Sunday, June 23, 2013

Crystally Copper!

I'm test wearing the necklace.....You do that too right?  I mean don't you have to wear what you make...see how it lies,  is it comfortable, the right length?

Or are those just my excuses for wanting to wear this pretty piece one time before it goes out into the world?

I seldom, almost never sell my finished work, but I do sometimes gift it and this one is destined to be a gift.  We're staying in tonight, a quiet evening at home, but I still thought black velvet and crystals were appropriate dinner attire.

In the morning we're off on our first BIG airstream adventure.  Not really, we are however going a few miles down the road to a lake and campground to test things out beyond the driveway.  I'm almost finished with my second bollywood cuff.  This is the first, the second is a clear crystal with pale blues, and silver night set in a light silver band with a stunning Ezel clasp.

and then on to some beautiful pacific opal fancy stones all tied up in a bow with a dollop of loch rosen on top!  That will be my camping project.

Back to Bollywood for a minute however.  This is not it's finished name....I don't have a good one yet, and unamed stuff...well it needs a name soon because Petra talked me into teaching it in Germany.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Color Fail

Last night I made a component for the second sample of this piece. Since there are peanuts, loch rosen, 2 mm crystals, aswarvoski fancy stone and a crystalized tear drop there are a lot of color choices that must come together.  The dark green here is the perfect backdrop to the sand opal fancy stone and it set off beautifully by the dorado loch rosen and the gold peanuts and gold 2 mm crystals and teardrop.

What I had in inventory was pacific opal fancy stones and dark silver peanuts with a grey opal loch rosen.  What I needed was a high contrast frame for the size 11 seed bead which would set off the fancy stone but also contrast with the dark silver peanuts.  I chose a pale green aqua matte and used a light gold metallic 2 mm to set off the edges....but the pacific opal fancy stone disappears.  

Well at least that was last nights assessment, but today I'm kind of liking it.....I think I'm going to go with it, add a few of dark silver peanuts to begin the strap and re evaluate.

I wish that I didn't have to actually bead a piece to evaluate it's color correctness.  It is however a fairly small piece of beadwork, a 5 cube to a side square which holds the fancy stone, so I may try a dark silver  one and see what I think.

First though the Airstream goes to the DMV, it's first outing.  A scary thought for me who has never pulled a trailer, but Mark is confident.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Beads in Motion

August 6th, that is the day that Amazon is set to release Beads in Motion.

However, wonderfully, the Look Inside feature is enabled and you can have a rather extensive look at some of the interior pages.

On the left is one of my favorite pair of earrings to wear and the center is a stacked set of components with a center rivoli all of which slide up and down on a mesh chain.

 The Contents pages include each project and page number which I think is an excellent feature.  Here you see six pairs of earrings from long and dangly, my favorite to slight more subdued and elegant.  The bottom right is a Victorian slide bracelet that I adore.

I'm on the fence about selling the book, although I know many of you have expressed an interest in buying it from the author.  I will keep you posted on my decision, but in the meantime please ask your local bead store to consider carrying it.  I do hope our paths will cross at which point I will be happy to sign your copy!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coppery Elegance

Last week I showed you a piece I had done for Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Elegance with a promise of an update.

Here is a photo of the original version. It's pretty but 5 years later it seemed to need a little more....

Today I finished updating the necklace and added a pair of earrings.  The pair will be a gift to my sister in law who will be the Mother of Groom in her son's August Santa Fe wedding.  Her beautiful green dress should look very elegant with this coppery combination.

I decided to add yet more crystal.  The original shown above has bands of right angle weave seed beads with a 4 mm crystal on the longer columns between.  I added a rose gold 3 mm on the previously unembellished bands and a top drilled rosaline gold crystal at the base of each of those bands.

I also took a 'tuck' in the center, stitching the right and left of center bands together to create more of a vee and more of a focal.  I added 3 more coppery drops to enhance the center more.  One last finishing touch was an accent of 2 mm golden shadow crystals between the top of each of the raw bands.  I'm thinking it will have a very high sparkle factor!

Friday, June 14, 2013

New life for old design

I suppose I shouldn't call it 'old' but this piece was first made for Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence so it was beaded in 2007.  My sister in law, a soon to be mother of the groom, sent photos of her beautiful green dress and asked for jewelry suggestions.  Coppery sparkle came to mind so I dug this piece out of it's storage place and looked at it with fresh eyes.

It has bands of right angle weave, diagonally embellished with 4 mm light colorado topaz ab crystals and coppery czech dangles.  It's pretty, and my sister in law also chose it out of a line up four different offerings, but yet......

I wanted it to be better.  Do you ever do that?  Revisit a design from prior years and see an improvement?  Swarovski's new rose gold crystal seemed to me to be the perfect compliment to this palette.  I've added them (or started to) to each of the raw units between the current crystals.  I have also added a rosaline gold top drilled 6 mm crystal at the bottom of each of those units.

I can tell you I am very very happy with the result.  I'm also going to take a tuck in the middle of the piece to accentuate the center spine and make it more of a focal as well as give the necklace a vee shape as opposed to it's current roundish curve.

Sometime this weekend I will show you the result.  Then I'll make some earrings and send it off.  I'll be attending the Santa Fe wedding later this summer, wonder what I'll wear?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Notes from a Master Class

Before I start.....let me say that teaching the master class was an incredible experience.  A great big thank you to the Bead and Button staff, Marlene and Jane you made it easy! To all of my talented helpers and to each and every one of the amazing folks who chose to spend three days of their Bead and Button experience with me.

I remember that I was teaching in Toronto when I got Marlene's email asking me to be the 2014 Master Class teacher.  It was July 2010 and it was a pretty exciting email.  Lot's of time to think through my approach, but from the beginning I knew it would involve component design.

