With just a few days left of International Beading week as well as looking after my Etsy shop with a lovely 20% discount on all tutorials, I’m as usual doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 8 joins the pairs of rivolis together but leaves some mysterious gaps? One more day to go and I’m starting to have an idea of where we’re going but still not sure!
As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 7 completes the skirt on the lovely Bermuda Blue dome crystal and adds a long strap. Lots and lots of herringbone in 15s…….
As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 6 is quite a substantial bead, adding a skirt to the domed stone’s bezel. I’m working in the stripes I used in the bezel so there is a lot of bead swapping but I love how it looks.
As usual for International Beading Week I’m doing Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong – Day 5 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), but as I said yesterday I’m playing with 4mm fire polished beads instead. The image today looks very like yesterday – the crystals have the same base Royal Red lacquer but yesterday’s one also has the additional DeLite coating, which gives it blue flashes which are only just visible in the photo. In real life it’s a really strong, visible finish though so they look really different.
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!
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.
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)
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.
Either Ra or Roth can be worn at the front, to suit your outfit (Roth looks amazing hanging above a backless dress).
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!