About Me

Lindsay M Starr is a beadwork and mixed media artist currently based in Nashville, TN. She spent her early childhood in Alaska, and her school age and college years in Oregon. Lindsay has a great appreciation for history, science, and nature and is consistently inspired by insects, sea life, color, and the significance of beads and beadwork throughout human history. She spends her days beading, walking at the zoo, and practicing yoga. Lindsay loves to share her knowledge and passion for beads and beadwork to hobbyists of all skill levels.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 2017 Art Elements Challenge Reveal - Amulet bags!

When Cathy announced that this month's theme challenge would be amulet bags, I may have been more than a little bit excited.  After all, this is where it all started for me!

I started over 20 years ago with instructions from Threads magazine.  I have made flocks of these postage stamp sized brick stitched necklaces since then.

After learning Peyote stitch a few years later, I tried several different varieties of amulet bag with it and was not really pleased with the results until I learned how to work with "bead soup" and made this bag.

Lately, I have been loving how quickly 3-bead netting works into a bag, and it's so much fun to embellish! 

I had intended to make several this month for the challenge, but like it does so often, time got away from me.  This bag was for one of my coworker's bridal shower a few days ago.  Even if her wedding colors weren't jade and navy, I would have chosen some combination of green and blue for her!
Only the bag and embellishment is seed beadwork.  I connected the strap to two large picasso seed beads along the top edge of the bag opening, and strung it on flexible beading wire.
The strap is quite long - no clasp needed.  The front sections have some coin shaped jade beads that I have hoarded for years.  The rest of the strap is more of the large picasso seed beads - super comfortable on the neck.
The embellishment is all made of vintage pressed glass beads - two styles of button flowers and a large leaf, all in navy blue.  The looped fringe has even more of the large picasso seed beads floating over the strand of 11/0 seed beads - something to fiddle with while she's on the phone.
The back is left unembellished, for ease of wear primarily, but this also means you get a good idea of what is under the embellishment on the front.  I used a bead soup made of 4 different colors of 11/0 seed beads.
My other half pointed out when I was done that the bride would only need to tuck something borrowed inside of the bag to fulfill the Old English rhyme:  Something old (vintage glass beads), something new (the piece itself), something borrowed, and something blue (also the vintage beads)!  While this was totally unintentional, I love how this worked out!

I hope you will hop along and check out how the rest of our crew and guests were inspired by the theme this month!  I'm off to do just that.

Samatha Wescott- http://wescottjewelry.com/2017/03/30/art-elements-challenge-amulet-bag-of-shame/
Oksana Bevz- http://oksanalikesit.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-theme-challenge-amulet-bags.html
Genevieve Camp- http://www.genevievecamp.com/201/03/30/art-elements-amulet-bag-theme-challenge/

AE Members-

Cathy- http://cmendola.blogspot.com/
Cooky- http://www.cookyschock.com/
Jenny- https://jdaviesreazor.com/blog/

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 2017 Art Elements Component of the Month Reveal

I will fully admit to struggling with my beadwork for the last 6 months or more.  It's a combination of being overworked, overwhelmed, and just plain ready for a change of season!  That being said, I'm incredibly thankful for our team over at the Art Elements blog for keeping me going every month, with at least one creative commitment.  I try my hardest to participate every month, especially when my team mates are so kind to send me lovely components to work with.

 Jenny's crusty battered polymer clay hearts are no exception!  I think many of us creatives share a similar, hmmm, dare I say, revulsion? for the typical seasonal holiday themes.  For sure, I find most of the seasonal store displays in February uninspired and trite.  Hearts are not something I usually incorporate into my work without a specific request.  I don't buy them, use them, or enjoy looking at them...but when I saw Jenny's take on a wounded and repaired heart, I couldn't say no!  I mean, look at them!

