30 December 2010

Bead Star is Out of This World!

"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage."

~Mark Russell

{me and Tiny Dancer, a.k.a. my inspiration}
 Back in January 2010, my daughter, Tiny Dancer had the third grade solar system project come home. There was a sheet suggesting that stryofoam balls can be painted to the exact likenesses of their heavenly counterparts. But my children have learned that when the project comes home with a suggested material, they cannot use that for their project. They need to do more.

When my son came home with his solar system project three years earlier, he groaned and pouted but ultimately came up with using polymer clay to make swirling replicas of the planet. His entire Universe is housed in a shoe box and is one that we will keep forever {or until we need some extra cash and can auction it off on eBay to the highest bidder ;-}.

Tiny Dancer remembered the fun of the polymer clay solar system project and thought that she would get to use that same material to make hers. Nope. You guessed it. Not only could she not use styrofoam balls but she could not use polymer clay either. {I know. I am the meanest mom on the block.} I sent her away to think about it and about 20 minutes later she came bounding back in the room announcing, "I know what we are going to do for my solar system project... we are going to make jewelry!"

That's my girl! ;-)

So we each sat down to sketch out our designs, keeping in mind all the impressive things that we had learned about each of the 8 planets and the sun in our time researching. From the colors to the size to the number of moons and the rings, there were so many fascinating things about the planets to explore. Then we brought those sketches together and chose the best parts of each to come up with some final designs. We went shopping at Michaels. {It is quite incredible that so many of the beads we found closely resembled the planets}. Then we set about to make an entire solar system into necklaces that we displayed on black busts in a circle surrounding the sun.

If you want to see the entire solar system project, you can go to this post to see the pictures of all nine necklaces we made for the display.

As we were arranging the circles in the most pleasing pattern and opening jump ring after jump ring for the Saturn themed necklace, I knew that this necklace was special. So I asked Tiny Dancer if we could enter it into the Bead Star contest. She said yes.

{Isn't this cover piece AWESOME? Made by my friend Erin Strother
and totally worthy of the grad prize win!

And by the way...so many great friends are in this issue
...with so many exceptional designs
...and so many new friends yet to be made!}

I challenged myself to enter all nine categories this year {more for the personal triumph than anything else}. I was inspired by my dear friend Denise Yezbak Moore and her quest to enter all nine categories. That made me want to see if I could do that myself. I was fortunate to have three of my entries selected among the top 20 in those categories (pearls, stones, under $25). But the one that I am most proud of is the one that took 1st Place in the Under $25 category:

Icy Rings

If you voted this year in the contest {whether you voted for me or not}, I thank you. The fact that this entry was one of 1,000 to catch the editor's eye and garnered the most votes out of over 80,000 cast is quite an honor to me. But just showing up to play is the best thing about entering contests like this.

I believe that this piece may have won because it looks so much more stunning than the under $25 price tag. It is a statement piece, one that gets noticed when you wear it. I think the key to entering something in that category is to make something look richer than it is. And no, we are not selling this one, nor any of the solar system. They are too precious.

On Tuesday the magazine finally arrived. We have been sitting on this for about 6 months. So hard to keep that secret. I think that Tiny Dancer may have forgotten all about it! So I waited to open this with her. Her smile lights up a room and the wattage on this one was particularly bright. She is so proud of this accomplishment. Although for legal reasons they couldn't list her as the creator (since she is under 18), the inspiration for this piece was all hers and I have to give big props to Melanie Stafford and the whole Interweave crew for acknowledging Tiny Dancer {a.k.a. Olivia} in the small write up. I cannot take full credit for this necklace. I simply was the conduit to make it happen.

Needless to say, Olivia aced the solar system project.

{We did modify this slightly... we removed one little brown swirly bead that was inside one of the rings representing Saturn because we didn't think that people would understand that in the contest.
Sorry for the cockeyed scanning. Best I could do.}
And she's pretty stoked to share the Bead Star winnings with me.

How about you?
Any plans to stretch your creative wings and enter the Bead Star contest for 2011?
Or what other ways can you challenge yourself to try new things in 2011?
Are you considering new materials, new techniques, new directions?
Do tell!
Enjoy the day!


sasha and max said...

Well done ladies!!!- what a lovely teamwork story too - a moment that you'll both hold on to forever. Congratulations! Vicki

Marcie Abney said...


Erin S said...

This is such a great story, especially for those of us who are really into the Bead Star contest and understand intimately what its like to enter, have some pieces rejected, have some make it to the finals, and actually win something. I also entered all 9 categories last year, and I gotta say, it is tough! Especially the categories that are not really in my comfort zone. Crystal and hearts are not my faves. My hearts necklace got in, but my crystals were rejected, so this year, my personal goal is to get a crystals piece into the finals and actually win something. Not sure if I will enter all 9 categories again, but for sure I will enter in more than 1. Already have some ideas!
Congrats to you and Tiny D on your 1st place win!
Erin S

SueBeads said...

