Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Braiding, bead weaving & bead embroidery projects in print!

This month has seen four of my projects published - reflecting the range of mediums that appeal to me as a jewellery designer.  Spring 2015 saw me make an early start to two beaded ornament designs for an Interweave Publication - 'Sparkling Beaded Bauble' (page 9) and 'Angels we have heard on high' (page 26).  Not surprisingly I have only just hit the ornament phase and currently developing a new design for 2015.

This month also saw the publication of 'Double Spiral Farfalle Braid' in Issue 67 of Bead & Jewellery Magazine - page 74 to 78.  I originally developed the design in Spring 2014 - but hard drive failure meant that the design was shelved.  The theme of mixing it up brought this design to mind and the project was braided again, rewritten and completed in my summer break.

October saw me complete an accessible project for the Bead Direct Calendar.  The kit for the 'Tumbling Pine Cone' design will be available at the end of December.

Final craft fair of the season is this Saturday at Durham Town Hall.  My work can be purchased via my Folksy shop or tutorials via my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Time to hibernate?

It has been a while since I blogged.......partly as I've been working on a secret project for Beads Direct.  Autumn brings out a mix of feelings!  The warm glow with the beauty of the rich hue of colours as the season changes from summer to winter.  The short days with dark nights does make you feel like hibernating.  I am still playing with Pip beads and the October school holiday saw me write up a new quirky design Hedgehog & Hoglet with Pips!

First Christmas Shopping event is this Saturday

My scheduled list of events is pinned on my facebook page

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Tutorials for summer flowers!

The run up to the summer craft fair at Brancepeth castle gave me chance to explore and experiment with lunasoft cabachons and czech beads.  I'm often asked for brooches at events - so this season I made an effort to focus on developing some new designs in this area.  Bead Embroidery lends itself to creating brooches.......but my beadweaving background means that these designs evolve from a simple back stitch into innovative bezels.

At the bead retreat in May 2015 - we created a vase of flowers for Donna.  The SuperDuo Gerbera Daisy was designed at the retreat - using peyote stitch and a variety of size 11 and 15 seed beads creates an attractive flower shaped bezel over the lunasoft cabachon.  SuperDuo and SuperUno beads create petals.

Water Lily with pips! was a design that I jotted down at Christmas......and the 3 layers I had pictured worked up quickly.  It looks great with the two tone pip beads used in the tutorial and also works up nicely with the latest pastel shades.  

Rizo Swan River Daisy celebrates visible threads and these add texture to the flower design.  The approach to creating rizo petals is summarised for four sizes.....and the smallest size looks great as earrings!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Workshops at MADE Cafe

Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms - often when I am immersed in one project - I have design ideas pop into my head!  After teaching a workshop at MADE Cafe on flat spiral stitch - I developed SuperDuo chain design.  The tutorial contains three designs - a Flat Spiral bracelet, SuperDuo Chevron Bangle, MiniDuo Chevron bracelet - this ensures it is an accessible design to beginners.  The tutorial is listed in my Etsy shop here

SuperDuo Chevron Bangle

My last workshop was Pearl in a net - love the patterned and mixed combinations created.

Workshop Sunday 5th July 

My next workshop is for the cute tinsel trees that make great stocking fillers for family and friends.  The design is accessible to a complete beginner - and you will learn the basics of bead weaving.  The workshop is scheduled for Saturday 21st November 2015, 2-4pm, MADE Cafe, Whitley Bay, UK - book here

Thursday, 2 July 2015

BOTB15: Lost in a Desert!

Battle of the BeadSmith 2015
‘Lost in a Desert!’ is inspired by the influence of beading on my life. The granite undertones of Red Creek Jasper symbolise navigation through life and the grounding role beads play within it. Colour, flow and connectivity are illustrated through free form netting that complements the rich hues in the jasper. The shibori ribbon represents the sun setting over the desert – movement from the mathematician at dawn to beader by dusk!

