Thursday 5 March 2015


Hello everyone!

A few days ago Preciosa Ornela released their brand new Ripple™ bead onto the market and I'm happy to say that I had the good fortune to be involved in making some sample pieces using this interesting new bead, so let me tell you a bit about them. The Ripple is a circular pressed glass bead with a 12 mm diameter and it has a wavy curve to it - hence the name. It comes in a wide range of the most beautiful vacuum coated colours in both shiny and matte finishes and I have to say that although not necessarily ideal for the usual beadweaving stitches, I fell in love with this new bead. Because these beads have a much larger surface than most beads I usually work with, you really get the full impact of the colour and what with the pleasant S-shaped curve of the side view, it's hard not to be drawn to them. Like many larger pressed beads, they really want to take centre stage, but they do mix well with a few seed beads - here is what I did with my Ripple beads:

It's difficult for me to stay away from a seed bead, and so for my 'Ripples on the Surface' bracelet I firstly made a narrow strip of herringbone using bright silver seed beads and then I decorated it with glittering Ripples in glorious California Green. For the finishing touch and to bring out the other colours in the Ripples, I tied it with a length of pink ribbon.

For the next experiment I chose California Silver and California Graphite Ripples (in both shiny and matte) and using more silver seed beads I made lots and lots of little stems and loops for them. Then I threaded them all on to a sterling silver screw end bangle so that they were very tightly packed. This encouraged the Ripples to bunch up and show off their lovely surfaces which you can see in 'Clustered Ripples' shown above.

Still liking the options that little seed bead loops gave me, I went on to make more using California Silver Ripples and black seed beads. These Ripples are silver on one side and gold on the other and so I made sure I threaded them all the same way round to create 'Reversible Ripples' which (as the name suggests) can be worn with the silver facing the front or the gold.

I really like the side view of the Ripple beads and so I wanted to find a way to display that lovely curve as well as the finish on the flat side. After a bit of experimentation I found a way to stabilise a circle of Ripples and then nestled them in to a bed of seed beads to make a sparkly little crown shaped brooch. I enjoyed making these so much that I actually made a set of three 'Ripple Crown Pins' using California Blue, California Graphite and California Night Ripple beads.

As time was running out but there were still Ripples to use and colours to show, I finished off with a simple strung bracelet which I've named 'Ripples and Pearls'. I chose the matte version of the California Green Ripple bead which has a lovely pink and gold finish to it and I mixed them with some creamy 4 mm glass pearls to make a slinky 3-strand bracelet using a fabulous silver clasp from A Grain Of Sand.

So there you have the results of my Ripple experiments, but there are many more ways to use these delightful new beads and if you take a look at Preciosa's Flickr album you can see some really wonderful work by the other designers.

See you next time!