Wednesday 29 March 2017

Yarn and Fabric

I know I am not alone as a jewellery maker who also likes to dabble with other crafts.  I have enjoyed knitting on and off for a while now but recently my 'dabbling' with yarn has been taken to another level.  I blame fabulous podcasts by the likes of Amy and Tracey

If you are a knitter that frequents podcasts you most certainly will have heard of the fabulous Stephen West.  I was very lucky at Christmas because there was a copy of Westknits Best Knits waiting for me under the tree.  After much deliberation I decided to dive in and make the 'Doodler'

This is such a fabulous pattern.  I would consider myself to be an intermediate beginner.  This pattern was challenging enough without being too intimidating.  I find that if you take your time and break the instructions down into step by step parts you can't go too wrong.  There is a bit of everything here with colour changes that I hadn't done before, some cabling, short rows and i-cord which is also a new technique to me.

I had to get myself a willing volunteer to help me photograph the shawl in all its glory.

As you can see there is a lovely sunburst effect as the cable joins with the wave at the bottom.

Yarns used:
Mustard colour cable is Scrumptious Lace by Fyberspates

The variegated yarn in the main body is hand-dyed by UK indie dyer Amy Florence.  This is her Paradise base in the colourway Nougat.

The wave along the bottom is a Louisa Harding yarn called Amitola colour 107.

I will leave you with some more shots of my model wearing the Doodler. 

My current yarn project is a hap in Kate Davies book The Book of Haps more on that in another post.

Friday 24 March 2017

BSBP Bead Hoarders Edition

I was sooo excited when Lori Anderson announced that she was organising another Bead Soup blog hop.  Just in case you don't know about the Bead Soup Cafe you can find out about previous hops if you visit Lori's blog as linked above.

The whole process has been like Christmas unfolding.  The suspense while you wait to be accepted, and then wait to be partnered up, the anticipation of a bead parcel falling through the letterbox....  Carefully unwrapping the package, the joy at the goodies inside.

I was partnered with Noemi Baena and my goodness did I get a package and a half.

This isn't a great photo but it gives an idea of the size and variety of the package.  I had everything here metal, ceramic, glass, enamelled, and some fabric beads from Peru.  Not to mention a lovely little pair of enamel studs that Noemi made!

The main bead from this collection was a beautiful lampwork glass barrel bead from Susan Kennedy.  It reminded me that often the beauty of glass is in simplicity, this is an etched bead with a drizzle of fine silver wire on one end.  As soon as I saw this bead I knew what I wanted to make.

I have a book called Bohemian Inspired Jewellery by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel, it is one of my go to books when my mojo has gone walkabouts.  This is what I made
As you can see, the barrel bead is the focal bead.  I added some of my own lampwork beads and one of the metal beads from my package.

Next up is a piece that is a bit unusual for me both in terms of colour and style.  I don't tend to work with neutral tones, but it just so happened that I had a piece of silk similar to the one that I sent Noemi.  It has been languishing in my stash for quite some time waiting for the right moment.
I did some wire work on the pendant bead which I then embellished with some c-lon.  As you can see I used some of Czech beads and a metal component from the bead soup.

This next piece I used one of Noemi's enamel pieces and I added a key that was in the soup.
I also used some of the natural beads threaded onto Irish waxed linen cord and plaited.  Again, this is an unfamiliar colour pallette for me but I was pleased with the way it turned out.

After the necklaces I decided to make a bracelet.  The metal element of my soup contained some gorgeous chunky brass beads so I used one here.
Again I used some of the Czech glass beads from the soup and added some Liberty fabric from my stash.

I was so inspired by the ingredients in this soup that I also made some earrings for good measure

Here I have used some of Noemi's enamel pieces and some of the Czech glass beads with some of my handmade ear wires.
I loved these Peruvian beads, they just had to be earrings.  I still haven't decided whether to oxidise the bails on these.

I still have A LOT of ingredients left.  However, unlike edible soup ingredients, this soup is not going to spoil.

I hope I have done your bead soup justice Noemi, thank you so much for such a generous mix.

