I've been making Memory Beads for some time now. Memory Beads contain cremains - or ashes - of a loved one trapped inside the glass. I wrote about making my first one with my Maggie May's ashes here.
It's been quite an interesting process making these beads, getting to know a bit about the person or animal to be memorialized. But my last Memorial Bead was different. It was commissioned by a friend - a hiking buddy. The mom of a dog I loved and considered a friend. It was as emotional for me as it was making the Maggie bead.
Allie was a rottweiler and head of her household. She has two impetuous younger brothers that we all love and adore. Allie was laid back and confident - just a pleasure to know. She was a good kisser too! It was heartbreaking for all who knew her when she passed away last year.
Her mom wanted a heart the colors of our creek...not my usual palette.
So, I ran some color tests...on the same bead ... and Allie's mom loved them all! So I set out to remake the color test but with more flourish.
Note that on the test bead, there is no cane work... just stringer. The flowers aren't layered over white. This is a great way to test colors, size, dimension without all the time it would take to pull cane and melt layers and layers.
Allie's mom wanted some sparkle on the surface. The phosphorus in the bones make surface decoration dance in the light so I pulled all "Allie stringer" and "Allie vine cane" before beginning the bead. Stringer with cremains in it is lumpy.
The base is a mix of caramel apple and opal yellow. After shaping the heart, vine cane was laid down and semi melted in. Next came white dots to form a base and to allow more light to reflect through the florals. The flower petals were laid down in shades of light and dark topaz, followed by leaf work and tidying up excess glass.
Allie's mom wore the bead as we hiked and every time I looked at her... it took my breath away!
It took me a while to realize why I love making these beads. It's about the love... the love that lives on and is celebrated by those left behind. What a beautiful thing to be a part of!