Saturday, 1 November 2014

British Bead Awards

I've been very quiet on my blog for a very long time - I had been blogging a little on my sister-blog (mrspicklefish.blogspot.com), but I've not had a great deal that I can share with you all... I have been beading in secret!

Usually, I get so excited about what I make that I just want to share it with everyone, so making something for a competition, where the entry has to be anonymous is very difficult.  I have blogged before about competitive beading, and how I find it a bit of an odd concept, but I recently made something that I would be willing to submit to a proper beading competition.  


In the summer, I started playing around with triangles, making eicosahedra (or icosahedra).  An icosahedron is a platonic solid, made up of twenty equilateral triangles, so I made a couple using peyote stitch.





This was my first colour selection - I love the bold bright colours and the contrast of the lime green with the blues and purples. I made a second in pastel tones, which looks a lot more subtle, but is just as pretty.


I do confess to being a bit of a geek when it comes to geometry, so I wanted to see where I could take this idea next - so a stellated icosahedron seemed like the next logical step (of course)!  Stellated means star-like, so instead of making a smooth ball, it would be spiky - like a 3D star.

Of course, spikes mean more triangles and more beads.... so I stocked up on some delicas and decided to throw some crystals and pearls in the mix too.  

I stuck with the bold colour scheme, but in metallic finishes, and set about to bead sixty more triangles.  You'll soon understand why my stellated icosahedron very quickly got named "Sixty Flippin' Triangles"

The resulting ball of beady spikes was something I was very proud of, and ultimately, I decided to enter it into the British Bead Awards.  I entered it into the 'Beadwork - Non-Jewellery' category.  




After entering, I pretty much forgot about the fact that I had entered, and to my absolute amazement, I received an email several weeks later telling me I had been selected as a finalist. (I have to confess I squeaked in excitement when I read the email!)

So, my sixty flippin' triangles got sent off to be judged 'in the bead' against the other finalists... and I was invited to attend the award ceremony at The Big Bead show in October.  It was an absolute honour to see my beadwork on display and to overhear people discussing it, but unfortunately, I didn't win any awards.

I'm not deterred though - this journey of making geometric shapes out of beads has really sparked some interest in me, and I think I am now beading my 126th triangle of the year - keep your eyes open for more of my geometric bits and pieces! 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Beaded Bowls

This was originally published on mrspicklefish.blogspot.com on 26th March 2014

Bowls full of beads.... or bowls made of beads.  Either is good  with me!
My slight obsession with beads means that I often buy beads when I don't actually *need* them.  Well, who does actually need beads...???

So, I bought some big tubes of bead soup a while ago, I think I ended up with 6 tubes of 24g of miyuki bead soup - just size 11 beads... nothing fancy, but some gorgeous colours.
Quite often I sit down with some beads with no idea what the finished product will be and just 'doodle' with beads (or beadoodle, as I like to call it).

I didn't have a plan when I started off with this, but I ended up with a bowl, looking rather like this!


It's a little flexible, but holds its shape nicely, with a rolled-edge at the top for stability.  It measures about 7.5cm across at the top.

The bowl is made using a mixture of peyote, netting and right-angle-weave - it's quite a multi-stitch project, but it has been great fun to make.  So much fun in fact, that I made three!!





I'm not sure they actually have much of a practical purpose, due to the holes in them, they're not massively useful for storing beads... but they are quite handy for putting earrings in at the end of the day.



 The earrings in this little bowl are made using bead quilling techniques - the pinky ones are designed by Kathy King, and the golden ones are my design - published in Bead magazine in December.


I plan to write a tutorial for making these cute little bowls... I'd love to hear what you think about them.

Lime Surprise

This was originally published on mrspicklefish.blogspot.com on 1st January 2014
As a beader, I've always shied away from fringing.  Don't know why - it's just one of those things that I've been fearful of.   In the last few months, I've got over my fear of it.
Another thing I've never done, is make individual bead embroidery elements and link them together... until now! 
Before Christmas, I bought some gorgeous vintage cabochons from a shop called Rosebudlia; she sells a beautiful selection of cabs and other goodies.  I decided to put these cabs to use for another beading first - joining embroidery elements.

