Tag Archives: beadweaving

Another Cabochon wire wrapped

So my personal challenge continues,

I have finished the first cab, with swirls at the base although I chose not to add gemstones in the centre of the swirls, as Jan had done.

I am never going to reproduce exactly, nor to the standard the wire wrapping as the guest designers do, they have many more experience than I do, and to be honest more interest. I have said on many occasions I am a bead weaver at heart, I love tiny seed beads and am also working on a challenge to create 2 5cm x 5cm beaded squares. In fact Laura Binding, another JM Wirework Guest Designer frequently states that she can never replicate a design, she can show you how she got there, but as much of the designing is freehand, and the gemstones are all unique, you are never going to reproduce an exact copy. I think that is an important point to remember, especially if you get disheartened because a piece isn’t the exact image of a designers piece, its always going to be unique to you.

So, this is my second Cab, wire wrapped really quite simply using the square wire.

Differently wrapped Cab
Differently wrapped Cab

 

Jewellery Maker Bundle – Jan Dwyer

I have been a little disheartened lately, I randomly buy items from JM, I do try to restrict myself depending on what expenditure I have that month so in reality some months I purchase nothing others maybe one or two bundles.

I enter competition after competition, the latest one being the Alison Tarry Cat for Halloween, which I didn’t win obviously, but this week I fancied a new challenge.

My dilemma came from really wanting to do the Prong setting workshop with Alison, I could sit and study youtube, or buy a dvd but I find I learn better in the classroom environment, where there is a focus on learning, and less normal day to day stuff to distract me. However there is a big BUT ….

I find the courses at JM expensive, ok they probably aren’t in reality if you think you get a kit, you get fed, you get drinks, you don’t get a qualified trained tutor but you do get one of the designers they employ so qualified by skill I guess but as the silver clay course which I would love to do is £149, the prong setting £89 they are in my opinion a considered purchase. Currently, I work full time, I am a fully qualified accountant, I have two children, I own a house and an old car all of these things come before me, and mean that having a spare £90 + petrol money + hotel accommodation means these classes are in reality out of my budget for the time being.

So, I decided to teach myself wire work, and set myself a challenge, can I achieve all the jewellery created if I use the kit which inspired the designers?

I picked Jan’s wirework on with square wire as it felt a little different to the usual round wire.

The kit contains:

10cts Pyrite Plain Rounds Approx 2mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 0.50mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 0.80mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 1.00mm
47cts Silver Colour Coated Pyrite Graduated Plain Rounds Approx From 3 to 4mm, 30cm Strand.
50cts Black Agate With Quartz Pear Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
50cts Black Stripe Agate Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
50cts Blue Stripe Agate Faceted Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
5cts Clear Quartz Plain Rounds Approx 2mm
60cts Black Agate With Quartz Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm

Watch this space to see how I get on!

JM Kit
JM Kit

Tippy toes in the craft fair zone

So, I vowed I wouldn’t go back to the world of craft fairs, but this time for a very tiny fee my friend was arranging a craft fair so I agreed to come along.

You may of read my previous rants about craft fairs, and in honestly this was exactly the same, but there were some key differences.

Craft Fair @ Eden Hotel Grantham
Craft Fair @ Eden Hotel Grantham

Firstly, the cost of me getting in was equivalent to a bottle of wine, and I donated a small agate necklace with sterling silver findings as a tumbola gift.

Secondly the other stall holders were friendly, all made the effort to socialise, and boost each others confidence.

Thirdly, whilst the Hotel probably wasn’t the best venue in the world for a craft fair, it was on a main road (2 minutes walk from my house), the room was spacious, it had air con (when the staff remembered to switch it on). It was marketed on social media, and had a board outside.

All in all, I actually enjoyed the fair, chatting to the people as they wandered in for a look, leaving their partners in the bar.

The table was there for me, and marked up so no confusion. I had a suitcase, battered, vintage but served a purpose. I up ended it, made a metal flashing for the inside and double sided sticky tape to hold up the craft kits.

I sold enough to cover my costs that day, no profit but that was to be expected, there was a steady stream of browsers, but overall it was an interesting experience!

 

National Beading Week – Jean Power Secret Beadlong

 

 

 

People Chain x 12

 

 

 

A secret beadalong I hear you ask, what on earth is that ?

The super awesome amazing Jean Power in her capacity as a #NBW ambassador created the most amazing secret beading project, which over 4000 beaders worldwide are taking part in, for FREE!

The aim is to spread the love of beading, the instructions were clear, do some preliminary beading (if you want to) and then each day during National Beading Week the next step of instructions is emailed out.

So, am running a little behind but will still get them done this weekend (I hope) the fun of course is seeing what we are making.

