of earthlyadornments.com.

Swarovski crsytals are luxury-cut lead glass beads made in Austria. Photo courtesy of overstock.com.

Swarovski crsytals are luxury-cut lead glass beads made in Austria. Photo courtesy of overstock.com.

Czech glass beads are some of the highest quality in the world! Photo courtesy of artfire.com.

Czech glass beads are some of the highest quality in the world! Photo courtesy of artfire.com.

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Winners of Our “What’s Behind the Blue Door” Kids’ Drawing Contest

 

The results are in! Thanks to all of you who came into the shop and voted on your favorite submissions in our “What’s Behind the Blue Door?” Kids’ Drawing Contest. We would also like to thank all of the talented young artists who participated in our contest. Your imaginations are some of the best we have ever encountered, and you’ve inspired us to draw more often!

And now, the winners:

Honorable Mention for mixed media, by Jacob

Honorable Mention for mixed media, by Jacob

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Third Place ($10 gift certificate) – Jeffery, age 11

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Second Place ($15 gift certificate) – Ana Sofia, age 13

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First Place ($20 gift certificate) – Emma, age 9. Emma’s vision of what’s behind our big blue door includes an assembly line where dragons make torchwork glass beads using their fire-breathing talents! Well done, Emma!

Fanning the Flame of Creativity: Lovely Lampwork Glass

One of the first artists whose work we started carrying in the shop was JC Herrell, an incredibly talented lampwork bead artist who not only creates amazing beads like these:

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…but also saw our logo and instantly decided, “I need to design a bead exclusively for the shop!” And so she did:

A Blue Door bead!

A Blue Door bead!

To say JC’s work is mesmerizing is an understatement. We thoroughly enjoy when people ask to look at her beads, because it gives us an excuse to take them out of our display case to drool over them ourselves. One question we are consistently asked is, how does she make the beads? Although we are knowledgeable when it comes to making jewelry, the Blue Door Beads staff realized that we didn’t actually know how lampwork glass beads are made, so we did some research!

According the Wikipedia, lampworking is a type of glasswork where a torch or lamp is primarily used to melt the glass. Once in a molten state, the glass is formed by blowing and shaping with tools and hand movements. It is also known as flameworking or torchworking, as the modern practice no longer uses oil-fueled lamps. Lampworking differs from glassblowing in that glassblowing uses a furnace as the primary heat source, although torches are also used. Click here to read more about the history of lampworking.

Check out these other amazing examples of lampwork glass beads created by JC and other insanely talented bead makers:

Red Bridge bead by JC Herrell. An homage to the Golden Gate Bridge, perhaps?

Red Bridge bead by JC Herrell. An homage to the Golden Gate Bridge, perhaps?

Foggy Tree Silhouette bead by JC Herrell.

Foggy Tree Silhouette bead by JC Herrell.

Amber Orange and Ivory Construct Round bead by JC Herrell.

Amber Orange and Ivory Construct bead by JC Herrell.

Adorable owl beads by Laura Sparling.

Adorable owl beads by Laura Sparling.

Space-age lampwork glass bead by Tom Boylan.

Space-age lampwork glass bead by Tom Boylan.

Gorgeous lumpy lampwork bead by Tom Boylan.

Gorgeous lumpy lampwork bead by Tom Boylan.

Dragon focal bead by Kerri Fuhr through Etsy.

Dragon focal bead by Kerri Fuhr through Etsy.

Neon Jewelry: The Brighter, The Better!

Yes, Lydia owned this t-shirt. No judging!

Yes, Lydia owned this t-shirt. No judging!

We know we’re dating ourselves, but back in the late 80s/early 90s, we had big, fat crushes on the boys from New Kids On The Block. Lucky for us, they are currently on tour with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees (boy band nostalgia overload!), and one of us got the chance to see them in concert this weekend in all of their studly glory (Lydia’s a lucky gal, what can we say.) Although the music was a delightful pre-teen throwback, what Lydia noticed most about the crowd was all of the wonderfully vibrant neon-colored clothing and accessories. Although neon clothing can be a bit bold for some…

This may be taking neon a bit far. But then again, it's Katy Perry.

This may be taking neon a bit far. But then again, it’s Katy Perry.

…we feel that neon jewelry is something with which anyone can get on board, even if it’s just once in a great while. Whether you wear your neon pieces with a simple white t-shirt and cute jeans, or you decide to really jazz up a little black dress with a fabulous neon necklace, we can’t think of a better way to embrace our motto, “bead boldly!” Here are a few design ideas to get you glowing:

Show that you have the right stuff with some bright stuff! Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Show that you have the right stuff with some bright stuff! Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Can't decide which color to wear today? Why choose? Wear 'em all! Photo courtesy of polyvore.com

Can’t decide which color to wear today? Why choose? Just wear ’em all! Photo courtesy of polyvore.com

Neon wire woven over silver hoops. Super cool! Photo courtesy of WatchMeWorld on Etsy.

Neon wire woven over silver hoops. Super cool! Photo courtesy of WatchMeWorld on Etsy.

Make basic black a little snazzier with big, chunky neon beads! Photo courtesy of AlinaandT on Etsy.

Make basic black a little snazzier with big, chunky neon beads. Photo courtesy of AlinaandT on Etsy.

Sometimes simple pops of color are all your need! Photo courtesy of bloomize.com.

Sometimes simple pops of color are all your need. Photo courtesy of bloomize.com.

Love the polymer clay ombre design! Photo courtesy of JustBetter on Etsy.

Love the polymer clay ombre design! Photo courtesy of JustBetter on Etsy.

Lightweight & funky paper necklace. Photo courtesy of PaperMelon on Etsy.

Lightweight & funky paper necklace. Photo courtesy of PaperMelon on Etsy.

DIY neon drinking straw necklace (say what?!) Click on the photo for the how-to! Photo courtesy of cremedelacraft.com

DIY neon drinking straw necklace (say what?!) Click on the photo for the how-to! Photo courtesy of cremedelacraft.com

DIY neon rhinestone necklace. Click on the photo for the how-to! Photo courtesy of diamondsandrust.blogspot.com

DIY neon rhinestone necklace. Click on the photo for the how-to! Photo courtesy of diamondsandrust.blogspot.com

If anyone can rock neon, it’s Cyndi Lauper. Photo courtesy of fashionbloginc.com.

Photos at top courtesy of radvintage.com (NKOTB shirt) and prom.about.com (Katy Perry).