Monday, 30 January 2012

New beginnings

I love Monday mornings and one with a tidy desk and a new project to begin is even better.

Here is the gorgeous cabochon I'll be working into the centrepiece of my next project.

Klimt necklace - finished!
I completed the Klimt necklace on Friday and by the time the clasp had been added and the last thread had been snipped my workspace looked like a bomb had gone off in a bead shop!  Although it has taken a day or so longer to finish, I am very happy with it and I’m glad I changed the design slightly as I went along. I’ve added it to my website along with my Deco Fans necklace. I spent most of Saturday tidying and reorganising.

Whilst sorting things out I found the most gorgeous cabochon (above) to put in the necklace I am starting this week, which is a new version of the Athena necklace that I have been asked to make. I’m also in the middle of a new YouTube slideshow, which will showcase things I didn’t get round to including in the first one. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the week.

Deco Fans necklace

The urge to purge is upon me at present and I have been out in the garden clearing dead leaves away from all the little green shoots that are peeping above the soil. Bulbs need room to grow as well as beaders.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Who cares if it’s raining!

Working out the chain design - elements laid roughly in place
Beading in bright colours is guaranteed to banish the winter blues. It may be a wet and miserable Tuesday in January, but my work table is covered with gorgeous little glass cube beads in bright primary colours. I’m putting together the chain for the Klimt necklace this morning and have decided that herringbone stitch elements, combined with cubes will tie in nicely with the rest of the necklace.

I thought carefully about how I needed to suspend it from the chain, bearing in mind that I have a different edging to the plain one I thought I might originally use.  A bail at the top is no longer the best option. Also I want the chain to hang in a circle, and not form a V, so I will need to tension it when I string all the elements together. It’s tough being a perfectionist!

I’ve also made some daisies from amber coloured dagger beads which (eventually) I will combine with an enormous woven flower in deep purple shades.

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Muse and the Beading Imp

There a some days when everything in the beading world is lovely. These are the days when I feel inspired – the Muse has turned up and I’m ‘in the zone’. The beads behave themselves and I leave my workspace feeling as if I’ve achieved. But there is the occasional day when the Beading Imp turns up instead and makes mischief. He will spill my beads, tangle my thread and throw needles into the carpet pointy end up. He challenges my creativity any way he can.
The inspiration for a new kumihimo braid
So it was on Friday – I was stuck with the border of the Klimt pendant and I felt it needed something ‘Jazzy’ and different to what I normally do, but what? I just couldn’t resolve it and was getting frustrated.

Ribbons for the braid

Retail therapy is a good way to distract the Beading Imp, so I went off to buy ribbons for a new kumihimo garland inspired by berries, leaves and catkins and let my subconscious work on the design for the pendant surrounded by rich patterns and textures in the fabric shop.

The completed pendant
When I came back I knew exactly how to proceed and did an alternating black and gold border. Now I have to make a chain that will complement the design. Something with some square elements in it I think. I should have the necklace finished by the end of the week.
Actually I have a theory. I think the Muse sends the Beading Imp occasionally to force me to ‘think outside the box’ as it were!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

..... and so to bead

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
Spent a very enjoyable morning making sketches
and planning out the Klimt pendant. I decided that I will be selective about what shapes to include. There are some elements that Klimt used many times in his paintings.

He was very fond of using a chequerboard pattern, together with swirls and little 'target' shapes.He often used gold in his work, which gave his paintings the look of Russian icons.
I will include hints of gold in my pendant.
Notes from my sketchbook with actual beads laid on it.
I have started off by making a watercolour sketch and laying some beads down to get an impression of how it will look.

I will anchor the cabochon to the base using a different technique to the one I normally use. Because Klimt used geometrical shapes alot, I need to find a way to secure it with straight strips of beadwork - the best way I can describe it it is like tiny luggage straps. All will become clearer later!

My ingredients!
Foiled cabochon

I've prepared the stiffened background fabric, I've sorted the beads out and I've made a nice pot of Earl Grey..... and so to bead.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Enjoying the Journey

From my nature diary
I made just one new year resolution for 2012 – I am intending to
‘enjoy the journey’. It’s all too easy in this day and age to rush towards a goal or destination. Whether it is a walk to the shops or making a piece of jewellery, there are so many pleasures to be found along the way.

For me, much of the excitement of making something includes all the thought processes that take place at the very beginning – the daydreaming, scribbling and working out how to achieve it. The charm of something handmade is being able to feel a connection with the artist, so I am intending to share my thoughts, notes and sketches with you.

I went out for a very sunny walk today, making a point of looking around me to get my new year resolution off to a good start. A noisy jay screeched at me, wintry bare branches are much better for admiring their gorgeous plumage than leafy summer ones, every season has it’s advantages as far as wildlife is concerned. A few years ago I was lucky enough to find a feather in the lane, one day I will use it as inspiration for a stripy piece of jewellery.

A page from my sketchbook
I have two projects on the go at the moment, both using beautiful foiled cabochons. Just after Christmas a friend sent me some pictures of tapestry kit cushions based on the artwork of Gustav Klimt, they fired up my imagination and I am working on a pendant using a design as a starting point. Klimt’s paintings were full of rich colours and abstract shapes and recreating the look using bead embroidery will be a challenge. Another cabochon is going into a design similar to the Athena necklace I made some time ago. I will post pictures of these as I work on them over the next few weeks.

Another project  just at sketchbook stage is called 'Hunters Heart' - a bead embroidered piece in reds and blacks. As usual, I find that there simply are not enough hours in the day to create. I expect everyone who is a crafter finds that to be the case!