Friday, 14 June 2019

Floating petals

It seemed an appropriate time to add this pretty piece to my Folksy store. Looking out at my patio, there have certainly been some floating petals this week.

I loved coming up with a design for this fused glass cabochon which made the most of the striking lime green border. I made paper cut outs before I got to work with the saw and hammer. The little pink flecks in the glass have the look of an impressionistic watercolour. Which reminds me - I must remember to watch the programme on BBC2  tomorrow about the RA summer exhibition. Every year it makes me determined to do more painting of my own. If the rain ever stops I'm intending to sit outside and paint my pot plants!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Rain and shine

We’ve had rain all week. After working so hard to create a lovely place to sit outside our back door, it’s been too wet to venture out. The poor plants have taken a battering, the chives are no longer standing  to attention and the daisies have sensibly closed their petals in defeat. However, coming down to make the first coffee of the day I looked out and couldn’t believe my eyes. Despite the early hour, and the damp cool morning, there was the most beautiful little humming bird moth hovering among my patio plants. I did a quick sketch, noting it’s rust coloured wings, cigar shaped body and amazingly long proboscis.

I do hope it will return, as I have plenty of flowers to tempt it including some pretty Zinnias. I waged war on the slugs this year, with copper tape round all the pots and a daily ‘snail patrol’ every morning and evening. If I find one I lob it over the hedge into the field. So far I’ve only lost one plant. My vigilante approach seems to be working!

The upside of all this wet weather has meant that I have had more time for jewellery making.  I’ve completed two necklaces this week! ‘Elfine’ is done and will be off to her new home soon. I loved every minute of her making, and am pleased with the arrangement of all the different elements.

The back has turned out nicely neat and smooth, which is something I always aim for in my bead embroidery projects.

Whilst the rain pattered down I created my ‘Nixie’ wirework necklace. I just loved that cabochon with its flash of green and had some fun choosing all the lovely beads to coil and weave around it.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Gardening gloves off!

I’m ashamed to say that I used to be rather  lazy about the garden – even though ours is really just a patio with the odd bed here and there. This year though I’ve caught the bug and there are pots-a-plenty full of little flowering treasures to paint in watercolour or to inspire my bead embroidery, as well as some herbs and mixed salad leaves to harvest if the snails can be kept at bay. Of course all this outside activity has meant that beadwork has taken rather a back seat. But it’s damp and dull at the moment so I can spend some time this weekend on my latest bead embroidered creation.

I wanted to use this silver coloured leaf and combine it with freshwater pearls, but wasn’t sure how to do it, so it had sat in my components drawer for some time. But my experiments with painted fabric led to the lightbulb moment I needed and I backed it with handpainted silk. This meant that I could stitch a little pearl at the bottom and it sits beautifully over the leaf shaped piece of mother-of-pearl on the other side. I’ve called this piece ‘Elfine’ after a character in ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ by Stella Gibbons – one of my favourite books. Hopefully I will end up with a pretty piece that looks as if it might be worn to dance in the dells and woods!

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Fabric folding fun

I’d been rearranging  my sewing materials when came across some gorgeous cream coloured silk dupion fabric. Maybe it’s because I’d been watching ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ that I felt a compulsion to craft some jewellery out of fabric. I have a selection of ‘Lumiere’ fabric paints and I figured that they would work well to colour the silk. To stop the colour running too much and to help the fabric to stiffen and fold crisply, I gave it a coat of ‘Powertex’ medium.

This is my first experience of using Powertex, it’s made specifically for sculptures, mixed media and jewellery and I like the fact that it’s environmentally friendly. The first thing I noticed was that it has a very pleasant smell and the bottle is sturdy and very well designed. Once applied to the silk it dried quickly to a stiff finish that provides a perfect base for the Lumiere paints. I’ve been looking at Elizabethan costume designs on the internet recently – they were expert at cutting, pleating and layering fabrics, as shown in the beautiful doublet below.

