Friday 23 April 2010

Special issue!

The new 'Special colour issue' of Bead magazine is now in the shops and even if I wasn't lucky enough to have work in there, I would still be rushing out to buy it!  This issue is packed with 115 pages of inspirational beady eye candy, a real variety of great projects and fascinating insights into how some designers go about choosing colours.  My project, 'Maid Marian's Quiver' is on page 30 and 'Royal Quiver' is also shown on page 33 to give an idea of how different this project can look, depending on what colours you choose.  I know some of you have been wanting to make your own version of this piece and I can't wait to see pictures of your creations - please do send me a photo and I will add it to the 'Readers' Gallery' page on my website!

My 'Colour Musings' are on pages 34 and 35, along with a selection of pictures to try and illustrate my ideas about colour and to show how I have used it in my work so far.  As you know, I am by no means an expert on colour and although I have a colour wheel and a couple of books on colour theory, I still don't really understand the technical side of it, so I've just kept it to some basic ideas which I hope you will find interesting and maybe try one or two of them in your own work.

I was also really pleased to see the tutorial for my Core Beaded Beads is given a mention in the 'Bead News' section on page 61.  So all in all, this really is a special issue for me!

See you next week!

Friday 16 April 2010

Feeling 'no' but saying 'yes' ...

I've been blogging for just over two years now, and anybody that has been on this journey with me will have heard me say what a nervous person I am ... on more than one occasion! During that time, I've had some great requests and offers, whether it was to start selling my own patterns, teach in this country or even to travel and teach. In previous years I have always let my nerves take over and have said 'Thanks, but sorry, I'm afraid I don't do that'. For whatever reason, I woke up at the beginning of 2010 and felt a little different and now here I am, only 4 months into the year and I'm selling tutorials, I'm signed up to teach and I've said 'yes' to just about every opportunity that has come along. One of these opportunities arose just a couple of weeks ago, when Mona Hair of 'The Jewelry Connection' contacted me out of the blue, to ask if I would be interested in doing a live internet interview. I can clearly remember that day; I was stood in my 'studio' (that also doubles as a spare bedroom, my husband's office and the ironing room) ironing my husband's work shirts and I saw the email come in, opened it, read it and nearly fainted. The biggest shock however, was that I said 'yes'. Mona has been marvellous and held my hand throughout the process and the live interview went out last Sunday.

A couple of minutes before we were due to go 'live' my knees were quite literally knocking, I felt a rising panic and I wanted to snatch off my headphones and run from the room.  Then I saw some familiar friendly names in the chat room and with that wonderful support, I relaxed and managed to get through the interview. It was a bit of a blow though, when I chatted to Mona afterwards and she broke the news to me that there had been a hiccup, it hadn't recorded and we would have to do it all again! We did a re-take last night (although this time without an audience) and I'm very relieved that it recorded successfully. It was a little strange running all through it again and so I think I left some bits out that I said before and I seem to have said enough 'errs' and 'erms' in one hour to warrant a place in the Guinness Book of Records! But anyway, I've done it and I survived, so I am going to continue embracing those opportunities and I hope that this gives other people the courage to do the same - if I can do this, anyone can!

If anyone would like to listen to me trying to answer Mona's questions and talking about the inspiration behind various pieces of work - then the new link is HERE.  Keep an eye on Mona's blog too as I know that she is keen to promote the work of independent artists and has lots of great guests lined up!

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Growth and change ...

It's funny how things change.  I remember back in around 2004, I hadn't been beading for very long and believe it or not, I didn't really know where to buy beads.  I used to buy packs of Mill Hill beads from a large DIY store, and as these were really only meant to embellish embroidery projects, they came in tiny packs and it worked out very expensive if you wanted to make a large beaded project.  Then I heard about a new family-run on-line bead shop that was opening and an open day that they were going to hold at the owner's house.  I went to that first event and had a wonderful time rummaging through the tubes of beads and asking quite simple questions, like the difference between a seed bead and a cylinder bead, and what pliers I would need to create wrapped loops.  That bead shop was Beads Direct and although the company has now changed hands, I have been buying beads from them ever since they first opened.  I have always received excellent, fast and friendly service, with the beads usually arriving the day after ordering them and all beautifully packaged.

Beads Direct has expanded a great deal since those early days and I have grown too, so it was a lovely surprise when Claire, the marketing manager, contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing some work together, which of course I am more than happy to do.  I think just about every one of my published projects, over the years, has used at least some beads from Beads Direct and you can see their great range of seed and cylinder beads here.  Be sure to check out the other goodies they have to offer though as well, such as crystals, pearls, semi-precious stones and a great selection of clasps.  There's lots to look at on their website too, like a collection of 'how to' videos and they also have their own blog - Claire recently asked me some questions about how I came to start working with beads and you can read my answers here.  We are discussing the details at the moment, but one of my projects will soon be available from the Beads Direct website, so keep your eye on their website and blog for details!