Friday, April 22, 2016

Venetian Mirrors - my fourth Class in New York

I am very happy to share with you my fourth class being taught in New York in June 

"Venetian Mirrors"

I am ecstatic to say I just finished writing the tutorial for this very intricate, very step laden design.
You cannot see here, but the back has very intricate beading on it as well.  In fact the back looks very antique/vintage - well in keeping for its inspiration - the Hall of Mirrors in Versaille. 
I have done the pattern on the back to lift the rhodium plated montee cases up off the skin, 
enabling base metal allergy sufferers to wear a Venetian Mirror bracelet for themselves.

I seriously felt it would be pretty impossible for me to illustrate this design, but after 45 hours 
of writing over two and a half weeks it is completed. 
It takes so long to write as I am only able to focus for a maximum of about 4 hours, sometimes less. When I complete a long session of writing my brain feels what I call "fuzzzzzed". Kind of a not quite in the present when you stop, almost numbed.
I learnt a lot from illustrating this design. I had to really deconstruct the steps to come up with the
best way to explain each bead being added. Also being a monochromatic piece it was a challenge to show the additions and thread paths for ease of understanding.

So here is "Venetian Mirrors" I hope you enjoy looking and should you require any more information
on the classes just click on the image and you will be taken to the class details.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Gaining a Better Finish

I find it a terrible shame that a person goes to all the trouble of making a lovely
peyote band design, then attaches a slide clasp on each end, leaving the 
clasp mechanism in full view. 
In my opinion that isn't showing the piece the best way it could be shown.
With a little extra effort the mechanism can be disguised, giving your
new design a better finish.
I hope next time you make a new Peyote band design this technique will be 
beneficial to you.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Writing, Writing, Writing

In the last couple of months I have hardly touched beads - and I am missing them !!
My beading area is covered with a cloth so things don't get dusty!  Sheeeesh !!!
 This is not a complaint, just stating how I feel. 

I started out playing with beads and fell in love with bead-weaving. I got the chance to play
everyday and see what I could create. Somewhere along the journey my creations were
in demand so I added writing tutorials to my skills. Sometimes I enjoy writing as I can be 
creative in the writing, layout and look of my tutorials. It is very gratifying to illustrate a
tutorial and when all is finished the illustration looks just like the piece you created….thank God!
But other times I just get fed up with writing as it feels never-ending.  

It was said to me recently that I should sit and design and when I have a new piece, write the tutorial straight away. Yes, I agree, but that is in an 'ideal world'.
If I am flowing with designing I don't want to stop, generally one design leads to another design,
to another design and so on…….when designing juices flow you have to go with it. Don't you agree???

The problem with that is I end up with five or six new things and then I am ready to write!!!
The Buddhists say endeavour to achieve the "balance" in life. At 65 I am still struggling with that one.

Well enough griping from me.

Today, I am very pleased to share "Oriental Rose" 
the third class I am teaching in New York in June. I hope you like this one also.
For more information on classes, click on the image below.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A New Tutorial in my Store

I designed these flowers a few years back, at a time when I didn't write tutorials. 
Last ear I started writing but never got around to finishing it due to other commitments.

I am now very pleased to share I finally was able to add my 
eTutorial for the Gerbera Flower pendant  
into my Artfire Tutorial store. 
(if you wish to see more, click on the image below and you will be taken to my store)

Make one and wear it for Spring or make many and really make a statement.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Class Number Two - Pansyface

My last post was about how I am teaching in New York in June at Beads by Blanche.
Today I am happy to share images of "Pansyface" - so named as the main components remind
me of pansies and the joining components look like small alien faces.
This necklace is two sided and reversible. 
If you want more details on classes click on the purple image below.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Travelling again to Teach Classes in New York

In 2014 I travelled to USA for the Bead & Button Show and went on to teach in Orlando, FL for the Central Florida Bead Society. It was the first time I had travelled to teach outside of Australia and I enjoyed the experience very much. 

