Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy days

It has been one of those happy, happy days today...

I was delighted to receive the news that my 'Symphonie de Tulipes' won the popular vote in the Dutch Spiral challenge on the Beading Forum.


This doesn't mean it is the best creation (how can there be a 'best' when each piece is beautiful and unique in it's own right?), nor the most technically challenging or well-crafted, nor the best suited to the theme. It just means that my peers like my work. One of those feel-good moments, to be sure.

Also, I passed my Boat Licence test this morning. So you can now address me as 'Skipper'. Heh ;-)

A typical sunset over the bay near home

Now, if only there were a way to combine beading and boating...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Symphonie de Tulipes

My Dutch Spiral Challenge piece is finally complete. Six weeks of learning, experimenting, hair-pulling, frustration, elation...phew!

I had never 'engineered' a piece as complex as this before, so it was a challenge on many levels but I thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every stitch. During the construction of this necklace, it became apparent how little I really knew about beadweaving. The learning curve has been steep, but satisfying. And the end result is a piece I can be proud of:

Symphonie de Tulipes
(Symphony of Tulips)
My 'Symphony' contains no less than six different beadweaving techniques...four of which I had never tried, and had to learn for this challenge:

*Brick stitch
*Odd-count peyote
*Tubular peyote
*Two-drop herringbone
*Tubular herringbone
*Dutch spiral

The necklace can be worn a number of different ways, thanks to a tubular peyote loop which slides up and down the tubular herringbone 'stems'. As above, or like this:

Or like this:

The entire piece laid out:
I spent many hours working on the design of my tulips. The jury is still out on whether they actually resemble tulips, but I'm fairly pleased with the end result as it was my first attempt creating dimensional flowers. I had fun experimenting with colour graduation, each tulip contains three different shades of seed beads. No two tulips are the same...each petal is different!

A close-up of the tubular peyote loop:

And the herringbone 'bell':

I was planning on making a beadwoven clasp, but simply ran out of time. Instead, I tapered off the dutch spiral ends using peyote stitch, and used a simple silver clasp. Voila!

If you managed to make it through all of those photos, you deserve a gold medal! Thanks for looking :)