I requested one of the dark burgandy ones, and when I started looking through my stash, I knew I wanted to incorporate some more brass to bring out the gold leaf and brass wires, along with doing some geometric beading to contrast with the organic nature of the hearts.  I found these strange brass Greek theatrical wall mask miniatures while on a trip with a friend in rural Iowa...and everything just fell into place.
I wish I could tell you I had some kind of grand concept or plan.  I can't though, it would be a lie.  I just picked things that I felt worked together, and I'm really pleased with the results!  I have a collection of masks and art "taxidermy" on my living room walls, and this piece will fit right in.
As the hanger is at the top of this mask, I had to use the mouth to suspend the beadwork and heart from.  Using some 20g antique brass colored copper craft wire, I coiled the wire around the mouth and chin (messily!).  I worked with short sections to avoid kinks, so when I was almost satisfied with the look, I cut a longer piece and folded it in half. To suspend the beadwork, I threaded the wire directly through one of the beads, allowing it to settle in the middle of the "U".  Then I wrapped the 2 tails around and wove them into the back side of all the other wires for stability.
When it came to choosing beads, I dug around for something to combine the burgundy, brass, black and green of the patina on the mask, and combined textures so both the shine from the mask and satiny finish of the heart would be represented as well.  I added six small Czech spikes to the outside for that sharper, geometric look.  I also like that the slight metallic haze on the clear glass draws a little more focus to an element that might otherwise disappear into the background...
Since I had asked Jenny for a pendant, the wire on the heart was already included.  I was able to rotate the loop so it faced sideways, and attached it to the beadwork in the section opposite the mask.
All things considered, I am quite pleased with the results!  I hope you will hop along and check out what everyone else has made this month with Jenny's lovely crusty hearts.  I'm off to do just that!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Art Elements January 2017 Component of the Month Reveal - Leather Cabochon!

This month, the Art Elements component of the month was a bit different than usual for me...I was the maker of the component!  Since I am typically not a component maker, I normally let everyone else sign up for the monthly slots, but for some reason several months ago, I signed up for a challenge.  After much fretting about what to make, I had an idea...that actually worked out...and I ran with it.  Introducing - leather cabochons!
I cut out and wet molded belt weight vegetan leather, then dyed and painted them when dry.  I was vaguely inspired by Australian Aboriginal dot art, and also had fun applying paint with the old tried and true toothbrush technique.
I kept these two for myself ,intending to use the long oval as a jellyfish bell, and making a huge statement jellyfish necklace...but as so often is the case, that's not what happened!
I ended up using the splattered dark teal/purple cabochon.  I was inspired by how much it looked like photos of deep space and ran with a circular/orbital look on everything.
It was more than a little difficult choosing cabs to pair with the leather cabochon.  I felt like most of my stash was too shiny, and took focus away from the leather cab, simply because it is so dark.  I ended up with a vintage acrylic cab (Etsy) in purple, black and gold, and a lampwork cab that I've had stashed away for several years (artist unknown).  Between the darkness and subtlety of each of these cabs, I felt like they both belonged in the same realm as the leather cab, even though the 3 materials couldn't be more different.
I bezeled each cab, and embroidered around each for just a few rows until they were all connected.  Glued on the ultrasuede backing, and edged the piece in some clear and black striped 8/0 beads, with a transparent grey rainbow bead on the picot's - I like that the edge appears to fade away.  To connect a necklace strap, I stitched a few twin beads between the picot's on the upper edges, and used the second hole of each to run my beading wire through.  To continue the circular/orbital theme, I strung a selection of large Czech glass disk shaped beads first - this also adds some overall weight close to the focal.  More weight was desperately needed, since the none of these cabs is very heavy.  I like weight in the front of a necklace, so that when you're wearing it you don't have to constantly adjust the orientation on your neck.  The strap continues up the neck with some black 6/0 beads, blue metallic 11/0's and I interspersed the segments with 3mm white opal druks, simply to carry some flecks of white further into the necklace.
I am more pleased with the results than I was expecting!  I think of it as my System necklace - interconnecting, orbiting circles that create an entire network of shapes, everything interrelated.

Making components has been an adventure for sure!  If you are interested, I do have a few more cabs for sale over at the Art Elements Extras Facebook group.  I'm not sure if I will ever make any more!

I do hope you will hop along and see what everyone else has cooked up with their leather cabs!  We have several guests this time, and I am super excited to see what everyone has made.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Art Elements - Component of the Month October 2016

Has someone put the year on fast forward? Seriously,where has 2016 gone, and why are the holidays right around the corner?  I am convinced that there is a time warp enacted, someone must have pushed the button back in March...

