Saturday, March 9, 2019

Bead Embroidered Necklace - Making Progress

Bead embroidery is one of my loves - it's easy to incorporate it into smaller pieces like here and here and here.

But now and then it's time to take a deep breath and dive into something a little more extreme. Something that will take some serious time and planning. Something that will give you a good excuse to stay indoors when the weather outside is colder than Antarctica. (I wish I was exaggerating.)

So here is my latest big project, shown through a series of progress shots. It's not finished yet, but stay tuned!

Gathering the potential material
The gemstone pieces were the inspiration for the piece.
Everything else grew from them.

This is the first time I've actually sketched out the plan for a piece before diving in.
I've been doing this for twenty years. I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
Transferred to the backing and gemstones glued in place.
A little progress
Here's today's starting place

The needle's threaded and I'm ready to get moving today - stay tuned for the next progress update!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

From the UFO Pile, or The Virtue of Letting an Idea Marinate

As part of my dive back into creating, I searched through my (extensive!) unfinished objects collection and found a pile of peyote tubes. I had made them as an experiment in making the same beaded bead using different bead sizes, but never got around to constructing a final product.

The original idea was to line the ones of the same colorways vertically side by side and string them together to create a graduated pendant. What I discovered is that the tension I used when weaving them left too little room between the beads to weave through with any kind of substantial stringing material.

I could have put them on headpins with a stopper bead with a loop on top and string them onto a cord lengthwise, but that wasn't the look I was hoping for.

So they sat. And I pondered. I let the idea marinate for a good long while.

Finally, I decided to weave them together horizontally.

They're strung on waxed cotton cord with another peyote tube to adjust the length. The final red one is just the cotton cording woven to hold the beads in place.

The result is a set of nice lightweight necklaces with adjustable length and a few less UFOs on the pile!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Rediscovering My Voice

Y'all. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, my plans to blog more regularly over the past year has resulted in a lovely six-lane parkway to The Bad Place (extra points if you start calling me Eleanor). 

The creative urge? It has been colder than Lake Michigan during the polar vortex for the past sixteen months or so. But I finally picked up the beads and the needle and have jumped back into it. And it feels GOOD.

To start, I tackled a few UFOs, and repaired a few things that went awry in the past. Here's a Cellini spiral that lived as a lonely, spiky tube for a long time. It is a generous 3" long, so it didn't need much to finish, nor did it need any embellishment. I strung it simply on some onyx rounds and added one of my fabricated clasps in copper.

This next necklace is a repair - the lampwork bead, crackle quartz and smoky quartz were in another necklace. Until the necklace was dropped at a show and a couple of the raised clear drops on the lampwork broke off. (Insert silent scream here.) 

The missing drops were along one end, so I made a peyote cap to hide the injury. I added a beaded bead and some silver filigree beads. Fitting the peyote over the injured section was extremely fiddly, but I am persistent (read: stubborn). 

Friends, it feels really good to be back at it. I'm a happier person when I have my creative time - I'm sure everyone reading this experiences the same thing. So I am committing to being better about listening to the muse, and I hope (hope, hope) to keep up with the blog as well.