I decided that five elements would look best, and surprisingly, I had the right colours in my stash, so this was quite a stash-buster too!



This is what the finished necklace looked like, and here is me wearing it - so you can see how it sits.



It's just my opinion, but when making a piece like this, involving no metal components in the design, the best way to finish it off is to make a beaded clasp.  I love beaded toggle clasps - and the circular motifs in this lend themselves to a toggle clasp. 



 This shows a close-up of the beautiful cabs I used - they reminded me of ammonites, and the little bits of glitter in them give them a bit of sparkle.



One other slightly odd thing about this piece is that I actually used bugles in it.  Usually I don't use them as they are often sharp at the ends and can cause threads to fray and break, but these matte ones are very nice, and they work well in fringing.




I'd love to hear what you think about this latest piece of beading... I'm very excited about it, and I'm looking forward to using this technique more.

Beading Beaded Beads

This was initially published on mrspicklefish.blogspot.com on 22nd December 2013


I love beaded beads.  The idea of making a bead from beads fascinates me.  There is a lady called Sharri Moroshok who makes beaded beads - in fact, she designs and sells beautiful beaded beads.  You can check out her shop here: The Beaded Bead
A while back, I bought a tutorial of hers to make her signature beaded bead, it's beautiful, and I'd wanted it for a long time.  I bought the tutorial, and then discovered I didn't have any size 13 charlottes... so it sat, waiting for a long time to be made.

Yesterday, I gathered up my beads and started to make...





They were really nice to make, the tutorial was really well written and easy to follow.






I'm going to enjoy wearing these over Christmas.  They're light, pretty, and remind me of baubles.

O-Bead Beadings

This was initially published on mrspicklefish.blogspot.com on 16th December 2013

O-beads - gorgeous little beads which are new on the market - they're flat, O shaped discs measuring 4mm across, 1.5mm high and they have a 1.5mm hole in them.

As soon as I saw these, I knew they would be great when used in bead embroidery, but thought they could lead to interesting bead weaving designs too.

I had today off work, so I thought I'd spend some time playing with these little beads, and I came up with a design which I think is rather nice.  It's a skinny bangle, with a base of right-angle-weave, embellished with O-beads.  In a fit of efficiency, this bangle has been designed, and the tutorial written up in the same day!  The tutorial is available in my tutorial shop.







I have to say a little bit about colour here - the picture above was not my initial colour choice when I was playing with this design - the colours in the picture below are more like my 'go to' colours.  I do love the purples and the coppery golds though. 






Also a little note about the O-beads themselves... the crystal capri gold O-beads used in the purple bracelet are different on each side - one side is clear, or crystal, the other side is the coated gold side.  In my bangle, I used them clear-side up, giving them a greater look of depth, but they look equally good with the metallic side facing up.  


Peacocks & Presents

Initially published on mrspicklefish.blogspot.com 20th November 2013


A friend of mine has been very good to me over the last 8 months - she's been there for support and a shoulder to cry on when I've needed one.

She has often commented how much she likes the jewellery I make - but not the colours I usually work with.  I must admit that I do have a comfort zone with the colours I work with - earthy tones, lots of pinks and golds.  My friend likes brights, jewel colours and the like.

I wanted to make her something special, to say thanks for the support she has given me, and as a gift for Christmas, so I decided to take the plunge into some peacock tones - just for her.

The cab I used was a 'swap', but I really can't remember who made it, so I can't credit them, unfortunately, but it is beautiful.  My friend also has a nickel allergy, so this needed to have a non-metallic clasp - I finished it with a beaded toggle clasp.


So here it is - my Peacock necklace.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Free Pattern - playing with pinch beads

Last week, I ordered some pinch beads... I'd not seen them before, and I thought they looked interesting!

The first thing I did with them was have a bit of a play... I came up with a cute little design for a beaded bead.



If you'd like to have a go at making your own pinch bead beaded bead, I've written up the pattern and published it as a free tutorial on craftsy.