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!