Friday 23 December 2011

Season's Greetings!

Around this time every year I like to look back on the previous 12 months in my little beady world.  As I ponder, I try and work out whether I met my goals for the year and I smile when I think of how some of those goal posts had to be moved time and time again.  I like to think about the lessons learned and the ones that I need to re-take and I also like to reflect on all the little unexpected twists and turns that life threw at me.  I also spend time dreaming about the promise of the coming year.  I have some plans in place, but really, anything could happen and although that thought makes part of me very nervous, the rest of me finds that an exciting prospect - I have beads and I can make anything, I have life and I can do anything.  Thank you to each and every one of you for your support throughout 2011 and whatever your beliefs, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a 2012 full of health, happiness and hope!

See you in 2012!

Kerrie x

Friday 2 December 2011

The Gateway to the Garden!

This piece only measures 2 inches by 1½ inches (5cm by 4cm) but it has still taken me the best part of 3 weeks to make!  I've loved labradorite since the first time I saw it and I always felt that it has magical properties, so I knew I wanted to use some in my Midnight Garden exhibition.  When I spotted this pendant at Kandra's Beads I thought it looked like a doorway (one I very much wanted to walk through) and I wondered if I would be able to create my vision in beads.  My idea was to make it look like an arch through an ancient walled garden that you might stumble upon on a moonlight ramble.  The wall would be covered in vines and leaves that had grown up around it with long grass at the base and maybe there would be an old gnarled tree curving around the entrance.  All of these things would form a frame and through that frame you would be able to glimpse the magic inside.  Then, as you stand transfixed, not knowing whether to cross that threshold or to leave with your secret, you hold your breath as you gaze at the glorious backdrop of the night sky wondering whether the dark intriguing shapes could be fairies dancing in the moonlight?  So I set about using my beads, needle and thread to create The Gateway to the Garden ... 

I hope you enjoy looking at my new piece but more importantly, I hope that you can see what I see.

As always, I love to receive your comments. so let me know what you think and I'll be back whenever something new grows in the Midnight Garden.


Wednesday 9 November 2011

The Guardian of the Garden!

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Harrogate bead fair and although I didn't really need any more beads, I was on the look out for some unusual components that I could perhaps incorporate in the Midnight Garden exhibition.  One of the things that caught my eye was a little Amazonite owl from Meena's Gems.  I was drawn to him immediately, but as he's a carved ornament and not a bead, I wasn't sure how I could combine him with my beadwork - but I gave him a home anyway, just in case.  As soon as I'd finished the Dragon's Egg ring I set to work on creating a piece that my owl would be happy with.  I imagined him nestled in a hollow in an old tree, snuggled deep inside, half hidden but still able to peer out of the foliage to keep an eye on what exactly goes on in the garden at midnight.  It was also important to me to make sure that he would still be able to fly whenever the mood took him (when I'm not looking of course!) and so here is the result of my work for the last 2 weeks - Asio, Guardian of the Garden!  I think he looks right at home, what do you think?

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Now available in California!

I'm afraid I don't have any new beadwork to show you this week as the next piece in the Midnight Garden collection is taking a bit of coaxing, but I do have some exciting news!  My friend Kandra recently opened a new bead store in Solvang which is in California (USA) and not only does she stock a mouthwatering range of beads and beading accessories, she now sells copies of my patterns on CD.  So if you live within travelling distance of Solvang you can drop into Kandra's Beads at 1539A Mission Drive and purchase a CD and then browse through the great range of beads to choose the colours for your project!  Of course you can still purchase a pdf of each pattern direct from my website and these will normally be emailed to you within a few minutes of your purchase, but if you would prefer a CD and cannot get to the store, Kandra also offers a postal service.

Although this is a new store, Kandra has a wealth of experience (this is actually her fifth bead store!) and she is also a talented beader and teacher, so she knows what she is talking about if you need help with anything whether it be choosing colours or tracking down hard to find materials.  As you can see from the picture below, the store looks very inviting and although it looks small on the outside, it is actually deceptively large on the inside with a huge range of tempting beady treats including Kandra's own lampwork beads and the walls are lined with her beadwork too.  The store also hosts trunk shows and offers a range of beading classes.  As well as a bricks and mortar shop, Kandra also offers an international mail order service, so why not take a virtual wander through her store and don't forget to pop a CD in your basket!

I have my own little display area within the shop and as you can see from the pictures below, the CDs are all arranged in neat racks and they even have their own labels making it easy to choose the right project.

I'd like to publicly thank Kandra for giving me this opportunity and also for doing such a wonderful job in setting this all up for me.  Thank you Kandra!


