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Beader's "Secret Santa" - the Etsy Beadweavers' Spring SWAP | The Storytelling Jeweller

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Beader’s “Secret Santa” – the Etsy Beadweavers’ Spring SWAP

Beader’s “Secret Santa” – the Etsy Beadweavers’ Spring SWAP

Being a member of a community is a great thing. You encourage and help each other, sometimes give a push to the one in need and have fun together, too. Regarding a minimum intake of caffeine and cake I mostly rely on my real life friends, but there’s one more thing which I need to keep me going. And being new in town means that my necessary bead-talk with my bead-buddies happens over the internet. I am a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad, and recently I joined the Etsy Beadweavers team, too.

The team has 129 members (according to its secret Facebook group) and is very active. Besides the monthly challenges with the members creating jewelry for a special theme (For example in May 2016 it was “The Four Elements”, in April 2016 “Pompeii”.) there is the annual Etsy Beadweavers Spring Swap. It’s a kind of “Secret Santa” – the beadweavers designing jewelry for each other, according to specific guidelines with information about color and material preferences and dislikes, too.

I received a turquoise pair of soutache earrings from the organizer herself (number two on the picture below), and I’m really happy and proud to wear it.



A showcase of all the jewelry made for the Etsy Beadweavers Spring Swap 2016. For the names of all the artists please visit: Big reveal 7th Annual Spring Swap 2016.


2016 is the 7th year of the Etsy Beadweavers Spring Swap, and the first time I was part of it, too. I received the specification about the jewel I was about to make from Jacquie Champion, the organizer of the event on 15th of March, so I had a month and the half to make something pretty for my partner, Cath Thomas. Cath likes handbag adornments very much, so I decided to make a brooch which she can pin on her bag or on her coat, too. She likes steampunk and romantic jewelry. I have never made anything “steampunkish” before, but while going through my collection of coins looking for material for a different project I found the best possible focal component for the brooch I was going to make for Cath.

The special commemorative version of the Czech 10 CZK from 2000 is the work of engraver Ladislav Kozák. Since one of the symbols of the Czech capital is the medieval astronomical clock, Orloj, Kozák chose a fragment of clockwork mechanism for the front side of the coin. The source of inspiration was first installed in 1410. It is the third oldest astronomical clock, and the oldest one which is still operating.




A legend (actually proven NOT to be TRUE) tells about the clock-maker being blinded on the order of the Prague Councillors so he could never repeat this masterpiece again, and in turn with him breaking down Orloj so no one could repair it for a hundred years. What’s sure, that the clock was heavily damaged during WWII, and started to work again in 1948 when the machinery was repaired and the wooden statues were restored.

Along with this special “cabochon” talking about history and legends of more than 600 years I also used some mat and shiny bronze Miyuki beads, fuchsia, white and rose opal cupchain and a special bronze-lilac shade of Czech fire polished beads. Cath wrote an interesting blog post about the necklace she made for her SWAP-partner, and she also mentions that she loves the brooch which she received from me!

I asked some of my Etsy Beadweavers friends to tell about the pieces they made and received:


Joanne Zammit of Joanne Zammit Beadwork




What did you receive and who made it for you?

A gorgeous bead embroidered bracelet from Chris Maj of beadn4fun.

For who did you prepare something and what did you make for her / him?
My Swap Partner was Jacquie Champion who lives on a boat so I thought she would love to have a sea urchin gift.  Working with sea urchin shells is very much within my comfort zone.  Jacquie’s favourite type of jewellery is bracelets and her favourite colours are greens, browns, oranges, golds, earth tones and blues.  Orange is the only one of those colours that I don’t often work with.  I tried to include all these colours in the bracelet, even orange which I used in the cord for the sliding knot closure.
I really enjoyed making this bracelet for Jacquie and I hope she enjoys wearing it!



Criss Anderson of Kiwi’s Comet




What did you receive and who made it for you?

I received a lovely necklace with a purple flower pendant. The flower petals were woven around a sparkly purple crystal and there were several green leaves dangling from the flower too. The necklace was a delicately woven rope in green. It was created by Patti Parker of Rose Blu Beads. It’s really pretty and I especially love it because it is a different style than anything I have created. It was exciting to get such a nice surprise!

For who did you prepare something and what did you make for her / him?
I made a bracelet for Betsy Zahn of Betsy’s Beadworks. It was made in a style which I typically do with a woven foundation and embellished in layers, but the color combo I used was different than my usual. As I knew her taste was more for neutral, earthy colors, I tried to pick beads with some brown and green tones. I also added some half Tila beads and square beads with an iridescent finish that added a hint of blue and some fun texture. I usually gravitate towards really bright colors and I wasn’t sure at first if I liked how it was working up, but in the end, I liked how it turned out. I hope she did too!



Cath Thomas of SamohtaC




What did you receive and who made it for you?
I received a very beautiful brooch, from you, Erika Sándor (and I thank you!)

For who did you prepare something and what did you make for her / him?
I made a tassel necklace with a “Philtre Phial” for Meg Thompson. It was not really in my comfort zone but also not really outside. She wanted a necklace and I like making necklaces. What I found to be challenging is that she said that she loves Victorian and Edwardian jewelry a lot, but not chokers. I am a choker person, and during these two eras, chokers were legion. Since I like a challenge from time to time, and of course wanted to make something special and beautiful Meg would (hopefully) cherish, I searched to find out what kind of longer type of necklace was fashionable back then. It appears that tassels were a rage under Edward VII, so I decided to make a tassel, but not just any tassel: I included a little perfume bottle in it and used my butterfly rope design. I had great fun.



Chris Maj of Beadn4fun



What did you receive and who made it for you?
Andrea of Bluestararts sent me an awesome abstract bead embroidered brooch in green and purple.  I love green and purple and I love abstract, it was perfect for me!

For who did you prepare something and what did you make for her / him?
I created a piece for Joanne Zammit.  It was a steampunk themed bead embroidered cuff bracelet.  Her note was that she liked purple and black.  While I love purple, I have rarely used a dark purple along with black, but I loved the result!  When I create something for the swap, I usually like to do something that is my specialty, like steampunk.  I feel the same way about receiving a piece from a partner…I love to get something that is their specialty, rather than request a style.


Usually I don’t make jewelry according to specifications, but the Etsy Beadweavers Spring Swap proved to be a very positive, challenging and nice experience. I already know that I would like to join the next year, too!

Comments (2)

  1. What a lovely blog post! thank you again for being my “santa” and for the lovely brooch. The inspiration and meaning of the coin make it even more special! I couldn’t wish myself a better gift.

    May 24, 2016 Reply
    • Dear Cath, it was truly a pleasure to make something special to you. And I am so happy you like it!

      Jun 14, 2016 Reply

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