I think we were all excited about Jen's sugar skulls this month at the Art Elements blog!  Mine arrived a few days before I left on my first vacation in three and a half years - also my first trip home in the same amount of time.  I tucked it into my little box of beads and projects, along with some pre-stitched pieces and coordinating beads.  I knew I would be busy with daytrips, family and travel...but sometimes it's really beneficial to have a family of hermits that go to bed early.  My brother and I spent a couple of evenings watching moves while I beaded.  Now, looking at my creation while separated from my home by 3,000 miles, I can see the influences of the Pacific Northwest.
 So much green! I knew that I wanted to place the skull on a foundation of one color, so that it stood out as much as possible, allowing me to add accent beads to tie the skull into the piece as a whole.
One of the prestitched pieces I drug on my tip was a green tubular herringbone rope piece.  I decided to use it as one side of the strap, and worked a foundation of freeform netting and peyote off of one end for the skull to land on.  The other side of the strap consists of three strands of beads strung on beading cable - seed beads, Czech pressed glass, and lampwork by SueBeads.  I had originally intended to leave the strands separate, but after I got them all attached to the clasp, I didn't like the results.  Not wanting to restring anything, I tried a simple braid and the undulation of the lampwork strand now seems to fit into the rest of the piece better. As you can see, I added some embellishment to the herringbone side as well - to add some visual weight as a counterbalance, and to tie it into the organic party in the middle...  The clasp is a simple s-hook, and I attached one of Sue's little flower dangles for a bit more whimsy.
I left most of the right side of the foundation bare, but needed to add both physical and visual weight to the left side to balance out the heavier strap.  I used lampwork by Sue and several other artists, Czech glass, and beadwork flowers in the fringe to bring color, movement and texture into the fringe.  I had originally intended the beadwork flowers to embellishment a ceramic skull cab, but with the bright accents and eyes on this skull...he just needed these flowers!
Unintentionally, this piece has become a tribute to my home.  Evergreen, apple green, spring green, and emerald - reminds me of the forests and fields.  From daffodils, tulips, and rhododendrons to the red, orange, and yellow fall foliage - all of these colors can be seen on a bed of rich green.  And so I give you my Homesick Boneflower necklace.  I will wear this piece year round, any time I am missing the PNW!

I hope you will hop along and check out what everyone else made with Jen's lovely skulls!  I'm off to do just that!

Guest Designers
Staci Louise Smith
Karin Grosset Grange
Solange Collin
Art Elements Team
Caroline Dewison
Susan Kennedy
Laney Mead
Claire Fabian
Diana Ptaszynski
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Cathy Spivey Mendola
Lindsay Starr
Niky Sayers
Lesley Watt
Cooky Schock
Jen Cameron

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Art Jewelry Elements Headpin Challenge August 2016

This month's challenge over at the Art Jewelry Elements blog, was to use artisan headpins in a piece.  I was at a loss for ideas until the very end - and somehow ended up having a complete blast cramming as many small artisan components into this piece as I could.  I call it Whalepin:
I started out with an enameled copper whale component by Knoxville, TN, artist Susan Bernard.  I thought it went well with the bubble-like lampwork headpins from Jen Cameron, and decided to use mostly copper wire and chain to assemble the rest of the necklace.
Here you can see Jen's headpins closer - along with some additional dangles made from itty bitty vintage glass headpins in raspberry pink.  The links are mad from the headpin wire, and linked together with copper jump rings.
For the dangles around the whale, and the opposite side of the necklace strap, I used more lampwork headpins and beads from Sue Kennedy, enamel components by Anne Gardanne, local and unknown artist lampwork beads and a flower headpin, plus lots of fun vintage Japanese glass beads. 

I'll try to get some better pictures of this piece this weekend!  I ran out of daylight and had a hard time getting anything usable today, so I'll try to update both here and on Facebook as soon as I have something better. 

I hope you'll hop along and check out all of our participants this month!  Have fun!

AJE Team Members:

Lindsay Starr  You are here!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Art Jewelry Elements July 2016 Component of the Month

