Sunday, September 30, 2012

Beads v. Books

The Next Empress
I said it before, I really like the Empress Bead.  This is a new color palette.

The inspiration comes from this string of Jasper.

These are really large, measuring 40mm x 28 mm. 

Here are the beads comprising the color palette.
Gold and Cinnamon color palette
 I will need to choose between the pieces of jasper.  Should I go with a piece that is mostly golds with only hints of cinnamon?
Jasper mostly in golds
Or should I go with a piece that has plenty of cinnamon?
Jasper with cinnamon
I don't even quite know what I am making.  Usually I have a plan, or structure worked out in advance.  This time the plan is rather sparse, a necklace with a jasper focal and empress beads, and, and, and??? that is where the plan stopped.

Now as to the title of this post.  Right now I have a series of books calling my name. Like the structure of my necklace, it is not at all clear what will win out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thrice Blessed with Three Awards

Let me quote Bobbie, I need to go out and buy a lottery ticket.  

I have, in the past few weeks I have twice been given the honor of One Lovely Blog Award from Mandy of Beads for Brains: 365 and Bobbie, of Beadsong Jewelry and an Educator Award (part of Blog 5) from Therese of Therese's Treasures.  

I am both overwhelmed and honored. 

With regard to the One Lovely Blog Award, I am to name 7 random facts about myself and link to 15 blogs.  This is very similar to the Kreative Blogger award I recently received.  Instead of repeating myself I am going to add 39, yes 39, new links to my already lengthy list of blog links on my second tab.  I think each and every one of these links is extraordinary and have added them to my RSS feed.  When any of these 239 bloggers creates a post I view it.  (See my post about The Next Button to discover exactly how I navigate to all those blogs.)

As part of the Blog 5 Awards Therese gave me an Educator Award.  I love to teach; I honestly believe teaching enriches both student and teacher.  I hope my love for sharing knowledge extends beyond the tutorial.  As a recipient I am to name 5 bloggers in the following categories:

Artistic: A blogger whose work is consistently beautiful.  Every blog that I follow needs to be in this category.  I am, however, going to limit myself to just one who is part of the 39 new blogs on my list.

     Artful Living on the Bluff, Designs by Cindy Caraway

Style: A blogger who uses style to inspire; a blog that is photographically beautiful.  This is actually a tumblr, not a blog and I have given it an honorable mention before.  I find this art inspiring for many different reasons.

     Blog Posada

Journalistic: A blog that is really well written, informative and inspires discussion.  I have named these three bloggers for their writing before.

     Nichole Hanna 

     Beadsong Jewelry

     Olive Bites

Educator: A blogger providing great usable tutorials that are easy to follow.  There are multiple blogs I could include on this award, but I am going to mention only one because I just love her "I Might Make That" series.

     Torque Story

Newbie: A favorite new blog (less than 100 followers; blogging less than a year).  I am going to refer you back to the Kreative Blogger award where I set one of my limits to bloggers with less than 100 followers and I mostly stayed within my own rules.

Honorable Mentions: These are some of the 39 new blogs that I want to draw your attention to.

If you love big and complex seed bead jewelry be sure to visit Caroline Fung and Crimson Frog Designs by Kinga Nichols.

If freeform peyote inspires you hop on over to Ibolya-gy├Ângyei.

I love to look at wire weaving and maybe one of these days I will give it a serious try; for inspiration be sure to visit Mar Ya Morevna a Russian artist.  I also added Taniri Design to the list, although this blog has not been updated for the last year.

For unique and romantic jewelry be sure to look through the posts of Edera Jewelry who does the most amazing work with lace and beads.

A special shout-out for My Bead World who has been most supportive in comments.

One final thank you to Mandy, Bobbie, and Therese for the awards.  I feel blessed, validated, and empowered.  I grinned from ear to ear when I saw my blog listed with other bloggers that I admire and respect.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beautiful Failures

Cabbage Rose Bracelet
This is a finished Cabbage Rose bracelet.  Of all the things I have made over all the years I have been beading this ranks as one of my favorites.  This is based, very closely, on a pattern that can be found in the April/May 2007 issue of Beadwork.  I love the pattern.  I love how romantic the finished piece is.  I love the colors.  I love the embellishments. 
Cabbage Rose Detail

Having said all that, this piece is not wearable.

