Thursday, 25 October 2012

Major Excitement!

Today I had the most amazing email from Jean Power!  Her Geometric Beadwork book has all been finalised and sent to the printers (see her blog post with sneak peek here)!  How very exciting! 

However, the most exciting part of the email she sent me was the sneak peek of the page the pentagon beaded beads were on:
The ones I beaded are the middle grouping of the beaded beads.  And yes, she did give permission for me to blog these images so don't worry!  Those little beaded beads are brilliant for using leftover beads and I can imagine a fabulous bracelet with snake chain and adding one or two and building up over time when you only have a few beads to use up and won't be buying the colour again or just want to get rid of some beads in order to buy more!

Even more wonderful, Jean also included Mummy's Triangles Necklace based on the Heroine Necklace (my version here) and it looks exquisite!!!
Mummy's necklace and earrings are the grey at the top of the page - how gorgeous is that?! In the high resolution pictures, the detail is astounding - each bead is visible and they look amazingly clear.  I will be blogging about this necklace when it comes back from Jean so that you can see how Mummy has taken a real statement piece and toned it down for everyday wear without losing the glamour - she's a bit good is my Mummy!  We'll get it back with the books we pre-ordered in a few weeks as it would be silly for her to send separately when we know we're getting the books very soon.  Watch this space...

I'm just so chuffed!  This has topped off an enormously good week for me: Depeche Mode tickets, mortgage sorted for my new house AND a little bit of our beading in a book by my favourite bead artist!  Seriously, how could this possibly get any better?!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Mummy's Triangles

My amazing Mummy has just uploaded this picture to our Facebook page:

How gorgeous is that?!

She started with the large triangle (which I originally thought was going to be a bangle), adjusting the count from Jean Power's Heroine Necklace triangle links.  In it's first incarnation, the centre was filled with the other two triangles, one inside the other suspended by crystals.  After about a week of musing she decided she didn't like it at all and cut the triangles out and rearranged them as you see here.  I love it!

The centrepiece is hung from a simple six-round herringbone rope to enhance the simplicity of the triangles and the complexity of the form.  I simply adore how all the negative spaces between and within the triangles are triangles, which enhances the whole piece.

Mummy, you've done it again!  Brilliant, simple and complex all in one piece - utterly fabulous!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pink Pinstripe Ruffle Cuff

As you may have realised from my blog and the work it contains, I seem to be drawn to the bigger statement pieces of jewellery rather than intense embellishment.  I love clean forms and shapes that shouldn't be possible in beadweaving. 

There is so much inspiration going on at the moment thanks to the amazing Jean Power.  Her work inspired the magnificent Kate McKinnon which in turn inspired a whole group of beaders who came up with Contemporary Geometric Beadwork (and the Facebook page).  This book will be utterly immense and I can't wait to see the paper copy as well as watching the subsequent evolving eBook.  That's right, they're releasing an evolving eBook!  Talk about bucking the trend! 

Anyways, I was looking through the beautiful pieces that have been submitted by the beading community on the Facebook page and was hit by the beauty of Kate McKinnon's Horned Melon Cuff (have a look through the photos, you'll find it!) and this is what I was inspired to create:
 I started with the incredibly elegant Modified Right Angle Weave (if you buy The Book then you get access to lots of pre-order goodies, including how the MRAW works - it is genius!) and a pile of Purple Iris Delicas (DB004) with a smattering of Silver Lined Fuchsia Delicas (DB1340) and set to work!  This cuff evolved as I was making it - the amount of beads I had and the feel I was getting dictated how it would turn out, rather than having a complete design in my head before I picked up my needle.

This is the view from the top.

In reality (rather than a pretty rubbish photo taken with my ancient BlackBerry!) the Purple Iris delicas sparkle and shine in an oil spill of purples and greens, darkening the Silver Lined Fuchsia from a girly Barbie pink to quite a dangerous, almost violent pink.

Here you can see the depth of the cuff.

