Sunday, August 23, 2015

eTutorial for my "Francesca" necklace is now available


Click on the picture above and you will be taken to my Artfire store for the "Francesca" tutorial.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Making the Count

I thought it a good idea to start sharing some of my beading insights and skills after all I have been beading for nine years now and surely have learnt some "tricks of the trade". I would also like to make this a practice on my blog and aim to share something more regularly - if I dont get too busy.

To start I would like to talk about doing a peyote bezel for a rivoli or a lunasoft cabachon - especially since I use so many of them.
My Seed Bead Count for Rivolis using size 11/0s:
In the nine years I have been beading I have found it easiest to double the millimetre size of the
rivoli and add four seed beads - it is as simple as that.
12mm Rivoli   12 x 2 + 4 = 28 seed beads
14mm Rivoli   14 x 2 + 4 = 32 seed beads
16mm Rivoli   16 x 2 + 4 = 36 seed beads
18mm Rivoli   18 x 2 + 4 = 40 seed beads

I know other artists will dispute this and that is okay. I have heard, and tried, other designers methods and over time found my method to be reliable - because I make it so.

You may say - "but what about the different types of seed beads???" That is a good question.

For this post, I am talking about using Japanese seed beads. Not Czech, Not Delicas, just Japanese seed beads and there are a lot of varieties.

Here you see a pic of some seed beads on a needle. You will note there are a variety of sizes even though they are the same seed bead from the same tube. Most seed beads have variations in size - you will get very thin ones, thin ones, medium ones, largish ones - all within the same tube of seed beads.

Artist's Tip: When beading, it pays to weed out the seeds that are too small and/or too large. I do not put them in my work. Whenever I have included noticeably different sized seed beads in my work my eye always notices that 'bump' or that 'dip' in the work. Very annoying!!  So I recommend you get used to culling seed beads.

You may ask - "But what about Toho seeds or Miyuki seeds?"  Yes, there are those seeds that are really good at being the same in size - BUT - you will still get some that are smaller/bigger.

This is where my theory comes into play.
I want to make a centrepiece, I want to have 10 pearls around the outside coming off the rivoli bezel. I require four seed beads in between each pearl to make it fit and not warp -
10 pearls x 4 seed beads in between = 40 seeds around my bezel. An 18mm rivoli is needed (see above chart).

When I am about to bezel a rivoli, I pick up my required number of size 11/o seed beads, I put my needle through the first bead picked up to turn it into a circle. I then place my rivoli inside that circle to see how it sits. Is it too small/tight??  Is it too large/loose??


Here you have a pic of two rings with a rivoli inside each. The seed beads are from the same tube, the rivolis are an 18mm, the seed count is the same.

The top one is picking up any seed bead from the tube and is too small.

The bottom one has a mixture of medium to large seed beads from that same tube. Notice the difference??  It fits the rivoli better !

The third image shows the seed bead rings and you can clearly see how much larger the bottom one is.

Is this confusing??  What I am saying is look through your seed beads and pick up the size of seed bead that will give you the count you require.

Making the Count to suit the seed bead: I wanted to use a particular colour Czech seed bead in a bezel once. I also wanted forty seeds in my count. Czech are smaller and would have required 46 seeds. So to achieve my needs I picked up 40 Japanese seed beads in the original ring to fit the rivoli,  then I used the Czech seeds in the peyote. That worked well as each time we do a row we want the bezel to reduce in size to surround the rivoli.

This method is simple and easily achievable. I hope my examples and the explanations are easy to understand. Should you need further clarification drop me a line.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Battle of the Beadsmith 2015 - The making of my design "Francesca's Farfalle"




When I design I usually start with a centrepiece, then I make a ‘rope’ to suit. I worked in reverse for this design. I made the necklace section first - see image one.

For a competition like Battle of the Beadsmith I needed a little bit 'more' in my design. After all it is a competition.

