Friday, April 10, 2015

Waterfall Necklace

Some pictures of Glen Onoko Falls in the Pocono Mountains near Jim Thorpe, Pa.

 The blue bead I found while hiking the trail that gave me the idea to bead the waterfall. I added it to the necklace, under a fern.

Close up of bracelet and necklace

I used labradorite and aquamarine beads along with two hole beads and seed beads to create the waterfall.

 Reverse view

 The sun came out for this picture

The entire piece is free form bead work incorporating brick, peyote, square, herringbone, spiral stitch and fringe. I worked on it over five months and am very happy it was chosen as a finalist.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Romantic Floral Bracelet in Purple

This Mercury retrograde I decided to finish up some projects that I had started in the past year. One of my favorites is this floral bracelet. I had so many flowers I made and never used I was able to make a bracelet in purple and blue as well as the pink. The center flower has a superduo center with luminescent Japanese seed beads. The berry clusters are Swarovski pearls. I made the toggle bar into a caterpillar that blends in with the flowers.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Waltz of the Flowers

This barrette is inspired by the music of Tchaikovsky, and was created for the February Etsy Beadweavers challenge, Let the Show Begin. I thought to represent the ballet, using the gentle sway of the flowered fringe to capture the flow of the dance. The blue flower beads are vintage German glass that I mixed with some modern Czech glass and vintage seed beads. The majority of beadwork is done using Czech seed beads with some Japanese seed bead accents. I also added some Swarovski pearls. To balance the blue flowers I made a few bead woven bell flowers in shades of purple which also add to the texture of the fringe. The beadwork is sewn on to chamois, and attached to the metal barrette. 
Visit the Etsy Beadweavers team blog to vote for your favorite from February 9th to February 15th.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 Beading Contests

Beading contests 2015

End dates for submissions- double check all info with websites, and verify dates for yourself- end dates sometimes are extended. I will update this list when more information becomes available.

Jan. 31, 2015 International Bead Awards, Perlen Poesie - On a Journey of Discovery

Jan. 31, 2015. Beadworkers Guild UK 15th anniversary Swarovski contest

March 25, 2015 Bead Dreams Bead and Button magazine

April 1, 2015 Piecework pincushion contest.

April 30, 2015 Fire Mountain Gems seed bead contest

May 15, 2015. This is a Facebook contest inspired by Earth Day and sponsored by Happy Mango beads.

This is a monthly design contest sponsored by Preciosa Ornela, makers of Czech glass beads. Each month features a different theme and entries must be comprised of Preciosa beads.

June 15, 2015.  Fashion Colorworks

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Azurite malachite Flower bracelet

This year for the Fire Mountain Gems seed bead contest I used some azurite malachite composite cabochons, and made them into flower centers. I wrapped the cabs, then added petals. One of them I used on a necklace, the other as the center focal of a bracelet. I accented them with smaller flowers, some on the necklace used cats eye beads as centers. I used vintage French seed beads to make the leaves. The bracelet was selected as a silver medal winner.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Autumn necklace

Dakota and my autumn inspired necklace, with Swarovski pearls and rivolis.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Warm and Fuzzy

The December challenge for the Etsy Beadweavers Team was Warm and Fuzzy.
Not that long ago I attended my first bead society meeting. It was held at the local hospital on a night that was coldest we had had yet. The conference room where the meeting took place was brightly lit, warm and filled with people shopping for beads. It turns out  a local bead store owner there, and she had brought a large selection to choose from. Unprepared for the buying opportunity, I only had five dollars in my pocket, which I unable to resist spending. Once the shopping settled down, the meeting was held, followed by beading time. Since I have been making randomly mixed style freeform lately it was a nice change to work on a bracelet with a set pattern. It was quite enjoyable to work on a project in such an amicable setting. 
The next day while finishing the bracelet my thoughts were of the meeting the night before. I realized the experience could be categorized as warm and fuzzy since it had been such a pleasant time spent with people who have the same level of interest in beading as I do. 
The end result of the pattern in my bracelet reminded me of a knit scarf or sweater.

