Monday, December 16, 2013

Beading Inspirations

Cold, snowy winter days. Spring flowers.
That's the connection my mind has made this past week and I have been working on a few projects incorporating types of late winter flowers with various twig and berry type accents. I have a friend who makes flower arrangements all times of the year. In the summer it's easy, but I am always impressed by the way she can gather the components when everything is dormant. When I told her that, she said "there's always something." It is with this in mind that I have been able to find inspiration from the bleak landscape that has turned into a winter scene. 
My palette has been greens and white, with some blue, dark purple and gray mixed in. These colors are turning into snowdrops, ivy, glory of the snow, hellebore, and berries. To brighten things up I am using yellow to make aconites. 
I have pictures I took last spring to work from but they are not my only references. Beautiful Bulbous Plants, by John Weathers is A Project Gutenberg e-book with 33 full color plates by Mrs. Philip Hensley that I came across while searching for pictures of snowdrops. I have some old books with color plates of botanical drawings, but it was nice to find a modern one, complete with gardening information. I buy flower books with color plates I see in used book stores, and also cross stitch books with color diagrams (usually printed for sale in the United Kingdom.) I also like field guides and have many different flower ones. I don't think you can ever have too many books, and with another snow storm predicted for tomorrow I think I might be beading from pictures a lot.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Snowdrops are one of my favorite spring flowers. They are the first bulbs to bloom, sometimes in January while there is still snow on the ground. Seeing a patch of them flowering outside the front door always brightens my day. A while ago I made a beaded snowdrop flower, complete with plant and bulb, in the style of a botanical drawing. I wasn't very happy with the flower itself and I never did anything with it. Recently I was asked to make a pin out of it, and I decided to make the whole thing over. Originally I had used delica beads, but I wanted to see if the round beads looked better. I made some samples out of Japanese and French beads to see which was best for the petals. 

I decided to use both, one for the center and the other for the petals. they are different shades of white, and I am hoping to give the flower some dimension. Of course, I can never make just one flower, so now I am thinking I will make a necklace too, maybe with some ivy leaves and berries for accent. Time to order more beads! Really what I need to do is figure out how to attach the plant to a pin base, right now I am thinking a stick pin would work. The original was made around a piece of sterling wire and it turned black, so that's out. Oh well, I will just make more flowers until the beads and findings I ordered arrive and figure it out then.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2014 Beading Contests

I have made a list of bead contests and projects, ordered by deadline. The first section lists ways to help others with your bead work. The second list is contests, some of which are based in the U.K. I have outlined each contest and added a link to the website. Some deadlines are TBA. 

Charitable Beading-

The Water Challenge
  Goal- to collect paper beads made by students which will be used to create funding for
     clean, safe drinking water in Tanzania
  Deadline- spring 2014

Bead it Forward- Bead and Button magazine
  Goal- beaded patchwork quilts will be auctioned off at bead show to raise money to fight breast
  Deadline- March 30, 2014  Ocean, aquatic and beach themes
  Website- Bead Quilt Project

Circle of Hope- Fire Mountain Gems
  Goal- handmade beads are sold through their website to raise money for mammograms
  Deadline- ongoing
  Website- Circle of Hope

Contests, Competitions and Challenges-   

Bead Me Magazine challenge- Ashdown Broadcasting 
 Overview- chance to have work published in online magazine
  Deadline- St. Patricks Green- January 31,2014, more TBA
  Entry fee- no fee
  Categories- varied bi-monthly challenge 
  Submission requirements- photo
  Judging Criteria- how well piece suits chosen theme
  Judges- Bead Me editors/staff
  Award- project is published in online magazine

Glimpses of India- STITCH/Madeira Competition 2014
 Overview- To capture the look and feel of India in needlepoint 
  Deadline- February 21, 2014
  Entry fee- £15
  Categories- mainly free style machine embroidery and mainly hand
  Submission requirements- finished size no smaller than 8" x 8", no larger
     than 27" x 27", finished piece and photographs to be mailed to U.K. for
  Judging criteria- embroidered work may include beads, wire
  Award- £1500 worth of prizes, work exhibited at show in Birmingham U.K.

