Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Tangle Of Angles Bangle

Whilst I was off work, apart from the Raven Star Bangle, I also started another bangle. I decided to go way out of my comfort zone and make something out of colours that I personally never wear, silver lined bronze and gold lined cream.

 I call it the Tangle Of Angles Bangle because as I was making it, I decided to really push myself on the number of horns and gave it 14!  The most I'd ever done before that was 12 and my goodness it was such a tangle to bead!  The beadwork decided to be such a tangle that it was an absolute horror to bead and took about four decreasing rounds (and an obliging can!) for it to become round and bangle shaped.
 I also decided to add in an Elegant Guide Round (video) that Kate McKinnon came up with, which I hadn't played with before.  Even though I didn't embellish the EGR in any way, I am a definite convert to this technique and will never stitch in the ditch again!
 After I did one side with the EGR, I just suddenly lost interest.  My stitches had reopened and I just couldn't face doing any more beading for a few weeks so my amazing Mummy finished it off for me. 
 I think that going with the zigzag edges really completes the piece.  I always tend to go with straight edges or wings but I wanted to try something a little more elegant this time, lending itself to the colours (get me trying to do grown up beading!).

It is available in my Etsy Shop

Friday, 4 July 2014

Rainbow's Revenge Bangle

Yesterday, I finished the Rainbow Reverie Bangle, today I finished a bangle in the same colours but with a much more vicious look which I have called Rainbow's Revenge.

As I was beading up the Rainbow Reverie, I had an idea to put something in the ellipses between the wing joins.  I had hoped to put in some dyed howlite skulls but unfortunately I got my basic band size wrong so that had to go back into the thought processes for a little more stewing and I went back to my bead stash and found that the skulls had come with some absolutely fantastic dyed howlite claw spikes.

I just thought, hey, why not?! and started adding them.  Blooming tricky though - the more spikes I added, the more the thread caught on them!

 I love that the inside edge is the same as the Rainbow Reverie but the whole look has changed by the addition of those funky spikes!

 From the top you can see that the bangle is actually quite slender - the spikes are what give the bangle depth and punch.

I know it won't be to many people's tastes, it is pretty outrageous, and quite heavy, but I love it!  I love that it is bonkers and that the person who ends up owning it will never be able to type wearing it - or do much of anything practical!  It's a statement and it is totally unapologetic and that's what I like about it so much.  It is what it is and doesn't make any bones about it!

It is available to buy in my Etsy Shop

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rainbow Reverie Bangle

So I decided to make something with a little bit of colour.  As you know, I'm not good with colour at all and tend to steer clear, but I just wanted to really go for it, like I did with the Jester Cuff.  I didn't want to emulate it, more create a sibling for it and this is what I came up with:
 Originally I wanted to nestle dyed howlite skulls in each of the ellipses but I made the wings too long and the bellyband too thick for it to work.  I still have the beads on my tray though so...

I love how the view from the top looks so utterly simple and undulates so smoothly.
 And it was my first foray into using the luminous delicas.  They're a bit fab and very bright (you can't tell in this picture how bright that pink is, you'll just have to trust me!).
 Each wing tip is joined and the whole structure is extraordinarily solid. 

I hope you like it.

Available in my Etsy shop here.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Raven Star Bangle

My most recent make is a bangle that has been more therapeutic than anything I have ever made before.  As I have previously mentioned, I went into hospital to have a lump removed from my breast.  Unfortunately the wound got infected and my stitches burst, which has been rather difficult.  Luckily I have had the most amazing support from my family and my other half, they have been so superbly strong and marvellous.  All is good now, I'm just healing slowly.

I decided to take advantage of the recuperation time spent off work to make a study in form, eschewing colour and concentrating solely on what I could make the delicas do. 

Rather than make a usual start of an MRAW length that would be the smallest part of the bangle, I decided to push myself and made a zigged MRAW chain that would become both the tips of the horns and the very inside of the wings where the spines were 2mm cubes:

As I decided to do the whole bangle in gunmetal (simply because I had the most beads in that colour), each zig and zag was marked with a tie of white Nymo so that I didn't lose myself when adding in the next row.  It was huge - 174 MRAW units!

