Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's on your beading board?

This is my veranda beading.  The weather has been beautiful here in Lemon Grove California and I've taken my beading outside.  You might also notice this is exceedingly neat for me!  I'm working on two different samples, trying to get the colors just right.  The third La Navette bracelet is being worked with a sphinx navette, black and hints of a dark red coral which one can see glints of in the stone.  It's a bit unconventional for me and there were a few false starts but I think I have a solid plan now, which is good as there are people waiting on these sample.

On the right is a third  Quattro Cupole (Four domes) in cyclamen opal.  I tried making the necklace in a complimentary purple color, but I decided in the end I like the dark silver better so I'm waiting on a new order of peanut beads.  This one I will teach for the first time in Japan so we are prepping kit materials at the same time.  Here is the Pacific Opal Version.  A 4th Cupole creates the clasp with a beautiful square snap beneath it, Just in case you were wondering where Quattro came from!

What's on your bead board?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MADDesigns News

I've been beading and planning and kitting and book signing and I expect very soon for much of it to come together and be ready for you.

I recently made several of these and have written up the tutorial  It's a very pretty cubic right angle weave bracelet with a very elegant integrated clasp.  The clasp is beautifully made and is a very strong magnet, no falling off or attaching itself to your car door!  It's also a great way to try out cubic raw.  I find that although some remain scared of right angle weave, the problem is usually the every otherness of the stitch.  One time you clockwise, the next time you go counter clockwise.  One time you pick up two beads first the next time you go through the side, top, side and next bottom then pick up two beads.  Sometimes our mind just doesn't work like that. So!  The great news for those of you who have felt RAW impaired is that in some ways CRAW is easier because you skip through the intersection which means you are always traveling in the same direction.  And if you start with pearls and crystals the cube is pretty easy to see.

Soon I will have a couple of colorways available as kits.  I'll be sure to let you know when!  I'm especially fond of this platinum pearl and light metallic gold crystal combination with a gun metal clasp.

I'm also working on putting together some book kits for you.  I suspect we'll have some ready by the end of next week.  One of my personal book favorites is the leaf slide necklace so I decided that is first up.

I'll be doing a book signing of Beads in Motion at the Beading Bar in San Diego on August 10th at 2:00 p.m. and I'll be teaching there as well on August 8th.  A collaboration with Cooky Shock combining metal and seed beads!

MADDesigns packaging is getting a new look which I hope to finalize this week.  Something just as pretty but a little less labor intensive and hopefully a little more transportable.

My late summer and fall schedule is pretty full and balancing that can be challenging.  Next I'll be at Fusion beads in Seattle followed by a weeks romp around Seattle with my good friend!  Ferry rides, Chihuly and who knows what else.

I follow that with a nephews wedding in Santa Fe and I mean follow as in fly home from Seattle, land, get in the car and drive to Santa Fe!  But it should be beautiful and nice to have some family time.

I am fortunate enough to spend another week of cruising in Alaska with Dallas and Nancy Cain.  Classes at Beads Gone Wild will happen in late September and I am told they are approaching full so you may want to have a look.  Then a long anticipated trip to England and Germany for more teaching.  Returning late October I will do my annual Beads by Blanche classes in November, and I have some really good ones! and then off to Japan.

How's your fall shaping up?  Will you be beading?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Beaded Earrings

Lately I just can't get enough of beaded earrings.  There was a time I never made them, having to make two and all, I worried about second earring syndrome and being bored making two.  However one of the advantages of component design is often you end up with extra components and what better way to make a pair of earrings.

This pair were destined for a necklace, the center focal of which is ten spines around, I made two nine spine elements and decided I preferred the simplicity of the necklace as it stood.  What to do with two extra?  Make earrings of course.  I love that these swing from chain and I love the carribean blue opal with the chocolate brown.

This pair is part of a new series that I have done, making both a necklace and bracelet.  I was playing with color and deciding which beads to use, so these two if you look closely actually have different color beads.  I love the Tierra Cast Earwires where I can add a coordinating accent bead.