Bead Dreams- Bead and Button Magazine
 Overview- contest includes many kinds of beads and jewelry categories, open
     to professional and amateur beaders around world, original work only
  Deadline- March 25, 2014 
  Entry fee- $50 per submission, 2 entries allowed
  Categories- on entry forms available December 1st
  Submission requirements- work made between March 2013 and February
  Judging Criteria-
  Judges- editors of Bead and Button, Bead Style, and Art Jewelry magazines
  Website- Bead Dreams

This I Have Wrought- Words in Needlepoint- Piecework Magazine
 Overview- A quotation is to be used in a piece of needlepoint.
  Deadline- April 1, 2014
  Entry fee- photos free, finalists $10 
  Categories- Lacemaking/Tatting, Knitting, Crochet, Beading, Needlework
  Submission requirements- finished piece no larger than 8" x 8"°,  send
     photographs, finalists send actual work 
  Judging Criteria- originality and mastery of chosen technique
  Award- $250 to the first place winner in each category, will be featured in
     magazine and possibly exhibited in museum 
  Website- Piecework contest

Bead Star- Beadwork Magazine/Interweave Press
 Overview- Categories in different types of jewelry 
  Deadline- midnight May 23, 2014
  Entry fee- $20
  Categories- TBA
  Submission requirements- work is to have been made in the past year,
     finalists mail work for judging and display
  Judging Criteria- originality, technique, creativity 
  Award- TBA
  Website- Bead Star 

Seed Bead Contest- Fire Mountain Gems 
 Overview- contest open to all entries made with seed beads
  Deadline- April 30, 2014
  Entry fee- no fee, work must use at least 50% materials available from Fire
  Categories- Necklace, Bracelet, Home Decor and Doll, Wedding and Holiday,
      Fashion Accessory 
  Submission requirements- photograph, finalists send actual piece for judging
     and photographs
  Judging Criteria- technique, use of products, wearability, aesthetics, style
  Judges- Fire Mountain Gems
  Award- top prize $1000 Fire Mountain Gems gift certificate, piece will be
     used in magazine ads and catalogs internationally
  Website- seed bead contest

Fashion Colorworks 2014- My Lovely Beads
 Overview- open to all beaders around world, contestants must select from one of three color
     triads to create their entry
  Deadline- April 1- June 15, 2014
  Entry fee- no fee
  Categories- seed bead jewelry, finished jewelry, seed bead objects. 
  Submission requirements- up to nine entries, one from each category and triad, made after May
     2013, original work not already entered in other contests or in print, photographs to be
  Judging criteria- use of colors, composition and originality, use of technique, use of materials,
     overall impression
  Judges- Eva Maria Keiser, Marsha Wiest-Hines, Patrick Duggan, Anneta Valious, Patrizia Tager
  Award- each category has monetary awards from sponsors up to $250
  Website- Fashion Colorworks 2014

British Bead Awards- Bead Magazine
 Overview- Looks to highlight the direction of bead working
  Deadline- September 5, 2014
  Entry fee- £10, 
  Categories- Finished Jewellery, Beyond Beads
  Submission requirements- photographs, finalists mail entry for judging and
     display at show
  Judging criteria-
  Award- crystal trophy and goody bag from sponsor worth £250
  Website- British Bead Awards

Ugly Necklace Contest- Land of Odds
 Overview- To make the ugliest necklace possible using 75% beads
  Deadline- August 31, 2014
  Entry fee- no fee
  Categories- special points given for necklaces made with beads under one
     and a half inch
  Submission requirements- three photos, must also write a poem
  Judging criteria- hideousness, violations of good design principles, use of
     colors and materials, quality of poem
  Judges- Panel from The Center of Beadwork and Jewelry Arts
  Award- $992.93 Land of Odds shopping spree
  Website- Land of Odds

