Normally I’m pleased when I sell something, but to be honest I felt quite sad this week when a lovely customer bought my favourite Heliotrope Cocktail Ring. When I made it I thought hard about listing it, as it is very me, but given that I never get to wear most of the things I make for myself (and I was on maternity leave at the time, so even less likely to wear it) I photographed and listed it on Folksy. The form is a simple one – three peyote circles – two forming exaggerated ring bands and the third bezelling a big vintage Swarovski flat back from Robin’s Beads. The colour of the crystal is totally fab (deep blue with turquoise and magenta highlights) and it’s a discontinued finish, so hard to get at all let alone a nice big one like this. Hopefully Robin’s Beads will have some more crystals left, as now it is gone I can’t help wanting another one for myself…….
Well my very first attempt at an Etsy Beadweavers Team Challenge was a success – the Nasturtium Ring came joint first! Even more amazing was realising that the two other winners are really very good, serious beaders – Chris Maj (Etsy Shop here) and Hannah Rosner (Etsy Shop here). So good, that they are both so busy with their Battle of the Beadsmith entries that they asked me to suggest the next challenge theme on my own. Yes, that’s right, real Battlers and me, corresponding and beading! What’s really lovely is that I’ve been feeling a bit stuck beading wise lately – I don’t really have enough time or energy to tackle as much new original work as I’d like, so to sit down and bead an entirely new piece in one weekend and be so pleased with it is great.
Anyway, I’ve chosen ‘Architecture’ as the next challenge theme – participants have until July 5th to list their pieces on Etsy, so keep an eye on the EBW blog to see what everyone comes up with. I have a feeling that it will produce a good wide ranging set of pieces, which will be very interesting. As for myself, I’ve been pinning away here but haven’t quite decided what to do yet – I do have some amazing beads which I ordered before I knew I’d won which look just like the ‘Gherkin’ (the Swiss Re Tower here in London), so maybe something London themed…….then again I also bought a darling little Eiffel Tower from the same seller so who knows?
It’s an odd thing really, to group together with your competitors to engage in promotion – but one of the things I find so lovely about the beading world is how incredibly friendly and helpful other beaders are. Maybe it’s because like many crafters and artists we tend to work alone, or maybe it’s because most people don’t really understand what we do so we are just really happy to find other people who do, but as a lone beader I have really benefitted from mentions by others, and have really enjoyed interacting albeit virtually with beaders from around the world. The image above of my version of Jean Power’s ‘Geometric Stars’ got me noticed by Folksy and and led to me being featured shop there last year – and the support and beady friendship Jean’s given me since then has transferred into real sales as well as being a great boost to my confidence, and other beaders big and small have bought and shared and just generally been really nice. In the so-called ‘real world’ – by which I guess I mean the world of big businesses (which I work in 3 days a week!), this degree of collaboration is almost unheard of – perhaps MDs are members of the same business association, or attend the same awards ceremonies, but they would never, ever recommend or highlight the work of a direct competitor, much less go out of their way to help & encourage them. I should stress here that I don’t think of myself as in direct competition with Jean, she is a beading megastar and I a tiny size 15 charlotte minnow………
So it’s with a degree of joy in the way that my fellow beaders work together to promote the craft they love, regardless of commercial considerations, that I’ve applied to and been accepted by the Etsy Beadweavers Team. They are a lovely group of beaders who quietly promote each other’s work through their blog, facebook and on Etsy itself. They have strict criteria for joining, which I will have to keep on my toes to fulfill, but this enables them to be confident that members will contribute and enhance the group. And they even have monthly challenges, where members make and list for sale items inspired by a theme, which are then promoted and voted on by the team and public, which will be a useful push to create some exciting, original work and is always very diverse and interesting. I’ve missed the boat time wise for the next challenge which is a real blow as it is ‘inspired by Chihully’ – an all time favourite artist ever since he exhibited at Kew Gardens when I was living round the corner, but I can’t wait to see what my new ‘colleagues’ will come up with……..
So, if you’d like to see what they all get up to pop over to their blog, or search ‘EBW team‘ (for finished beadwork) or ‘EBW team tutorial‘ (for kits and tutorials) on Etsy. Or even better ‘like’ the team’s Facebook page and you’ll be gently fed beautiful, unusual and downright fab pieces to wash away the annoyance of endless cat videos and adverts.
We’ve all been a bit peaky recently, so favourite films have been deployed. I was managing to do a bit of beading, but kept getting stuck, so I thought I’d do some quick beaded beads as they are always useful. We were watching Finding Nemo at the time, and before I knew it I’d fringed over the peyote base to make a lovely anemone for Marlin and Nemo.
However the colour was not deemed suitable for an anemone, so a second one with colours chosen by Boy 1 (who has quite garish taste, even compared to me) is now finished.
Fun, relatively quick, and if my previous fringed beaded bead is anything to go on, will be much commented on.
- Large base bead of your choice – I used a 20mm diameter. The size 8s plus the fringing make it much bigger – the finished size is more like 40mm diameter.
- Enough size 8 seeds to cover the base bead – probably around 1-2 g (apologies, forgot to weigh them).
- At least 4g of size 11 seeds.
- And around 4g of 3.4mm Miyuki drops or similar.
- Using circular peyote (I favour a 5 bead start), cover the base bead with an even, firm peyote layer. This layer will barely be visible, so don’t worry too much about gaps. Leave holes for later threading onto a neckwire or chain.
- Then, working from one of the holes, go through a size 8, pick up 3 11s and one drop. Go back through the 3 11s and then into the ext 8. Repeat ad nauseum until you have a fringe coming from every 8. That’s it really.
- If you’ve not peyoted onto a base bead before then have a hunt around for a tutorial. Having tried and failed to do them in the past without a tutorial, a while back I invested in a few different sizes from The Crimson Moon, and having made a few of each size am now comfortable enough with the technique to just go for it. Sadly Liz isn’t selling her patterns any more, but have a look around Etsy and similar sites and see what you can find – post some recommendations here if you find a good one. If you can find a tutorial using 8s, even better, as you can use them as a basis for an Anemone beaded – those inevitable gaps and threads in your first few attempts will be hidden by the fringe!
- As with any fringing, you have to watch the working thread like a hawk to ensure it doesn’t get caught. Work methodically around the bead, rather than darting around, as as things fill up you will find it hard to spot the gaps and even harder to fill them in without getting in a tangle.
Just a quick post to let you all know that I’ve put together some materials packs for the Baroque Tape Measure Surround. Two colourways which I’ve beaded up previously, including the original Bronze & Fuchsia, plus two completely new colourways never yet made, so they will be completely unique. They are available here on Folksy (Bronze & Fuchsia; Bronze & Capri Blue; Silver, Red & Turquoise, Gold & Scarlet) and here on Etsy. For choice I’d love it if you used Folksy as they are very nice and I’m really, really upset with Etsy about their behaviour to sellers around the whole EU VAT thing…… more about that another day.
Now I’ve got a good stock of tape measures and those elusive 2.8mm drops I’m more than happy to put together custom materials packs for you – just drop me a message/comment with a colourway request and I’ll have a beady play.
Although these are listed for UK sales only, I’m happy to discuss and set up overseas postage – be aware that now I’m back at work I can’t get to the Post Office as easily for overseas posting (for UK posting I’ve carefully planned these as letter post size to avoid that trip), but if we have a chat I can let you know what to expect.