Fairy tales by mail! The art charm exchange and auction

Welcome the the Art Charm Reveal! This special event is designed to raise funds for a great charity : Beads of Courage. In case you haven’t heard of them , their mission is “… providing innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.”

Beads have been seen in many  cultures as symbols of wealth, of status, amulets of power…and healing. The BOC page has a great article to that effect.  Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions has organized this swap and auction for a few years running. Participants made and traded beads, offering at least one of each design up for auction – where all proceeds benefit the charity.

This year I was very inspired, as the Fairy Tale theme is a focus of my work on a regular basis. My first charm was the castle – seen above in its original sculpt and then painted. The castle is such an icon in fairy tales… as the starting pint from whence heroes and heroines depart on quests of discovery and exploration…. as the destination after trials and travails. Its the home, the haven, the sanctuary and yet its the goal, the reward. It can even be the jail, the challenge, the obstacle…

In working on my charms I was playing with the dragon as well. This is its debut! There will be one OOAK charm available at the auction. Dragons can be the obstacle to overcome, but they can also be a guide on the hero/ine’s journey. Associated with age, wisdom, wealth… they are a powerful and recurring icon.

My third charm is very detailed, very meaningful and related to one specific tale. Inspired by the Grimm’s “Fitcher’s Bird” and Angela Carter’s story “ The Bloody Chamber” – this is a polymer hand, with charm key and blood red garnet drop. The tale tells of BlueBeard’s wife, given and egg to hold, and a key to a secret chamber she must not enter while he is away. Curiosity wins, and she enters to find the remains of his previous wives… Through ingenuity and cunning she defeats him… A gruesome tale to be sure, but the original tales usually were… ( Read more at“BlueBeard and the Bloody Chamber” and article by Terri Windling)

So take a look at the treasures I received – and remember! You can bid! Its a great cause and these unique special edition beads could be added to your collection!


1. Red Riding hood ceramic bead. Caroline at Blueberribeads 2. Tortoise and the Hare ceramic bead. Terri at Artisticaos.

Hand carved exquisite beauty by Caroline, such clear and simple beauty telling the tale. Hand drawn totems by Terri – 2 sides of the same coin as it were…


1. polymer face bead by Patti/Miya Beads 2. resin charm by Vanessa of Culturezine  3. “Muchness” lampwork and metal focal by Jen at Glass Addictions 4. Stamped heart charm by Marianne of Simply Seablime

Some Alice in Wonderland love from Jen and Vanessa – always a favorite! I love that Jen’s heart has a subtle fairy tale message and is such a  stunning complementary palette!  Magical faces and iconic words from Patti and Marianne!


1. Polymer charm set by Brooke at Artistic Endeavors  2. polymer hat charm by Alenka at Pepita  3. Lampwork pot-o-gold by Sue at Sue Beads

This batch was tougher to photograph ( apologies). A generous robust set by Brooke! A wee adorable hat by Alenka! And Sue’s pot of gold is to die for! Its a amazing shape, and a tiny scale that could work in almost any design!


Had to show you the packaging! Silver charm by Charlene of Clay Space!

This last one – I adore! And I haven’t even unwrapped it yet because the packaging was too cool! Thanks Charlene!

Now – Please hop the blog hop… but steady on like the tortoise! There are many lovely offerings to see. AND the auction- details to follow as soon as possible! Don’t forget. Great cause – and a treat for you! 


Beads of Courage – Charm swap and charity auction

 BOC button


I want to introduce you to a new-to-me charity event called Beads of Courage. This year I was able to participate in this fundraiser; raising money for arts-in-medicine programs for children. As an art educator and advocate, I have seen the power that an arts experience can have on a child. At any age, at any time. 

The charm swap and auction is a prodigious task, undertaken by Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. (And my team mate at Art Jewelry Elements.) Participants made a dozen charms (or in my case 2 dozen!) and received an assortment back. Charms by each participant are being auctioned off, NOW! ( Click here.) 

Beads of Courage 2014 theme: Soar!

