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.
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.
I have had the privilege to be taught by Heather on a couple of occasions, however this class was slightly different. Instead of having a predetermined list of requirements, delicas, miyuki seed beads in varying sizes, swarovski chatons, rivoli’s, pearl beads etc, the instructions just said bring UFO’s, size 15 & size 11 seed beads plus any bicones, pearls, dagger beads for further embellishment. – A Scary prospect, I do feel like a novice at times!
So, after spending a couple of evenings last week ferreting around in my beady stash I assembled a collection of pieces to take along.
Chopping and changing my mind constantly, should I go purple, pink, blue, green colour based it was a shock to see how large my beading stash actually was! (I carried most of it with me “just in case” on the train, across the underground, finally walking to the venue I guess I should of used a wheelie suitcase instead of my rucksack!)
So, I had made the decision over a month ago to not invest in any cabochon’s but instead to utilise a couple of pieces from my Jewelley Maker Bead scoop purchases. Needless to say several fellow students (and Heather) just had to tip the beads from the bag on to a beading mat just so that they could have a quick fondle, rummage & sift through the pieces. Out fell some beautiful pearls naturally misshaped, the cool little rounds of green quartz, the shell pieces, the larger turquoise coloured piece (which I am not sure is turquoise but has a lovely copper grain running through it so could be) and many many more gemstones all naturally complementing each other in size, shape and colour graduations.
Walking in to the classroom I was horror struck to see other amazing, talented beadworkers, including those from the Guild committee, and the amazing Tracey Clegg whom I have also studied under. I can say that despite my initial “beady stage fright” I found the course totally relaxing, helpful, and an excellent learning experience, completely different to the usual classes I take which you have the recipe, the finished article to work towards, and assistance from each other & the tutor. If you ever get the chance take a day bead weaving with Heather, you may also learn a bit of bead yoga too 🙂
Going back to my colour choices, and beading design during the day I was so pleased that my mum had purchased these stones for me, I have raved about them in previous blog posts, but just for the record I still think they are simply awesome, for the money (these ones were £8 including a bag of a 115 pieces of silver plated findings) I really believe you can’t get better. The sheer surprise and delight I got (still get) when opening the bag, and the on going gooey-ness from fellow beaders made the whole beading experience a delight. These I would also add are not really my choice of colour, I am a very purple / pink / silver focused beader so to force myself to work with amazing beautifully crafted gemstones in a choice of colour that isn’t really me added to the challenge.
Anyway, out of respect for fellow designers (in this case Heather) I will not be sharing specific parts of my learning from the weekend, although I will say I found it completely inspiring, and realised that some of the most amazing pieces Heather has created are within my bounds of capability to create in my style without following a pattern.
I can show you what I did with the turquoise piece from the bead scoop, I framed it in some seed beads of varying colours & sizes.
I used some bronze seed beads to frame the edges, which I felt complemented the natural hues of the copper colouring running through the gemstone. It wasn’t flat backed as most cabochons are, probably because its a natural gemstone, and like most things in nature they aren’t geometrically designed they are naturally formed over many hundreds of thousands of years.
So, once this was formed, I beaded up some swarovski rivolis (14mm) in seed beads, in peacock shades, My final ambition is finish with something like this:
I love the lack of symmetry in this necklace, the colours that complement each other, but also the of centre, and varying beady-ness of each Rivoli that has been beaded around. I think what is also really obvious is that this is a real statement piece, using a vertically positioned cabochon, virtually framed with Swarovski Rivoli’s. If you look carefully there are a couple of beaded circles with empty centres.
There is plenty of movement, and light with this piece, without a doubt it is certainly a challenging piece which I currently aspire to create.
I think the eyes are drawn to it because of the fluid movement of the fringe, and the sheer lack of symmetry in the main structure. Naturally our brains like looking for patterns, if something doesn’t fit a pattern a human brain will try to make a pattern its how logic puzzles work, why some people are so good at candy crush (I refuse to download that app!) I believe the constant desire for information does fuel the brain so by making a piece asymmetrical you are making people either love or hate it depending on how OCD their brains are!
I hadn’t looked at design in this way previously, Heather really opened my eyes about the colour, symmetry and fluidity of design …..my brain is buzzing!