Thursday, July 31, 2008

Phoenician Scarab

Another Beading Forum challenge, another chance to learn a new technique.

This time it was bead embroidery.

I had some ceramic scarab beetles which I'd bought as a teenager...they seemed appropriate for the theme, so I dug them out and used them as the basis for my necklace. I knew I'd been keeping them for a reason *light bulb moment* I sewed one onto a piece of stiff felt and away I went.

Again, I had no real plan of attack when I started's another piece which evolved of it's own accord. Can it be called 'designing' when you make something up as you go along? That's a loaded question...will file it away for a rainy day.

I fell head-over-heels for bead embroidery because of this piece. And it is still one of my favourite techniques. It almost feels like cheating though because it seems so easy compared to some off-loom techniques. Cheating or not, it is grrrrreat.

Here's my Phoenician Scarab:

And a close-up shot of the main pendant:

And a photo of the back of the pendant:

Dark Star of the Sea

My second seed bead creation was for another Beading Forum challenge, this time the theme being "Davy Jones' Locker".

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to create something for such a wicked and evocative theme, so I set to work. I took it as a chance to learn some new techniques...a challenge within a challenge, if you will. "Dark Star of the Sea" was what ensued. In my strange and warped mind, I envisaged Davy Jones manifesting himself in the form of an evil starfish. Hey, if the 'Adventures of Peregrine Pickle' says he rules over all sea creatures, so do I!

I created my evil starfish using five separate diamonds in brick stitch. The waves of the ocean were represented by the necklace, a peyote ruffle in three different hues of blue...and the seaweed was made with branch fringing with little shells and critters hiding amongst them.

These pics are was an overcast day and this was the best I could do. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. The starfish is made with black AB (AB = Aurora Borealis for those non-beaders) seedies and has a wicked sheen to it which doesn't come through in the photos. It looks much better in real life...I'm serial!

Forget-Me-Not bracelet

Ok, now that I've gotten the crud out of the way, we can get to the good stuff.

Forget-Me-Not was my first real attempt at creating a piece using seed beads...and my very first original design! And just quietly, I'm still rather chuffed with this little number which I whipped up over a couple of late nights with next-to-no experience under my belt *wink* Hell, I had NO idea what I was making until it was made! That seems to be a common theme in my work these days...hmmmm...

It evolved from a $2 packet of lime and teal (ok, blue and green) el-cheapo seed and bugle beads. I was up late one night and wanted to 'play' so I began to ladder stitch some of the bugles together (not even knowing what ladder stitch was at that point), and thought, "Hmmm, this would make a nice bracelet" I made a strip long enough to fit around my wrist. The fringing came next, differing lengths with a teal (ok, BLUE!) picot on every tip. I made a peyote circle for one half of the toggle, and used an el-cheapo plastic flower bead for the other half. The bracelet was complete but looked rather dull, so I decided some blue daisies would brighten it up and add the right amount of 'cute'. And voila, my first ever seed bead design was born!

My inspiration was a challenge which was titled "Bead Me A Garden" on the Beading Forum (my regular online haunt and a fabulous place for like-minded beady people...see link thatta way ------------>). God knows why I thought my little bracelet was worthy of a challenge (I must have still been on a high from designing and creating my first seedy piece...or I was just delusional from lack of sleep - a newborn baby will do that to you).

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that I actually received votes!!! FOUR WHOLE VOTES!!! Complete and utter strangers actually LIKED my bracelet!!!

That was all the encouragement I needed. With my head full of ideas, my heart full of pride and my ego full of beads, I haven't looked back since. It was the beginning of a love affair...

Oh yeah, here are the pics:

Tried some fancy photography here...a half-burnt piece of firewood never looked so good...

In the beginning...

I've been fascinated with beads since I was a teenager but it has really only been since January this year that I have pursued them with earnest. Our first baby was a few months old and I wanted a quiet hobby to bide my time whilst she slumbered. Granted, she only ever cat-napped for half an hour at a time, so I had to bead at speed! A couple of local bead magazines for inspiration and WHAM! I was utterly hooked.

I began with a few basic projects: a "charm" belt for my Mum, a dangly necklace for my brother's girlfriend... but it was the seed bead projects I saw in magazines and on the net which really captured my imagination. I was especially drawn to off-loom bead weaving techniques, bead embroidery, sculptural 3-D work and ‘art’ pieces. The more I found, the more I wanted. The laptop covered in drool and my jaw sitting on the floor, I was utterly captivated…and remain so.

I thought I would post a few pics of my first attempts to illustrate how my bead-journey has been travelled in just over 6 months, and also to show how my style and skills have evolved. And I don’t mean that in an egotistical way…but, for a beginner, I am fairly ambitious in the designs I devise. Perhaps it is a good thing to not know one’s limits?

So here is my first necklace, created in January '08 (please excuse the woeful has improved tenfold since):

Ergh...looking at that photo now, I think a monkey could have done a better job. Still, you have to start somewhere I guess.

Here is my first attempt at some off-loom beadweaving...a lariat consisting of modified Russian leaves hanging off a strand of peyote ruffles:

Again, ergh. Looking at them now, my first beading attempts seem so...poor. It is an exercise in embarrassment to post these photos here. However, I shall do it for posterity...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welcome to Bead Fetish!

I finally decided to hop on the bead-blog bandwagon and create my very own slice of cyber space for all things beady.

The little buggers seem to have taken over my life (a slight exaggeration...although my husband would agree that the house has been overtaken at the very least). So it's only fitting that I blog all about this multi-coloured madness.

I'll be posting photos of my creations, throwing ideas around, venting frustrations, et al, ad nauseum.
So follow me down the yellow bead road as I attempt to bead outside the box!

Until the next bead,