Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beadwork Reader Challenge

In every issue of Beadwork magazine there is a Reader Challenge. The idea is of the feature is that one editor and three readers all receive the same supplies, and have a month or so to create a piece of jewelry from them. The finished piece is then published along with the other designs. The package I received was from Artbeads, one of my favorite places to shop online. The materials included Swarovski pearls and bicones and some lovely size 8 seed beads in a mix with the enchanting name Seabreeze. There was also a 24 gauge wire mix in the same Seabreeze palette, a heavier gauge sea foam color wire, some titanium silver colored wire and Zamba wire. The last item in the package was four 12 mm round fancy silver rings.

At first I was excited to take part. Then I tried to make something. Wow. The people who are able to design on command have my respect. It isn't easy. I gathered all the beads I had in matching colors, and still nothing. I fell back on flowers, because they are always pretty. Before I knew it, I had enough for a necklace, so I went for it. The wire isn't my favorite thing, but I used it hang my flowers from strands of beads strung on Zamba wire. The end result was a three strand piece in which I used most of the beads supplied (my goal) and even bought more to finish it. 

Red and Grey

The October challenge for OTTBS was red and grey, with a twist to use squares.
The colors red, especially paired with grey is tough for me, but I kept seeing the  beads and trying to work with them. The result was a lot of false starts and lack of ideas but after many days I managed to work my tiles into a beaded pendant. I attached it to the chain I had made, and realized I used almost every shape but squares in the necklace! Oh well.
With the rest of the pieces I made, the leaves and flowers, I decided to try bead embroidery. I have only tried once before, and that was on the bead backing they sell. I used to do regular embroidery when I was young, and I like using the hoop to keep the fabric tight. I used a thick piece of denim, and sewed my pieces down. I still haven't been able to force myself to glue anything down, it seems like such a permanent thing and I don't want to commit good gemstones to a piece I am learning on. I used a marble bead to get the feel for how to work around a cabochon. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


This amulet bag is inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. I based it on a photo I took over the summer. It is my entry for the November Etsy Beadweavers Challenge, Landscape. The red colors of the canyon are very different from the greens I usually associate with landscapes.