Thursday 20 October 2011

Dragon's Egg Ring!

So, I've been busy trying to turn some of my beady imaginings into finished beadwork for the Midnight Garden exhibition and I think I am 'in the zone' now.  A few months ago, I was wandering around a rock and gem shop and I spotted a small basket of opalite eggs.  As soon as I saw them I thought 'dragons' eggs' and so I rummaged through the basket until I found the perfect one, bought it and took it home with me and then forgot about it until last week.  After I had finished last week's necklace I wondered what to work on next and then my eye landed on the egg which was quietly gathering dust in the corner.  Almost immediately I heard a little story begin in  my head and as I listened, I learned how the very rare and precious dragons' eggs are held within protective flowers that grow in a beautiful enchanted garden.  Apparently, these flowers (which are carefully tended by the fairy folk of course) only bloom on moonlight nights and the egg then absorbs energy from the moon until it is ready to hatch.  Once I knew the truth, I began to bead ...

Ok, back to beady fairyland I go!  Oh, and just a little note to my new readers - please do not be alarmed, I am really quite 'normal' ;o)

See you soon!


Wednesday 12 October 2011

Midnight Garden!

Remember me telling you last week about my exhibition plans?  Well, you would think that with the luxury of 11 months stretching before me and 1700g of seed beads by my side, the rest would be easy, wouldn't you?  I have really been looking forward to this time (having been very disciplined in previous months by only beading what I had to bead, rather than what I wanted to bead) and so I expected that when the time arrived, I would simply pick up my needle, thread and beads and my new collection would flow from my fingers.  However, I discovered that it wasn't going to be quite as simple as that and I spent the first day surrounded by beads wondering where on earth to start!  After another day of rising panic (which is surely the number one imagination killer) I decided to relax and just play and if there was nothing to show at the end of the first week, then so be it.

From the outset, I knew that I wanted to create a themed exhibition and if you are a regular follower of my blog, you will know that not only am I very fond of flowers, but that I also love the escapism  that fairy tales give us.  Ever since I was a small child, I have always loved to sit by a window on a moonlight night, gazing out at the garden, imagining what the fairy folk might be up to and so I thought that this would be the perfect time to indulge three of my passions and create a beaded midnight garden!  With this in mind, my first experiments began with vines and tendrils and I created this simple (yet hopefully elegant) little herringbone necklace with a single night bloom at the centre - if you click on the picture it will open a larger version.

I hope that my midnight garden will soon sprout many fantasy flowers with leaves, vines, buds and petals all unfurling in the magical moonlight ready to be made into jewellery fit for a Faerie Queen!  As promised, I will keep posting my garden news and I would welcome your company on my journey.


Tuesday 4 October 2011

Exhibition news!

The last couple of years have been a truly amazing time for me with lots of thrilling teaching and travelling opportunities and all manner of exciting offers landing in my lap and I have done my best to meet each challenge.  When I look back at the last 10 years of my life and when I started beading (and particularly why I started beading) I can hardly believe that I am the same person now as I was then.  It has been a wonderful learning experience and a huge confidence builder BUT I feel that the time is now right for a little change in direction.  I am planning on spending the next 11 months mostly working at home and creating a themed exhibition of my work that will have its first showing at Stitchncraft Beads in Dorset (UK) in September 2012.

The picture above shows 1700g of seed beads that I recently purchased to enable me to make a start on my new project and I am hoping to turn these tiny beads into sculptural works of art that will delight and inspire visitors to the exhibitions.  I have been keeping a notebook of ideas throughout the last year or so and I promised myself that once all my teaching commitments were met I would start experimenting and let my imagination unfurl again.  I will regularly post pictures (if only sneak peeks!) of my new pieces and the inspiration behind them and blog about my journey.  I have a head full of ideas, I have cleared my diary and I have purchased the beads.  Let the adventure begin ...


Monday 26 September 2011

A change of direction!

I have neglected my poor blog a bit recently as I got caught up in a whirl of obligations and deadlines over the last year, which meant that something had to give.  All that is about to change though as I have set myself an exciting year long creative challenge which I am really looking forward to and almost ready to embark on.  I will write more about this next week and I also plan to blog about it regularly, but my adventure means that I will probably not be writing any new tutorials for the coming year.  So, I wanted to remind you that I now have nine tutorials for sale via my website:

I also have six patterns for sale via the Interweave on-line store and you can see those on this page of my website

Five of my patterns are available to purchase via the Bead & Button on-line store

There are also various patterns and a CD collection of my work available from the Bead magazine on-line store

So hopefully with all these patterns to choose from you will not mind if I take a little time out to have some fun, which should produce even more patterns in the future!