I was absolutely thrilled at the start of the year to be selected to participate in Battle of the BeadSmith.   I already knew that the red creek jasper (15 piece focal) purchased from a gemstone supplier in the USA last summer would form the basis of my design.  I was also keen to experiment with Shibori ribbon for the first time.  Beading for me is a bit of a learning journey - I always incorporate new elements into my work to stretch and challenge.  When I innocently took a local authority beading class in January 2009 - little did I know where that step would take me.  As a hobby it has become an integral part of my life alongside the day job of teaching mathematics!  'Lost in a Desert!' is an ironically titled, symbolic and reflective design.......in general I'm not always the best with words and prefer to sketch instead.  When I do write I have a tendency to ramble so arriving at the short paragraph above, that fell between the stipulated 50 to 70 words, was the final challenge!

Over the years I have made many good friends within the beading community and this was built into the design.  Bead fairs are often used to catch up with friends and to match up supplies for my next project.  I was disappointed to find that there would be no shibori ribbon at the Big Bead Show - I've learned over the years to check ahead - so that requests can be made!  Thankfully Karen came to my rescue - I selected a couple of potential strips from her stash that complemented the gemstone focal.  In the original sketch I had a mix of crystal polygons to represent the mathematician and the influence of geometry in my work.  Michelle had recently sourced samples of the latest crystal beads - the four leaf clover made it's way into my stash and this design - it represents lucky breaks through friends voicing my talents.   I adore crown stones and the vintage colours that are no longer manufactured - the key focal point was a gift from  Carol - reflecting the Sun.

Planning - Squared Paper!

The Easter holiday saw me commence work on the design - I had a clear picture in my head of what I wanted to create.  Unusual for me - I started the design on a sheet of A4 squared paper - to place the gemstones on bead backing.   The free form peyote bezels were created with unlabeled matt bronze size 11 miyuki seed beads from my stash.  So beading was stalled while I tried to identify the code for the bronze seed beads I was using.  I then discovered I could no longer source in the UK -  so had to wait for shipping from France!  Working with shibori for the first time was a challenge - it did not behave as desired - and there was lots of frayed edges to be tamed and tacked.

Taming Shibori Ribbon

Summer term started and I was diligently continuing to bezel with bronze seed beads - a long slow process - had I bitten off more than I could chew?  Work stopped all together for a fortnight as I was marking eTMAs.......at that point I did question whether I would continue - was it good enough?  Could I complete in time?  I am great at procrastinating it seems.

The last 100 hours of my design was stitched over the final two weeks.  The Bead Retreat over the Spring Bank Holiday gave me the final push - company and late nights were fruitful for productivity.  Bead soup was created and cabs were backed and connected with freeform netting.

Creative Chaos at Bead Retreat
A weighty design - the final challenge was joining the two halves!  So only in the last few hours did the colour and flow come together in the design.   I have created a design that is wearable and timeless - complements an evening gown but also looks great with jeans and a vest top.  The final challenge was the photos - uneasy in front of the camera there are none of me.  Fellow NEBBies admin and good friend - Mo was recruited to help with the photography.  However, with the exception of one shot, the photos for round 1 were taken by me.

Lost in a Desert!

I was knocked out of Battle of the BeadSmith on Monday. I love the novel design by Kristina Kristiansson my battle partner and wish her all the best in future rounds.

Up close!

Now school is out for the summer - I will be writing up some designs for my Etsy shop - so watch this space!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Twins versus Super Duos........

If I'm honest I love both Twin Beads and Super Duos - and from a design perspective can really shape how the completed piece looks.  In Twinkle & Twins - Twin beads create a great star.......whereas to achieve the same with Super Duos is a challenge!  However from this issue a flower design flourished and this will be my next workshop at the North East Bead Fair.

My first design Twins in a Spin was generated for a competition with Making Jewellery -  Summer 2012 - and first bracelet was created from a free sample packet of aqua twins.  When Super Duos came on the scene the design was adapted to suit them.

For this months OTTBS challenge I revisited Twins in a Spin and created a double spiral version using Matubo seed beads for the core.   The great thing about new beads is that they can often open up design options and in the case of the large holed seed beads create more flexibility in a rope.

This months TUTORIAL BUNDLE offers three of my designs that use my favourite beads!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Workshop - North East Bead Fair

My next workshop is scheduled at the North East Bead Fair - great venue that is easily accessed from the A1 - just north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  Great selection of stalls - I can usually source what I need!

