Thursday, March 31, 2016

Going Formal

I'm working my way down the list....

I've designed a number of earrings like this pair using the Romantica element with different types of embellishments and different drops.

It's taking a tad bit longer to write them up because I am taking the time to change the colors and beads to make them specific to the actual pair and not just a generic set of directions.

So even if you are beading the exact same thread path, if you are beading this pair the illustration will show a jetab2x crystal, green seed beads and a pave drop.

and if you're beading this pair the illustration will show a black crystal and gold rizo's and a heart shaped drop.

It's a lot of extra work, but once it's done, it's done and I think it will make the pattern simpler to follow.

These are for a class I designed called Going Formal for a cruise in May.  Since there is always 1 or 2 formal nights I thought it would be fun to make some fancy pants earrings to go with our formal wear.

You may have noticed the webstore is closed right now.  We had the good fortune to have sold all of our inventory between the website and Beading by the Bay and since we are 100% focused on our next two trips in May, we haven't had the time to replenish the webstore inventory.  I'm reasonably b busy with travel and guests through mid June and then we'll try to offer some of these earrings and maybe a few other kits.  

I continue to balance having fun with a scaled back bead career.  The next two outings are a cruise and a retreat in the South of Germany.  These are going to be combined with a trip to Rome and Naples, so some work, but also a lot of good times!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Wearable vessels

I'm not sure exactly where my fascination with vessels came about.  I just finished teaching Cryptex at Beading by the Bay.  I designed it because I wanted to try my hand at making hubble stitch both tubular and structural.  I was concerned about the sheer amount of beading it would take to complete, but people seemed to get on with it very well and I've even seen a couple of finished ones.

This one is called  Hidden Paradise.  I designed it two years ago while sailing on the Bead Cruise with Heather Powers.  I remember the inspiration now....It was a piece of fabric from Tina Givens with a bird house. I blogged about it at the time which tells me it was June of 2014 when I first came back from the cruise.  You can read about and see the fabric inspiration here.

I wanted to try to create it in beads and this is what I came up with.  Heather had the polymer houses and I thought it would be fun to tuck one inside.   I always think there should be a 'secret' inside a vessel.

When the piece is worn it has a lot of movement as the little dangles tend to bounce with your movement and catch the light.

I designed spaces into the top for the strap to feed through insuring it doesn't get lost.  The golden double wire ring at the top attaches to the house and acts as a handle to lift an reveal the little house.

This one should be a fun bead.  I predict some will finished and worn by the end of the cruise, perhaps not in class, but with a few hours of deck time spent beading I think it will be doable.

I love the bright fresh colors of this one, inspired directly from Heather's house.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mixed media a collage

Sometimes I take a moment out and attend a class in something that looks fun. This Sunday I joined the San Diego Bead Society's class by Carla Fox, a mixed media artist from Oregon. I missed her talk but heard it was inspiring.


Carla suggested materials to bring and was generous in providing things to add to the mix.

I cut up old clothes for my fabrics and augmented just a tiny bit with a trip to the fabric store. Beads were of course no problem and I brought along a fair number of other trinkets.

Carla had a lovely way of sharing her design process while walking us through the techniques and talking us through her thought processes. It ended up being a lovely outing and I came away with this colorful corsage. The half moon belonged to my Mom and I've always wanted to use it in something.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I'm giving a webinar!

My topic is Re-useable thread paths.  What exactly does that mean, anyways?

The way in which thread is passed through the beads creates the configuration in which they are held together.

To the degree I can repeat a known thread path but with different bead sizes, shapes and counts I can change the design without having to re-engineer the thread path.

This was the essence of my master class called 'playing with possibilities' where there were five elements (or thread paths) and 32 people explored variations in both the element and the arrangements of those elements to create different pieces.

Here are the two thread paths we'll be exploring.  The webinar will include two pdf file with detailed instructions for these two elements along with suggestions for variations.

Next weeks webinar will be a subset of those elements and will explore the different design opportunities that are provided through this design method.

This is a photo from a design session for my Bead Dreams piece called journey which used many variation of the two elements included in the webinar.

I loved presenting the master class which I've done twice now, once at Bead and Button and once in England last summer.  The excitement is palpable as people begin to explore their own creativity within a given thread path.  What ideas would you have?  Come join the webinar, next Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time.  Through the power of technology, the entire live broadcast of my slide presentation and my speaking to each of the slides will be captured, so even if you're not available during the live presentation you can still watch it in it's entirety at  your leisure. To find out more or to register, click here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Variations on a Theme Webinar

One of the things I've enjoyed a lot in my beading career is sharing what I've learned.  I've taught in the classroom, written books, filmed some video and now I will be doing a webinar.  It will be a new experience, but I'm assured by those who have gone before me that it's fun.