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Preciosa Ornela Christmas Contest

The makers of Preciosa Ornela seed beads would like us to use their beads to create Christmas decorations. The design is to be made using twin or seed beads in white, crystal, gold and topaz. The contest is to promote the new Atlas beads, and a special prize will be awarded for an entry that uses them exclusively.  The entries are to be posted to the Preciosa Facebook page by December 1st. The three pictures with the most likes will be selected as winners and the designers will receive a selection of beads from Preciosa.
In the past I have covered glass balls with netting and made ornaments from fire polish beads, but I haven't made anything to hang on the tree from seed beads alone. Stars are the obvious choice and they are easy to make, but probably a lot of people are doing that. The golds are a more subtle winter palette, and with the AB opaque white they should look pretty. Now what to make? I have been working on beaded beads, so maybe I will try them in these colors.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

British Bead Awards

One of the contests I entered this year was The British Bead Awards sponsored by Bead Magazine from Ashdown publishing. I came across calls for entry in a google search, and having finished with the rush of springtime contest deadlines, I created this summer flower piece. The original title was "A Study in Centaurea (would not be complete without ants)". That was a bit wordy, and I had added the echinacea, so I called it "Inspired by Nature" which was pretty generic but fitting. 

 The awards were presented at the The Big Bead Show at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey in the UK on October 19th. Although my piece was not chosen as a winner, I feel honored to have qualified as one of the finalists. The entries were displayed at the show and, as usual, I am impressed by the quality of the work as well as appreciative of the time it took to create these pieces. The Big Bead Show gallery on Facebook has a photographs of the winning entries. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Haute Couture Reveal

My entry for the Haute Couture contest was actually done a day earlier than I had expected which turned out well as it took all day Thursday to take the photos. I seriously took over 800 pictures. The light changes the colors, especially the background, and the pictures from different times of the day reflect that. Also, I think the memory card makes a difference too, kind of like using Fuji film compared to Kodak. I was having problems with the colors but it wasn't until the camera kept freezing that I remembered I had switched the Sandisc extreme 3 card for a pro master card the other day. When I switched back the color was more saturated and also more representative of the actual bead colors. I had been experimenting with the magic wand tool in Photoshop but I didn't like the posterization effect so I left the backgrounds alone. Like I said, I am glad I saved a whole day for photos because I certainly needed it.
The finished necklace was pretty much what I had envisioned, only less embellished. I had wanted to add the stars behind the crystals on the braided chain but that looked wrong. In the end the necklace was more understated than I thought it would be, but I like the outcome. It is extremely wearable and somehow the colors work well together.   
The entries are posted on the Haute Couture Beading Contest Facebook page.

My daughter, Autumn, was kind enough to be my model.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Beaded beads

When making beaded beads, I usually bead around a wooden bead, but today I decided to try making beads without a wooden core. I used three sizes seed beads and tubular peyote to make these.

I strung them with some Swarovski briolette beads to see how they would look as a necklace. I think my sister would like this, so even though these beaded beads are primitive, I think I will make some more.

 I was trying out some ideas for beads to submit to the Fire Mountain Gems Circle of Hope project. The beads they collect are then sold on their website, and the proceeds donated so women can receive mammograms (which is why the beads are pink.) I would like to make some more elaborate beads to send to them so I probably will use the wooden beads as a base, but these are fun to make.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Work in Progress

This is the selection of Swarovski beads that Shipwreck awarded me for my sugar skull entry.

I picked out some of those beads and added some from my collection to use as accents on my Haute Couture necklace.

I have made two bases, one for the large center flower and a second that is to be embellished with crystals. I haven't figured out how to work the fringe/tassels in yet but I have hopes that I will be able to use them somehow. The pink is a pretty significant color in the fashion design I picked as inspiration so I will need to make sure it is represented. Instead of sequins I thought to use stars behind the crystals. 

