Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Ancient Garden Collar

The Ancient Garden Broadcollar is my most intense piece of beaded art to date. I stopped keeping track of the time I worked on this piece after I logged 150 hours! It was probably closer to 200, and I loved every second of it.

As many gardens do, this one took on a life of its own. I planted the five jasper stones, drew three swirled lines (the first five inches of the rust colored vines connecting near the center stone) and the rest... grew!

The color scheme is simple - green, rust and black. Limiting the color to just these few unusual tones allows you to concentrate on textures and shapes that may otherwise go unnoticed in a garden that is rioting with color.

Very simple bead embroidery techniques are used. I used mostly back-stitch, some peyote stitch for the stone bezels, couching only when necessary, and a tiny bit each of netting and brick stitch.

Those of you who know me are aware of my love of using black matte beads in my jewelry projects. The background of this Garden is worked in tiny black matte seed beads, sparked occasionally by a single shiny one. Black matte beads add depth and definition, without really being a dominant color - the perfect background.

Bead Embroidery has become a very popular class that I teach at Stony Creek Bead. I warn people that the technique can be very dangerous! It's like painting... with beads! And you may not want to stop once you've started!

The shop has many smaller projects on display, and I encourage people to start with a piece that will become a brooch or a pendant, about a three-hour project. Save the broadcollars for your second project!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Paisley - Study in White

My husband, Bob, found these great drusie quartz beads at a show in Tucson. I've been toying with the idea of monochromatic pieces and this is the first in a series of five.

Other than the quartz focal piece, the remaining beads are Czech glass and Japanese seed beads. This piece has a handmade fine silver fibula (pin back) and rings where a chain or beaded necklace can be attached. The backing is UtraSuede.

The Quiet Forest Free - Form Peyote Bracelet

This bracelet was shown at the Downriver Council on the Arts. It features a bead made by Michigan artitst Andrea Lindell. The wonderful colors that she used in this bead inspired the choice of the quiet, earthy greens and bronzes. As much as I loved this bracelet, I'm happy to say that it was purchased from the DCA Gallery exhibit and I hope whoever has it now enjoys it.

Using Free Form Peyote is like painting with beads. I teach this method at the shop (Stony Creek Bead) and use it frequently in my personal jewelry pieces.

I like to use unusual buttons for clasps. While it doesn't show in this picture, this button is different because it doesn't have a shank. Instead, it has a clip that was meant to slide into two button holes, one on each edge of the front of a shirt or blouse. Back in the day of Mangel pressing machines, it was much easier to get wrinkle-free clothing without buttons getting in the way. I found a bag of these buttons at an antique shop.