Friday, 27 July 2012

Grown-up playtime!

Al Fresco beading at long last. Sitting under a parasol with a beading project on the go is the loveliest way to spend the day. 'Maud' was influenced by flowers and berries and lots of pretty beads found their way in. Eight chunky sterling silver rondelles and lots of gorgeous little glass flowers give it loads of texture. A classic sterling silver clasp made the perfect finish.

Now I'm in the mood for something completely different. Wood.....leather..... seashells..... maybe some sea glass with wire wrapping. Time for some grown up playtime!


Created in a sunny garden. Pleasant thoughts are

woven in amongst the beads.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sheep and Serendipity

Q. What do the following have in common?

A. Felted wool!

Hat makers use shellac to stiffen felt, and I have
used that technique to create these.
I’m a big fan of felt and use it as a surface to bead on in much of my jewellery. It is one of our oldest fabrics as it was used in Neolithic times. Today, it can be found in some diverse places. Made into hats, used in pianos, built into the Yurts used as shelters by nomads in Asia, felted wool is wonderfully versatile.
I like to stiffen it with fabric medium, which makes it tough and durable for stitching onto. Recently I’ve been exploring it’s possibilities by moulding it into beads and three dimensional shapes. I find that when it’s wet it feels almost like clay and can be pressed round an object or cabochon.

Trees, berries and leaf shapes have filled my sketchbooks this week, and I am hoping to mould natural fleece fibres into shapes which will enclose cabochons to make a series of tree spirit pieces.

Felt beads - ready to be embellished

My new embellished felt bead

At present though, I am working on 2 pieces at once. Kimono has now had the main pieces joined up, with little scroll shaped elements in between. I’m also creating a chunky bead necklace, made from embellished felt beads.

Kimono - slowly but surely taking shape

In fact a rich seam of felt seems to be running through my life at the moment. My husband was listing some things on Ebay and he came through to the beading area holding up a car pennant flag with Oklahoma on it that he had picked up on his travels.
‘What material is this?’ he asked.
Would you believe it it was made of….felt! I stopped myself from waxing lyrical about it’s many wondrous properties, lest I get that look that husbands sometimes give their wives that mean ‘I’ve married a mad woman!’
But it doesn’t end there, this morning he handed me a little vintage book saying ‘Is this your sort of thing?’ I flicked it open and lo and behold, a page devoted to…. FELT!

If this awful weather continues I shall make myself a yurt.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Dreaming of Summer

Tea in a sunny garden - just a dream in my sketchbook!
My apologies for my absence from the blogosphere for a week or two. Selling bits and bobs on Ebay and Amazon has been keeping me busy. This weather seems to be favouring the online sellers, as I have had a (usually wet) stroll to the post office laden with packets most days. My dreams of sitting in the sun under a shady parasol with pot of tea and beadwork  have not come true so far this year, although as I write this the sun is peeping through at last.

Abalone shell
At least I seem to have made some much needed space, and have come across some gorgeous beads I had completely forgotten about. Sometiimes things can sit in my collection for years before they find their destiny! A big collection of lovely Jasper cabochons will inspire dozens of pieces and a huge abalone shell piece just begging to be made into something with a watery theme. I can just begin to see it in my minds eye as a very freeform piece, which sounds as if it should be easier to do than one of the more structured and symmetrical pieces. This is not always the case, partly because it can be hard to let go, relax and let the beads determine the design.
When I have found the time for beading I’ve been working on ‘Kimono’ and it is now at the stage where I am making the strap. What a challenge it is to get both sides the same! Sometimes I think my patient nature is as much a curse as a blessing, as it seems to take me several weeks to finish a piece to my satisfaction. But detail and texture is what interests me creatively, so I just follow my heart.