Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Sketchbook Challenge

I’ve decided to join in with The Sketchbook Challenge, the theme this month is ‘PATTERN’. Being a keen beadworker, pattern is never far from my mind and I see ideas for jewellery all around me. A walk down a city street becomes much more interesting when you look at patterns in railings and architecture and imagine turning it into a wearable piece of art.

Some of the best ironwork patterns I’ve seen recently are in Mostyn Street in Llandudno. All along the street runs a covered walkway, with dozens of different wrought iron patterns.

Here is my sketchbook page for this month's challenge. Ideas for two necklaces are just beginning to take shape. The blue one will make a very impressive collar I think. I'm looking forward to the next challenge, a new theme is revealed at the start of each month. To find out more visit the The Sketchbook Challenge blog at:

My Peacock necklace is coming along nicely. I decided not to include purple in it after all. This was because I wanted to have a more accurate representation of the colours in a feather, so I've gone for lime, rust, royal blue and gold. I've also decided that it will have a gloriously lush fringe. Not sure yet what the clasp will be like, a button and loop perhaps.

Talking of clasps, a new DVD arrived from the USA this week, full of useful techniques for making all sorts of fastenings that blend in with the beadwork. I learned several new techniques from it. Beadworkers in the USA are so lucky, they seem to have many more resources than we do in the UK. Thank heaven that we can now send off online for just about anything we want.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Pretty packaging

I had some scraps of handpainted silk left over and a tiny pile of beads after completing my Kimono piece yesterday. She is going off in the post this afternoon to her new home nicely boxed up and with a pretty label on the front made from the leftover beads and silk.

A nice sunny walk to the post office then back to sketch some new designs. Not a bad way to spend the day!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Creative learning curve

Every piece of jewellery I make teaches me so much. The Kimono necklace is certainly no exception. The human neck is not flat, so I wanted a really good shape that would sit well and be comfortable. Checking the fit on my trusty metal jewellers mandrel helps no end. All the weaving was done with Nymo thread, and any areas that are likely to flex, or be touched, like the toggle. I've reinforced with Fireline.

Now I've got that strange bereft feeling that comes when a piece is finished. I guess I'll read and tidy for a day or so and then carry on beading again with renewed vigour. I made a Youtube slideshow which shows it being made.
Talking of reading, I've a couple of new books to enjoy. They are both must haves for anyone interested in bead embroidery. The first one is packed with fabulous pictures of finished jewellery, very inspirational. No techniques are described in detail, but it's a wonderfully thick book and I can guarantee hours of happy ogling at the beady eye candy within!
The second features the bead embroidery of Heidi Kummli. Heidi takes a very spiritual approach to her work and the book is full of information of the meaning of totem animals, healing stones and colour theory. She shares a wealth of knowledge on bead embroidery techniques and the book is choc full of gorgeous pictures. If you check it out on Amazon, they have some sample pages.