In the beginning it could of been a ring, a bracelet, brooch, necklace it was a complete surprise.  I also discovered that its quite tricky to select colour schemes for a project when you have no visual idea of the end piece so its been a bit a revelation in my creative mind. Afterall its tricky to pick colours at the best of time which I imagine is why kits are so hugely popular in the beading world, I tend to stick to a purple themed colour palette, so I was fairly confident that my colours regardless of the project would blend beautifully, I did however use real miniature cultured pearls in the first piece – since I discovered Jewellery Maker I avoid all fake & glass beads where possible, obviously I need to caveat that as delicas, seed beads are all glass beads and not gemstones but sadly its virtually impossible to create some of the intricate beaded designs with gemstones as they simply can’t be faceted, or made uniform enough to be used in intricate bead woven designs such as this bracelet I created

#nationalbeadweek bracelet
#nationalbeadweek bracelet using delicas 

Now the piece is coming together, and I have seen (and printed out) the instructions for days 5 & 6 I realise that it will be a pendant, and I am guessing that we just thread the pendants on the beaded chain to complete the piece (unless there is a twist!) but regardless I am happy with the Greens, Gold and Purples I used.

Preliminary Beading for Jean Powers secret beadalong challenge.
Preliminary Beading for Jean Powers secret beadalong challenge, So using 5 Rivoli’s, size 15 seed beads and some size 11 delicious here are my starting pieces. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beaded flower - day 3 challenge piece
A beaded flower – day 3 challenge piece using Superduo beads , size 11 seed beads 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NBW day 1, pearls!
#NBW day 1, pearls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 #NBW Delicas and Crystals (Bicones)
Day 2 #NBW Delicas and Crystals (Bicones)

Pearl Cluster Necklace

Pearl Cluster Necklace
Pearl Cluster Necklace, created using silver plated wire, and the standard tiara twist this pendant was turned in to a necklace by the addition of silver plated chain, and clasp.

 

Notice the focal detail by the s hook clasp, an additional 3 pearls, simple additional feature which just adds a small amount of detail at the rear of the piece instead of all focus being at the front.

 

 

 

 

Simple Instructions for replication ….

Take a strand of Pearls

0.40mm Silver Coloured Wire (about a metre)

Silver Plated Chain, Jumprings, HeadPin, and Clasp of your choice

 

Take a couple of pearls on the wire, and begin to form spiral, twist the wire as you form a spiral and add pearls gently, so not to strain the wire. Be random, feed the wire in and out of the shape already formed until you have a sizeable pendant.

Neatly finish the wire off!

Cut two chains for the necklace, this really depends on how long you want the necklace to be, ranging from choker to naval the decision is yours!

Using a couple of jump rings, add the clasp at on end, and using just a jump ring attach the other end of the chain to the pendant.

If you wish to add the focal pearls on the clasp, drop 3 pearls on the headpin, turn a loop and attach to the jump ring.

 

Be flexible, enjoy and don’t get too hung up on neatness in wirework! Allow your creative juices to flow ………..

Jewellery Party – Happy Birthday

Jewellery Birthday Party
Jewellery Birthday Party

So last weekend we had a birthday party! A jewellery birthday party, 7 girls, all around 12 years old all wanting to make different things.

My basket was raided, absolutely raided, I took seed beads, elastic, silk cords, waxed cords, sari silks, general findings all sorts of jewellery items and the girls had such fun.

The creative juices were flowing, initially we all made a sari silk bracelet with a magnetic clasp, they each chose a silver finding to thread on, and then as the glue dried they moved on to threading seed beads on elastic or wire, they made rings, bracelets, choker necklace, long stringy necklaces, sari silk and seed bead hair grips each taking home several items, in a pretty fabric party bag.

The party was hosted by #craftybetty and some of the stringing materials we used were from #jewellerymaker, the silk was from #yarn-yarn, it was great to see the girls having fun and learning too.

IMG_5244 IMG_5245

Weddings in the Air

Wedding Tiara
Wedding Tiara

What is a wedding without a Hen Party?

Well, the Great British Sewing Bee is back on the TV, Celebrity Great British Baker too, why not combine the two and book a Crafternoon Hen Party at one of several beautiful venues? You can learn to sew, make a tiara, make jewellery using precious gemstones or pearls, combined with afternoon tea, and then add on a spa trip, or overnight stay to make your weekend complete.

Do contact Michelle @ CraftyBetty for more information including how to book.

Crafty Betty
Crafty Betty

Fireline and tiny Gemstones

Fireline & 2mm Gemstones
Fireline & 2mm Gemstones

So, a quick glimpse at my beading board….notice I use a foam beading mat not a macrame board, or any other kind of board – the reason is that this beading mat at a cost of less than £1 holds the beads perfectly, quite how the “expert designers” on JM manage with a macrame board I have no idea, because when I try using on for basic beading my beads fly everywhere!

Anyway, I have drifted back to bead weaving, and really fancied using up some 2mm and 4mm rounds, so have a combination of quartz & jasper in various sizes on my board.

