Sunday, February 28, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I was leafing through some of the books on my shelf, looking at eye candy and getting inspiration for new explorations. Leave it to Carol Wilcox Wells and her book, The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving, to spark an idea.

The shape and proportion of the Cellini spiral caught my eye, and I decided to work with the size mix indicated in the pattern, although I wasn't going to make a bracelet. The pattern calls for three different colors of size 15s. My selection of that size is pretty limited, and since it was 10:30 at night, my access to the local bead store for a quick fix was not happening. I pulled out all of the teeny tinies in my collection, and found about seven colors to choose from.

When I found the three (graphite, moss green, and light mauve) that worked best together, it was time to search for other colors and sizes that would play nicely. The result is a color palette that's somewhat outside my norm, but I think that this time, serendipity was my friend.

Oh, and Carol, thanks for the inspirational eye candy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

What I Do

Beadweaving. Creating fabric, structure, texture from myriads of infinitessimal seed beads. Madness? Maybe. Frustrating? Frequently. Obsessive? Magnificently.

While I do a lot of stringing, beadweaving is a special kind of love. So here is a sample of my recent beadwoven work. This one is a poppy jasper donut as the delicious centerpiece of a freeform peyote necklace. Freshwater pearls and some red jasper add spice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Treasure Hunting and Upcycling

One of my favorite recently-heard terms in the beading world is "upcycling" -- that is, recycling and reusing old jewelry bits and other fabulous stuff that can have a new life in wearable art. I really love the implication that you're not only giving something new life, but raising it to a new level. It's something I've dabbled a bit with in the past, but was itching to jump in on the action again.

So yesterday when I found myself with a little free time (okay, I should have done a few loads of laundry, but you understand) I went to a local antique mall and treasure hunted. There was some truly fabulous eye candy there, including several cases chock full of beautiful old rhinestone jewelry just screaming my name. I tried not to embarass myself by giggling like a kid in a candy shop, drooling excessively over the gorgeousness, or smacking my head into the glass trying to get a closer look. If only I had unlimited funds to answer the call....

But I did find some fun things that I can't wait to work into new pieces --

-- great leaf-shaped earrings with rhinestones and faux pearls, some rocking huge pierced silver earrings (nearly 2" in diameter and 3/4" high. Seriously, the woman who wore these originally must have been able to pick up radio signals from space with these babies!), and a lovely Victorian style silver, marcasite and black crystal necklace that was a steal at only $10. (I know! I was amazed, too!)

They'll probably have to live with me a while until they tell me exactly what they want to be in their next life, but rest assured that they'll show up here after their upcycling!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Obsession Results

As promised, here are quick photos of the results of the weekend's earring blowout. This actually isn't all of the earrings I made in that one night, but it does include some beadwoven earrings (along the top row in the picture below) that I had finished a while back, and finally added the ear wires to. They're not all terribly intricate, but they did fit the goal of the evening, which was to find some instant gratification and put together some pieces that will be bread and butter in my next show.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Earring overload!

Last night, I was pursuing instant gratification -- so I sat down to make some earrings. Quick, easy, satisfying.

And twenty-seven pairs later...

Apparently, I had a little pent-up need to play in the bead room. But I'm a little afraid that my picture will be the illustration of the definition of "obsessed" in the next edition of the dictionary.

Pictures (of the earrings) are forthcoming, I promise.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Delayed gratification

Seems that I've been into the delayed gratification projects recently. I've got a Cellini spiral necklace going, and while the colors are working out better than I imagined they might, it's an exercise in patience (could be all the size 15's in the mix...they don't cover a lot of real estate quickly!). There are a couple of other beadweaving projects in various stages of completion stashed in various beading sports around the house, waiting for me to pick them up again.

I think it's time for some instant gratification work -- I feel an earring binge coming on!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

While waiting for the snow

The weatherman told us to expect 4" of snow. Nothing epic, especially when friends east of us were expecting, and getting, 2+ feet of winter joy.The snow here amounted to a whole lotta nothing, but I completed the "what if" project I posted about last night, with some really cool black faux coral multi-holed beads, using agate with a nice chatoyance and some red coral. It's different than many of the pieces I usually do, but that's the point of pursuing the answer to "what if?", isn't it?

So I've added another goal for this year (I'll post about all of the others later. Not that it's of interest to anyone else, but if I make those goals public, maybe I'll feel a little more pressure to follow through on them!) The newest goal is to, on a regular basis, push myself into that area of discomfort, of unfamiliarity, of "what if". I want to explore the new, to expand those boundaries and limitations we all sometimes impose on ourselves, to give voice to the creativity lurking in my brain somewhere. Some things may stay in the Drawer of Ugly Projects when they're done, but each will help me explore, learn and grow.

And in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy wearing my new necklace!

Friday, February 5, 2010

It all started with "what if?"

So many things start with "what if".

What if I take that jewelry making class? What if I take that technique and do this to it? What if I mix this with that (admittedly a lot safer when working at a beading table than, say, a chemistry lab)? What if I take a deep breath and try to sell this stuff?

What if I reach out to the wider beading community I know is out there and share some of my ramblings?

Thus, this blog.

And tonight's installment of "what if"... last time I went bead shopping (seriously, the only reason Benjamin Franklin said that beer was proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy is because Ben didn't have a bead store nearby) I found these quirky little black ceramic-ish beads that look like small branches of coral, with two horizontal holes and a hole through the length of the bead. They don't look like much from this scan, but trust me, they're pretty cool. Wasn't really sure what I'd do with them, but I got a handful of them anyway.

So tonight, I sat down to design something with them. My first idea was going pretty well until I saw some fabulous grey agate, just waiting to be invited to the dance. "What if I put those together? What if I put them on an angle? Hmmmmm....."

Picture of the results tomorrow!