I am pretty excited to share I will be travelling again middle of this year and will be teaching four classes over four days at Beads by Blanche, New Jersey, (near Manhattan). 

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the classes I am teaching.

First up is my "Ananas" necklace, so named as the rope reminds me of pineapple skin.
I am teaching "Ananas" on Thursday June 16th, 2016.
(If you want to see all the classes at Blanche's click on the image above) 

Below is another colour way with a slight variance in the centrepiece. Both centrepieces
will be discussed in the class.
I hope you like them as much as I do.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Introducing "Palmetto"

In my last blog post I talked about how I go about designing a rope for a necklace. I was unable to show the completed piece as I was waiting for a particular event to take place. 
That event has now happened and I am pleased to introduce a new design that I am 
particularly fond of and have named "Palmetto". 

If you click on the picture it will take you to Erika Sandor's blog.
Erika has a beautiful blog page and I am thrilled to be featured there.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The path to "Getting what I am looking for…"

Today I would like to share another of the methods I use.
This post is NOT a post on how to make a rope but rather how I get the combination/colour/look
of a rope for a centrepiece.

Whenever creating a 'rope' I have a general idea of what I want and mostly know 
what colours to use - having already created the feature components.

Below is a length of 'rope' which is the way I work out how I want the rope to look. 
I will explain each step I used and give reasons why I abandoned the idea.

Reading the images from your left to right -

STEPS TAKEN                                                                              
1) A FIVE bead around PRAW started and abandoned - No image shown 
REASON ABANDONED: Needs an even number for easy embellishing                                                                         
2) A four bead around CRAW started - I wanted to see 
how a row of green 11s, then gold 11s, then green 11s
would look.                
REASON ABANDONED: Rope looked too 'busy'.              

3) Plain green was used and embellished with green 15s              
REASON ABANDONED: It was plain and boring

4) Plain green was used and embellished with gold 15s
SUCCESS: I liked this for the thinner rope sections

5) Went into gold 11s and then 2mm Czech Fire 
Polished gold beads embellished in a mauve 11 and 15s.              
REASON ABANDONED: Didn't like the mauve 15s, too attention grabbing

6) Used 4mm Czech Fire Polish and embellishing in between with green magatamas.                                                      
REASON ABANDONED: Overall colour looking too dull, didn't like the maggies.

7) Made a combination of CRAW with 2mm Czech Fire Polish with green 11s                                                    
SUCCESS: I liked this bit
8) Got side tracked seeing what the rope would look like if I tried to increase the width then added in some mauve 11s to bring down the increase. Then repeated this again.   
REASON ABANDONED: Not what I was looking for but felt the increase/decrease in size was interesting.

THEN I started another rope of 6 beads around CRAW - (no image shown)
After doing a couple of inches I decided I didn't want that either.                       

9) Returning to the long rope I did a section of green
11s embellished in gold 15s to give me some space for when I cut off what wasn't working

10) Started weaving in the green 11s and gold Czech 2mm Fire Polish, then embellished in mauve features with gold 15s netting
REASON ABANDONED: Too much gold!! if that is possible! Still didn't like the mauve 15s.                                                             

11) Next couple of rows woven using 2mm and 3mm gold Czech FP crystals then another row using a 4mm
purple druk bead.                 
REASON ABANDONED: Still too much gold, cannot see the FP beads under the netting and the Purple druk was making it too dark.                                                              

12) The 4mm druk replaced with a pale green druk. Embellised this in green 15s with gold cross points
REASON ABANDONED: Embellishment was too dark, but I liked the pale green druk.

By this stage I had a much better idea of the rope I was after and started beading the combination I wanted - which has been removed from the experimental piece and is seen in the image below.
I am unable to show more of the rope at this point - it is being saved for a reveal in due course.

Here you will see some of the trials from the above experimental rope.

