Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Earring Design

After almost 5 hours of experimentation I finally came up with this design and one I am really happy with.

A large Swarovski drop that throws off, aqua, teal, turquoise, purple, pink, with Czech fire polished crystals and glass with gold plated seed beads on rolled gold ear hooks.

This pair I had to make as I needed to ensure the pattern stays in my head permanently.

I have had these Czech fire polished drops for two and a half years and teamed up with Swarovski bicones, gold plated seed beads and rolled gold ear hooks I think I have a very nice design happening.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Battle of the Beadsmith 2013

The Battle of the Beadsmith is on again and it is bigger than ever.

Next Monday - April Fool's Day - 192 International artists (including me) pick up their needles and design.
We have 8 weeks to create our ideas and submit our images. In June a panel of judges, as well as participants, then vote for their favourites and eliminations start.

The world will be seeing 192 new pieces of art and believe me I think this year will be better than ever.
If you are wanting to see the entries and follow your favourites I recommend you join the Facebook Page
BOTB13, link below:

I have purchased all my ingredients, a few things still to arrive, and I have done my sample test to see if my
idea works and it does. So I am ready to rock !!
I was knocked out in Round 1 by a beaded bag last year and the woman I am up against for Round 1 this year is also a bag maker. Hopefully I will travel further.

Wish me luck everyone,

Friday, March 22, 2013

My design Process

As some of you know I teach jewellery making to beginners at a school in Sydney. 
Often I get comments from students that imply someone, as experienced as myself, design items really easily. They get a surprise when I tell them it takes me hours to make one earring, sometimes more, especially when experimenting.

So I decided I would share a design process with you.
Here we have two earrings I have been working with and this is their story. 

The one on the right
 I had a vision in my mind of an oval earring with diamantes at each end and twin beads down the sides so yesterday morning I set out to make it. This experiment took me 5 hours to make as there is a lot of doing and undoing when figuring out how to get your vision and how to make it.

Along the way I got distracted by the large drop sitting beside my bead mat - I had purchased the day before - and thought it would be nice to incorporate that in the earring.
So happily I sat making and figuring it all out and adding the drop. I was pretty thrilled with how it looked and was very keen to finish.

When I finish a piece I put it in my view and I regularly look at it. 
Viewing my work this way lets me see what I do/don't like about the design, what irritates me, 
what doesn't work, what catches the eye, what looks unbalanced etc etc.

Very shortly I disliked the earring.
 I wanted to remove the montees, I felt it was too large (weighing 8 grams and 64mm long), too 'busy' in the earring attachment and too bulky in the drop attachment. I did like the 'ovalness' of this design which was my vision. I resolved to have another go making the changes.

The one on the left
Here we have this morning's experiment. 
Because I knew what I wanted and how it was done this took me only two hours to make.
I took out what I didn't like, no montees, moved the drop up into the centrepiece making the attachment more simple, designed a better and prettier earring attachment. 
I feel this earring is more pleasing to the eye, less 'busy' and weighs in at 7 grams and is 53mm long.

Am I happy with the second experiment you may ask?
No I am not!!
The centrepiece is a rectangular Swarovski bead and in this second design the 'squareness' is more accentuated, not something I thought a problem as I was making it. 
As I sit and view it - I don't like it! 
Now I remember my vision was an oval bead and what I liked in the first one was its ovalness.
So I will attempt to make another and remove the squareness to get a more oval shape.

In summary, experimenting and coming up with new ideas is not simple to an experienced designer. There are many hours of working out how to make it, what works and looks good and what doesn't work.
Just take these two earrings - a total of 7 hours of work - and really there is nothing to show for it other than the learning.
I am back to making another and hopefully I will get it right this time - and guess what ? if I do like earring number three I have to make another one to match. 
So all in all making the third and then the fourth you are looking at about 11 hours of work to come up with a pair of earrings and fulfil an idea. 

Sheeesh!!!  designing is really easy for an experienced beader they say... NOT!
There actually is a lot of work however the work is one of love and passion. I create because I love to create,  I cannot get enough of it sometimes, it rules my life, it has taken over my home, my thought patterns, my social life has dwindled etc etc....and I have never been happier. 

Maybe you will say I am 'picky' - sure, I may be, but then that is my design ethic. 

I want it how I want it and I want it to be stunning !!

Sunday, March 10, 2013


And here is the finished piece - Goldflower.

I made a bale of right angle weave and embellished it with Chinese crystal rhondelles matching the 'flower' petals. A cubic right angle weave (CRAW) rope in ivory seed beads highlighted with gold finishes it off beautifully.

A necklace I am very happy with and have listed in my Etsy shop for sale. Click on the link below.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What drives my Beading?

I truly admire the wonderful ladies that create beautiful jewellery, write the tutorials and run businesses selling their patterns on the internet. They absolutely amaze me.

Sometime ago I was worrying about retirement and how I would maintain my lifestyle. 
I then discovered jewellery making and a little voice in my head said 
"THIS is how you can retire and earn those extra dollars to live"

So off I set, learning everything I could in bead-weaving. Get out of my way, man on a mission !!
I wanted to retire all set up to earn an income through beading and didn't have time to 'waste'.  
That was my attitude leading up to the end of 2010. Not pleasant to be around during that time. 

As 2011 approached I realised I couldn't afford to stop work AND my being at home, alone, beading 24/7 would not be healthy for me. I needed some interaction with others in life.

I now work 2 days a week in a job I have done for over 30 years. The money I earn pays my bills and stops me worrying about finances. I relaxed.

I realised that whilst I am driven to make money from jewellery making I set myself up for disappointment. Many a time I have made something I love, costed it fairly, displayed it to its best advantage and put it out there to sell. With earning money driving me - and when it doesn't sell - I get very disillusioned and very disheartened. I have come close, a number of times, to giving away the jewellery making, especially in the early days. 

Also a successful designer once told me not to be a beader as quote "gone are the days when we had shoe boxes of money under the bed. The Chinese have cheapened jewellery making and we cannot compete" unquote. I sat with that feedback for a few days and decided 
"that is his belief it is NOT going to be mine".

I make jewellery for the sheer pleasure of being creative. I love what I do, it brings me so much joy. 
How many people can say that about their lives??

I am fortunate enough to have this attitude as I sit and bead. I do make effort to sell my work and I am thrilled there are women who love my designs. The funny thing is jewellery making doesn't 'cost' me anything. The amount of sales I make more than covers the outlay so it pays for itself. 

How fortunate I am having a passion I love, look forward to doing each day and have the luxury of not worrying about money.

So my admiration for you ladies earning a living from jewellery is huge - 
more power to all of you !!