Monday, April 17, 2017

Making Waves

I was in the mood to make big waves.  I didn't know how to do that.  I liked the idea of learning but I got diverted time and time again.  Carol Huber Cypher is a master at making waves and she was willing to show others.  I was profoundly affected by the waves she made so much so that I dove in...deep.  Once I reacquainted myself with herribone stitch I was ready to give it a go.  Turns out making waves is rather easy.  Almost meditative I would say.

My wave pattern, while similar, uses a different color palette and different bead pattern.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bead Weaving in the Keys - textured patterns

Loooove creating textured patterns.  Lately, I have been popping in a larger size bead every so many rows just to make things curvy interesting.  And, with my rings, I have given my brain full access to stream of consciousness designs.  Now, that's just a fancy way of saying I am doing my own thing and loving it!  These items are mostly a mix of peyote and brick stitch.  A couple rings are right angle weave.
After I created the turquoise one, I realized it looked a bit like the design in my bathroom rug, except the rug is more random.  Maybe next design.

The two rings on the right have a right angle weave base.  I added the embellishments after  making the base.
These are all a combo of peyote and brick stitch edges.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I guess you could say I am a curious person.  If I learn something in a class or from a book, my brain starts whirling.  What if I did this?  What if I used that?  I get filled with a driven passion to adapt the techniques or apply them in a new way for me.  So, it was inevitable that once I learned a few patterns from  Anna Elizaeth Draeger's book, I would begin adapting them and making them my own.

In this case, I used a bunch of dagger beads that have been feeling very neglected.  They were up for the experiment and so was I so I used them to create Ms. Draeger's bauble bead and then I embellished them using a technique I learned from another of her patterns.  Here's the result.

I absolutely love how these just stand up on their own like little R2D2's.  I am naming this series "Sputniks".

I liked them so much I created this set next.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

ARRRRR! Reading patterns makes me CRAZY!

I have a love/hate relationship with bead stitching patterns.  I love to learn new techniques.  I hate following long instructions.  Or looking at visual patterns that my brain can't process.  It's because I am a tactile learner when it comes to beading and I best learn doing the work in a classroom or by watching a video.  Then the instructions and the visuals make sense and I can go back to them as a guide.

My latest adventure was a trip to Miami for bead shopping.  My little town of Key West has a nice bead store but its not focused on bead weaving supplies.  I confess I went a little crazy in Miami and spent about 2 hours in the store before I came out with a very small bag and a much much lighter wallet.  

I also did something I rarely do these days.  I bought a book with seed bead projects (Anna Elizabeth Drager's Creative Designs Using Shaped Beads).  Now, the reason I did this is because there are so many new shaped beads that I have never used before in my bead work.  I thought it would be a good practice idea to create some of the projects in the book.

I can tell you I cursed more this last week than I did the last 6 months.  There were so many moans, sighs, and ARRRs coming out of my mouth that my dogs began leaving the room as soon as I sat at my beading table.

I picked what I thought were cool but relatively simple projects. The first one went rather smoothly but the second one was killer.  It took me the entire weekend and I mean many hours of work before I finally caught on and could complete a bead in about an hour and without looking at every step.  Bead embroidery jewelry is a piece of cake compared to this IMHO.  That's because I can just go at it intuitively and learn from general guidance.  Give me structure and rules to follow and I suck.

It's probably why I am much better at cooking than baking!  Here's the result.
The project was for a ring that was configured to stand on the squared end rather than lay flat but I like it flat.  I liked the shape of the beads so much I decided to make a necklace too.

The turquoise ring was the 1st one made and you can see it does not have the same crisp squarish shape as the black one.  That is because the instructions called for going back through beads and skipping one and I missed that.  I tried to correct it later but was too late.

I made the clasp after watching  tutorial on Fire Mountain Gems.  Their's did not have a bead on it but I added one on mine to have a nice finish.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bead Weaving - Fixing a Droop problem

My beading style is very intuitive.  Yes, I take classes and yes I look at videos and books and other people's work, but when it comes right down doing the deed, I like to just sit down with a palette of beads, and needle and thread.  And, off I go.

For this project, I dug through some stash and spread it out on my bead pad.  My beadweaving bead stash has not been refreshed in a while and therefore, I don't have any of the 2-hole dagger beads.  I don't have many 2-holed beads at all for that matter. But, I do have some beautiful one hole dagger beads that I decided to incorporate into this piece.

 I started the pendant by stitching around a winter white wood bead, adding layers before embellishing with the daggers.  Once I put daggers all around, it flopped when I held it up.  I expected it to do that but just figured I would find a way to resolve it.

 First, I stitched some beads in a triangular shape behind the daggers.  This provided some support.  They no longer drooped backwards.  Now, they drooped forward.

My solution to that was to stitch gold size 11's around each dagger to hold the front in place but now it looked boring.   The pretty daggers were obscured by some rather bland gold tone beads.

 Then, I remembered my big supersize stash of sequins!!!.  I chose the silver sequins cause they seemed to pop against the rest of the piece.   I liked the watery, mirror effect too.

Just for good measure, I stitched a row of size 11's around the back as I moved from sequin to sequin.  Now, those babies stayed in place.

