Friday, 4 July 2014

The Pip™ Collection!

Hello everyone!

I'm finally able to show you the collection I was busy working on back in March using Preciosa Ornela's brand new bead shape - the Pip™ pressed bead. And so it is time for another big reveal of finished pieces, an advert, a free pattern and even a video!

Once again, Preciosa asked a number of designers to create pieces using this exciting new bead shape and you can see the full gallery of available bead colours and finishes and all of our completed work here. Just like the Pellet™ and the Thorn™ this new 5x7 mm bead had this previously hard-core seed beader scratching her head and wondering what to do with them at first. Of course I knew that a company like Preciosa wouldn't introduce a new bead shape if it hadn't already been tested and found to have great potential - and I soon unlocked that potential and fell in love with the Pips. As is my way, I decided to start off simple and so I used the Pip beads to make a Kumihimo bracelet. I discovered that these beads actually work so well with braiding that I went on to make another 7 of these bracelets in different colours and designs. Preciosa seemed to like the Kumihimo idea too as they used one of my bracelets in their latest advert.

They also asked me to write the tutorial for the Kumihimo bracelet! This threw me into a slight panic as I only learnt the basics of this ancient Japanese art last year but I got on with it and you can now download the free pattern for a basic single coloured braid here. Preciosa also decided to create a video using my instructions and I think this really helps you to understand how to create the simple but effective bracelets shown below - I wish I had been able to watch a video like this when I was learning how to braid!

When I was all Kumihimo'd out I started experimenting with how easy it would be to use this petal shaped bead to make beaded flowers and I am happy to give the Pip bead a big tick on this front too. Just six beads connected into a circle gives you a simple flower which you can use alone or to decorate other finished beadwork. I scattered brilliant blue Pip flowers on a silver netted base to create my next piece.

After that I tried out an eight-petalled flower using some gorgeous vacuum coated Pips and again, this worked well with the help of some matching aqua seed beads and a glass pearl. I made five little flowers and connected them with short lengths of chain to create this little bracelet.

As it was all bracelets so far, I decided to try a ring next and so I mixed the Pips with some Solo beads to make a densely clustered flower on a metal sieve base.

I find these sieve findings really useful in certain situations and so I used another one to create a brooch. This time I attached the silver Pip beads to the sieve to form the flower and then I used four of the deep blue Pips to make a little butterfly which is visiting the flower. This is my favourite of all the pieces as Mum was very very fond of blue butterflies and every time I see one it makes me think of her and smile, so this piece is for her.

And finally I rounded off my beady experiments by making a little sculptural Pip Posy tied with green organza ribbon. After all, it wouldn't be me if there wasn't a little ribbon involved somewhere - now would it?

I hope you enjoy looking at the results of my Pip bead research and that you might feel inspired to try some experiments of your own. And don't forget that if you would like to make the Kumihimo bracelet, you can download the free instructions here and watch the video here. The tutorials for a couple of the designs shown above will also be published in future issues of magazines, so be sure to complete the 'Follow by Email' box at the top of my blog if you want to be kept informed of all new designs and patterns.

See you next time!


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Flamenco Pellets!

Hello everyone!

In complete contrast to last week's elegantly refined Charlotte flowers, this week I am here to bring you news of a bright bold and bouncy design in the shape of Flamenco Pellets! This is the fifth design from my Thorn™ and Pellet™ bead collection to be published and you can find links to where the instructions for the other designs are if you scroll through my recent blog posts. Flamenco Pellets is on page 46 of the August 2014 issue of Bead & Button magazine and I am really happy with the layout of this project as I think the picture of the Flamenco dancer captures the spirit of this piece perfectly.

I am very fortunate in that I get to spend several weeks a year in Spain and so the Spanish culture, weather, flora and just the general way of life often influences my work. When I was working with Preciosa Ornela's Pellet beads, the brilliant opaque red instantly caught my eye and as I am a big fan of pairing black and red I began experimenting with red Pellets and black seed beads. Soon circles and ruffles began to appear which reminded me of the Flamenco dancers I had seen in Spain and so I came up with the idea of creating a fearless bracelet and earring set with a lot of movement in it. I imagined a passionate dancer proudly wearing these pieces and shaking them as she raises her arms, tosses her head, stamps her feet and twirls her frilly skirt. Are you with me? Can you see that? Can you hear it?