So there you have it, a cuff that is nothing like I have ever made before, but now has me absolutely brimming with ideas for horns and wings and oh so much more!  Go pre-order both Jean Power's Geometric Beadwork Book AND Kate McKinnon's Contemporary Geometric Beadwork - the books will flow pretty seamlessly I imagine because Jean is the keystone to the community effort curated by Kate.  I can't wait to get mine!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Circle Starburst

I'll be moving house soon so I thought I'd have a bit of a sort through of all my patterns and my beading stash.  I'm off work at the moment with an ear infection (not so much fun when you're deaf!) so now is the perfect time to have a root through and see what I've got.

A long time ago I bought the pattern for the Circle Starburst by the amazing Cindy Holsclaw.  I bought some 6mm Swarovski pendants to make it and then promptly forgot all about it, filing the pattern and stashing the crystals! 

I thought I'd pick up a needle and thread and start making it.  The pattern is pretty simple and if you've made a beaded bead using the Bead Infinitum's Infinity Weave then you're on to a winner!  However, if you're not used to following 3D patterns presented on a 2D plane then get something a lot simpler!  This isn't really a pattern for a beginner.

Here is the beaded bead with wide open spaces.  Quite honestly, I wish I'd had a black support bead because I think this looks lovely!

This is the beaded bead from the triple crystal view:

 All finished, from the five crystal view:

Admittedly, I did simplify the pattern.  In the actual pattern the seed beads come up in small volcano type shapes in between the pendants but I felt that they hid the beautiful Swarovski crystal too much for my taste.  I took off all the volcanoes and adapted the pattern so that the pendants really stick out of the seed bead base.  It makes it look a lot more spiky and a bit more vicious, but that's what I like in jewellery anyways!

To hang it on the silver neck wire, I simply popped an eye pin through the beaded bead, trimmed and turned a loop.

Close up of the beaded bead on the neck wire:

In all, it's quite a nifty little beaded bead that could be used as a base for lots of different variations.  Make sure you have lots of finer needles to hand though - I got through three needles because you have to get into some quite tight spaces!  I think the price is a little steep for what you get - $36 which equates to roughly £22...   But it is pretty.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Paula's Chakra Necklace

So I took a small break from beading after the momentous piece that is the Heroine Necklace to let my fingers recover and my hands stop being claws!

I was commissioned to make a Chakra Necklace from Rob to Paula, Xander's masseuse.  Xander has been going to see her every other week for the past couple of years and her massage is amazing.  She is absolutely astounding and specialises in soothing massage for kids with all sorts of disabilities, not just autism.  Her patience is amazing and Xander sleeps brilliantly after each session.  Over the years we've become friends and often have dinner together.  Rob decided he wanted something beautiful for her birthday and asked me to make a piece that I would not make again so that it was completely unique to Paula.  He wanted to incorporate chakra colours so that it had meaning for her and the base colour to be a muted copper or bronze.

This is what I came up with:
I used 12mm Swarovski rivolis in Siam, Padparadscha, Sahara, Emerald, Sapphire, Heliotrope and Tanzanite and set them using 3mm bronze firepolished rounds, bronze 15s and Matte Metallic Dark Bronze delicas, adapting a technique used by Sabine Lippert in her book Beaded Fantasies.

Here you can see a close up of the stones and their settings:

In this photo you can see the reverse of the rivolis and just about make out Sabine's very clever way of bezelling so that the stones are safe in their little cocoons but the front shows as much of the colour and sparkle as possible.  The bezels look pretty and show off much more of the stone than the usual peyote bezel that I use and are blooming quick to make - most of the time!  Getting the stone to sit in and close the netted back up is quite fiddly, especially seeing as the netted flaps want to leap open when adding the row of 15s round the centre!  I'm pretty certain that this is more to do with my tension rather than the design - I'm a very tight beadweaver and like to keep everything quite stiff so that I know nothing will slip out!

As I was making the herringbone rope I decided that it looked really odd with both sides plain herringbone so every 20 rows I inserted a couple of the 3mm firepolished rounds with a couple of the 15s either side but only on one side.  I think this slight alteration in the rope gave the necklace a little more balance than if it had been plain both sides.
The side with the stones is completely plain and just a simple 4-bead herringbone rope.

Rob's coming to pick it up today and I really hope Paula likes it when she opens it on Tuesday.