For the necklace part, I tried going with just a simple strung strand but surprising as this may sound, I felt it took away  from the pendant.  I had been hankering to do some freeform stitching so I decided to stitch around the beads I had strung.  I like this...for now.  I made it so I could easily detach the strands should I decide on a different arrangement in the future.

Here is the final product.

ABS Challenge August - Dressing up your Poly Clay Pendants

I like funky.  A lot.  If something has a bit of a shabby look to it, I'm in.  That doesn't mean I don't like to dress things up sometimes.

This month I was checking out the Art Bead Scene (ABS) monthly challenge and it inspired me to weave a little bead stitching into one of my pendants.  While the palette in my pendant is quite a bit brighter than the Paul Klee's (shown below), I immediately saw the color connection with his.

His pendant is more abstract than mine yet just looking at Klee's rendering, I instantly knew he was capturing a nature scene.  And, I just as instantly thought of my pendant.  Mine is abstract too but in a much more diffused way.  My lines are softer because in my mind's eye, I saw the flowers in a rather unkept garden spilling over themselves versus in a park.

Because I liked the lines in his painting, I decided to add some of my own straight,dotted, and V shapes by stitching a couple rows of beads and adding "flowers."  AND I did so because I scored a huge stock of sequins and therefore every embellishment requires the use of sequins until I bore myself to death with the use of them!!

Anyway, here are pictures of the pendant and the necklace I made from it.  Also pictured below is the other side of this double sided pendant.  I only entered my pendant in the challenge as I was not sure I could use the same piece in both the bead and the jewelry entries.

 And here is the Paul Klee painting.

And here is the necklace.

 And here is the other side of the pendant.

Here is the link to the rest of the entries.  Go check them out.  Art Bead Scene blog

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bead Embroidery - How to destroy your Eyesight in Two Weeks

Take on a bead embroidery project!  As some of you know, for the past couple years, I have refocused my time primarily on polymer clay bead making and jewelry work.  So, here's the backstory as to how I became crazed to the point of spending countless hours consecutively stitching hundreds of seed beads to create this final bead embroidered piece.

I was full steam ahead in poly clay making in June.  Then, a family visit hit in July and the guests were here for a month.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  No bead work done.  I know that sounds counter intuitive but I really was ok with the time off and the month long visit.

After my guest leave, I decide I am going to finish the studio cleanup I started before they got here.  If you get what I'm saying, that would mean going thru the stuff I just crammed in drawers when I ran out of clean up time before they arrived.  So, I pull out this piece of lacy's stiff stuff with 3 beads glued on it and a tiny bit of bead embroidery completed.  It was a piece I had grand ideas for over a year ago, but just couldn't get it together.

Oh, I almost forgot.  What stimulated my renewed effort to complete the studio cleanup was a surprise haul I picked up off the streets of Key West (pic at bottom).  I could really digress here but let me just say the things people throw out here would blow your mind.  People have furnished whole houses with the stuff!!!

Anyway, it was sorting and organizing all those beads that started giving me ideas of how to complete the piece.  I realized half of the problem was not really knowing what I have anymore or where exactly it is.  And so began the process of finishing this piece.  15 days later at an average of 8 hours a day, here is what I came up with including the final project and progress steps.

The "bead" that looks like a mirror on the right front is actually a piece of cut dichroic glass I found from a previous class I attended years ago.  I actually glued a piece of fiber around it because I was afraid it would cut my thread.  Below are the progress pictures.
This was after a few days.  Some of the most intensive work is peyote stitching around the glued cabs.  

More progress.  added a few more cabs because my eyesight was still fairly good.

This is about day 12.  Nearly done and before I will cut the lacy's flush against the beadwork.  I look at it to see how I want to embellish (that was adding the glass leaves, pearls on sequins, etc).  Basically, I am looking to see what might need some more flare or covering.  Sometimes there are tiny white gaps which make a perfect place to embellish.  The other thing I like to do before gluing on the ultrasuede backing is to look at the curves along the edge.  If they are too steep, I know I may run into buckling problems when I  brick stitch the edges so I add beads to smooth them out some.  The last step after gluing the backing on is to stitch it to the lacy's stiff stuff.  I like to use brick stitch but there are other options.

This is my dumpster diving haul that jump started me organizing my beads again.  And yes, it is full now.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ABS June Challenge

I adore the retro colors of the June challenge which features an art nouveau style poster showing a young woman reading a magazine.  I love the tangle of flowers wildly floating inside the frame.  I imagine her unbound hair would dance just as wildly were it set free.

  I felt that same wildness in the tendrils of my brain when I was creating these mini poly clay portrait style pendants.  It had been a long time since I worked with resin and emphera and I confess I felt both joy and fear in my mad experiments.  And I also felt a strange sense of abandon and release and totally immersed in the act of "play."  Isn't it lovely when that happens?  

As to the process, I started with plain white clay that I lightly textured using fabric as my texture tool.  Then I finger painted various colors very lightly using Genesis Heat set Paints. When all that was completed and baked, I resined the flowers and mod podged the papers.  After everything was dry/cured, I attached the flowers and papers to the baked/painted clay using resin.  That stamp on the pendant on the right I snuck from my boyfriend's collection. I fessed up of course (after the deed was done).

Below is the June challenge picture.

Go here to see more info on the challenge and other entries.