As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 4 is adding some bicones to one of the rivolis we bezelled in the prep work as we did on Days 2 & 3 with pearls (you can see my prep work and colour choices in my previous post here). I don’t have any bicones which I want to use for this so I’m experimenting with using 4mm Fire Polished in a red lacquer finish and so far so good! They actually sit slightly better than the pearls as they are slightly narrower than they are long rather than being a perfect round.
As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 3 is adding some pearls to one of the rivolis we bezelled in the prep work as we did on Day 2(you can see my prep work and colour choices in my previous post here). It’s going along very nicely as you can see – here it is with my rope from Day 1 (plus some extra work on that on Days 2 & 3).
As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 2 is adding some pearls to one of the rivolis we bezelled in the prep work (you can see my prep work and colour choices in my previous post here).
As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – which today started with a lovely superduo rope. It’s whizzing along nicely, and looking epic in my unsubtle colourway of navy and neon sunflower yellow.
This will hopefully work with my colour choices which you can see above in my prep work – I’ve worked a little stripe into the rivoli bezels and tubes already so we’re going for brights tempered with navy, matching the rivoli or crystal colours in the additional outer beads.
I’m also adding turquoise to compliment the gorgeous Crystal Bermuda Blue 18mm domed crystal (a new shape from Swarovski, which looks amazing), a pair of yellow rivolis (Swarovski Crystal Buttercup and Matubo Goldenrod), and a pair of pinkish red rivolis (Swarovski Royal Red Lacquer and Royal Red DeLite Lacquer). My beads are all Miyuki – delicas in 2143 (Navy), 729 (Turquoise Green), 873 (Matte Red AB), 2193 (Light Squash); seeds in 4493 (Navy), 412 various finishes (Turquoise Green), 407FR (Matte Red AB), 4453 (Light Squash). I have Swaroski Iridescent Dark Blue 4mm pearls, but might also swap in some Silk Turquoise Green druks. So far I’m thinking no bicones – the colours and rivoli choices should mean this works well for day wear and there isn’t a suitable bicone colour which won’t make it blingier than I want – so I’ll either repeat the pearls if the design works, pop in a 4mm fire polished, or have to switch back and pick a bicone. That’s the nice thing about the Secret Beadalong – because you don’t know what you’re making it’s sometimes a good idea to have a few alternative options up your sleeve!
This year’s International Beading Week runs from today 25th July until next Sunday August 2nd (OK so that’s 9 days rather than a week, but who cares, it’s more beads). I’ll be doing my usual duty as Beadworker’s Guild social media helper as an admin on the IBW page and group, and also doing my bit for beaders everywhere by offering a massive 20% off all of the tutorials in my Etsy shop. No code needed, they’re all reduced and ready to go right here!
Last summer I made a series of sea creatures – beginning with a bead embroidered pink and yellow jellyfish done as a stitch and material sampler. She was a bit big and slightly clumsy, so she was called Big Jelly.
The next piece was Squidy, who mixes bead embroidery, bead weaving and goldwork embroidery techniques. I published Squidy as a tutorial last year, and also sell component packs for him (which include Hope Jacare‘s lovely ribbons and the other non-beady elements). You can read about him here.
Finally I made Jelly, a simplified piece using just one goldwork and a few bead embroidery stitches – simplified because I knew she was going to go off to the Beadworkers Guild as a journal tutorial. So that meant I had to keep her under wraps for quite a long time!
Last week the Journal was published and here she is. She looks lovely on the cover, particularly in her second colourway of blues and fuchsia, and it’s great to make a contribution to the Guild and to one of the most popular beadworking publications.
If you’re interested in the Journal it forms part of the membership benefits of joining the Guild, and is available internationally.
If you’re already a member and wanting to try making Jelly, then I have the Pearl Purl available in my Etsy shop, and Clare at Hope Jacare has just listed yet more beautiful ribbons, net tape and other hand dyed loveliness. Have fun!
Squidy is my younger son’s favourite cuddly toy – the one he needs at night and takes with him on long car journeys, so when an oval cabochon and some rumpled hand dyed silk ribbons came together to make a squid pendant, what on earth else could I possibly call it?
Squidy uses a variety of bead embroidery, beadweaving and goldwork embroidery techniques, including back stitch, bezelling using circular peyote, seeding, right angle weave bezelling, goldwork and beaded edging to make a statement pendant, brooch or even a beautiful ornament. I’ve written him up as a detailed tutorial because frankly he seemed too much fun not to share, and it’s now available in my Etsy shop.
He’s not horrifically tricky if you’re patient, he’d suit intermediate bead weavers or bead embroiderers, or experienced embroiderers looking to learn some beadweaving techniques. Everything is stepped out in the tutorial, and there is a full techniques section with hints and tips which should set you up well to try out some of these techniques on your own designs.
