Thursday, May 22, 2014

Introducing Big Bead Little Bead

Don't you just love getting a present in the post?  Even if you've paid for it yourself?

This enticing looking package came from Big Bead Little Bead.  The UK art bead scene is less extensive than that in the US, but Big Bead Little Bead have been offering art beads for some years now and they are always keen to promote bead artists.  While the shop is based in the UK, they ship worldwide at a reasonable rate and their website allows you to shop a number of artists and only pay one lot of shipping! They stock art beads in a range of media and today I wanted to show you around their artist made selection and bring you a tasty bit of beady eye candy.

First up, ceramics, and a name many of you will know. BBLB have been stocking Bo Hulley's ever-popular pieces for about a year now. 

Bo frequently sends them new stock of her latest designs - these black and red hearts, for example.  Here's another ceramic artist a number of you may recognise.  I love the smokey glaze on these Chinook pendants.

Then there are some other ceramicists who are not so well known on the bead scene but make some of my favourite beads.  Maap Studio are known for their stunning porcelain jewellery.  (It really is jaw-dropingly beautiful - no exaggeration! Go look!)  They don't sell beads in their Etsy store, but BBLB stock an exclusive range of their beautiful Parian pieces.

Those wee exclamation marks are a new addition and very dinky indeed!

Another of my favourites is Jane Lidbetter, an Australian ceramicist. Again, Big Bead Little Bead have an exclusive selection of her work.  

I just love the graphic style of these hand painted pieces - kinda tribal and kinda mid-century at the same time!

Next, lampwork. How joyous are these bright fritty nuggets?

They're made by Lesley Silver of Beadsashore and I have several waiting in my stash. They're available in a range of lovely colours from these bright citrus shades to some delicate ivory hues.  Another lampworker well represented on the BBLB site is Dianne Cousins of Tobairas Beads.

I've bought several sets of Dianne's rondelles; I rather fancy this subtle etched set too. But, if you're looking for something more fun and whimsical, how about these:

Isn't Carole Hughes's little turtle cute?  And who doesn't love a bird bead? These were made by Marcy Lamberson.  Here's a couple of other lampwork lovelies:

There's something so appealing about hollow lampwork beads; this one is also the work of Lesley Silver.  The lentil is another of Carole Hughes's beads, titled 'Bloody Mary' - also rather appealing!

There are fewer polymer pieces available on BBLB at the moment but there's still a range of good things to be had.

Clockwise from top left, these are made by: Continuum Designs, Jayne Kriel, Something to do Beads (yes, that's me!), and LC Beads.

Alongside these more common materials, Big Bead Little Bead stock a range of handmade paper beads and pendants.  There are Spoon's fun and highly affordable rolled beads, which are great for folksy designs. There are also a number of decoupage pendants made by another Australian artist, Eryka Garbutt. 

 I really like this square pair - I've come very close to buying them on several occasions.

Finally, Big Bead Little Bead have a small range of dichroic glass pieces, from Emma Vidler, and a selection of beautifully detailed beach themed pewter charms made by Yvonne Law.

I do hope you'll be tempted to take a look around the Big Bead Little Bead site.  Alongside the artist made pieces, they have an extensive range of vintage elements and a comprehensive selection of other beading supplies.  It's a lovely site - go explore!  I'm off to open my parcel!

something to do with your hands


Carol Briody said...

Thank you for showing us around BBLB! I've seen BBLB mentioned in UK Beading Magazines and often thought they have a neat selection of items we don't here in the USA. I'm so glad you provided the BBKB link in your blog today so that I can take a look around in their shop directly! That will be fun! Hope everyone gets a chance to go window-shopping!

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Thanks for sharing, Claire... will check them out! As I live in Canada, many times shipping is actually faster AND cheaper from UK and Europe than from US suppliers :( Not sure why this is. I believe postage costs in MOST countries has gone up significantly (it has about doubled here in Canada).

Shai Williams said...

Thanks for the heads up on this shop. I have been finding lately that I am leaning towards bead makers from overseas because they are unique on this side of the pond. I love the fact that I can get several from different artists yet only have that one shipping charge.

Mary Harding said...

What a delight Claire to be introduced to so many wonderful bead artists I was not aware of. I am so pleased that you have given us this tour. I will be sure to check out the BBLB site.

Ann Schroeder said...

Thank you so much for introducing me to BBLB! I love their offerings. I love your description of some of the beads as tribal meets mid-century. That's my kind of thing! I'm off to drool.

Rebecca said...

BBLB is a really fantastic shop, one of my faves. I love their art bead selection *of course* but I also really love their vintage selection! Especially their chain. And the packaging is always lovely! Thanks for the write up Claire, great to see what you selected.