See you next week with news of my plans!


Wednesday 24 August 2011

Home from Hamburg!

Do you remember me telling you that I was going to Germany to teach my Popper Flower project?  Well, after over a year of planning and preparation it is all over but what a fantastic time we all had!  Teachers and exhibitors travelled from all over the world to attend the Bead Art Fair in Hamburg and although now it seems to have gone in the blink of an eye, when I close my eyes I can see a slideshow of beaming beader's faces, breathtaking beadwork and an incredible array of unusual beads and supplies for sale.

My two classes went very well and although everyone knew at the outset that the project would not be finished in class, everyone went away with a couple of perfect leaves and petals, confident in the knowledge that they would be able to finish their Popper Flowers at home.  I am ashamed to admit that I do not speak German (although I did manage to do a little bit of counting in German in class!) but I had two wonderful translators working with me and helping me whenever there was a problem - thank you Nicole and Barbara!

When I wasn't teaching, I was either at my stand or else I left it in the capable hands of my husband Simon while I wandered around the hall putting faces to names and chatting with old friends (such as the beautiful and talented Olga Vinnere Pettersson) and meeting new ones.

And even when the fair was over, the lessons didn't stop! The next picture shows my good friend Zoya Gutina showing myself and Anja Schlotmann how to add Soutache to beadwork, after breakfast at our hotel.

The evenings meant even more socializing and it was wonderful to be welcomed into the 'family' of people who regularly travel all over the world attending bead shows.  Everyone was so friendly and it was great to be able to soak up the atmosphere and learn from their experiences.

We stayed on for an extra day so that we could explore a little of Hamburg and we spent the afternoon sitting in the sunshine at a riverside cafe, drinking tea and eating Apfelkuchen and reflecting on what an amazing experience this turned out to be.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend the Bead Art Fair in Hamburg, my advice would be to grab it with both hands!

Wednesday 27 July 2011

The Tale of Ms. Bougainvillea Bouquet!

Did I ever tell you the tale of Ms. Bougainvillea Bouquet?  She's had a long and interesting journey and I was reminded of that today when I received my copy of Creative Beading Volume 6.

I created the first version of this necklace back in 2009 after a trip to Spain.  I have always loved seeing these vivid clusters of colour on my travels and they had been on my 'to do' list for some time.  When I came across these little Czech pressed glass flowers, I thought that they would make perfect centres for the bright pink bracts.  I was pleased with the end result, but as I created that design I had no idea of what a special piece it would turn out to be for me.  That first necklace sold pretty quickly and now lives in America, but the design had already been accepted for publication by Bead & Button magazine and so I had to create another identical one.  I posted the finished piece and the instructions off to America and the project was duly published in April 2010.

It seems that (like her sister) Ms. Bougainvillea Bouquet Mark II also wanted to live in America though.  Bead & Button magazine returned the necklace to me after publication, but she wasn't delivered and unbeknown to me she spent some weeks sat miserably at my local sorting office before being returned to the Bead & Button offices.

Instead of trying to send her home again, it was decided that she would be auctioned at the 2011 Bead & Button show to help raise funds for breast cancer research.  As my Mum has had breast cancer twice and as Ms. B. is pink, it seemed like this was meant to be.  That same month Ms. B. also graced the cover of Bead & Button Favorites magazine.

Today I received my copy of Creative Beading Volume 6 and found her on page 180.  I think that is the end of her story and I am hopeful that she is happy in her new home and that she is bringing pleasure to those around her.

I have no idea how much she raised or where she ended up, but I am certainly very glad that I was able to give life to the spirited Ms. Bougainvillea Bouquet.  Thank you!

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Popper Flowers!

It sort of feels like I blinked and missed the last year, because one minute the Bead Art Fair in Hamburg was a whole year away with plenty of time to prepare for my workshops and now it is only 10 weeks away!  So it's time for me to get busy busy and write the instructions for my classes, draw diagrams, take pictures, bead samples, send out invoices, make kits and so on and so on - have you any idea just how much work goes into preparing to teach a 3 hour beadwork class?  I know I didn't have a clue until I stumbled into this game and became caught up in the whirl of it all.  Not that I'm complaining, I'm really looking forward to my trip to Germany and mingling at the fair and meeting my students and the other teachers who are travelling from far and wide to attend what promises to be a huge and exciting event.

The fair is on the 20th and 21st of August and there are still a few places available on my Popper Flower workshops so if you would like to attend one of my classes, complete this on-line form You can read more about the project on this earlier blog entry.

Popper Flowers.  Pop a flower on.  Pop a flower off.  Change them to suit your mood!