 Both pairs have distinctly different styles which I love. Bold and dramatic vs. Soft and romantic, an earring for every occasion!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fish Leather and Beads

The bad Liz made really good and different use of fish leather.  I did the predictable and made a cuff, a nice cuff, but.....

Liz made a business card case with seed bead edges.  And you have to love a drilled river rock with a loch rosen accent.

I love how she left the front edge rough, a nice organic touch.  And look at the amazing piece of bead embroidery posing in the background!  ppppssstttt, she's not really bad!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beads in Motion

What a fun weekend.  It was Beads in Motion's debut at the Creative Castle and all books were sold, a reorder is on the way!

I used the occasion to wear Oz, the collaboration piece I did with Sherry Serafini.

It was also three great days of teaching and visiting with friends old and new.  Saturdays class, Vienna was attended by Judy who created this very fun version.  I love how the beads holding in her skull bead give it a frankenstein look, and the little skulls dangling form her chains were the perfect addition.

Amanda came to class on Friday wearing an excellent version of Etruscan treasure that I sadly didn't photograph.  I meant to and then got distracted which is really too bad because her color choices were so different and beautiful.  I loved Etruscan treasure, which is in the first book, Beaded Opulence.  It is one of my all time favorite pieces.

I have quite a few favorites for Beads in Motion as well, including this passion flower necklace.  

I'll also be signing Beads in Motion books August 10th from 2:00 to 4:00 at the Beading Bar in San Diego.  I certainly encourage you to support your local book store with book sales, but if you have acquired a book elsewhere you are welcome to bring it on the 10th and I'll be happy to sign it.  And you'll be able to check out San Diego's newest bead store.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Beads in Motion

It appears that Marcia DeCoster's Beads in Motion is ready to launch.  It's always somewhat of an iffy date and since Amazon had reported shipment beginning August 6th that is what I thought might be true  But as far as I can tell and reported by Creative Castle, books from the warehouse have begun shipping.  And so it appears that a store near you may be in possession of Beads in Motion shortly.

Tonight in preparation for Friday nights book signing I put together the majority of pieces that are featured in the book.  In hindsight I can say that designing with a theme both informs the pieces and provides some challenges.  Each piece had to show a degree of movement, some as simple as swinging fringe, some sliding and some spinning.  The pieces in the gallery all have a degree of movement as well.

It's a body of work that I'm proud of.  The colors are subdued, even neutral to some degree but that doesn't mean you won't be bringing your own color sense to the designs.

I'll leave you with a few images that I hope you'll find inspiring.  Please do ask me if you have a question about materials.  I will be posting a list of sources as I get time but if you have a question I'll do my best to provide an answer.

Swing Dance a favorite pair of earrings to wear!

Spin City Necklace - I've always been a big fan of Lilly Pilly Designs and I've used two beautiful ones in the book.

 Here is the Peanut slider with fun beaded beads sliding along a length of right angle weave peanuts.

Riveted was the result of trying to stack a number of components and hold them together.  Wondering how the metal girls would do that I came up with the idea of a rivet, and not being a metal girl I made a seed bead rivet.  The clasp echoes that same metal design and is a book favorite for me.

Here is Victorian Slide bracelet which was one of my first forays into multiple row cubic right angle weave.  It's closed with an elegant Ezel finding and the sliders are capped with a Tierra Cast Metal bead which is my nod to combining seeds and metals.

There is more of course and the majority of them will be available to see this weekend  July 12th at Creative Castle in Newbury Park California and again at the Beading Bar in San Diego on August 10th at 2:00.  I suspect I'll bring them along to Fusion beads on August 16th as well.  So perhaps I'll see you at one of those venues!