I came up with another idea to increase the size of the necklace - see image two






I designed a "star" centre piece with some new components making another necklace. I had a job ahead of me adding the second section to the first. I wasn't certain of the rivoli sizes needed and originally made the joining sections with 16mm rivolis. 
This proved to be too large, causing it to buckle and impossible to join. Everything had to be pulled apart and 14mm rivolis used - see the unattached section in image two.





I had success eventually but felt my design still needed MORE. 
I tried adding pearls around the outer edge - see image three.

Standing back to look at the addition my first impression was - "the pearls look like something other people would do". I wasn't happy with them.


With pearls removed I added two half components to my piece for a better gradual widening - see image four.
I was finished and I lived with what I had for almost two weeks.

It is strange but over time I came to dislike the negative spaces formed between the two sections. I was happy with the colours, happy with the 'rope', happy with the second section but I wasn't happy with the two sections joined. 









I thought maybe if I added something extra I may like it more, so I added the small drop at the base of the 'star' centrepiece - see image five.

That was better and again I thought I am finished.



But not for long!!!


The negative spaces continued to annoy me. I felt the 'rope' was less than it should be so I pulled the two sections apart, revealing my favourite part of my design again. I was back to square one -
see image one.

Another, 'better' centrepiece was required. I improved my star shape centre, glammed it up a bit then made another smaller bezel,  joining them to form image six.

Yay!! I was happy and I was finished - again. 

I did feel the centrepiece was a tad on the large side, I even tried to make another star just a bit smaller. Me being me I try to improve on things and my next attempt didn't work satisfactorily so I had had enough by this stage and decided to go with the large star centre.

BUT not for long!!!

The closing date for the competition was approaching and it was picture taking time.

I took quite a lot of images and I showed a couple of my beading buddies and the feedback was "maybe if you take the pic at such and such an angle your centre may not look so LARGE.

I tried and tried but to no avail!! The bloody centre was JUST TOO DAMN BIG!!

Off it came.

I finally made another of the bezelled rivolis and took it further - see image eight.

I was very happy with this one and felt it was finally done.

I liked my rope, I liked my small centrepiece bezel and I liked the new centrepiece bezel as it was a combination of both the rope and the small bezel. It was integrated and complete - pheeew!! just in time for pic taking and meeting the deadline.



I wanted to write this post to show all the toil there can be in a competition piece. 
I want to convey not all designs come easily. Maybe if I had done what I usually do, centrepiece first then rope I may not have had as much trouble. I will never know.
The journey along the way has taught me so much, new ideas and centres will spring from this
so called 'toil'. More like my passion for designing.

In the end I am very pleased with
'Francesca's Farfalle' and my entry has been very well received by the beading community,
beyond my expectations.
PS: the large Star centrepiece I sold to my neighbour as she loved it. 
It is now a pendant on its own.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

My Starman Trendsetters earrings called "Sunray"


I have previously mentioned being a Starman Trendsetter and today I can show these
new earrings I designed for them. They are called 'Sunray'.

I am also happy to say these feature in the latest Starman catalogue also, happy dance.

The tutorial is now listed in my Artfire store, just click on the image above
or the Artfire link on the side bar.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Working with the new Czechmates Crescent two hole bead

As you may know I am a Starman Trendsetter, which means I receive newly designed beads and I get the chance to play with them and see what I can create.

How good is that?

Image 1 - Here is the newly released Czechmate Crescent two hole bead. Like a Moon shape aren't they?

Having had a lot of other commitments to get done I had not had much time for just sitting and bead playing. So when I made the time I picked the Crescents to play with. Also me being me, I had to have some bright colours also.

My aim here is to show you the different looks you get with the placement of the crescent. Image 2 - on the right - you have the crescent ends pointing upwards.
When I reached this point I felt it was okay BUT worried about the points catching on other clothing or scratching someone.

Image 3 - on the left - The pendant was taken back to the bezel and this time I added the crescents in with the end points facing downward. It made for a tighter, more compact design, no points to scratch anyone.

BUT - I wasn't happy with the result.

I felt you couldn't see the back layer of green fire polished beads enough.