Slowly I added rows and rows of gunmetal delicas and it started to change its form, almost looking like a Zig Wing by Kate McKinnon.  Then I turned my attention to the other side and it slowly started to open up, like a flower:

The more rows I added, the more the form became apparent.  It was working!

As it opened and both sides began to have the same number of rows, it really started to lie flat and become, not what I had imagined but what it needed to be.

It is certainly big and takes no prisoners!  I can't imagine that there will be many that actually like it but that is okay, good even.  This bangle is a symbol of strength, and whoever does decide that they like it and wants it then I hope they feel as fierce and as strong as I felt when I was making it.

It is available in my Etsy shop here

EDIT: I just received the most wonderful screenshot from Kate McKinnon - it is being included in Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Volume II and I have contributed the pattern to the Pattern Library so you can make your very own!  I'm so excited!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Vicious Business

I finally finished something!  This is a new bangle based on Contemporary Geometric Beadwork techniques that I call Vicious Business.  It is an evolution of the Pink Pinstripe Ruffle Cuff that I made a couple of years ago.  My lovely friend Johnti Greybeard saw it and said that it would look awesome if the wings joined around horns like the Red Many Horn.  That idea has been slowly cooking in the back of my mind, stewing, forming and reforming until I finally got round to putting needle and thread to beads and this is what happened:
I used my favourite red delicas ever - Opaque Cranberry - for the horns and Black Opaque wings with Gunmetal pinstripes (to pay homage to it's originator).

The horns are (small for me) 15 rows high and the wings join at the centre point so they frame the horns in pretty ovals, softening the look - but only a smidgen.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Etsy Shop

So I decided that it was high time I got with the rest of the world and set up a little Etsy shop to sell all the beadwork Mummy and I have made over the years (that we think is good enough to sell, obviously!). 

A few years ago I became disillusioned with craft fairs and utterly fed up with the amount of theft that goes on at many of them.  I've lost so much jewellery that we've spent months on that I just stopped doing them.

We are aiming to graph out patterns eventually but this time spent off work (recuperating from a small operation to remove a lump from my breast - get those boobies checked people!) is best spent setting the shop up and then patterning can come later.

I've not finished listing everything yet though, my photography skills are severely lacking - as you well know from seeing my blog here!

Feedback would be awesome :)

Friday, 30 May 2014

A necklace for Megan

Over Easter, Xander and I went down to South Wales with my other half, Chris, so that I could meet his family.  Whilst we were down there we had an absolutely lovely time.  We visited Swansea and Llanelli and went to have chips on the beach at Mumbles.  It was glorious.

Chris' sister and her husband have three rather beautiful children, one of whom asked me if I would make her a necklace.  She and her Mum had a look through my blog and my Facebook and she really liked the Ombre Cabouchon Necklace that I made a few months back.  She told me that her favourite colour is blue so I knew exactly which stone to use, because what 7 year old girl doesn't like sparkly blue goldstone?!

A simple twisted herringbone rope with silver lined clear and blue iris delicas was the perfect foil - made big enough that she'll be able to wear it when fully grown as well as now. I decided to go against making one of my usual clasps in favour of using a silver magnetic clasp, just in case she got caught on something though.  In the end, I really liked it and didn't think it a design compromise at all!

I posted it to her as soon as I made it and got a lovely telephone call to say thank you and a really pretty picture of her wearing it, which was a real treat. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Mummy's Shape Up Bracelet

Mummy has been at it again...  She has been playing with Tila Beads and decided to see if she could use them as the MRAW start to make all sorts of chunky different shapes.  Once she'd made a handful she decided to sew them all together and voila, a gorgeous Shape Up bracelet!

The bracelet below is the original gold and gunmetal design that she used.  Not colours I'd ever put together but my goodness it works!

Here you can see all the shapes laid out and how deftly put together they are.  This bracelet is delicate but chunky.  It doesn't slide, just sits close to the wrist and the look totally depends upon which of the elements you have showing. It's a very comfortable bracelet and doesn't interfere with anything you're doing. 

Then the cheeky minx that is Mummy decided to have a rummage through my opaques because she decided that where the gold and gunmetal was elegant and grown up, bright keleidoscopic colours would turn the same bracelet into something entirely different! And doesn't it just?!  It's playful and fun and I love this so much more than the gold one above.  It's reminiscent of Liquorice Allsorts (yummy!) and that makes me think of happy summer days playing in the garden when I was little.

