I've been thinking about our June theme challenge: Summertime (FYI-it's not too late to join in the fun. The theme challenge is open to all jewelry designers and component makers. Click this link to find out how to participate.)
For me, nothing means the start of summer more than the first lightning bugs (aka fireflies) making an appearance and s'mores around a fire. However, I chose fireflies as a theme a year ago and don't want to repeat-even though building on my original design would be a fun challenge too.
Then I bought my first watermelon this summer and it got me thinking about one of the best things about summer...the fruits that come into season. Nothing says summer more than the first *good* strawberries showing up at the grocery store and signs for U-pick berries popping up along the road.
Watermelon might be one of the last types of produce unavailable year round. Not only is it delicious, but it's so pretty to look at. JC Herrell shared the below photo of her lampwork beads a few days ago on her instagram account. And while all the beads are stunning, that watermelon bead won my summer loving heart.
|Lampwork beads by JC Herrell. The watermelon bead caught my eye as quintessential summer while scrolling Instagram a couple days ago.|
This started my obsession with finding handmade watermelon beads. They are more difficult to find than you might guess, so perhaps a subject worth exploring before the end of the month.
The ceramic bead below was made by Kylie Parry. It is currently sold out, but I love it so much, I wanted to show it anyway.
|This adorable watermelon bead by Kylie Parry is sold, but maybe she will make more some day?|
These handmade polymer clay watermelon rings and earrings popped up in one of my several searches. They look so juicy!
|Super cute polymer clay watermelon jewelry by LaNostalgieJewelry|
If you want to try your hand at making your own polymer clay watermelon beads, here is a tutorial for buttons that might be a good place to get you started.
|Here's a tutorial on making watermelon buttons from polymer clay from the Repeat Crafter Me blog that could be altered to work for your project.|
More popular than watermelon are berries. There are all kinds of hand crafted berry beads out there. They vary in realism and whimsy, depending on the artist's style and attention to detail.
|Cute blackberries by MidgetGemBeads|
|Izzybeads created this whimsical strawberry beads.|
|JewelryBeadsByKatie made these delicious looking blueberry beads.|
I've seen the work of lampwork artist Elizabeth Johnson, who created the bracelet below, in person. It is incredible. These berries look like they have been plucked directly from the plant and are ready to eat. You can purchase by the berry from her etsy shop.
|GlassBerries created this Fruit Bracelet using her lampwork fruit beads that you can't even tell are not edible fruit. I would love to do an entire post on her fruit beads, but not today.|
Have you ever heard of, seen, or eaten Gooseberries? I have not done any of those, but this summer I am thinking that needs to change (since I now know they exist). The below gooseberry necklace is a riot of lampwork berries. I admit I really love the photo with the sun shining through the pretty glass too. Polina (MyGlassBerry) sells her berry beads in finished jewelry and also by the bead.
|MyGlassBerry created this stunning Gooseberry necklace using her own beads. You can purchase several different types of berries, by the bead from her Etsy shop.|
Mary Harding is another favorite beadmaker of mine. Her attention to detail in the natural world is stunning. Here she shows some beads she made to look like peaches after being inspired to create them through a book she read for book club. You can read more about that here.
|Mary Harding created these gorgeous peach beads.|
What symbols define summer for you? Why? Think you can convey it in beads or in jewelry? Then join the summer theme challenge. The big reveal is set for June 30th and we would love to have you join us! Click here for more details.