First, there is an issue with the weight of the piece.  When I planned this piece I bought a fairly substantial sterling magnetic clasp.  It was an etched square that matched the overall romantic aura of this piece.  Unfortunately since the piece is rather weighty the magnetic clasp did not hold. 

I am resourceful.  I bought a lobster claw clasp to replace the magnetic clasp.  As it turned out the bracelet was still to heavy.  It pulled my sterling clam shell, which attached the lobster clasp to the bracelet, out of shape.
Weight deformed clam shell on the Cabbage Rose bracelet
I really do love this bracelet and I would have bent this clam shell back into place until the metal was so fatigued it broke but that was not the only issue.
Cabbage Rose shedding
Did you notice that pink leaf on the right hand side of the picture?  This piece was woven with Nymo thread and for whatever reason the embellishments keep dropping.  Again, I can fix these losses as they occur.

What I cannot do is fix this bracelet permanently.  Each cabbage rose is made individually.  Rather than begin with a new thread, I used the tails to weave the cabbage rose to the peyote base.  I don't think I knotted the cabbage rose before using the tail ends to attach it to the base so I can't just clip them off. 

The clam shell is part of the woven peyote base.  I cannot just clip it off.  I could bend the metal and fatigue it until it breaks, but that would leave ugly exposed threads.  Plus, the bracelet is rather small and by the time I attached a new clasp it would be too large to wear.

I have avoided knots in the past as I saw them as a point of weakness.  Unfortunately, my integral weaving makes this bracelet unsalvageable.  The major lessons learned on this bracelet is to make use of piece work.  If each cabbage rose were knotted, I could salvage them and make a new base.

Nymo is great, I love the colors, I love the supple weave, but now I work with Fireline which seems to hold up better.

Side view Cabbage Rose
Even something well made and beautiful can be a failure. I have considered turning this into a hair barrette, but it is rather long.  I might be able to sew it to leather and attach it to a cuff; I have never made a cuff before.  What is most likely to happen is that some day I will remake this bracelet and plan appropriately.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beaded Joinery


I know I have said it before, I have enough beads, but I never have quite what I need.  I need some gold toned headpins to add some fobs for the end of the extension chain.

There are lessons learned in every project.  I had intended to use tried and true pieces for this bracelet; instead I created a new beaded bead.  I must say that was serendipitous.  I love this beaded bead and will make it again.  It is rich, highly textured, and substantial.  It can be incorporated end to end or side to side.

One of the lessons I need to learn over and over is joinery. This was actually the lesson I set out to learn on this project.  The cinnabar bead is drilled along the length, but I wanted to join to the sides for this bracelet.  That was easily accomplished with the bezel and a few 4mm bicones.  I simply wove the cinnabar focal to the elongated embellished beaded bead with bicones.
Mercurial main join
If you remember my color palette for this piece it included quite a few bigger beads in gold.  I think they were 8mm and 10mm rounds.  Those did not fit into the final design; they were replaced by the elongated embellished beaded bead. 

Bracelets are more wearable if they are flat on the back of the wrist.  I made two embellished ribbons of peyote.  The bracelet is reversible.
Mercurial Red Embellished Side
Mercurial Gold Side

I bought a few reduction bars, but they did not fit the spacing of my peyote ribbon to match the beaded bead.  I thought I would match the bicone connection but just could not line up the bicones on both sides of the join in any balanced way.  Instead, I wove the ribbon directly to the elongated embellished beaded bead. (I really need to name that darn bead!)

Mercurial Peyote Ribbon Join I- from an angle
Mercurial Peyote Ribbon Join II- straight on and close up.  Red bicones are 4mm

The final lesson was on joining the clasp to the finished bracelet.  Last week I made a trip to a well stocked bead store and bought a ribbon crimp end.  Lesson: it did not work, I broke a few beads.  It would have looked really pretty had it worked.  I need to learn how to use ribbon crimp ends.  I reverted to a tried and true method; I decreased the peyote to form a point, attached a jump ring through my 10/0 delicas, and attached a chain on one end and a lobster claw on the other. 

All in all I am pleased with the way this turned out. I would have liked it better had I been able to attach the peyote ribbon to the elongated embellished beaded bead with the bicones as it would have made the piece better balanced.  I suspect I am being too picky with my own work.

Two final pictures for perspective.
Mercurial Measuring Up
Mercurial Adjusted