I stayed with a 4 bead around CRAW in green.
I used a gold 15 seed bead embellishment.
I enjoyed the raised bit of the top rope but achieved this look with a 2mm Czech Fire Polish bead embellishment.
I stayed with the 2mm gold Czech FP in the rope as a way to increase the width of rope and ready
the rope for the 4mm pale green druk beads.
The embellishment of the druks remained pale coloured to help lighten up the appearance of the
overall look. 


Saves your Fireline/One G/favourite thread. When you put aside what you don't like and start another you are wasting thread.

Gives you something to hold onto as you continue working on the piece you have in your hand.

Keeps abandoned ideas under your nose. Hopefully you won't repeat them further on.

Keeps ideas you DO like under your nose for repetition when you have your intended rope pattern.

Helps to determine the intricacies and subtleties of your colour palette.

Helps you figure out the best thread path/s 

So this is how I decide on a rope for the necklace/centrepiece I am designing. I am sure it is not everyone's way of working - and that is okay - but it is my way. 
I am not a person that sits and draws their designs. I generally have an idea in my mind's eye, sometimes an image also, but not always. 
I sit down, get out the beads and begin and I keep going until I achieve what I set out to achieve, or
abandon an idea if I see it doesn't work or look good.

Designing is most definitely a trial and error occupation. I am amazed when a new beader makes comments implying they think designing comes easy to designers. Believe me….it doesn't! …..
in most cases.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Rivette" magazine tutorial

I am pleased to share a pendant I designed - called "Rivette" - which has been published in the December 2015/January 2016 Beadwork magazine. 
This is my first US magazine tutorial and hopefully won't be my last. 

Already I have had some ladies send me messages on Facebook saying they love the design
and pics of their pieces have been sent to me.

I hope you like the pendant and enjoy making one also.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

As 2015 comes to its end I often reflect on the year and take stock.

Less travel this year and no teaching commitments made for a more relaxed schedule. 
Although I felt somewhat lost for a good while there. It was strange not having to be 'on-the-go'.

I had bronchitis early in 2015 - the sickest I can ever remember feeling.
They say when you relax is when sickness can happen. Kind of making room for it.

I again entered the Battle of the Beadsmith with my "Francesca" design and lasted for a few rounds, That was nice to have happen.
I released my "Francesca" tutorial and it is one of my best selling tutorials. 

I entered an Australian competition and was in the top ten finalists. Since it was my own beading community, being in the finalists was very gratifying.

I accepted a teaching gig in USA for 2016 which I am really looking forward to - (more details later).

I managed to have a tutorial published in Beadwork magazine, that was great to achieve. 
You know it takes a year for something like this to happen. Sheesh!!

So, on the achievement level I haven't done too badly.

My passion for beading fluctuated throughout the year, coming and going, returning then leaving again.
New designs have been created - but not shown -  as I have plans for these in 2016.

A long friendship came to an end, without regrets. An even older friendship was renewed and strengthened, with much joy. Wonderful how nature balances !!

My attitude to retiring has shifted somewhat. Having wanted to retire at age 55 (but financially unable to), I am now 65 and financially able to. Earlier this year I realised I enjoy working two days a week. It gets me out of the house and interacting with others - not to mention it pays most of the bills  LOL !
Maybe the "wisdom" gene kicked in as retirement loomed nearer. 
So my job will continue as long as they want me there ! 

Having lived in my current home for over 22 years I am feeling in the need for a change of scenery. 
Maintaining a three bedroom house with front and back gardens is more than I wish for these days.       I have been craving a sea or tree change further out of Sydney but still reachable. 
I am thinking I'll rent my home then rent a property where I would like to live. Sort of  'try before I buy'.  I shall be exploring this further in 2016, after I get my home ready for rental.

That pretty much sums up the events of my year. How would I describe the year ??  
I would say 2015 was 'Grounding' - bringing me back to earth, back to myself, helping me to see 
where I want to go in the near future.

So with the ending of 2015 I wish all a Very Happy New Year
and may 2016 bring your heart's desire.