Oh my, what a couple of months it's been.  I skipped the group challenge last month because life was just too full.  Starting about 8 weeks ago, here are the highlights of my life in the recent past:
  • TN state insurance licensing exams scheduled to prep for position change at work
  • surgery scheduled all of a sudden
  • licensing exams rescheduled since they were the day of my surgery
  • had surgery (outpatient)
  • holiday
  • bought a gift for myself to hold as ransom so I would study for the exams
  • study
  • first round of allergy consultation and testing
  • study
  • more study
  • binge studying
  • passed my exams!
  • opened my present
  • fingerprints for state licensing
  • 2nd round of allergy testing next week (all the itchy things were scheduled for after my exams)
Yeah, so...I've been a bit overwhelmed lately.  I'm so glad to feel like I have my free-time back!  It means I got to play along in the AJE component of the month challenge this time, with Lesley's fun fossil pebbles.
 I asked Lesley to choose me a surprise!  I like embracing the challenge of an unknown color palette, shape and form!  She sent me the moss and tan colored one in the middle of the bottom row...And this is what happened.
Ostrich illustration by Dave Eggers
I was really working at the last second on this, even to come up with an idea.  I only passed my exams on Wednesday this week...all of the creative process happened Thursday and Friday, including idea generation.  However, the basic construction of this pendant is an idea that has long been popular in the leatherworking world and something I've been thinking about incorporating into seed beading for quite some time.
This technique essentially uses leather to bezel a cabochon, marble, stone or other holeless object - in this case Lesley's fossil pebble pendant.  I treated the pendant just like a cabochon as the first step - glued to my base piece of leather.  Then made holes at 1/8" intervals around the pebble, and let the glue set for a bit while I trimmed the leather and decided which other to use.  After I had the accent and bezel leathers chosen, the next step was to stitch all three layers together, tightly stretching the top layer across the pebble.
 Here you can see the layers of leather a bit clearer - the base layer is a greenish tan cowhide, then a layer of warm tan fish leather, and a stretchy, supple chocolate brown leather.  After everything was stitched together, I took a razor blade and sliced the top off of the chocolate layer of leather - this caused the fossils to be revealed, but I also left enough behind to act as a tight bezel to protect the edges of the pebble.
After I finished my stitching, the piece just needed a teeny bit of color and texture added.  You know how I am about color!  These lovely picasso green turquoise seed bead drops picked up all the varieties of brown and tan in the leather and pebble...but still add just enough color to appease my sensabilities.
I will also admit to not being satisfied with my stitching through the leather - the drops are hiding areas of stitching that would otherwise be unsatisfactory to my eyes. You know how it is...the vast majority of people would never notice the things about my own work that I do, but that doesn't make it any less apparent to me!

I've just slipped the pendant onto a piece of ultrasuede lace for easy, over-the-head wear.  I'm not sure if down the road it will stay on the lace or a different piece of cording, or perhaps end up with a beaded necklace?  For now though, I think I'm just going to wear it as is!  So light I can't even feel it!

I hope you will hop along and see what everyone else has created with Lesley's lovely fossil pebbles!  Grab your morning coffee and peruse the creativity with me!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

AJE Component of the Month May 2016

This month over at the Art Jewelry Elements blog, we had the chance to play with some of Sue's SueBeads tiny heart and star cabochons...Just look at them!  They remind me of candy and I just want to gobble them up!
I asked Sue to send me some stars, but asked to be surprised with the color choice - a color challenge is always my favorite type!  When my package arrived, I found that Sue had chosen 3 stars for me in varying shades of turquoise...one of my favorite colors!  But then the challenge turned into, what do you do with such teensy cabs...
Well, a few days later a package of goodies from Joan Miller arrived, and I just knew what to do!  Presenting StarryEyed - a brooch -
This periwinkle eye cab by Joan Miller worked perfectly with the 3 little stars.  I wanted to make sure that each element stood out, so I did the bezels around the stars and much of the background beading with chalky, light grey seed beads.
I added some white drops at the valley of each star arm for texture.
I knew I wanted eyelashes after I finished the bezel around the eye, so I went with a golden orange bead, and tipped each short fringe with a mauve bead to pick up the lavender in the iris.
To add a little movement, I used some of Sue's fantastic headpins.  I added a few more lampwork beads (by Sue and other artists), plus a few purple Czech glass beads, and roughly coiled the rest of the wire around the uppermost beads to make these dangles.  On my last row of the edging, I worked them into small loops, so they dangle directly from the edge of the brooch.
Normally on my bead embroidery, I do a simple picot edge.  This time I decided I wanted the edge to be more of a frame, so I used 6/0 and 8/0 seed beads to build a few rows of brick stitch before doing my picot row.  Part of the reason I did this was because my scrap of ultrasuede for the foundation and backing was small...this way I was able to build out the brooch to a more substantial size that I had originally envisioned.  It also allowed for a gentle ruffle to occur, and provided a connection point for the lampwork dangles.
I had so much fun pulling all of these elements together, and the finished product just makes me happy!  This color palette is a bit of a departure for me - usually I lean towards black or gray as a neutral, but in this case white and light gray were the way to go!  This brooch is going to decorate my new Baggallini purse - it's bright turquoise, like the star on the right.  I can't wait to tote this new piece around!
Please hop along and see what everyone else created with Sue's tasty lil cabs this month!  I'm off to do that now...I can't wait to see the other colors!


AJE Team Members
Lindsay Starr You are here!