In this final picture below you can see how Mummy has used a dressmaker's popper for the closure.  A simple little tab for one half and the other half sewn to a baby square.  So lovely and so seamless when on. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Mummy's Crystal Triangle Earrings

Once again, Mummy is the creator behind the pieces in this post (I really need to get more beading time in!).

Inspired by the most marvellous Jean Power and the triangles she is famous for, Mummy decided that she wanted to see if she could use the triangles as a bezel in which to hide some delicious little Swarovski rivolis.  Of course, she couldn't stop at the making of one pair of earrings, so made three!

How sweet are these gorgeous little earrings?!  Unfortunately, the light was rubbish (blooming England in Winter) so you can't get the full delight that these earrings are.  The back side is a simple triangle and then decreased around the front, using 3mm rounds at each point, which helps stop the rivoli wriggling about in it's triangular cocoon, and then sparklied up with a picot edge in 15s.  I love this set in gunmetal and steel with the smoky grey rivoli.  Very me!

Isn't it strange how a different colour can change the whole look of a piece?!  The exact same pattern as above, just with shades of pink yet they look so delicate and girly and definitely not something that I'd wear (sorry Mummy!).

And then again, with black and dark red.   These look quite gothy compared with the more industrial gunmetals and the girly pinks.  I love them!

 like how the rivoli is completely encapsulated at the back, reducing the risk of the point being knocked off and ruining the whole earring. Also, how different these earrings look just with a change of colour.  It always astonishes me that colour plays such a huge part in the whole feel of a piece, even something as small as a pair of earrings.  I shouldn't be so surprised but because I'm rubbish and generally have my go to colours, I always am!  If Mummy had just shown me the pink set, I would have been impressed with the construction, but never in a million years thought they were my bag, yet the exact same earring in the gunmetal and steel may simply have to find their way into my jewellery box!

Friday, 18 April 2014

RAW Heart

Mummy's proper on one with creating new patterns!  After the stars and seeing the Sweet Hearts that Sabine Lippert made, Mummy decided that she could shift the techniques that she learnt on using the sizes of the beads to for the shapes onto cubic RAW.

Off she set, with a simple desire to make a heart.  Rather than using sizes, she decided to continue with the way she was going on the stars and used numbers of beads instead and this is what she came up with:

Isn't it the loveliest and most deceptively simple looking thing you've ever seen?!  On the side like this you can see the inner CRAW construction and the fact that she went with matte bronze along the inner side of the heart and shiny bronze along the outer edge, a perfect complement to the silver lined emerald.

The heart was simply hung on a silver chain using a jump ring through one of the units.

Pretty work Mummy

Friday, 11 April 2014

More of Mummy's Stars!

A couple of weeks ago I showed you the astonishing Stars Necklace Mummy made.  Well she couldn't just stop at a necklace now, could she?! 

Below are two sets of earrings she made using the very same pattern, just with very different looks due to the colour choices, construction and the bead choices.

These grey mismatched earrings are fantastic.  Although this photo doesn't quite capture their full glory, the dark insides and light outsides really does stand out against the pale matte grey of the rest of the stars.  I love mismatched earrings and these are just brilliantly fun.

Below you can see how very different the stars look when made of delicas.  To me they become much more angular and rigid looking (and are a lot more difficult to bead!).  They look much more striking in this medium sized star and have definitely lost the dreaminess that the 15s lend.  Where the earrings above are bigger and crazier, they are also more ethereal than the smaller, simpler single stars made from delicas.

Both are beautiful, both make me so proud of Mummy for thinking up such a fantabulous pattern, I just think I prefer the dreamy and less angular look that 15s give.  Quite a shock, considering that I usually prefer quite vicious and angular looking jewellery!

Friday, 4 April 2014

My Sister's 40th

Last year my big sister turned 40 (although she looks in her 20s, the cow!).  I decided to make her a little something special for her birthday present.  Something that she could wear to posh parties as a set or earrings for when she wanted to sparkle only a little.
Unfortunately I don't have a better picture than this so I'll have to talk you through what I did.

