Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beadwork Challenge

A month or so ago I was contacted by Beadwork magazine to let me know I was chosen to be the reader participant in their beadwork challenge. I was just tickled! They sent me the kit, which was provided by fusion beads. The day I received the kit in the mail we had our first snowfall here in Michigan, so it was a surprise to open the package and find lots of bright flowers and springy colors.
I instantly thought about gardens, and when I think of gardens, I think of ponds of water! I knew that I would need some water to bead around so I thought up a design and took it to work(Purple Sage Beads, Saginaw, MI) and had one of the owners, Vicki Hubbard, make me some custom fused glass pieces. They were perfect(and exactly the way I drew them)!
The finished piece actually turned out different from what I originally planned, but it worked out all the same. I bezelled the glass pieces with seed beads, and knew I needed fringe with leaves to cascade below...
I planned a flower sequence that I liked (leaving out some of the brightest orange flowers) and then made fringe with leaves for all three sections.
I added the metal branch pieces to all three sections. I was amazed that the curved pieces on either side fit so perfectly considering this is not where I had planned on putting them when I ordered the glass.
Next I connected the three pieces with swarovski crystals in blue zircon, lime, and mocca. To each connector strand I added a jump ring which holds the flat backed, sew-on, mocca, leaf crystals.
The hardest part of this piece was trying to decide what to make the straps like. So many little time! I finally stumbled upon something that I thought worked. It is RAW, 4mm blue zircon swarovski crystals with some of the seed beads for embellishment. I added some wire guardians to the ends of the strap so that I could have a nice sturdy connection with the toggle from the kit.
I was told that this challenge will be published in the April/May issue of Beadwork magazine, so keep your eyes peeled! It was so much fun to do, I encourage every serious beader to apply to participate in one of the future challenges.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cubic Zirconia, fish, and going in circles!

Have you ever heard of blogging for beads? Well, its a program put together by where they let bloggers try out their products (free of charge too! woohoo!) in return for their opinions of the beads. I have lots of opinions...and they asked me for mine! So over at Artbeads, the declared November and December "cubic zirconia months" and asked what I might like to try out...I fell in LOVE with the stars that they had, and for good reason. I really liked them, before I even saw them, but boy oh boy, when they came in the mail, I was thrilled! They feel nice and heavy, more like a natural stone then a crystal. I liked them so much, I bought some more with my own money to finish this necklace off!
I whipped up this nice beadweaving lace pattern by Sandra Halpenny, using the stars in place of 4mm crystals (like the pattern called for).
I added the teardrop cubic zirconia in the center for a focal piece. What a nice hunk of "laboratory grown crystal created to be a diamond substitute" as they say on the website. Very clear, and faceted nicely too, I might add!
The stars are 10mm and 5mm, and again are faceted, and the clarity is amazing! All I needed to do was to add the beadweaving, some seed beads, and a few swarovski 4mm crystal AB bicones! I'm thinking of entering this necklace into the Etsy-Beadweaver December challenge as a "peace piece", I just need to consult with some beady friends first!
Now this next bead, was a present from my very talented glass blowing brother, Anderson Coats of "Like a Moth to a Flame". He went through a period were he was making fish, and they are so realistic you can just about feel the scales on their sides! This fish is a female Rio Grande Cut Throat, and although I haven't done my research, I imagine it looks just like the real thing!
Now, when making a fish necklace all I figured I needed to add, was some waves! So I did this necklace in Oglala stitch, with 4 shades of blue...
Then I added some 6mm pressed glass rounds, and this is what it looks like! Its a bit longer then I planned, but I haven't figured out how to properly guess how long the oglala stitch will come out in the end.
I added a beaded toggle, because I feel that a beadwoven necklace should be finished, in the same manner it was started! With seed beads!

This last one was a necklace I made when I recently had an obsession with square stitch. I have a skirt that is pink and brown tie-die, which was the color inspiration. I started with round swarovski crystals, and square stitch medallions around them.
The rest of the length of the necklace is done in daisy stitch. And of course again, finished with a beaded toggle. This time it is a beaded ball with a loop.
Sorry I save up so many things to post at once, but I will admit, photography is not my favorite part of beading. I like to get it all done at the same time!

Stay tuned for an upcoming contest I plan to run...I just need to think of a theme!