Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lessons Learned Part 452

Yes, I made up that number; it probably should be 452,000.

Current Work

I have started a tag for this blog called lessons learned.  These are not tutorials.  I am not even sure anyone reads these and if they do if these are not lessons everyone else has already learned and I am merely stating the obvious.  Nonetheless, I will continue.

Lesson I: Choices
If you recall when I last posted I was not sure if I was going to decrease or start over.  I ended up starting over.  The decrease showed too much thread and in order to get the bezel tight enough the depth of the bezel was going to cover up to much of the pretty stone. I stopped work before getting the bezel tight enough.  (See picture below.) These are judgments you will need to make as an artist.  I started over. 

Unfinished rejected work

Lesson II: Choices Again
Choosing beads requires more than just color consideration.  As was pointed out in comments, these satin beads tend to cut through thread, so they must be used in a place with little movement.  I chose to continue with the honey colored satin beads because of their color, their added textural impact, and because they are relatively large beads for seed beads.  The size will make it easy to attach the neck strap.  Because these are Czech beads the size is quite variable, which makes it easy to fit as a bezel.  In hopes of lessening the depth of the bezel and exposing more of the stone, I chose a single row of the honey satin beads in my second try.  Below is a picture of the edges of the two bezels.

Bezeled jasper on edge
The single row of the honey satin beads is much cleaner visually. 

Lesson III: You can always laugh at yourself
I am laughing at myself because the depth of the bezel is still going to cover up more of the stone than I would like. Fortunately, I did decide to embellish so I think that will justify the extra depth.  Here again are the two works in progress at a different angle.
Bezeled jasper side by side
Lesson IV: Take time off
I had a bit of a back ache last week and took time off to give my back time to heal.  Be kind to yourself.

I always thought my beading choices were intuitive, but they are not. I make choices based on what I hope to achieve.  I hope these lessons learned are helpful. 


  1. KJ - I love it - both your bezeled cabs and the process that you went through to get where it is now.
    Naive people who say that making jewelry is "instant" gratification are obviously not very artistic, otherwise they'd know that an intricate piece takes days and days to design and put together. Often it will be taken apart several times in the process until the artist is satisfied with the results. There is nothing "instant" about creating a work of art. :)

    1. Thank you. It is a long process and when I sell my jewelry I only charge for the hours on the finished piece, not the false starts.

  2. I LOVE these bezels! The stones are amazingly beautiful and the colors you've matched really pull out the pattern - they are gorgeous!

    1. Thank you. I love these stones and can't believe I have another handful to work with.

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  4. I thought it was just me, having trouble with the satin Delicas - I love them; their colors are unbelievable - but they DO cut thread, and they are also much more delicate. Pull them too hard, and they shatter, sometimes 4 or 5 rows back from where you are stitching. That's a lot of taking out in a wide peyote cuff!

    1. Sometimes you just have to go for it! These happen to be 20+ years old, so sometimes it takes time for the right opportunity to come along.

  5. I had to smile at your post because I know exactly what you went through. Including your comment about choosing beads. I have an old bracelet I made that I would NEVER give to anyone else because one of the bead types I used periodically cuts through the beading thread. But I love the color and shape, so I simply keep stitching them back on. :)

    Regarding the bezels - sometimes when I want more of the surface to show, I only bead part way around the front, treating my beading as "photo corners". I think your finished bezels look great, by the way.

    1. Sometimes I feel like I am restating the well learned lessons but I justify it with the thought that these lessons still need to be acknowledged. My big turquoise slab necklace I cannot sell because the finish on the beads is not durable. Just as well, I really like that necklace.

      I did actually think about building up the corners but didn't think I would like that look in this application. What I really want to do with these lovely stones is set them in metal but 1) I don't know how to do that and 2) I just love seed beads and it is what makes my work special.


Thank you for sharing. I had to turn off anonymous comments because spam was being posted.