This contest has been a bit of a stretch for me; I am not really a high fashion kind of a person. I have been trying to keep the design refined, but then I think of the show Absolutely Fabulous and I realize that I have no clue. The project is coming along slowly, in sections. I decided to make a multi layer necklace to help integrate the different components and colors. I have had some design issues; the large flower I made for the center is very heavy so making sure it is supported and hangs right is tricky.
I try to view these competitions as an assignment for a class because they tend to make me to try things I wouldn't normally think of, and that's always good because even if I don't like the finished piece I have learned something.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From a postcard part 2

The Etsy beadweavers challenge for November was to make something using a postcard as your inspiration. My postcard was one of a tie dye tapestry by James Preston. 
I chose to interpret the dark color as black since that's how it looked on the card even though my example of Jim's tie dye is more of a dark purple. The superduo beads are something I haven't worked with much so it was interesting finding ways to use them. The bracelet is about 7.5 inches long. The beads are pretty heavy so I used a TierraCast antique silver clasp.

My postcard inspired piece of jewelry.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Solar eclipse and bald eagles

When I realized that the November 3rd eclipse would be visible as a partial eclipse from the east coast I knew I would be making a trip to my favorite beach in Chincoteague Virginia. This time of year is when the eagles migrate to the area and a stop at Conowingo Dam was in order. Since I read about the idea of November as bead everyday month I brought some beads with me. I didn't do any beading even though I looked at them a few times. I did see a lot of eagles and an eclipse and learn more about how to use my camera.

With less than two weeks to the deadline of the Haute Couture contest I am as much on schedule as I ever am. I usually work right up to the day before the deadline and take photos the next day. I probably take way too many pictures of everything and I use the RAW and JPEG settings. I have been known to take 400 pictures of a sunset. For beadwork the best thing I have discovered is using the exposure bracketing setting. The lighter of  the three shots has a much whiter background than it would if you had only taken the picture once, even if you make the settings the same. It does give you three of each picture and I easily take a few hundred photos of beadwork I am submitting for a contest. There are so many settings on my camera I am constantly finding new ways to use it. To photograph birds in flight I use sports which sacrifices picture quality for focus but I like stopped action. The sunrise eclipse was the first time I really stopped the aperture down (to f32) and used a 100 ISO. Usually a sunrise is about the clouds and colors not the sun itself so the pictures had to be dark. I needed to turn the auto focus off. There was a lot of wind at the beach and I got sand all over my lens but I was very pleased with the results. As far as beading, the star effect around the sun has some vague thoughts of a wrapped cabochon necklace beginning to shape in my mind.

Friday, November 1, 2013

From a postcard

The monthly Etsy Bead-weavers challenge is one of the beading blogs that I have been following. I find it is an interesting kind of market research; to see which designs are the most favored by the general public and which the bead weaving team chooses is useful, my favorites are usually ones that get the least votes, but I am not very mainstream. I like to work on the projects and try to complete them by the deadline even though I don't have an Etsy shop for my beadwork. The October challenge was proposed by Marsha of Haute Ice Beadwork. The title is "Picture Postcard Palette" and it asks you to create a piece of beadwork based on a postcard, not to reproduce the picture, intstead she invites you to use the colors and their distribution amounts on the card to create your beadwork. An interesting proposal, except I don't have many postcards, especially not of places. The only one I could find that wasn't a show announcement or bead store advertisement was of a tie-dye tapestry by James Preston. He has been creating tie-dye for many years and is the former owner of Positively Haight Street in San Francisco. The postcard is mainly blue and white in pretty much equal amounts with purple accents on a black base. I found the perfect aqua blue in a Czech bead. For the black and purple I decided to try out some of the superduo beads I have been buying recently. I also used some size 11 and 15 white. 

