Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Favorite Beads: Jasper

"Untold Treasures"

Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite ArtFire artisans, Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs. Her jewelry studio is always filled with beautiful, fun designs that feature a variety of materials, including natural stones in gorgeous colors.

Inspirational Beading: What is your all-time favorite bead?

Catherine: My all-time favorite beads? Boy, is that ever a hard question! Stones are my first love, so I think that working with the fascinating jaspers is my favorite.

Jaspers are magnificent stones; they come in so many colors, pure white all the way to black and all the colors in-between. Their patterns can be so beautiful and sublime, from the flame designs in the Australian Noreena jasper, to swirls and circles in ocean jasper. But my all time favorite jaspers are the landscape jaspers. When looking at landscape jaspers, I've seen mountain landscapes, ocean scenes (even a surfing frog once!), a volcano erupting and meadows of flowers. It's amazing when you think of the millennia of geological time it takes to create these beauties!

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite technique or method to use them?

Catherine: It all depends on the stones and how the Muses are feeling that day! The jaspers are so beautiful on their own that I often create a simple necklace design, highlighting the jasper with other complementing stones and/or Swarovski crystals. I also like to wire-wrap the stones to create necklaces, using sterling silver or copper wire. Have been also been working on wire-wrapping jasper cabochons. So far I'm still in the learning phase but hope to offer some pendants in my ArtFire studio this summer.

Inspirational Beading: Of all the creations you’ve made with these beads, which one is your favorite?

"On the Road to Ensenada"

Catherine: A necklace I often wished I would have kept for myself is one named "The Road to Ensenada". It was hand-knotted with glorious red creek jasper rounds on yellow silk. Just look at the beauty of those stones! A simple, classic beauty that can be worn with so many different outfits. It sold almost immediately at a show last year. You could tell the lady who bought it absolutely loved it!

Inspirational Beading: Do you have any tips for making the most of these beads?

Catherine: Let the stones talk to you. Keep the design simple because these stones can definitely stand on their own!

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite bead or material to pair these with?

Catherine: I definitely like to pair jaspers with complementing stones, oftentimes with other jaspers. Swarovski crystals are sometimes added for a bit of flash. Also, Karen Hill Tribe fine silver pendants and beads look particularly wonderful with jaspers.

Blue Kiwi Jasper Necklace by Shadow Dog Designs

Inspirational Beading: If you were stranded on the moon, and you could have only one kind of bead with you, would you choose these?

Catherine: I would definitely want a large supply of jaspers with greens or blues, like rainforest jaspers or blue kiwi jasper. Rainforest jaspers have wonderful swirls of various greens running through the stones. And even though blue kiwi jasper is dyed, it has a remarkable deep ocean blue about it. I think green and blue are colors that would be sorely missed on the moon! Bet some of the "landscapes" in the various jaspers would look just like moon formations.

Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what is the best source for these beads?

"Song for Ewaninga"

Catherine: Personally, I think the best sources for different jaspers are at gem and mineral shows. Have found that vendors at gem and mineral shows often offer new jaspers that cannot yet be found in bead stores. I once found some peaceful looking lotus jasper at a gem and mineral show. I bought only one strand. Stupid of me, I know, because it took two years before I finally saw it being offered at bead stores! Plus, I love talking to the vendors at gem and mineral shows who actually cut their own stones. Such fascinating people that are always eager to share their knowledge. One of these days, I'm going to make it out to the Tucson show!

A bead store that specializes in stones can be another good source. I do not like to buy off the internet because I like to pick out that perfect strand, the one that calls to me from all the other strands of the same stone.

You can learn more about Catherine’s work and favorite designs on her ArtFire blog, Shadow Dog Designs, or follow along with her on Twitter for the latest news.

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading and Shadow Dog Designs
Subscribe to Inspirational Beading


  1. What an absolute honor, Mortira! I so appreciate you featuring Shadow Dog Designs on your blog! It looks great - will share wherever I can :)

  2. Catherine's work is lovely and I quite understand her love of the jasper! I have some Picasso jasper that I just like looking at! Haven't done a thing with it but it sure is pretty.

  3. I love Jasper also, so many colors and combos! I agree that going to gem and mineral shows is a great place to get unsual stones. I have a rock shop that I frequent that sells interestingly shaped and polished stones with a predrilled hole, for a buck or two! Definitely worth it to check it out!

  4. What a lovely post to honor the lovely work of a lovely artisan! :)

  5. Catherine's designs are all beautiful and what a wonderful post about them here!

  6. Love this one! I am also finding a love of jaspers but haven't yet purchased any. I may just have to now!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Inspiration Topics

accessories amulet Ancient Worlds Modern Beads animals April's Army art ArtFire astrology astronomy autumn awards awareness bangle beach Bead Inspired Bead Shops bead soup bead spotlight bead stash Bead Trays beaded beads beading theory beads belt bezel birthstones black blog spotlight blue boho bone book spotlight bracelet Bracelet A Week branch fringe brick stitch brown bugles buttons cabochon ceramic chain maille challenge charity chevron chain christmas collar Collections color Color Ideas color triads conservation craft shows crafts crochet crystals cuff Culled Beads current events Current Faves daggers Daily Sets daisy chain Delicas Destash drops Dutch spiral earrings Egypt Egyptian Gods embellishing embroidery environment etsy exotic fair trade fantasy fashion Favorite Beads Favorite Techniques feminine fibers film findings fire polish fixtures Flashback Test flickr inspiration flowers food found object free form fringe Geek Jewels geekery gemstones geography giveaway glass gold gray Greece green herringbone hex cuts history holiday home decor insects inspiration tip inspired beader Inspired by... Inspiring Links ivory Jewelry Stash knitting ladder stitch lampwork lariat leaf fringe leather lights literature loomwork macrame magatamas Master Class Medallions metal free metalwork Mini Collar a Week mixed media mixture Mood Board MOP multi-color multi-strand music natural beads nature necklace Necklace a Day Nepal chain netting New Beads ocean ombre orange paint paper patterns pearls pendant peyote photography Picasso finish pink Pinspiration PMC polymer clay poster sketch purple quick inspiration rainbow RAW red resin ring Ring a Day rivoli Rome Russian spiral scarf science seed beads shell silver soutache spiral rope spring square stitch St. Petersburg steampunk stringing stripes summer tagua TBT The Elements thread Tilas Time Capsule tools trade beads triangle weave tribal tropical turquoise tutorial two-hole beads Ugly vintage Wear it Twice weather white winter WIP wire wishlist wood World Beaders yellow
Blog Home * About * Beading Tutorials * Advertise

Learn About Sponsoring Inspirational Beading with Project Wonderful
Affiliated With and