Of course you could change the mood completely and make this set in cool aqua or smooth butterscotch or even marbled lavender as the Pellet beads come in such a great range of colours and finishes. But whatever you decide, I hope you have fun with my latest pattern and that you enjoy wearing the finished piece - even if you don't stamp your feet and twirl your skirt.

There's another new and completely different pattern just around the corner. So ... see you next time!


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Time for a little Floral Elegance ...

Hello everyone!

Well only two days after my last blog entry - here I am again with news of a new pattern that has just become available. This time it is another pair of earrings from the Preciosa Ornela 'Charlotte Collection' which I have named 'Floral Elegance' and you can find the instructions for these in the latest issue (issue 10) of Digital Beading Magazine. Each flower has extra long petals which flare out at the tips to reveal the glittering fire polished stamens and yet because they are made from tiny size 13 Charlottes, they are as light as a feather to wear. I suspended my flowers from long gold ear-wires so that the flowers would delicately dance and sway about my neck and as these beautiful beads have a cut side, it means that the light bounces off the flat surface giving the flowers a gorgeous sparkle.

I hope you enjoy creating your own Floral Elegance and don't forget that we would love to see what you make from this pattern, so please feel free to send me a picture or to share your pictures on the Preciosa Facebook page or the Digital Beading Magazine Facebook page. Digital Beading Magazine is always on the look out for photos to share on their 'Show it off' reader creations section too, so why not make a pair of these (or even adapt the pattern to your own tastes) and send in a photo of your work?

See you again soon with details of another new pattern!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Blogs and adverts!

Hello everyone!

There are two new patterns just around the corner which I will let you know about very soon, but in the meantime this is just a quick post to tell you about a couple of other things. Firstly, my second post on Bead & Button magazine's 'Bead Buzz Blog' has now been published and this one is the start of a series of articles I intend to write on inspiration. It's something that gets talked about a lot and we all have our own ideas, but I thought it might be fun if I show you some things that get my creative cogs whirring and this month I started with one of my favourite idea igniters - clasps.

The second piece of news that I almost forgot to tell you is that three of my pieces from the Preciosa Ornela 'Charlotte Collection' have now been featured in magazine adverts. The Rose Window Rivoli earrings are in the latest issue of Digital Beading Magazine, the blue flower is in the current issue of Making Jewellery and you can see the three golden flowers in the new issue of Beadstyle magazine. It always surprises me to open a magazine and see a full page advert of my work, especially this time around as these pieces are all made with size 13 Charlottes and therefore not very big in reality. I'm really happy with the way these came out and the photography really makes them POP with every little bead being visible - so thank you Preciosa Ornela!

So that's it for now but I'll be back very soon with news of those two new patterns!

See you next time!


Monday, 2 June 2014

Modern Antiques!

Hello everyone!

I have two pieces of news today - the first is that as mentioned in my last post, I have now joined the Bead and Button blogging team and you can read my first post here where I talk about two-holed beads. I'll be posting a new piece every month on a variety of subjects, so be sure to follow the Bead Buzz Blog and if there is anything you'd particularly like to see me cover, just let me know!

The second piece of news is that I have a new FREE pattern available to download from the Bead and Button website. 'Modern Antiques' is a simple little right-angle weave pattern but what makes it special is the beads! These 10 mm beads are known by a variety of names including English-cuts, rough-cuts and Antique-cuts (owing to their slightly roughened edges which mimic the look of antique beads) and they come in a wide range of the most beautiful finishes.

These beads are not shy and really want to be seen, so I kept the design very simple to let the beads shine and then I finished each one off with a gorgeous statement clasp. The bracelets are so quick and easy to make that you can have one on your wrist within a couple of hours and the bright colours are perfect for summer wear. As you can see - I made a whole handful! If you want to make your very own 'Modern Antique' simply click on this link and then either sign in or register to download the pattern.