I carried on with a loose plan in my head until last years August call asking me if I would be willing to move my class to 2013.  I said yes and began the serious planning.

I had always envisioned a playground of components for participants to arrange into their own visions.  Twenty two students per class meant a lot of playgrounds so that everyone could have effective design time.  This is where I am truly lucky, with many seed beaders I call friends willing to help.

Liz headed up a Detroit group including Sharon, Susan, Sue and Kate who got to work immediately and provided a large amount of components.  Seattle's beaders were Connie, Tracy and Janice and locally Susan, Dee, Agnes, Sylvia, Jody, Viola and Ellen all contributed huge amounts.  They also helped me learn along the way.

The playground was deliberately neutral in palette and then three additional palettes, storm, botanica and rainforest were added.  I encouraged all to bring beads from their own stash and many made excellent contributions to the colorways.  Gabriella and Shannon volunteered to bead up some samples from each of the three color choices.

Thanks also go to Susan Kolovson who graciously offered to proofread the master class booklet.

On day one I introduced the subject of component design and talked about the structure of the class.  This was all done presentation style and the pdf of the presentation on my ipad worked seamlessly.  Thank goodness for technology.

Folks soon got busy arranging pieces and then we printed them out their visions.  Photo cube is not necessarily the best photo printer, but it got the job done and it was small enough to carry with me.

Many took the opportunity to create components that matched their photo and others morphed their vision along the way as we tried new things.  I get visibly excited about the process, often oooh oooh ooohing as each person brought their designs along.

Among the many special things about doing this class was the intimacy that one developed over the course of three days.  I felt that I got to know everyone so much better in that time frame.  There was also a wonderful synergy between the students as the days progressed and they shared their designs with one another.

I was so pleased that 32 people created pieces that were distinctly different from one another.  A few people wore their creations out of class and many were on their way to finished pieces.  I wanted to show you the breadth of design variations, so a few strings still attached.  As time goes on I hope to see many more finished pieces and I will share them as I do.

This was Pat's well executed vision, a folded carousel over a rope with a crystal studded center bead.

Mandi took the pearl out of the center of the Cassandra component, adding a soft lavender luna cab and a ring band.

Sandy put together this beautifully symmetric piece using spirit flight and the craw pendant.   The purple she chose for either side of the the pendant really sets off the design.

 Mary Ann went into her bead stash to produce the 2001 commemorative bead adding a carousel and spirit flight to the top and finishing it with the perfect ribbon.  Job well done, wish I could find my pendant!  She also bezeled a large glass pendant and has plans to add a pale Cassandra necklace to her Christi Friesen dragon, I can't wait!

Victoria made a modified Cassandra, added the excellent touch of green, and used the graceful properties of craw to 'draw' a beautiful pendant to go along with her design. Victoria is a prolific beader and I can't wait to see her future designs.

Joanne left class with a finished pendant, a pair of earrings and was well on her way to bringing her original design idea into fruition.

Nancy folder her spirit flights, bezeled her fancy stone, and dropped a modified Cassandra from the bottom  which was finished up with two 3 sided romantica medallions.

Deb, added daggers to her spirit flight, a pacific opal fancy stone, and a craw pendant.   The colors she chose to accent her kit were perfect and as we left she was thinking about adding a crystal necklace.

Justyne turned Cassandra over, connected five of them for a large center focal, added a bezeled topaz teardrop and used a previously beaded craw zig zag necklace, stunning!

As time goes on I will add more photos and more finished photos.  Suffice it to say the pieces were all brilliant.  I loved every minute of the experience.

Big Big thanks to the Bad Liz, Gabriella and Lisa who were all instrumental in the classroom and make things so much easier!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The story of Oz

I do have Bead Dreams and one of them was fulfilled when Sherry Serafini and I decided to do a collaboration to enter into this years Bead Dreams competition.  While teaching this past October at the Southern Bead Retreat we carved out a little time to spend with one another and got excited about what we might accomplish together.

I have to say that I am pretty darn honored that I got to collaborate with one of the huge rockstars of the beading world!

In December, amidst preparations for the Bead and Button Master Class 'Playing with Possibilities' I spent a few days beading several different colors of the Spirit Flight component.  It's the kind of beading I love, one known threadpath, exploring different counts, colors and sizes of beads.  Repetition with an organic design aesthetic.

I made a nice pile of these, added some of the seeds and crystals I had used to the package and sent it off to Sherry to do her magic.

Wow did she ever. This exquisite piece named Oz was the result.

I think it is a really excellent blend of our two styles and am in love with the piece.  We have 'joint custody' but she graciously extended first visitation to me so I got to bring it home.  Yes I did wear it, not home, but to dinner on Sunday night.  

and!  A photo of Sherry and I taken by Jane Cruz the delightful Bead and Button Associate editor who was in my master class.

Tomorrow you can look forward to more stories from Bead and Button and some wonderful examples of what wonderful design ideas came out of the master class.  It was everything I had imagined it to be and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cheating on the Beads!

What, already! Yes I had the occasion to do some pre Bead and Button yarn shopping and found some lovely coral Debbie Bliss silk mohair which I will turn into a lacy shawl. Next I needed needles as I don't usually travel with the right ones.

Well I came across the HiyaHiya brand of inter-changeables and fell in love.

Unlike my other brand the join is seamless, they are metal, the cable swivels and the case which contains the tips and the cables is beautifully designed. It is so compact as to be completely practical to throw in your luggage and always be prepared for impromptu yarn purchases.

I'll be casting on now.....getting in some zen time before starting the master class in a few hours.