The materials are probably slightly tricky to get hold of, so I’ve put together some component packs – you can select your own individual cabochon, and the packs also include the goldwork wires, hand dyed ribbons (from HopeJacre designs), Swarovski chatons, beading foundation (Nicole’s Bead Backing), and Ultrasuede. These packs don’t include beads as you need such tiny quantities it’s not worth me weighing them and packing them up – you can just add them in from your own stash and make a unique piece. They’re available in my Etsy shop (which has 10% off until the end of December 2019).
I really enjoyed making Squidy, and he now also has some other sea creature friends which I can’t tell you about just yet – I’m working my way through lots of lovely ribbons to make as many tentacled creatures as I can and it’s really, really fun!
For ages now I’ve wanted to use the bezel I did for the chatons at the end of the handle on my Oscar’s Rattle to make the centres of the dodecahedron pentagons. The bead count and general construction was the same, so logically I hoped that I could adapt the gumdrop bezel included in Oscar’s Bauble, and simply substitute the chaton bezel for some of the early steps, continuing on to build out the skirts and pentagons, and join them in the same way as the current variants.
Well it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that, but it wasn’t too awful and in the end only 4 of the steps are actually different, which is pretty good for a 25 step piece! Anyway, I’ve written it up, added it to the current version available on Etsy, and sent the extra variation out to everyone I can find who has already bought the original version (please let me know if you think you’ve bought this one and haven’t had a message from me with the new section).
If you’d like to have a go, you can purchase it from my Etsy shop here (currently with 10% off until the end of December 2019).
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with the Beadworker’s Guild for their Great British Bead Show. I had a wonderful time, finally getting to meet people I’ve known electronically for a while, and getting to know even more lovely beaders. I took two one day classes, the first with Jean Power, which I’ll post about shortly, and the second with Heather Kingsley Heath, in which I made her beautiful Fantasie pendant.
I’ve admired Heather’s work for a while and own several of her books and patterns, and this was a lovely chance to work with her in person. This is a great piece to bead, and I was especially pleased with my colour choices – the new Swarovski Crystal Delite finish in Burgundy, and the dark and light blue shades of Swarovski Iridescent Pearls. I matched them with my usual Miyuki Duracoat silver, some matte dark blue (2075) and my new favourite Fuchsia Luster (1465L). I chose the pearls to match the blue sparkles from the Delite finish, and I must say I’m really pleased with the combination.
I finished the pendant quite quickly after the class, and couldn’t even wait long enough to finish the complimentary beaded chain to wear it, so it’s currently hanging from my usual hand dyed silk cord. I hope to make the chain one day, but for now I do find the cords easy to wear as I can adjust easily from my ideal longer length back to a shorter hang to accomodate my horrible work lanyard and ID badge! This is a common colour palette for me to wear, so it’s had lots of use already.
If you’d like to learn more about the Great British Bead Show and the Beadworker’s Guild you can visit our website. And to learn more about Heather’s beautiful and inspiring work, visit her ‘Heatherworks‘ sites. I bought some more patterns from her in class, so you can expect to see some more of her designs here soon!
I’ve just published my Cellini Rick Rack Ninja Star (or Ninja Star for short) in my Etsy shop, and I thought you might be interested to hear about how it came about. This is an extract from the tutorial which you can buy here.
On holiday during Easter 2019, I took a set of seed beads in various sizes to work on my Cellini, and another set of delicas to join in with a CGB beadalong. The CGB beadalong explored casting pods and spines, and as I beaded that I was also thinking about previous experiments with Cath’s diagonal Cellini, and pieces I’d made from Gwen Fisher’s tutorials.
It didn’t take long for me to wonder what would happen if I combined the two – so I took the bracelet I was making which had been cast off a CGB casting pod, and started to Cellini a strip with rick rack increases and decreases and corresponding Cellini reversals. It worked, and started making nice shapes which seemed to have potential, so I cast off another from the Cellini strip – this time tubular rather than a strip. That made a pleasing shape which seemed to want to be a star, so I added a second layer, joined the points together, and the Cellini Rick Rack Ninja Star was born. Several versions later I’ve tweaked, un-tweaked and re-tweaked the method and thread path to make it efficient to bead, and here it is.
If you’d like to learn more about any of these techniques, and maybe experiment yourselves, then I’d recommend the following:
- Jean Power’s book Geometric Beadwork, which covers Rick Racks in detail.
- Kate McKinnon and the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork movement’s books and blog, which use similar techniques, and will take you through new starting techniques. If you’re already familiar with these you can find alternative start instructions for use with either casting pods or spines in this tutorial.
Cath Thomas’s work on Cellini Peyote, especially her Dimensional Cellini series, which also merges Rick Rack and Cellini, and which Cath kindly directed me to whilst I was finishing this design.
- Gwen Fisher’s mathematical Cellini explorations and tutorials.
- And Cath’s Cellini Peyote Freaks Facebook group, where you’ll find lots of Cellini inspiration, materials and support (I should declare an interest as part of the admin team). Simply search for ‘Cellini Peyote’ on Facebook.