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!


  1. Wow!! I'm constantly inspired by your creativity, you're just amazing Belinda!! This piece will be gorgeous and I'm hanging my head in shame as I've hardly begun. Can I use the excuse that I've been working on my website though?? ;-) As soon as it's completed I'll be right there with you. You're such an angel!

    In the meantime please stop by my blog when you have a moment as I've left you an award, hugs♥

  2. Oh alright, I'll let you off this time if you've been busy working on your website ;) hehe

    Thank you so much for the gorgeous award, Sharon! I'm very humbled, I love the meaning behind it. Thank you! *mwahhh*

  3. *bowing* Thank you dear friend. *runs off to finish website while ducking UFOs* Aaaahhh! ;-)

  4. Nothing to be ashamed of when you don't start something immediately :) Don't you find it easier and somehow more soothing when you start something when you're READY to start? Go with the flow when the flow starts, never before :) It's working out to be a lovely piece.

  5. Yes, you're absolutely right Vampi! I think that's exactly why this UFO has remained untouched for so long. I can't *force* creativity.

    It's all flowing nicely now, so I guess this piece is ready to be finished :)

  6. WOW Belinda this is looking great... that wee little bird is adorable... and I love the colours. Can't wait to see this piece in it's finished... no doubt it will be spectacular!

  7. Karyn, thank you! It's coming along slowly but surely :) I had no idea that you had your own blog! LOL I'll be sure to 'follow' you :D


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