I decided to do a Cellini Spiral as this stitch looks amazing and is incredibly easy to learn, it’s basically a tubular peyote stitch but uses different sizes of beads so the end result is absolutely stunning.

To start the peyote, ideally you need 4 different colours of bead, ideally at least 2 of these are graduating in size, hence I used 2mm and 4 mm, the effect of this is that as the tube grows the beads appear to spiral.

The basic steps are to load 6 A beads, 2 B beads, 2 C beads, 2 D beads, 2 C beads and 2 D beads, take the thread back through the first 2 A beads and then step up, so the golden rule is quite simply which bead you are exiting, pick that up for the next stitch, so it’s a standard peyote. Go through a bead, pick up a bead, miss the bead and go through the next, thus producing an almost brick work effect once a couple of rows have been stitched.

Once you get round to the beginning, don’t just go through the next bead, but also go through the first bead added on the row you are just finishing, i.e. the step up, then continue adding beads as you spiral around. The pattern will commence quite quickly, but pay attention as it will be obvious if you get the wrong bead!

So I was busy beading away,  my fireline snapped 🙁 beads fell everywhere ……..I needed the chocolate orange to console myself.

This was quite unexpected, as fireline is quite hard to cut – in fact I have a special pair of scissors just for wildfire and firemen. It will blunt normal snips & scissors as it’s quite a tough thread to use. These threads are thermally bonded,  traditionally used by fishermen but my gemstones cut through the firemen …… so I have no picture to show you – however I won’t be defeated I will get some larger gemstones, and do the same but with a wire threading material. The end result won’t be a dainty, but should still have some impact, depending on how tight I can get the tension on the wire.

Watch this space!

 

HOT TIP ALERT!

When using wildfire or fireline you may find it tricky to get through the eye of the needle, if this is the case, use your flat nose pliers to squeeze the end of the thread, it will make it go flat which you can then turn on its side and slide thorough the needle eye 🙂

Frozen!

It’s a tad cold outside, in the mornings the frost is on the rooftops of the car, the window ledges, the window panes everywhere. I do love the frost, it leave a sense of clean as everywhere you look is shiny sparkly and white, some mornings it can be like looking out of the window at little gems or even diamonds twinkling.

Pavement Frost
Pavement Frost 

I look for inspiration for my jewellery making everywhere, and whilst walking to work this morning I noticed that as the morning progressed the sun came up, and what was a chilly frosty white glaze over the pavements was rapidly disappearing under my feet.

I noticed, that whilst the frost & ice was dissolving it was leaving behind the most amazing patterns in the pavement – the image you see is nothing special, just simply the pavement under my feet as I walked to work, the ice melted away leaving behind a damp imprint of what clearly had been ice crystals on the ground. It’s so Lawrence Llewlyn-Bowen isn’t it !

The design reminds me of a mug I have as designed by Lawrence, but also a Fern Leaf pattern, the intricate stems, and leaf designs created by nature. Every pattern completely different. Its something I am attempting to replicate in my next jewellery challenge.

Beadweaving – Relic Pendant

So I have drifted back to Beadweaving, I always do as I find stringing beads or gemstones on a piece of wire or beading thread fairly mundane and basic, but sometimes you need basic mind numbing threading (stringing) and other times you need an intricate skilful challenge.

So I decided to pick up a kit (given to my for my birthday from my mummy), and using a few stud beads (York Beads NY) delicious delicas and tiny size 15 seed beads I re-acquainted myself with Albion Stitch (Heather Kingsley-Heath) and whipped up a case for each, I have to say Albion Stitch is an easy stitch to get your head around, once I have completed the pendant I am going to use to bead around some Cabs I purchased from Jewellery Maker. I was pleased that it only took Saturday evening, and Sunday Evening to produce 6 beaded stud beads.

I find bead weaving so relaxing, but bizarrely the seed beads are as expensive if not more expensive than genuine gemstones! The beauty of working with them, isn’t in the value for me, its detail, you can spend hours working on a piece and it will be tiny.

Heather Kingsley-Heath Relic Pendant
Heather Kingsley-Heath Relic Pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put this some perspective, I spent an entire day at a bead weaving class in London last March and created a couple of the beaded 14mm’s with the dagger beads attached, the bracelet took 8 pieces to create using size 15 charlottes (tinier than size 15 seed beads) and some size 15 seed beads so I spent an entire day completing just a couple of these, I then spent hours in the evenings following the class to complete the bracelet. In this same time I could of created an entire suite of beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings,tiaras and wire wrapped hair pieces the simple fact is that the smaller the beads, the more intricate the work involved, and the more time required to make a piece of jewellery.

This sadly is most probably the reason you won’t see this art demonstrated on Jewellery Maker, they simply don’t have the time to demo it, but also the tiny beads would I imagine be so intricate to cut, as many of the beads I believe are cut by hand in India it simply wouldn’t be feasible or economical to produce them.

Beadworkers guild workshop
Beadworkers guild workshop