Squidy

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!

Oscar's Bauble

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).

Heather Kingsley-Heath – Fantasie

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.

Fantasie, Heather Kingsley Heather, beaded by Sarah Cryer

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!

Cellini Rick Rack Ninja Star

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.  

jeanpower.com

  • 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.

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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.

https://caththomasdesigns.indiemade.com/

  • Gwen Fisher’s mathematical Cellini explorations and tutorials.

Gwenbeads

  • 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.

Fresh cabochons

I’ve had a big push this weekend to finish, photograph and list all of the cabochons I have made, to clear space for the next batch.

They’re largely from three pouring sessions – the first working with reds and oranges, and for half of the batch, opaque salmon pink; and the second and third working with a cream base and trying a variety of different colours to complement the cream. These were poured quite recently to make a custom cab for an old school friend’s up-coming wedding. Her piece is under wraps for now, but I’ve begun another bridal piece with cabs from the batch, and you can see cabs from the brighter batch in some of my other finished work, such as my Autumn necklace.

All of the batches are available in my Etsy shop, grouped into listings based on the colours and techniques used. There is one set which is too perfectly matched to break up, and the rest are all available in singles as part of my 5 for 4 discount offer. Click on the images to go straight to the listings on Etsy.

International Beading Week

I’m busy at the moment helping fellow Beadworkers Guild Members to run all of our Social Media channels during International Beading Week, and struggling to find much time for actual beading. Hopefully you all have a bit more time to bead – if you do I’m having a 20% off sale on my tutorials in my Etsy shop – no need for a coupon code, they’re already reduced. Just click on the image to go to the tutorial section.

If you’re interested in finding out more about International Beading Week, please swing by the website http://www.internationalbeadingweek.co.uk and/or search for our page and group on Facebook, or follow #IBW2019 and #Internationalbeadingweek

Ra, Roth & Khepri

I’m somewhat ashamed to see how little I’ve posted over the last year or so, and I’m determined to change that, so be prepared for a flurry of posts as I catch up and tell you about what I’ve been up to.

First I need to tell you about my entry for this year’s Beadworker’s Guild Annual Challenge.  The theme was ‘Jewels of the Nile’ – we were lucky enough to visit Egypt some years back, and Dr Indecisive Beader and I have always both been fascinated by all things Egyptological.   I think my addiction stemmed initially from a desire to be Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s ‘Death on the Nile’ (one of my favourite authors), and my more recent discovery of Elizabeth Peter’s ‘Amelia Peabody’ series has maintained my fascination long after the trip, so having said I’d have a year off after my win last year with Great Dixter, I immediately changed my mind as that theme was too ‘me’ to resist.

As usual this piece went through many aborted starts, abandoned designs and lots of iterations, many of which will reappear as new pieces over the next few months.   In the end I focused on using my own cabs (poured specifically for this piece), lots of different bead embroidery and beadweaving techniques (including goldwork and three different beaded ropes) and a very wide assortment of new and vintage beads to make a classic, component based collar.  I was really happy with the finished result – it’s quite eyecatching!

So here it is – Ra, Roth and Khepri (Sun, Moon & Scarab)

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The wide collar section shows the day – Ra as the hot noon sun, with Khepri the scarab pushing the warm, coral setting sun and the cool, jade rising sun, connected by blue sky.

The strung blue sky continues into the counterweighting night section, with added ropes of golden stars supporting a deep hung pendant, showing the full and crescent moons of Roth on a goldwork barque.  

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Either Ra or Roth can be worn at the front, to suit your outfit (Roth looks amazing hanging above a backless dress).

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Materials – custom handpainted cabochons (by me); Swarovski, Preciosa & vintage crystals; vintage cup chain; Miyuki beads; Czech shaped beads; felt, ultrasuede; goldwork purls, leather, handmade gold hook clasps.

Techniques – bead embroidery, goldwork embroidery, peyote, netting, stringing, CRAW, DCRAW, DRAW.

Sadly no prize for me this year (but I’ve brought home a prize for the last two years, and hadn’t even entered prior to that so I really can’t complain) – you can see all of the amazing entries on the guild site here if you’re interested.  But I have a lovely piece, have worked out how to include goldwork techniques in bead embroidery, and have lots and lots of leftover components to make even more loveliness, including this necklace which is nearly done, so I’m going to count it as a personal win at least!

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