Taking the train

I love train travel but there are few trips I take in the U.S. where it is a practical alternative.  However a trip to North of LA really is the perfect time to take the train.  It saves a 3 to 4 hour drive through LA depending on traffic and I can bead for the 4 hours and 21 minutes it takes to get there (well maybe 4 hours and 10 minutes)

I'm on my way to Creative Castle where I'll teach Vienna (somehow also known as Vienna Square, not sure if I lost my mind which does routinely happen), Pacific Morning Glory and Spirit Flight.

The weather promises to be the perfect high 70's and I look forward to a visit with owner Carole and all the folks I've come to call friends over the years there.

I have taught at Creative Castle longer then any other bead store I currently teach for, with an average of once and sometimes twice a year for the 12 or so years I've been there.

Pacific Morning Glory is the perfect piece for re-enforcing you cubic right angle weave skills with a crystal studded band that traps the 2 sided medallion.  A clever closure makes the bracelet fully reversible so using two distinct colors is a fun variation.  The flip side of this one is predominantly lavender.

I'm often fickle about which Vienna is my favorite, but this is the one whose colors were inspired by the upholstered recliner in my studio (you might want to read that post it still amuses me). There is plenty of learning curve going on in this piece as you move from a single row of cubes into a 2nd and 3rd row, changing sizes and style of beads on each end.  Cubic raw also lends itself beautifully to curves and angles which can be seen in the pendant.

 And my well loved spirit flight.  This started life as a very different piece with a felted ball, and crazy bail and some pretty out of the box colors.  Facing the prospect of teaching it to 48 people I decided to work at refining the design as you see it here.  The bottom shows off a beautiful Swarovski fancy stone and one of my favorite Swarovski elements the loch rosen.  This piece is the perfect bauble for wearing on a ribbon so a good solid day of beading and many folks were able to call it done.

I especially like the little spirit flight collar at the top of the netted ball.  I have fun making different colored collars and changing them up, or stacking multiple atop this fanciful piece.

Classes this weekend at Creative Castle!  And, most exciting and I almost forgot, we're going to have a book signing Friday night!  Marcia DeCoster's Beads in Motion is scheduled to arrive at Creative Castle today!  I've got my pen ready and would love to see you.  I suspect you will be among the very first to get to peruse this new book.

Thoughts on inspiration

Sometimes inspiration is direct, a piece of costume jewelry recreated in beads, work in another medium that suggests a shape, a classic contemporary piece which resonates with our own design aesthetic and begs to be beaded.

Sometimes inspiration is more of a feeling, a mood, a color.

This pod, from one of our many backyard Pygmy Date Palms, inspires on all those levels.  The colors are so beautifully natural, the feeling is one of peace and calmness with just enough tension to feel alive and ready to create.  The light is so soft and the shadow adds the perfect touch of drama.

I don't know what I'll bead in response to this, but i know being surrounded by things of serene beauty is certainly a good start.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Duomo Romantico

My new 'romantic domes' bracelet.

It's not secret that I love designing using Swarovski Elements combined with my love of little glass seed beads.  This bracelet uses a frame of cubic raw and a series of loops to capture the fancy stone.  A square toggle rounds out the design.

This Romantic bracelet uses the 12mm 4470 stone which comes in a host of romantic colors.  It's accented by a Loch rosen, and the prettiest 2mm light gold metallic crystal.  Next up is Cyclamen Opal, Silver Night, and perhaps a White Opal, and then if I'm really ambitions I would like to see one braclet with 7 different colors!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Master Class

Was it only one month ago that I was in Milwaukee sharing the excitement of the master class?  Here we are July 1st and I know from my mail that participants have continued on with their design  journeys.  That is what I had hoped for and I am excited to see so many beautiful pieces being worked on!

Here is a craw pendant inspired bracelet.  Rose took the craw pendant shape and striped it, stitched two end to end, added a Romantica center, some craw bands, and a Romantica clasp.

Her coloration is brilliant and it is a beautiful piece!  Thanks for sharing Rose.  She's got some mad camera skills as well, look at the shine and the clarity of those beads!