Even though I wasn't trying to copy the pattern the finished tiles had obvious influence from the pattern of the tie dye. I decided to make the components square because I have been seeing a lot of round designs with the super duos. I like to use the two holes independently; I work with each hole as if it were a single bead instead of working the thread from one hole to the other on each bead. i am not sure what the finished piece will be, maybe a bracelet.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sugar Skull contest

A recent newsletter from Shipwreck Beads announced their Sugar Skull contest. I wasn't sure what they were, so I looked it up. Turns out it is a skull made from sugar decorated with colored sugar designs created to honor the deceased family members on the Day of the Dead. Most years this would be a challenge I would skip, but this year it seems appropriate. 
Many of the stylized versions of this theme that are depicted on t-shirts and the like feature flowers. When I searched for "Calaveras de azucar" the images were more like cake frosting flowers and ribbons in bright colors. The contest specifies that 75% of the material used be items for sale at Shipwreck, so I gathered up beads that I bought from them and made some flowers. I found a plastic skull at Kmart that was kind of creepy- I kept a sheet over it when I was working nearby. Once it was finished I really liked it, and I put it on top of my bookshelf so I will see it often.
My grandmother, Evelyn, passed at the age of 92. My interest in needle craft comes from her; many summer days were spent at her house learning to knit, do embroidery and make all sorts of wonderfully fun crafts. She also had beautiful flower gardens. It seemed fitting to make this in her memory. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


When I first poured out a tube of Miyuki mini drop beads I was dismayed at the varied widths at the top of the bead, around the hole. It didn't matter what the color, all of them had the huge size differences. I didn't think of it at the time, but I eventually figured out a way to take advantage of the non uniform sizes. 

I have a friend who is wild about berries. These raspberries were made with her in mind. I had originally been trying to make flower centers out of yellow drops, but I ended up with more of a berry. They are made with five rows of 4 beads each in tubular peyote, gathered at the end with a size 11 seed bead. For the bracts I used size 15 beads to make a simple peyote star with the stem attached. The secret is to use the drops with small tops for the first and last rows and the drops with the widest tops for the middle rows. 
I was surprised I hadn't seen berries made with drops before, it seemed so logical. Then I saw the issue of Beadwork magazine for August/September and it contained instructions for berries that were similar, using drops, but the method wasn't as simple as the ones I made.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beaded purses

Beaded purses were a popular pastime in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I once owned a beautiful collection of these antique bags and was amazed to discover many had been created from kits sold through places like The Sears and Roebuck catalogs. A lot of the bags were made using knitting or crochet with beads; that is something I have not attempted. In the 1990's there was a revived interest in beaded purses, this time made into amulet bags worn as necklaces. These are a couple of the bags I made then.

This was the first bag I made. It is the one everyone liked the best.

 This is the first large project I made using delica beads. The bag is big enough to hold some credit cards. It is very tightly woven and that makes it almost too rigid. I beaded around a support tube when I made this and didn't realize how stiff it would be. The fringe beads include some lapis rounds and sterling silver beads. I also used Swarovski crystal and handmade German glass beads.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Montauk Daisy

One of the only flowers left in the garden right now is the Montauk Daisy. It is a plant that I always forget about until suddenly, when the air is cold and most everything has turned brown, there it is. The flower is very much the same as the daisies that bloom in the spring, and its a nice reminder of things to come. It is a great cut flower too; it lasts a long time in a vase and brightens the dreary, rainy fall days.
To make this flower I used size 15 Toho beads in matte milk white, opaque white and white color lined crystal. The center mixes sizes 8, 11, and 15 beads in opaque yellows and a frosted transparent chartreuse. I used different kinds of peyote stitch for the petals and the center. 