 Winged things, flitting, floating. Fairies? or their more earthy cousins – dragonflies and butterflies? Yes! These charms are hand carved, an entirely original offering. These original designs wer sculpted and carved in earthenware clay. A plaster mold preserved the image and multiple new charms can be pressed from soft clay. Each one is hand painted, and customized with “Soar” and date on the back.

Butterflies are symbolic of the soul in many cultures of the world. They are the agents of transformation, and ethereally beautiful. Their delicate wings allow them to flit, fly… and soar. Dragonflies are similar in many ways… and even represented the warrior spirit in Aztec Mexico!

Soar charms

But I was still inspired and signed up to do another batch! These are my newest love: the fusion of polymer and copper! 

These unique mixed media charms combine polymer clay and copper. The copper shapes were cut, stamped, polished and tumbled to create the dark glowing patina. The polymer goes through the copper, holding itself in place with rounded top and bottom shapes – like a rivet! Textured impressed in the clay are accented with oils and acrylics.

courage charms

Now – I have to tease you with images of SOME of the charms up for auction! These could be yours… Remember, I got a double batch! 

Art charm booty

1&2 Toltec Jewels 3. Rosebird’s lamp work  4. Windbent  5. Blu Mudd  6. Lamplight Crafts  7. Pepita  8. Dream Some Design
9. Shaktipaj Designs  10. Firefly Design Studio  11. Culturezine  12. NEDbeads  13. Artisticaos  14. Wanderware  15. Zenith Jade  16. SueBeads

BOC charm loot

1 & 2-Fulgorine  3 & 4-A Half Baked Notion 5 &6- Silver NikNats


Thanks for stopping by – I’m off to look at the auction offerings! 

Please feel free to visit the blogs of my fellow participants, check out their designs, and hear their stories! 


2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants
Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog
Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com
Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca
Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com
Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk
Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
Cate van Alphen: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com
Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com
Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com
Genevieve Gabbert: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog
Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com
Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com
Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net
Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger: http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com
Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/
Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com
Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com
Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca
Niky Sayers: http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/
Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
Shai Williams: http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com
Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com
Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com
Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com
Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com
Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/



Fall festivals and festivities


“…season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… 

Keats said it well in his “To Autumn”. Those words embody September in my mind, and in my artistic life. 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Summer – what a whirlwind! I adore September, its my favorite time of year. Windows open, fresh crisp air, a cup of coffee, and time in the studio. September for me is a respite from teaching, and a round of arts festivals: travel, scenic drives, friends, and great customers. 

BF 2014 detail

The picture above was from my exhibitor’s table at Beadfest Philadelphia this past August. My third year vending and my first teaching: a smashing success. One of the highlights as always was the camaraderie of my fellow artists and designers, especially my team mates at the Art Jewelry Elements blog! (If you are interested in pictures of my student work and my Beadfest loot, they can be found here. )

Art journal WIP  AJ2 Wip

In some ways September feels like a new start, a clean slate. Is it the residual timing of the back to school schedule from my years teaching? Whatever the reason – I am starting anew at an art journal. Nothing formal, it will be just for me to doodle, sketch, paint, collage. I have a sketchbook filled with notes and planning sketches, of course. This is more for play, for journaling thoughts visually… I am trying to leave one table set up as a place to work. It helps to keep things out, to have water ready for waterolors. To steal a moment here and there. I am trying to do a two page spread each week. 

BoC 2014 swap

The Beads of Courage charm swap and auction is the undertaking of Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions. Participants create and swap art beads/charms. Surplus charms are auctioned off to raise funds for  Beads of Courage. This organization provides “innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.” I have signed up to contribute 2 charms to the swap. This year’s theme is “Soar” and I have plans to donate an additional piece to the auction on November 14th. 


That’s all for now! 

Off to pack and prepare and fire the kiln one last time.

Upcoming shows: 

Artsfest at Annmarie Garden – September 20-21st. Dowell MD 10-5pm daily. 

Art on the Avenue – October 6th. Alexandria VA. 10-6pm