So, Lori Anderson. Where do we start?
Firstly, she has a very excellent name, of course. The Anderson Clan's motto is Stand Sure - and really, that couldn't be more appropriate for someone as steadfast and reliable as Lori.
I can't quite remember how and why I came across Lori's blog, Pretty Things. But I do remember two things - firstly, the first Bead Soup blog hop which I took part in (the 2nd that Lori had run), but even before that, I remember the first time Lori ever commented on my blog.
It seems like a little thing, but I was just really getting going with blogging. I was just at that stage where I had left the land of blurking, and had started to comment on the blogs I was reading. But still at that stage where I felt a *little* like I was blogging to no one and nobody! I got the odd comment, and I was hugely excited whenever I did. (Does that feeling ever quite go away though? I am always hugely thrilled whenever anyone takes the time to not only read my blog, but also to comment. Still, 4 years on.) I even looked back through to see if I could find the post - here it is. About someone who is still one of my very favourite bead artists, to this day.
Then one day, I got two comments on a post - one from Lori and another from her good friend and equally talented jewellery artist, Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio. I had had comments from people I liked and admired before, but there was something extra special about both ladies taking the time to comment on the same post.
From then on, Lori has been a continual part of my beading and blogging life. The first Bead Soup blog hop completely changed my blogging - and therefore jewellery making - life. I found myself part of a large - and getting larger - online community of bead and jewellery enthusiasts, all over the world. Since then, I have taken part in all of Lori's Official Bead Soup Blog Hops, along with a few smaller hops that she has organised. I was also lucky enough to send a bead soup over to Lori, to be used in her book, Bead Soup. (You can see the soup which I sent in the 'Look Inside' feature on Amazon - Soup in the Butterfly Garden, which Lori designed with herself!) I've been Lori's partner for a Bead Soup swap - and wow! to the beads she sent me. Not just one, but two soups….including some of her gorgeous handmade lampwork beads.
I hit the jackpot there! I have been introduced to new bead and jewellery artists and made friends all over the world. Not all through the Blog Hops directly, but I know for certain that many, many of them are as a result of this wonderful thing that Lori has created.
Alongside Lori's powerhouse Bead Soup achievements, I also hold her in great, great esteem for her huge generosity of spirit and her ability to always be there when people need her. She takes the time to comment, to listen, to offer help and support. She has her own challenges, but that never stops her from reaching out to people and being one of those people, you always know you could turn to with a query or for advice and encouragement. I know that without meeting Lori, this jewellery journey that I have been on over the past few years would have been significantly different, and the poorer for it.
Thank you Lori!