  I decided to keep this necklace simple. I used the daisy in the center of a diagonal peyote woven base made out of matte metallic green beads in sizes 8 and 15.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Alliums are one of those flowers that seem like they couldn't possibly be real. The chives growing in the garden, well ok, but the giant allium that grow 5 feet tall with 4" globe shaped blooms? And they're purple! The first time I encountered these flowers was at a rest stop in Virginia. I was amazed (and impressed by the landscaping.) I since have planted many types in my gardens, but the Allium giganteum will always be my favorite. 
While trying to figure put how to use pink fringe (or tassels) in my Haute Couture necklace I was playing with my favorite colors of vintage French seed beads. That would, of course, be the pinks and purples. When I used to buy from Pierre Bovis in the 1990's he told me his family had been selling beads made in their factory in France to people living in the southwest United States since the early 1800's. At the time I was buying beads they were having difficulties with color in the pinks, especially the opaque, because the formulas they had always used contained ingredients that were being banned for industrial use. Probably lead, but maybe some gold too because the transparent pinks and purples of these beads have a luminescent quality with an inner glow that is just beautiful. It is also a permanent color; unlike so many of the Japanese beads it will not fade or rub off. The beads are not very well shaped, and the sizes vary within packages and from color to color, but sometimes that is better because you get a more organic look with the finished piece.

After trying a couple of different ways to blend the various components it was clear if I insisted on fringe the overall piece was going to be too busy. Instead of the fringe I decided to make some flowers. In keeping with the tassel idea I made some chives. This was a pretty simple flower to make. I mixed the size 10, 11, and 12 beads for the center and fringe, and used some Toho 11 and 15 beads for the base. I am not sure how I will work the chives in since I already have a large flower for the focal point.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Celestial Barrette

Events in the past week have left me thinking about "life, the Universe and everything." I wanted to work on something, so with my inspiration at a low point, I decided to recreate a barrette I originally made years ago. The first one had a loomed base and used round black size 11 seed beads. This time I made the base using square stitch and used a 3-cut Czech bead for the black.  

The fringe incorporates semi-precious and glass beads in the colors and shapes I associate with space. I collect small beads that can be used with seed beads and have a lot of glass stars, facetted crystals and carved stone. The vintage mother of pearl stars and freshwater pearls evoke memories of the ocean with its constructive and destructive powers. The stone beads remind me of the title of a book I read in school, Only the Earth and Sky Last Forever. The shaped Czech  and vintage German beads are meant to represent planets and asteroids. The Swarovski crystal catches the light like stars twinkling. This type of barrette has always been a popular item for me. I have made many  commissioned pieces, usually geometric designs with bugle beads and Swarovski crystals. An all white barrette was made for a friends wedding.
The nice thing about this barrette design is the simplicity. This celestial theme has no defined pattern, and is a great way to use some favorite sparkly beads. The fringe adds a nice touch to a basic barrette and takes a beginner project to a more satisfying result. I used to teach this project as well as selling the finished product. It was a hit either way.
Making this piece was a pleasant break from trying to figure out the engineering on my latest necklace. I think maybe I will try a floral theme barrette sometime soon.

Friday, October 4, 2013


I love opals. I think it is the surprise of the color flash and the way the colors seem to dance within the stone. Over the years I have picked up many beautiful pieces of carved and shaped opal, opal beads and some Australian opal rough. Opal is the birthstone for the month of October. 

This necklace was made with a piece of boulder opal. I used other gemstones and 14 karat gold beads to accent the rich greens, blues and pinks of the color veins. The cabochon is wrapped with delica beads, 2.5mm peridot and 3mm adventurine.

 These opal chips are beautiful by themselves, and very fragile. I used silver lined purple size 11 seed beads as space beads.

This rose was carved out of Australian opal.  I am still trying to figure out how to wrap it without breaking it. I would like to use it as a focal point since it is about an inch and a half long.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Evolution of a design

 Working through the design for the morning glory, I think have finally gotten it right(?) Each time I make a flower I think it looks great until I make the next one incorporating the changes I thought of after the previous attempt. This time I didn't use any extra increase in the brick stitch. I used the same beads as last time, size 10 vintage French beads and mixed brands of Japanese beads with a few Czech thrown in. 