I will be delivering a 2 hour workshop only design - Twinkle & Twins - to create a flower pendant from a 14 mm swarovski rivoli.  Design incorporates a beaded bail - so can be added to a chain or ribbon of your choice.  A range of colour ways will be available - that will be complemented with magic super duos.  Project is accessible to a beginner.  You will leave the workshop with a completed pendant on a snake chain - and printed instructions to create the design again.  Click here and scroll down to book the workshop.

I had a great time in the Easter Holiday delivering a flat spiral workshop at Made Cafe - my next workshop at this venue is the first weekend of my summer holiday - Pearl in a net.

Battle beading is working up slowly - hoping to make some headway over the bank holiday weekend - and complete the design at the Bead Retreat.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Battle beading commences........

The 1st April 2015 arrived and I didn't touch a bead............the last week of term saw me sorting lose ends in school, completing articles and writing workshop instructions!  For the first time ever the squared paper came out on Good Friday and design was mapped out - beads were packed for the weekend away.  Starting with lots of options is not my normal approach to beading - so it has introduced decisions to the process - something I'm not always good with.  I started beading Easter Sunday - ordered more supplies Easter Monday!

Supplies for the Easter Weekend

I have added another tutorial bundle to my Etsy shop - designed to get you started with Soutache - lots of practical tips!


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Workshop & Etsy Shop

The first workshop of the year will introduce flat spiral stitch.  This is one of my favourite stitches that offers flexibility  - it can be used to create deep cuffs or free-form designs.

The workshop will be at MADE Cafe - great venue - within easy reach of Whitley Bay metro station.  Pearls and czech facets, in a range of colour ways, will be combined with seed beads to create a simple bracelet. The workshop on Sunday 12th April 2015 can be booked here!

Given the u-turn - my Etsy shop is now restocked with instant download PDF tutorials.  I am now offering tutorial bundles - Graduated & Swirl Pearl in a net - these offer three tutorials at a discounted price.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Recent projects & update!

January has seen me continue with the big reorganisation of beads in the hope they are easier to find and reclaim study space.......it is still a work in progress!

The last update from Etsy looks promising - and once they publish the fee structure - I will relist tutorials.  I still intend to develop my own website in the summer vacation!

I am in the process of negotiating beading classes locally and will let you know the details once dates are finalised.

Do put the last weekends of July and November in the diary - I will be at Brancepeth Castle again this year.

I've recently completed two gorgeous designs from EridhanCreations.  I did start with the Polaris Pendant........but my killer tension got the better of me.  Justyna suggested I start with Desert Rose as this started to twist earlier - Kiss from a Rose was completed for the monthly OTTBS Challenge.

I revisited the Polaris design with a much lighter tension and an unusual combination for me! The Preciosa medium vitrail 18mm rivoli didn't work with the brown combination - so instead an iris combination was selected that picked out the purple, green and gold of the focal.  The bail was created from a vintaj connector.  Love the complexity  of the design and both designs gave me a real feel for how twisted peyote stitch works.  Instructions were well written and easy to follow.

Friday, 2 January 2015

New Years Resolutions & B.O.T.B.'15

The start of a new year is a point of reflection -  2014 saw me publish two designs - Aztec Flower in Bead Me and 'Argyle Bangle' in Quick & Easy Beadwork.  However, before midnight struck on New Years Eve - all tutorials were removed from my Etsy shop.  I'm not the only designer to take this step - but given my day job - I won't have time to devote to developing a web site until the summer holiday.

So what does that mean for me as I start 2015?  The handful of tutorials that were works in progress will be completed and designs submitted to publications.  The Christmas break has seen me start work on reorganizing the study come studio.......additional storage purchased so that I can reclaim my study back for academic pursuits.    

I have been a spectator of Battle of the Beadsmith since it's advent - so I was absolutely thrilled this week when I was selected as a participant for 2015.  With a late Easter vacation and a week scheduled at the Bead Retreat......I should have plenty of time to rise to the challenge!  The design is already sketched out - I have a name........next task is to source the supplies.