Image 4 - on the right - I placed the crescents with the inside end tucked under the mauve size 11/o seed beads. I felt the result was interesting enough and went ahead finishing off the pendant

BUT - I had a nights sleep and woke thinking "I can do better". So, again, the pendant was taken back to the rivoli bezel.

Image 5 - on the left - I needed to increase the circumference for adding in the crescents. I could do that using seed beads but decided I wanted a rigid and 'instant'  extension so I went with 3mm bugle beads (hard to see in the pic).

This gave me the larger circumference I wanted also a greater angle to the crescents for adding the fire polish and the round beads.
When adding in the orange beads I could see the green fire polish weren't going to be large enough. as the circumference has increased more than expected. I was happy with that so a colour change happened and I was able to add in a blue 5mm dyed howlite round bead.

So the end result was great curves, great showing of all beads in each layer and an attractive pendant.  I shall sleep soundly tonight.




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Starman Trendsetters





Last year I applied and succeeded to be a Starman Trendsetter - read my post dated August 18 for more information.

Above are two of my designs made for Starman Trendsetters and alongside is a closer look at the pendant. I hope you like them

Two more of my designs are not being shown as yet. I am very excited to say one will become a free tutorial handout and the other will appear later in the year in a publication.

I am doing the Happy Dance !!

Monday, January 26, 2015



On January 13th the British beading magazine Bead & Jewellery - 44th Diamond issue was released.

I am thrilled to say there is a four page story in the magazine about my jewellery journey, also showing some designs I have not shown before.

The proof pages are listed here for you to take a look at.  

If you are wanting to purchase the magazine digitally or hard copy you can click on the image above and you will be taken there OR copy and paste the link below

http://www.beadmagazine.co.uk/magazine.html






Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Teaching at Jellybeads in Mogo, NSW




Last Saturday I taught two short classes in a shop called Jenny Jellybeads in a town called Mogo, on the south coast of New South Wales. 


The town of Mogo was born with the discovery of gold in the 1850’s in the cabbage tree creek. At its peak in the gold rush days Mogo had several hotels and churches, a host of shops and a public school. However the boom was short lived and Mogo gradually declined to become a sleepy backwater.

In the 1980’s Mogo became home to a small group of artists and craftspeople, some of whom still operate in town today. Mogo has continued to evolve, attracting people with sophisticated creative flair. Mogo’s architectural heritage has been maintained with shops and dwellings being built to compliment the surviving miners cottages.

These buildings are now galleries and speciality shops brimming with traditional and modern art, exotic and unusual artefacts, elegant jewellery and home decor, ceramics, collectables, antiques and cafes. This rare blend of contemporary style with old world charm brings a rich cultural feel to Mogo offering visitors to the area a most enjoyable shopping experience in a relaxed atmosphere.

Here are some of the ladies in the class, starting with the shop owner Jenny
(on the right in green) then there is a designer well known in Australian beading circles Christina Armstrong (in red), Judith Brodie (in coral)  and 
Elca Cooper (in turquoise) - also wearing one of my flower necklace designs.

We had a great time, a lot of laughs and enjoyed the day - or so they told me - I hope they weren't just being nice. LOL

Jenny is hoping to promote Summer Workshops in her store each year and I am very pleased I could be part of her plans. It is most definitely worth keeping an eye on what's on in her shop. http://www.jellybeads.com.au 

I almost forgot - what did I teach?? I taught my "Mojo" earrings and my "Blooming Spikes" ring. The tutorials for each are now in my Artfire store - click the link on the right.


Monday, January 5, 2015

"The Victor's Laurel"

    I want to release as many tutorials as I can this year as I shall
be retiring from my part time job. I reckon it is time to put both feet into
one camp - meaning concentrate on jewellery.

First up is a necklace that I designed in 2010 and the tutorial has been requested by a number 
of Facebook friends over the last couple of years. 
My "Laurel" necklace because it reminds me of a laurel wreath.
The tutorial has instructions for both images. Click on the first image and it will take you to my shop.