Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Capturing nature with fabric collage

We’re just back from our daily walk. It was lovely out along the hedgerow today. I noticed a few different things in flower today, at this time of year things really start to change quickly. High up in a big oak tree we saw seven noisy jays – clearly not socially distancing! The bird life seems much bolder and more noticeable now that it is so much quieter.

I got down to have a closer look at the patch of celandines, paying close attention to the way the centres are formed. Yesterday it was dull and damp, so their little faces were closed. Today the sun was out and their glossy petals had unfurled. I’ve started my fabric collage pendant, couching the petals and leaves onto a painted background. The photo below shows it in progress. I use a piece of card with a aperture  cut out to see how the design works within the circular shape. I changed the shape of the leaves from my original sketch, to better reflect the actual heart shape of the celandine foliage - you really can't beat getting up close and personal with your subject!


I found some tiny size 15 seed beads and a gorgeous rayon embroidery thread to make a raised detail in the middle. I’m also including some gold thread – and it’s real gold! I have a selection of tiny bobbins of this precious thread that came with a goldwork starter kit and it’s a joy to use. For the first time in days I awoke this morning and my first thought was not about viruses and lockdown but about beads and threads.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Ideas for nature inspired pendants

It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it? We’ve all had to make some adjustments to the way we live our lives and even if you’re fit and healthy it can make you feel a bit weary. But there is still much to enjoy and Mr J and I are able to do our usual daily walk to see what’s happening in the wood and hedgerows.

After making some delicious pancakes for breakfast this morning I felt keen to start putting some ideas for pendants down on paper, ready to start painting, stitching and beading next week.


I think I’ll start with the ‘Springtime’ pendant first, it will be lovely to use a fresh palette of greens and blues with some yellow celandines in the background – the little wood was full of them yesterday. I’ll post some pictures as work progresses next week.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

‘Guinevere’ - A neckpiece inspired by Arthurian legends

It’s very quiet here, living as we do at the end of a cul de sac with a field on one side of us. Usually there is the hum of aircraft from the local airport, but of course there are no planes just now. But beading goes on as usual, and crafting is a wonderful stress buster. I’ve had several emails from some of my usual online craft shops saying it’s business as usual.

My Oak Tree Crafts ‘Acorn Club’ beads arrived this week – lovely spring colours, so will inspire a catkin inspired piece I expect.


The Lakeland Crafts faux leather pieces have proved inspirational, and gave me the impetus I needed to make a start on something I’d scribbled in my trusty sketch book.



 I had some dicroic glass cabochons and some pretty clear glass beads that I wanted to combine, but the clear glass needed pepping up a bit to tie it in more with the cabochons. Faux leather pieces at the back of them makes them truly shine, a technique I will find useful in many more pieces to come as I have lots of clear glass in my collection.

My ‘Guinevere’ piece involved several happy hours of blissful beading. I recommend anyone to try beadwork as an absorbing way to craft some calm into the chaos that seems all around just now and a lovely excuse to have a parcel of beady goodies popped through the letterbox!