There are lots of very talented designers taking part in this blog hop so please take some time and visit some, or all, of them.  Just head over to Lori's blog for the whole list.

Sunday 21 February 2016

A Challenge at New Year

I've just had a quick flick through my previous blog posts and it would seem I was involved in a challenge on Art Bead Scene.  At least I am consistent in some things! 

Towards the end of 2015 I saw a design challenge set my Michelle at Firefly Design Studio.  The challenge was to design a suite of jewellery using all of the beads sent to you, but you could choose from a neutral tones pallette or a bright.  Of course I went for the bright.

I've never designed a whole suite of jewellery before so that was my first challenge, deciding which beads would go into which piece.  The bracelet almost made itself.
Liberty Fabric with ceramic beads and copper.

I already had the Liberty fabric by some stroke of serendipitous luck.  And, I knew I wanted to use my weaving technique.  However, the addition of the flower was a later design evolution.

Ceramic beads with Liberty fabric necklace.
Just like the bracelet, I knew that the other connector had to be used for the necklace.  Having decided on how the bracelet would look, it was logical that the other beads would be used on the necklace so I went for the wire wrapping technique.  However, it took a long time for this design to finalise.  I didn't have a plan for the green bead, and I was also left with the two red flowers.  I decided to move onto the earrings.

Sweet lollipop earrings
 I decided early on that I would use the two red headpins for the earrings.  I also knew that I wanted to use my own copper ear wires.  The Libery fabric also had to feature to bring the set together.  And so, the earrings were born.

Having added the little Liberty bows to the earrings I wanted to include a bow on the necklace to bring the two together.  Then the penny dropped.  I would use the fabric weaving technique to make the other side of the necklace, the Liberty bow would help tidy up the link between the wire wrapping and the weaving.  Then the two red flowers could be wire wrapped to the bracelet and necklace to marry the two.

And there we have it, a suite of jewellery.  I am rather proud of it. 

Jewellery suite using ceramic beads and Liberty fabric with copper.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Back to Basics/Keeping it Simple

I couldn't decide on the title for this blog post because really both are true.  I have had a long dry spell of creativity, not been able to get motivated to melt glass, sew or crochet.  I really hate times like that, when sometimes confidence and motivation sinks so low I start to think about selling up my kit.  Of course I never would, my torch and associated bead making kit feel like an extension of myself.

I have had sessions at the torch but I've been trying too hard to make complicated designs and then getting disheartened at the results.  I know that when it comes to bead making its all about practice and its not often a new design works first time.  However,  it takes real effort to remember this fact when feeling frustrated.  Therefore, the title 'Keeping it Simple' is apt, stripping back all the frippery of dot placement and just thinking about colour combinations and shape.  And so, 'Back to Basics is also fitting as it is the basic balanced bead that I aimed to achieve when starting out.  The resulting beads from my last session at the torch were these:

The only 'fancy' thing about some of these beads is that I added some fine silver wire.  I had a great time just focussing on getting evenly shaped beads and using my different sized mandrels.  I then went on to create some jewellery continuing the 'keeping it simple' theme.  The necklaces are threaded onto cotton cord or leather and have a bead and loop fastening.

I started to get a bit more experimental with the bracelet design and it is a work in progress
The plan now is to have a similar session with a different colour scheme and this might well become a 'collection'.....  Then, in time, the more intricate designs will creep back in.

Monday 11 May 2015

April ABS Challenge

This painting is called 'Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird' by Frida Kahlo,this is the painting chosen for the April ABS Challenge, you can read about the artist and the painting here.  I have to fess up now and tell you that I didn't manage to produce a piece for April!!  Walks away with head bowed in shame.  I did make a bead but I wasn't at all happy with it, I might get around to photographing it for you.  Truth is my mojo went for a serious walkabouts, in fact I would say it went on holiday for practically the whole month of April.  I don't know why it happens but sometimes I just can't get motivated to get in the workshop and make.  All is not lost, I can come back to this painting and perhaps get inspired another time.  There are some amazing pieces and beads inspired by this painting, you can find them on the ABS Pinterest Board.