All the beads and clasps I have used are available from A Grain Of Sand and they have put together some great bead and clasp suggestions which you can browse through on this page of their website. The bead finishes have irresistible names like 'Halo Heavens', 'Iced Raspberry' and 'Decadent Aluminum' and I really can't decide which is my favourite - although that 'Iced Blueberry' at the top of the collage is really catching my eye!

That's it for now but I will be back with more beady news soon!

See you next time!


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Twinflower Lariat!

Hello everyone!

Looking at these pictures I find it hard to believe that I made my Twinflower Lariat back in September 2012 as part of my first collection of work for Preciosa Ornela. I know that lots of people asked if the pattern would be available at the time and so I am happy to be able to tell you that you can now find the instructions on page 60 of the June 2014 issue of Bead & Button magazine!

I won't say too much about this piece as I have just joined the blogging team on the new Bead Buzz blog over at Bead & Button and I plan to talk about this in my first post. The new blog has already started with some very interesting posts from well known names from the bead world and I have been busy thinking about things I can write about in the coming months too - it all sounds very exciting, so be sure to watch that space!

So that's it for this week but I'll be back with more beady news soon!

See you next time!


Saturday, 3 May 2014

The Charlotte Collection!

Hello everyone!

I'm back sooner than expected as Preciosa have now sent out the April newsletter which is all about Charlotte beads including a fascinating insight into how they are made and their history. This means that I am able to show you the items I created for Preciosa which previously had to be kept under wraps. Preciosa asked a number of designers (including my friends KarolĂ­na and Romana from the Czech Republic) to create pieces using these wonderful glittering beads and if you take a look at the whole album you can see what a diverse range of things we all created - everything from stunning tasselled earrings to delightful shoes decorated with peacocks!

Although I had a few Charlottes in my collection I had only ever used them for accent beads. However, for this project I wanted to make items made solely from these tiny beads to try and show how the cut edge reflects the light and elevates beadwork to new shimmering heights. The first piece I made is ornamental - three little golden flowers with a shiny black pearl centre. It is hard to capture in a photograph just how much these little flowers actually gleam!

The three flowers were very fiddly to make, so for the next item I made three easy 'Dangle Bangles' in a striking red and black combination with a simple piece of ribbon to keep them all together.

Next I thought I would go back to flowers and so I created a pair of little flowery earrings with elongated petals and fire polished stamens. These are so light that you hardly know you are wearing them and yet they make their presence known by glittering beautifully as you move.

Although I had spent many hours beading by that point, I felt that due to the size of the beads, the collection looked a bit insignificant and so I mixed some apricot Rivolis with a lacy stitch to create a more substantial bracelet.

By then I had two bracelets, a pair of earrings and an ornament so I thought perhaps I needed to make a ring. I used another Rivoli and created a large floral ring with long silver petals and you can really notice the cut surface of the beads in this piece.

I had probably spent the best part of a month working with Charlotte beads and yet I only had five small items to show for it which was making me feel anxious. I had spent the previous year working with large Pellet and Thorn beads, brightly coloured neon beads and size 6 striped beads in primary colours - all of which work up into noticeable pieces in a relatively short space of time and now I was faced with gorgeous but tiny size 13 beads and I was running out of time. I sifted through the bag of Charlottes wondering what I could do to pad out my collection and my eye was drawn to a lovely but unusual shade of blue and I set about creating a large flower brooch with a couple of green leaves. It might look simple but I lost count of the hours that went into this piece and I can tell you that because of the ruffled nature of the flower, there are literally thousands of beads in it! I was happy with the outcome though as I felt that it added the necessary extra dimension to the collection.

And by then I was almost out of time but I just managed to make the Rose Window Rivoli earrings I showed you last week. Although I love the density of my blue flower brooch it was refreshing to be able to make a few Charlottes go a long way in these earrings by using an open stitch to capture some Rivolis.

So there you have it! The above represents about six weeks work and it all fits into a very small box - but when you open the lid of that box you are dazzled by the brilliance of those very special Charlotte beads. If you haven't already, I would urge you to try them as they really will give that touch of luxury to your work.

See you next time!

(All photos courtesy of Preciosa Ornela