First of all, my sister is a gorgeous brunette with the most dazzling brown eyes that range from almost amber in some lights, to deep chocolate it others.  She loves gold so I decided that the base colour should be Metallic Earth Batik Gold Iris (DB1010), using purple iris Charlottes as the detail and the stones are Swarovski in Amethyst. 

First I bezelled the stones with the delicas and the charlottes.  Around the large stone I "stitched in the ditch" to add an extra round of peyote and then a simple picot edge with the charlottes before adding a very simple bail and suspending it on what has to be my most perfect herringbone rope ever!

The earrings were simply bezelled and then hung on solid gold ear wires.  No frills around the edge so that she could wear the earrings with anything and so that they didn't distract too much from the large oval stone necklace.

It's simple and understated but I like it and I know she does too.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Mummy's Crazy Psychadelic Pyramids On Acid!

You may remember my Pyramids Cuff from a while back, the pattern I gave to Kate McKinnon and was chosen to go into Contemporary Geometric Beadwork vol.1? Well, Mummy decided that she wanted to have a go at this pattern and gave it her very special spin!

First of all she tried making a pyramid that faded from dark pink at the tip to pale pink at the base but had to stop because it looked so much like a boob that I couldn't stop snorting and giggling!  Yes I am a grown up!  Clearly some colour ways just aren't good for pyramids!

Instead, she decided to have a nose through my delica stash and her eyes very quickly alighted on my duracoat galvanised delicas. The witch!  She loves bright colours and the duracoats made her squeal with delight.  Luckily she decided that the underneath of the pyramid should be a plain colour so as not to wear off the colours underneath.  She chose a simple smokey grey delica for that.

The colours must have reminded her of growing up in the 70s because she decided to set herself quite a challenging pattern of turquoise and orange spiraling out of a pink base.  Quite possibly the maddest thing I've ever seen but I blooming love it!  The crazy pattern with the crazy colours just work and can't help but make you feel as though it's a bright summer's day and the sun is shining and all is groovy with the world!
As you can see, she chose some bright Swarovski rounds in turquoise to join up the pyramids, with an orange delica between the two.  Her pyramids are a lot smaller than mine and a lot busier so she wanted to leave a bit more of a gap between them and I think it really works!

And finally she decided that a square base for the clasp would work a lot better than the triangle that I made. 

I love it!  Crazy and happy and all round mental.  FANTASTIC!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Seeing Stars Necklace by Mummy

Mummy has done something rather glorious and unbelievably glamorous, not to mention quite technically difficult!

How astounding is that?!  Each of those stars is made in tiny size 15s!

First of all she played around with all different ways to make the stars and settled on a peyote tube that's zipped up on the outer edge once finishing.  To be honest, I really don't know how she has the patience because even though it took her a good few weeks to get the star pattern right with all the increases and decreases, she never lost sight of what she wanted to achieve.  I must admit that I would probably have used an MRAW start for the inside and tried to figure it out from there but she wanted all peyote - crazy lady!!!

After a while she gave me the pattern to have a try with as she wanted to see how easy the pattern was.  I gave it a go in delicas and although it was okay, it just wasn't as good as in Czech seed beads.  Even Japanese seeds were a bit too square for this pattern whereas the Czech doughnut shaped beads worked a treat.  Mummy made up the pattern in all different sized beads (including 6, which was mental!) and we both decided that 15s were just beyond perfection.  Then it was time to try different sizes.  Who says a maths degree isn't worth it?!  Goodness knows how she did it, but she put that mathematical weirdness in her brain to work and out came the formula for all different sized stars!

She decided that she didn't want to go for the silver/grey type usual star colours, rather leaning towards earthy tones for this necklace, so we went through our respective stashes (and did a bit of shopping!) and came up with a bunch of colours that she wanted to use.  That's one of the things I love about my Mummy, I would have either gone for silvers and sparkles or really acidic opaques but Mummy decides browns, blues and greens are the way forward.  With stars.  Bonkers.  Perfect.

I love it beyond loving it (and wish it was mine!).  Even though it's a big looking necklace, it weighs less than a whisper and doesn't jab or prickle or irritate in any way.  I've been told that if I want one I have to make it myself though.