I did however, treat myself to a bead or two during the month of April.  I bought:
Fisherman's Cottage Bead - Pink, polymer clay house bead Fisherman's Cottage Bead - Turquoise, polymer clay house bead  Little Love Shack Bead, polymer clay house bead
Three cute houses and set of large faceted beads from Ditsy Blue

Some gorgeous  ceramic pieces from Round Rabbit but unfortuately I don't have pictures I can share at the moment.  I also bought some stunning ceramic beads made by Golem.  I have lusted after some Golem beads since I saw some used in a project in Lori Andersen's' Bead Soup Party' book.  They are currently being stocked in the UK by Buttoned Up Beads Extra 

Here is what I have made so far:

The earrings and bracelets feature my own wirework using inspiration from Cindy Wimmer's The Missing Link  I am really pleased with how these turned out and I'm hoping to make a stock of the ear wires, headpins and links to sell in my Folksy Shop soon.

The necklaces are strung onto long leather thongs which can be tied to the desired length with each wear.

The painting for the May ABS Challenge is this one by Augustin Lesage an oil on canvas piece.

I love the symmetry and the colours, the blue and lilac colours are so eyecatching.  Everytime I look at this piece I see something else.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how this painting inspires the makers over on Art Bead Scene.

Friday 27 March 2015

ABS March Challenge

Ok, so its now month three and so far so good, I might be past the deadline for the Art Bead Scene round up but sometimes its just the taking part that is important.  I am really enjoying these challenges as a way of using colour pallettes that I wouldn't necessarily choose, and also I get to see paintings I wouldn't otherwise see.
When I first saw this painting I was imediately drawn to the totem poles and I had visions of creating some in glass.  Take a look at these beautiful polymer clay totem poles by Leah Curtis.  However, I ended up taking inspiration from the colour pallette.  I set out with making a selection of beads using a base of sky blue and grey, which I then rolled in some frit.  Unfortunately I didn't take a shot of the beads before I used them but this pic will give you an idea of how they turned out.

I also decided to take a little look at Lesley Watt's shop.  I bought a pair of leaves because I could imagine finding them on the floor if I were able to step into the picture, and a pendant which I thought evoked the Native American Indian theme of the painting conveyed by the totem poles.

 I ended up making a pendant of stacked beads to reflect the totem pole theme using colours from the colour pallette.  I also wanted to add some fringing because when I think of indians I think of feathers and tassels, so I added some fringing to the leather cord and this is how it turned out.

To see what others came up with take a look at the Art Bead Scene blog at the end of the month.


Monday 16 March 2015

Abit of this and that.

I have been meaning to write a little post about my ear wires, some of you who are 'likers' on my Facebook page will be familiar with my 'dipping of the toe' into selling them. 

I should give credit here for the inspiration behind them.  I bought myself Cindy Wimmer's 'The Missing Link' a good few months ago.  It is a lovely book brimming with techniques to spark the creative flow.  The instructions are clear with great pictures.  I was practising the lightbulb technique when I had a lightbulb moment, this shape would make a great ear wire, and hence the 'Coiled Ear Wire' was born. 

Here is what I have done with the ear wires, my 'Earthy Earrings'.  These are made using my handmade glass discs which I have etched for a matt finish, knotted with Irish waxed linen and decorated with seed beads and ceramic washers.
They are amazingly light to wear.

 In other news I have this pendant to share.  I am undecided as to whether to offer this one for sale or keep it for myself.  It is made from a polymer clay leaf and flower from Pips.  The lampwork disc and bead are my own, the metal beads are from Smitten as are the little green rondelles on the top.  All knotted onto C-lon with a macrame bail.  I think this would look great hung on some leather thong.

 My project for this week is to work on the Art Bead Scene March Challenge.  I have already ordered some gorgeous ceramic pieces from THEA Elements and I would love to be able to translate the totem poles into glass.  We will have to see whether there is any success with that one. 

I almost forgot, a massive WELL DONE has to go to the group involved in the I'm So Good I'm Smitten  charity auction in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  We achieved a whopping total in excess of £1,700 not bad for a bunch of beads and a stack of talent.

Until next time, be creative.