Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beginnings... and Surprise Endings

Some folks have asked me to explain what inspires me at the beginning of a project. Is it a specific color? A particular bead? A "light bulb" moment in the shower? Well, my answer is "yes": all of the above, though the moment of inspiration varies from project to project.

This past week, I chose to use some mottled blue jade teardrops I bought at the last bead show. When I first saw them, my brain fritzed and short-circuited. They were beautiful - and a whole strand of them together, well, it was A Moment. I brought them home and didn't do anything with them, that is, until now. My plan was to make bead embroidered earrings. Oh, they would be spec-TAC-ular!

I finished the first one and it was apparent they were to big for earrings. I made the second, since the stone was already glued down.

When finished, I laid it next to the first piece, and realization hit me like a brick - these would be great strung together. Good thing I'd glued more of the jade stones down!

To soften the final piece, I wanted to make smaller elements to place between the jade medallions. I have some mother-of-pearl coin beads in a very soft blue. Perfect! I made a pretty round piece, and when I put it between the two jade elements, my reaction was, "Uh.... no."

Didn't really like the stark white seed beads in there and, again, too big.

I tried again, but kept it even simpler, and "Hazzah!" Just what I was looking for.

A few hours later, I had enough pieces to arrange the final layout.

Satisfied, I used freshwater pearls to attach everything together. The finished result, 18 hours after I started, is romantic, soft, and very elegant. Do you think it's too late to see if Kate Middleton might want it for her Big Day???

Oh, and don't worry... that medallion I decided not to use gets to shine in it's own piece as a simple pendant.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today's The Day...

Today's the day I decided to make time to crack open Marcia DeCoster's "Beaded Opulence" book. I've been itching to try the layered right angle weave that Marcia demos in the instructions for her Quetzal ring project.

But do I start with the beautiful one inch square shown in the final picture? NO! I chose to make a cuff bracelet: something with stylish structure, and far too many seed beads to count.

To begin, I beaded a piece 8 units wide by 60 units long (a unit being 4 beads stitched into a circle).

This bit of beading was nicely fluid, like a drapable piece of fabric. I began adding RAW layers, decreasing width of each. Each new layer added rigidity and weight to the final piece.

At the beginning of the project, I'd planned a total of three layers. But after finishing the third layer, there were beads left in my bowl and I just couldn't stop. I kept going until there were five layers of RAW and the piece had a pronounced domed structure.

When it comes to finishing, I really like the little feminine details that designer, Lisa Kan, gives her pieces. I pulled her book, "Bead Romantique" off my shelf to find instructions for encasing the ends of a bracelet in peyote stitch.

The final touch: add a single line of Czech fire polished crystals down the center of the bracelet's dome for sparkle.

The lines are simple, but there was nothing simple about its creation. Ten hours of work, and the equivalent of a full hank of size 11 seed beads later, I have a piece fit for someone like Jackie O to wear. Anyone who puts it on will feel like royalty.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Moving into Summer

Now that my collar is done and gone, I've gone back to business as usual. In keeping with my New Year's resolution, I'm ripping through my bead hoard.

My latest bracelet reflects my new Summertime mood and uses some beautiful African turquoise beads that have hung around for years.

It's time to build inventory in anticipation of show applications. Kind of like planning a party, and worrying there won't be enough food, I feel the same way about stocking a booth. Best to err on the side of overdoing than not having enough work to show...

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl