Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Evolution of a Collar

Since I have made a pact with the lovely Sharon of Mana Moon Studios to catch and finish some UFO's (that is, Unfinished Objects...not alien spaceships), I thought I would post some photos as proof I am keeping my word ;-)

Here is how this collar has evolved over the last six months. Yes, you read correctly. It has been a work-in-progress for THAT long!

*hangs head in shame*

It all starts with inspiration, and a sketch. Not necessarily in that order. And not always with a sketch. In this case, I sketched first THEN looked for inspiration. Weird? Perhaps, but that's just how I roll.

My initial sketch

The end result is, quite often, absolutely nothing like my original idea. This piece is no different, as you will see. I wasn't sure if I wanted to bead hummingbirds or butterflies. After finding this gorgeous pic of a ruby-throated hummingbird, my mind was made up.

Inspiration (photo courtesy of

I beaded one hummingbird and then, as so often happens when I begin beading, I decided to change my initial idea of three hummingbirds encircling the neck. Instead, my vision changed to a solitary hummingbird nestled amongst a garden of brightly hued blossoms.
The completed hummingbird

Well, I beaded flower after flower, and NOTHING worked. You can't even begin to imagine the amount of unpicking I had to endure.

*insert image of me ripping my hair out by the roots*

Most of my floral pieces are dimensional. However, dimensional flowers would engulf and overpower my 'flat' hummingbird. And flat flowers just wouldn't work. Or should I say, I couldn't make them work.

My 'work station'...a trusty 'ol Stable Table with a folded baby's swaddle cloth as a 'bead mat' to prevent beads rolling around. Yeah no expense spared, I went all out ;-)

So I gave up on the flower idea and decided I would create a simple background upon which my solitary hummingbird would take centre stage. As the background would also be 'flat', I wanted to create patterns which would create the illusion of movement and provide visual interest, without overpowering my hummingbird. Swirls were the solution.

Am I sick of blue beads yet...?

I tried many different colours and finishes of seed beads before I settled on the gorgeous transparent sky-blue beads sent to me by the very generous Nicole Campanella. It was rather fateful that these delicious seedies made their way into my life when they did...I think they compliment my hummingbird rather well.

So this is where I'm at. Swirls and swirls of blue beads.

I'm unsure how the finished collar will look, what fabric/backing will suit the collar, what style of clasp I will use, what kind of fringe (if any) will be required to compliment the piece, etc, etc. So many questions, so few answers. Trial and error is a large part of my beadwork. I rarely bead a piece from start to finish with a completed vision in my mind. I make things up as I go along. I like to live on the edge ;-) Heh.

Stay tuned for more progress photos!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ivory & Lemon Pendant

Wearing jewellery is somewhat of a luxury for me these days.

My 15 month old daughter believes it's her duty to liberate me of any adornments. She has the strength of The Incredible Hulk, so my poor jewellery doesn't stand a chance. It's easier to just not wear jewellery anymore than try to grapple with her to pry my precious pieces from her powerful paws.

Being as I'm so adornment-deprived, I'll take any excuse to dress up and wear jewellery!

Our third wedding anniversary last month was the perfect excuse to wear one of my original creations as we were baby-free for a few hours. I'd started this pendant eons ago, and never got around to finishing it. Story of my beady-life, really. I had a particular outfit in mind when I chose this colourway, and it just so happened that I was wearing said outfit to dinner. Bingo, time to finish a UFO! (That is Unfinished Object, not alien spaceship, btw).

It is a bead-embroidered pendant, with a sprinkling of assorted beads and polymer clay roses created by my supremely talented Mum :) I had planned on hanging the pendant from a matching spiral rope, but time got the better of me (doesn't it always?), so I hung it from a simple strand of glass pearls which I'd had lying around collecting dust since my days of working in an office.

The waitress in the restaurant kept staring at my chest whenever she walked past our table. Either she really liked my pendant, or she really liked my cleavage. We'll never know.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy, happy new year

As usual I'm fashionably late...this time it is in wishing you all the happiest of new years.

May 2009 be your best year yet in every possible way! :)

My new year started in the most delightfully unexpected way. I received an email from the ultra-lovely Nicole Campanella of BeadWright with the news that I was the winner of her monthly contest for free beads! Winning some free beads is as simple as leaving a comment on Nicole's blog...if your name is drawn out of the hat at the end of the month, you can expect to receive a little package from Nicole in your mailbox. You can also win free beads by visiting Nicole's website and answering a question. How easy is that!

My little package arrived in the mail this morning, all the way from the US. Here are the contents:

Aren't I lucky! *smug*

There are two hanks of Czech seed beads in the most luscious shade of sky-blue. I have already pulled them out of their packet and run my fingers over them too many times to count today...their quality is obvious! I will be saving these beauties for a special project. My package also contained a kit with 14 assorted sizes and colours of Nicole's Bead Backing. The quality and texture of this felt is really fantastic, not to mention the glorious colours! You can get your hands on either of these beady products (and many more) at Nicole's Etsy store or Art Fire store.

I am thrilled to be the recipient of these wonderful and unexpected gifts. It was like opening a little package of happiness, and I don't think I've stopped smiling since :)

Nicole's generosity is something to be admired...and something that we should all aspire to :)