So what will I be sharing?  Variations on a theme....Exploring a Reusable thread path.

What does that mean?  To me it's the thread path that makes the beads hang together in a certain configuration.  Often it's the most challenging part of the design process or the learning process.  Once you've wrapped your head around the thread path and can memorize it, the beading becomes easier.

The advantage of that is that our mind is then freed up to concentrate on other elements that make up or change the design.  My 2013 Master Class at Bead and Button was based on this concept and my Bead Dreams entry two years later capitalized on the concept.

The webinar will be like a mini master class exploring my design methods during the creation of journey.

The majority of this design uses two different thread paths.  Directions for those thread paths will be given as well as ideas for variations.

This one is called carousel and is a unique way of picking up beads during ladder stitch to create a circle of beads.  Depending on counts, bead choices and embellishment styles the result can be dramatically different.
The second is a herringbone variation that I've used in Spirit Flight and a few other places!

The Webinar will be one hour on Tuesday March 29th at 1:00 p.m. EST, which means 10:00 a.m. for me in California.  It's live and will be include a question and answer, but it can also be viewed after the fact if you've got commitments at that time.   If that all sounds fun and informative, consider joining me.  The link to sign up can be found here.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Design Iterations

I like to work out colors in small projects and I like to wear earrings so the combination is a good one for exploring new design combinations.

I wish that I sat down and picked a few colors and the right design emerged.....but inevitably along the way I think about things I would have done differently.

This is the first try and the fabric I wanted to coordinate with is in the background.  The main beads of the ellipse are a dark grey, the button spikes were very dark and the middle 4 green beads were shiny.   I also thought the porportion of the ellipse was too small for the bottom medallion.

So I cut it off and added a bottom crystal.  It's a simpler look and I may make a second but I wanted long and dangly and whimsical looking.

Next up I lightened up the grey and instead of the hot pink accent along the edge I went for a subtle matte green and shiny dark grey.  I also changed the corner beads in the cube that holds the top crystal to hot pink.  Very subtle changes, but I think they show the structure better. I also used a larger fuchsia crystal to hold the ear loop.  Notice too the crystal edge embellishment interspersed with picot is on the top edge of the craw ellipse.

This is the final pair. (well maybe, I still have ideas)  I added two 5mm loch rosen at the top and bottom of the ellipse.I changed the edge crystal embellishment to be on the back edge which gives the earring more depth.  The middle 4 center beads on the medallion are now matte, and the button spikes are more of a patina with silver and black making a little more old world.

Now I have earrings to match my new dress!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The layered look

I often layer my clothes.  I like sheer whimsical layers under tops....I think it's the same thinking where I am sure I am tall and thin when I wear a long necklace.  The longer layer makes me feel taller.

I think it also accounts for my current love affair with long necklaces.  I like to layer those too.  Since I wear a lot of black and I have a lot of silver jewelry, I can come up with quite a few combinations that work well together.

My usual go to is Romantica Revisited

After that I wear whatever other silver necklaces seem to strike my fancy at the moment.  A really good way to accomplish this is to make yourself one or two necklaces and a bunch of pendants that can be worn on any of them.

You can't see it that well here, but this simple silver right angle weave chain that a touch of whimsy is suspended from gets pressed into action for many different pendants.

And the pearl and 2mm crystal spiral necklace gets used over and over for different pieces of beadwork.  This is when it's helpful to be stuck in a neutral color rut.....everything goes!

Do you ever wear more than one necklace at a time?  If not, you may want to give it a try, it's fun!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hubble Stitch

Yesterday I told you about my first endeavors with the newly invented hubble stitch.  Once done with the cryptex, and not yet done exploring the stitch, I decided to work on a more fabric-y design.

I also wanted to change up sizes and see how the stitch reacted to creating curves.

Another great feature of the stitch is the color opportunities.  I decided to keep the arms of the hubble stitch the same color and change up the point bead down the length of the bracelet.

I loved the band and the way the sizes created the fan or 'wing' but I wanted it to have a spectacular focal as well.  Still playing with sizes to create shape, I turned to craw to make this rectangular bezel with curved sides which perfectly captures the Swarovski Kaput stone.

Forever in my mind is a story of train ride in Holland where we stopped between stations....we were assured they were working on the problem several times, but when it was clear it would not be fixed the train conductor came on the speaker and said  'the locomotie vent kaput'  With limited language even I knew what that meant.

So the name kaput makes me laugh, but it's a really really pretty stone designed for Swarovski by Jean Paul Gaultier.


Here is a second version with a volcano stone.

It turns out my naming dilemma was solved easily with this one as well, when friend Beki Haley saw the photo her first words were 'the wind beneath my wings' which struck me as the perfect name.

I'll be teaching this one in October at the Fall Foliage retreat in Connecticut.  Registration opens soon, I'll be sure to let you know when!