Congratulations Tiny Dancer! Way to go!!! You too, mom!

peacockfairy said...

That is so awesome! Love that story! Congrats to you and Olivia! I can't wait to scope out a copy next time I am at the book store. The necklace is awesome, as is the whole solar system jewelry project!

Alice said...

Congratulations on not only meeting your goal of entering all nine categories, but also for those pieces that made the top 20. You must be so proud of Tiny Dancer for her gorgeous piece. I'm betting she is on cloud nine to see it in print!

I've got to get a copy of this issue!

SummersStudio said...

I remember the solar system project. I though it was brilliant then and still do now. It's such a wonderful story of togetherness between you and your daughter. Congratulations Tiny Dancer Olivia!

Christine said...

WOO! Congratulations to Olivia and to you, Erin! I love the necklace, and what a great mother-daughter project and story!

I hope you enjoyed a fantastic holiday with your family, and Happy New Year!! :)

Barbara Lewis said...

Erin, This is fabulous ... from the concept, the creation, the inspiration from Tiny Dancer! The whole story and project is wonderful. Gorgeous jewelry! Congratulations to you both!

Lisa Godfrey said...

What a wonderful story! Congrats to both of you! That necklace is really beautiful and I can't believe it was under $25 to make! Your kids are so lucky to have a mom who encourages their creativity in such a fun and special way. :-)

kelleysbeads said...

Hooray for Tiny Dancer and coming up with the idea of making jewelry for her solar system project AND designing this winning necklace!!!

Kinderhook said...

Erin, I went back & read the January post and all about the solar system and was so impressed. I'm sending this on to both my daughters. They're creative women with young daughters (age 4 and 14 months) and I think good ideas deserved to be shared. Congratulations on your success as an artist and as a MOM! Congrats to Tiny Dancer too. She's following in some really cool footsteps! --SallyAnderson

Jennifer Cameron said...

I think this might be my most favorite blog post ever. What a great mom to get your kids to s t r e t c h themselves more than they might on their own and the Bead Star thing is the cherry on top ;o)

rosebud101 said...

A huge round of applause to Tiny Dancer! Can she come over and play at my house while I make jewelry? I need her for inspiration!

The Empress said...

Oh, what a story!!!

And the necklace? Just my style.

Congratulations! What a memory you both have.

susanc said...

Congratulations Olivia and Erin! That was such an awesome idea Olivia! Great job!

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Fantastic story! Totally understand you supporting your kids by getting them to think outside the box. On a similar note, my son did a Jupiter poster last year and rather than keep the poster rectangular like everyone else, he cut his out in the shape of a circle and colored it with the swirly stripes and the big spot like the planet. All the kids were surprised when they saw how different his was.

I love the jewelry planets idea. So unusual and so cool. I bet the kids at school and the teacher were very impressed!

Bead Lola Bead said...

Well done! Congrats to both of you!

Denise Yezbak Moore said...

Erin - my special friend. You inspire me to new heights everyday. Congratulations to Olivia and yourself. I know how proud you are of your daughter. It is amazing to me that a tiny dancer inspired this beautiful statement necklace. Much love!!!!

JeannieK said...

Congratulations to you both. Tiny Dancer is quite an inspiration and a bright shiny star in the solar system. You are not a mean mom. I think you inspire your children and encourage them to think "outside the box."

My daughter has no interest in creating jewelry or wearing it. She is more academic like her dad.

I'm definitely considering a new direction. ?New materials/techniques? Right now I have a full plate and a side dish.

Happy New Year Erin. Tiny Dancer is a Baby Bead Star in the stellar nursery of beads.

artybecca said...

Love the icy rings necklace. But even more, I love the way you're teaching the children to think "beyond the obvious" and make connections that others might miss. Your story is a simple, concrete illustration of the concept and one that is valuable for us all to remember all the time. Thanks!

Imaginative Jewelry said...

Congrats to you both! The piece is as awesome as the story behind it. I hope to be writing a similar story some years from now. It's an inspiration not only as an artist but as a mom! Thanks for sharing.

Mellisa said...

Congratulations to both of you...what an achievement! I wish I had the drive to be as prolific as you are :)

Judy said...

Congratulations to Tiny Dancer and her wonderful Mom for encouraging her to stretch her imagination. I bet she was so excited to see her picture in the magazine!

Brandi said...

Oh, congrats to Tiny Dancer!! It is a gorgeous piece! I especially love how she thought outside of the box with her class project - that just blows me away.

BooBeads said...

I love the inspiration here and that just makes the piece all the more special. I loved it anyway but that certainly adds to it.

A big congrats to you both!

Erin said...

Congrats to you and Tiny Dancer! I really loved going back and revisiting that solar system project!!! One of my absolute favorite posts! Such an inspiring project you did with your daughter! I can't wait to do something like that with my Nora someday!

Jenners said...

How wonderful!!! And your are a wonderful inspired mom who helps elevate her kids!!!

Esther said...

Congrats you 2!!! what a special mother/daughter project!!Lovely story!


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