For the leaf I used a Miyuki green lined green size 8 triangle bead, they didn't seem as flashy as the silver lined beads were. 
Now that I have done some bead "sketches" I am ready to work on the finished piece. I am envisioning vines and flower buds and maybe a few seed pods. I like to pick examples of the flowers I am beading so I can reference them as I work, fortunately morning glories bloom until there is a frost. I usually mix other flowers into a necklace to accent the primary blossoms; I saw some nice asters and snapdragons at the lake the other day that might be interesting. The praying mantis that lives on the porch with the morning glory would be cool, but that's a project in itself.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Another morning glory

Here is this weeks attempt at a morning glory. I found a nicer purple, and this time I used a size 10 vintage French seed bead for the base. I kept the increase, using the size 11 for the brick stitch.  By using the 11's combined with the 10's there wasn't as much ruffle and the overall shape is formed nicely.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cape Fuchsia

This week I decided to try one of the flowers on my list, the Cape Fuchsia. Latin name Phygelius, this plant is native to South Africa, and not related to fuchsia.

I made a few flowers that had the wrong kind of bell at the bottom before I remembered to keep it simple. 

I used 3 shades of matte red to make these flowers. The flat 5 petal flower has the matte transparent cherry in the center of the petal, matte transparent Siam ruby filling out to the edges which are matte transparent ruby. I test color combinations by making these flat flowers because you can usually see the subtle differences in the beads. With these reds it was still hard to tell. I used the same three colors in the tubular flower, there the gradation is a little easier to see. I find using colors that are close to each other adds to the overall effect even if the difference is not readily apparent.
The centers of the flowers and insides of the petals are a yellowish orange color.  I used a faceted oval bead to reflect the light and mixed yellows for the stamens. 

Friday, September 13, 2013


Once again an older work. I like the idea of making wall hangings, pictures out of beads instead of paints.  The base of this landscape was woven with size 11 Czech seed beads. The difference in sizes of the beads caused the bead work to flare as I worked from the sky to the foreground. That gave me the idea to add fringe to represent the flowing grasses of a meadow. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Periwinkle Garden

Periwinkle was always my favorite color in the crayon box. In this necklace I used 5 different size 15 purples to make the flowers.

I made the butterfly wings the same way as the leaves, using a two direction peyote. The base is triangular herringbone stitch. 
This was a design I planned before beading, usually I make it up as I go.

Flowers in Fall Colors

As the summer winds down the flowers that are still blooming seem much more colorful than they did when the greens of the trees and grasses were so vibrant. The Pantone fall color palette has a rich orange called Koi that for me represents the color essence of autumn. From gourds and leaves to spiders and Monarch butterflies the color is everywhere. Even though I am more of a purple person the influence of the season always has an affect on my bead work. My color choices and subject matter often reflect nature. I make components like flowers and leaves because I can jump around to different palettes without having to work on one specific project. Eventually I end up with enough parts that I combine together into a finished work. I feel this approach gives the bead work a more organic feel than it would if I followed a set pattern.  Sometimes when I see a flower I get a flash of inspiration as to how I could make it out of beads, not giving much thought to its still to be determined use.
One of the flowers that is still blooming in my garden is a Gaillardia. The red-orange and cadmium yellow petals gave me an excuse to buy more beads.

At first I had used red lined amber drop beads for the center, but they were too bright. After a few mixes of red, amber, matte etc. I decided on a purple lined amber color drop bead for the center.

A nice thing about working in components is the ability to change the overall look by changing pieces.

 I made the flower in size 15 seed beads using a flat peyote stitch. The first try was a nice blend of colors but the petals didn't have enough orange or picot to properly represent the petals edges. I added a center to that base and made a completely different kind of flower. I like the effect even if it does not resemble a live bloom.