I am a proud member of The Etsy Beadweavers Team. Visit the team blog for links to all the members shops.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Last month I entered a competition sponsored by Perles & Co. The challenge was to create a piece inspired by the beadwork of the Huichol people, following the theme of peyote and using peyote stitch. My piece ended up being a cell phone case. I had been making an amulet bag, but somehow it was a lot bigger than I had planned. The finalists were chosen the other day, and mine was not selected. I was very impressed with a few of the pieces; I liked the three-dimensional cactus designs and the I thought the deer was fantastic. You can view the finalists at the contest page.
While searching the images of traditional Huichol beadwork I came across an amazing collection, the recent work of Kali Arulpragasam. Titled "Gold Diggers," the beadwork is made in collaboration with the Huichol or Wixarika people to raise awareness of the problems they face in the 21st century. You can read more about it here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Selling Beaded Jewelry

I recently joined the Etsy BeadWeavers group. I opened an Etsy shop because when you make beaded jewelry people have the expectation you wish to sell it. On that matter I need to remain indifferent, for reasons mentioned below, but I opened the shop so people could have a place to go. I joined the bead weavers group because they have monthly challenges and I love motivation. Last months challenge by Marsha of Haute Ice was the perfect present. I always have a problem with knowing what someone else would want, so I skipped that challenge. When it came time to vote for my choice I had an epiphany. I realized why I have such a problem selling my jewelry myself. I fell in love with one piece to the point where if it were in the brick and mortar bead shop I owned years ago I probably would have described to a potential customer the merits and beauty of that piece while downplaying my own, even if my jewelry was the subject of the original inquiry. "But look at this detail here" I would say about the other work, then follow it with a "see here, where I did this? That was completely wrong- check out how this other piece is made... It's so much nicer." And on and on, and of course I would make the sale- of the other persons jewelry. Why? Probably because I admired the work, but knew I couldn't make it so that's what I would want someone to give me. Not because the other piece was better, but since I was not so intimately involved with the other work and I was bored with mine having spent so much time making it I was over it. People had to be very determined to buy my work because I usually found myself talking them out of it. I had a much easier time teaching classes and selling beads, fortunately I was able to do lots of that.
I recently had a conversation about promoting yourself through unethical means. There are so many beaded jewelry makers in the marketplace that it is hard to stand out, and people resort to low levels in order to make money. That is nothing new in the world, but it has gotten to extreme levels with the ease of communication. I keep my beadwork as a refuge, a place where I can go that doesn't need to be constantly performing better in terms of how much money it makes. I like to challenge myself to do the best work I can, and I submit to places where I am essentially judged on the work. If some one wants to buy it, great, but I will still make things whether they do or not. That doesn't pay my bills, and I should be trying to succeed with jewelry sales, but I didn't like the pressure that needing to make money from beads put on my creativity, which is why I didn't do any intricate beadwork for years after I closed my store. At this point in my life, for me, creating is more important. I would rather enjoy my beads and explore ideas that take too many hours to put a easily accessible price on than try to please the whims of fashion. I realize most people don't feel that way, which is why there is so much unethical promoting, design theft and other various forms of bad behavior out there. People want bigger houses, newer cars and fancy vacations. All I want is more beads, and a quiet sunny place to play with them.
Next months challenge is warm and fuzzy. I am working on an entry for that since it is the final challenge of the year and I am required to participate. I don't know how salable the item will be, but since that is the ultimate goal in the EBW challenges I will try. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ugly Necklace

The Ugly Necklace contest, sponsored by the Land of Odds bead store, has to be the most unusual competition that I have entered. The idea is to defy all design principles and create a necklace that is the opposite of anything someone would like. And you have to write a poem about the necklace. There were points given for the use of small beads so I opted to use mostly seed beads. I tried to pick bland colors, and ones that didn't match. I also made three competing focal points and placed them all on the same side of the necklace.  I followed the ideas given in the Principles of Design, but tried to do the opposite. It is a hard thing to do but somehow my necklace was deemed ugly enough to be chosen as a finalist. The five finalists are up for public voting on the website until December 15th.  I was not sure if the poem was supposed to Vogon poetry or Shakespeare, so I just wrote something that described the necklace.

Flowers and a Red Dot

The beads were so pretty
In tubes of colors by themselves
But then I mixed them up 
To create chaos from the mess

Samples of stitches
And abandoned designs
Gathered together
In discordant lines

I jumped right into ugly
And passed flowers on the way
Now the question remaining-
Have you seen uglier today?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Freeform beadwork

I finished my first freeform beadwork recently. I am happy with it, but even though there are no set rules I am not sure I am working with the right process. Somehow I didn't use much peyote stitch, instead it is more square stitch and right angle weave. I mixed some pearls, blue apatite and labradorite beads in with the blue iris and matte black iris seed beads. I enjoyed the random progression through the bracelet, and have already begun another one in brighter blues and greens which has more of a layered look.