Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Etsy Beadweavers Spring Swap

I was excited to take part in the recent Spring Swap event that took place amongst the Etsy Beadweavers.  This year there were 24 participants who created beautiful pieces based on the preferred styles and colors of their recipients.  My recipient was Kinga Nichols of White Rabbit Jewels.  If you visit her etsy shop, you will see that Kinga is extremely talented and has created some stunning pieces herself, so I sure had my work cut out for me! ;) 

   The specs I was given for her desired piece gave me enough direction and yet left it open for me to interpret it as I wanted.
I knew that her favorite colors were orange & green.  I knew that she liked funky, modern things and that she loved cuff bracelets.  So, I jumped at the chance to create her a piece that I am happy to say she was thrilled with.   Here is the lovely Kinga modelling her new cuff. ;)

Here is the swap piece that was created for me by Maria Nyberg of Macrame by Maja.  Her intricate knotting designs are just beautiful! Definitely something I couldn't have constructed myself.  Thanks, Maria!  :)

Thanks so much for the opportunity to take part in this event!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Bead Journal Project 2011 - March - Joyful Heart

THE PROJECT: I am so excited to share my latest beaded cuff creation for the 2011 Bead Journal Challenge.  My theme for this collection is character traits I admire in a strong woman.   My cuffs for January & February featured spirit and confidence.  This March piece pays tribute to The Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization that focuses on healing, educating and empowering survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.  

THE INSPIRATION:  This organization was founded by one of the strongest, most inspiring, most emphatically passionate advocates of our time, Mariska Hargitay.  Mariska’s life was dramatically changed by the response she got playing special victims detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU.  The letters she received from victims, many of whom still held their secret inside, disclosed stories of abuse.  Mariska took this turning point in her life as her true calling.  She realized she wasn’t just meant  to act and bring the dramatic stories to life but to help shine light on subject matter that is often hidden and considered taboo.  

Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 as a means of healing survivors and helping them to reclaim their lives.  Thousands of participants have had the opportunity to take part in their healing retreats and wellness programs.  Joyful Heart is at the forefront of awareness campaigns and they have opened up millions of eyes to issues that have stayed hidden for far too long.  One of their ongoing crusades is to end the backlog of untested rape kits.  Earlier this season, SVU aired “Behave,” a phenomenal episode guest starring Jennifer Love Hewitt which dealt with this horrible epidemic.   This episode was inspired by a true story shared at a Joyful Heart Celebration Gala.  Mariska and her fellow cast mates delivered a call to action which aired at the beginning of this episode.   

Together, Mariska & the Joyful Heart Foundation have made ending the backlog their priority.  Their work has led to the testing of thousands of rape kits that had been shelved for many years.   Mariska delivered a powerful testimony in front of congress about how we are failing the test of providing justice to sexual assault survivors.

I am not only a fan of her work as an actress, I also hold a deep respect for the passionate heart Mariska has and how she's making a difference in so many lives.  She’s taken a stand and used her visibility to deliver a program that provides support, encouragement and a new beginning.  To me, this exemplifies what it is to be a strong, powerful and inspiration woman.

THE DESIGN PROCESS:  At first, I was unsure of how to approach this design theme.   I wanted to make sure I did the foundation justice.  The idea to recreate the official Joyful Heart logo with beads seemed like the perfect solution.  There is so much carried through in those simple lines and letters…. so many shades, so much life and beauty.  To me, the blocks of color represent the differences in the individuals whose lives are being touched by Mariska and the Joyful Heart Foundation.   I think that joy and vitality transferred well into a piece of wearable art.

I am excited to share that this bracelet was created as a personal gift for Mariska.  Her inspiration is unmatched and I’m honored that my craft will allow her to quite literally wear her heart on her sleeve.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT:  Please visit these links for more information about Mariska Hargitay and the ongoing efforts of The Joyful Heart Foundation:
They can also be followed on Twitter at @Mariska and @TheJHF
My jewelry designs to help End the Backlog can be found here: . 100% of proceeds will be donated to the foundation.

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement throughout this creative challenge.  I am really enjoying bringing these pieces to life.  I am honored to create them and feel truly proud of this collection.  I welcome your thoughts and comments.

“When people are abused and assaulted, it is like the doors to their souls slam shut. The goal of Joyful Heart is to let the light, and the life, back in--to banish the darkness and let the healing begin."

  – Mariska Hargitay