Did you know that the Elizabethans used crushed bluebell bulbs to starch their clothes and ruffs? Thankfully the bluebells in the local woods are safe as my Powertex worked a treat, and after a brief spell in the lovely vintage flower press I picked up on Ebay last week my leaf earrings were ready to have the beads added.

I’m pretty satisfied with these first two prototype pairs of earrings – silk is incredibly tough, (think of parachutes) especially when painted with mediums and textile paints. These pretties would certainly stand up to the rigours of everyday wear. I’m already thinking of other exciting possibilities for this technique, for example in combination with Soutache or bead embroidery.

Friday, 8 March 2019

A tidy desk at last!

What an enjoyable challenge this new piece has been! Thought I’d post some photos of ‘Enchantress’ before she goes off to her new home.

The back is neatly done with beads, as I wanted the patterns to go over the edge of the pendant.

It seems rather strange to have a bead-free desk, but a couple of days off will give me a chance of a really good tidy up and a think about what I will make next. 

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Enjoying the elements

I must confess, beading has been a bit slow. The lovely sunshine was just too tempting to resist, so walks, weeding and sitting outside meant that progress on ‘Enchantress’ has waited until the weather has gone back to the usual for early March. Added to that, was the fact that this has been a piece that has really stretched me, both in terms of visual design and construction techniques. As I already have a buyer for it, I’m keen that it will be a beautiful piece of work.  Now that I’m happily back in my beading seat, the chain elements are well under way.

As you see in my photo, I’m thinking about the way they will link to the main pendant. My challenge when starting this piece was to make it without the usual backing and edge border stitching that you normally use to make a bead embroidered piece. It enabled me to play with ways of breaking out of my donut shape, and I’m going to use that little disk shaped green bead between the two bail  strings at the top of the pendant, as it will then sit a bit above them at the top. Little touches like this can make such a difference to a design.

My muse keeps coming and whispering about a piece I’ve had in mind for a while - a bead embroidered fish. Now I’m thinking this new technique without the border might work well for that ……. or perhaps an exotic bird version……. Exciting beading times ahead!

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

'Enchantress' - a new bead embroidered piece

By the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes...... well hopefully not to many pricked fingers or thumbs during the making of this, my latest bead emboidered piece. I have an idea in mind for a circular shape that suspends a large bead at the base.

I made a sketch and then set to work, first needle felting my base as a support for all the pretty bijouterie that I will weave into it. The back will be beaded over in peyote stitch instead of my usual leather backing. The needle felt will make it possible to make a seamless transition between the front and back. Creating needle felted supports for beadwork is an area I'm enjoying experimenting with at present.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Perfectly Peachy

Coral shades are going to be a feature in the clothes shops this year according to the fashion magazines. I decided to create a piece that would look great with anything peachy or coral and this is what I made.

Soft peach morganite stones with some amethyst and twists and twirls of silver wire. Morganite is said to calm an anxious mind and I certainly felt very Zen whilst making it!

Friday, 11 January 2019

Wild at Heart

What captivating, capricious and cunning little creatures beads are! Yes, I firmly believe they have minds of their own and conspire to be made into things whilst you think they are sitting innocently in your stash.

Having had a bit of winter sunshine in Tenerife, my imagination was full of exotic colours. On the plane on the way home I was mentally planning the piece I would make once all the Christmas mayhem was over and done with. So when the last bauble had gone back into the loft I headed to my bead collection to hunt out a sizzling cocktail of brightly coloured bijouterie. But the beads had other ideas. In amongst the exotic were soft pink pansies, muted silvery pearls and softly lustred drops. They remided me of the doodle I had done in an odd corner of my sketchbook just a few days before we flew to Tenerife.

 It was no good, I knew the idea wouldn’t let me alone until it was made real. So I gave in and this romantic wire wrapped filigree piece is the result.

No doubt I will be planning a soft pink piece at some stage and the lime green and orange beads will scupper my plans. Beads are clever like that!