January 2009


handmade-valentine

Now through February 8th, I’m participating in an online craft show.  It’s called the i heart handmade valentine show and is put on by the American Craft Guide.  I think they’ve done a nice job putting the show together, they are doing some give-aways, and do a spotlight on different artists participating in the show. 

Here’s a link to my page – http://handmadeshow.com/2009/01/the-bead-dreamer/

manytooneThis necklace design is called a “many to one” necklace, meaning that part of the necklace has many strands and part has one strand.

The first time I saw one of these that was handcrafted, I asked the designer – how did you deal with all of those thread ends?  I thought that each of the “many” strands was an individual thread that had to be terminated or knotted off in some fashion – and it’s hard to hide a whole lot of knots especially in the front of a necklace.  She very generously explained that you cut the beading wire for the “one” pieces and crimp one end on each leaving a small loop.  Then, using a long piece of beading thread, begin adding the “many” strands working back and forth from one of the small loops to the other.  This leaves two ends which are then knotted between the beads, hidden, and secured with a drop of glue.  The “one” sections are then completed in a complementary design.

I modify this slightly by taking a second long strand of beading thread and making sure I have done two passes through each of the “many” strands to make sure the necklace is strong enough.  This gives me four ends to deal with rather than two, but with so many strands there are plenty of places to terminate them.  I tie a short bit of string around each strand when I have done the second pass to make sure I get them all.  I remove the strings when I am done.

I think the “many to one” technique is great and I have used it for bracelets as well.  I think what’s even better is the willingness of so many in the arts and crafts community to share techniques and ideas with one another.

leaf-bead-bracelet

 A week or so ago I wrote about some glass leaf beads I was experimenting with.   At the time, I wasn’t sure what I would make, only that I wanted to stack or layer them in some way.  Well, I ended up making this bead encrusted cuff bracelet and I love it.

I layered the leaf beads in a staggered, overlapping pattern that causes them to almost look more like feathers than leaves.  I then added a strip of randomly placed purple/blue/teal matte beads in contrast to the more precise alignment of the leaf beads.

The bracelet feels good to touch and hold because of the weight of the beads.  It also has a sculptural feel to it and is definitely different from any I have done before.  I’m glad I experimented and let myself have some playtime with this.  It allows me to see the bracelet form as a canvas in a different manner than I did before.

beaded-purseMost of the time I make jewelry, but occasionally, I make other items like the little purse shown here.   I made each of the flowers, leaves, and other items using peyote stitch, brick stitch, and a stitch or two I made up to get the job done.  Even though I don’t do it very often, I do know how to sew and also made the little bag.  My mother taught me how to sew when I was growing up and it is a skill I am grateful to have.

I arranged the beaded flowers and other items and then hand-stitched each of them to the bag.  This is the only beaded flower bag I’ve made.  It’s in my personal collection.  Will there be others?  We’ll see…

After yesterday’s historic inauguration and President Obama’s speech, I feel a sense of hope about my country that I have not felt in a long time.  As I watched, I felt a renewed commitment and a willingness to do my share to make things better.  Today, on Oprah, I heard about Starbuck’s offer of a free coffee to anyone willing to pledge to do five hours of community service.

My first thought was of a local park I enjoy.  I wrote a post about an artist’s date at the park.  There is a place where a small foot bridge crosses over a stream.  The last time I was there, I saw a lot of litter.  I could clean it up to help my nation and my community.  OK – I will need one of those litter stick things and gloves – anyone who knows me knows I am neat and clean.  However, what really matters is that – I am in.

im-in

meghanearrings2Thrift stores and yard sales are excellent places to find items to use in jewelry photography.  Little boxes, dishes, vases, frames, and other items can add dimension and interest to photographs.  Early on, I found photographing earrings to be a daunting task, mainly because I tried to do it with the earrings laying flat.  Then I realized that shooting them hanging was much better and that many cups, vases, and other items were just perfect for the task. 

These earrings were photographed on an old pitcher I got at a thrift store.  It was yellow with roses on it and I painted one side a bronze color and the other the gold color shown here.  Perfect for photographing earrings, a bargain, and reuse of an item that had completed its service elsewhere.

leafbeadsI bought these glass leaf beads a while ago and just love them.  I was able to get them in a few different colors and they just feel wonderful because of their rounded edges and matte finish.  I’ve used them in the past in some simple strung designs that I felt came out very pretty.  However, in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to try them stacked or layered in some fashion.

I took a bit of stiffened felt, my beading needles and thread, and just set out to play.  Here you can see some of my experimentation.  I’m not sure where I will end up with this.  Right now, I’m just enjoying the journey.

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