Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Pink Bow Brooch

the pink bow brooch

For every crazy, over the top piece that I make I try to balance it out with a simpler more restrained piece.

When I was studying fashion at Uni usually the more over the top pieces would get all the attention so we all tried to outdo one another but there is definitely something to be said about simpler things.

I was utterly surprised when this piece out of all the pieces I had made got the most attention between friends and family. I have to say the whole piece was so quick, easy and simple to make, that I was shocked it was evoking any sort of emotion.

the pink bow brooch

I remember sitting down saying to myself that I wanted to make something simple but I just didn’t want to do a couple of rows around the main cabochon. So once I had the cab glued on my foundation I drew out a bow on the bottom of it and started beading.

The picture in this piece is another Lori Earley painting called “Lee, The Pink Sheep”. The name was a clue as to what colour I should start with and I decided I didn’t want any fuss with this piece so I stuck with pink and black. For just a little bit of sparkle and to define the knot in the bow I used a Hotfix crystal in the middle of the bow.

the pink bow brooch

the pink bow brooch

To finish off the piece I did a did a clean edge using the black hex beads I had used but when I got to the bow part those beads were simply too big and wouldn’t fit so I changed it up to size 15 round seed beads to finish up the edges around the bow. I have to point out that sewing beads to cover up the edges in these narrow corners is not an easy task and it doesn’t always look that clean but I have found out that if I use smaller size beads to finish off the edge they will usually get covered by the larger beads in the last row of the actual bead work so the piece doesn’t look bad at all.

the pink bow brooch

the pink bow brooch

I gifted this piece to my mom. She had asked to use it a couple of times and I thought it was only appropriate for her to have it. But my mom doesn’t live in the US and I really needed pictures of this brooch for my little blog so I would like to thank my lovely friend, Sanaz, for taking these photos for me. She drives me nuts most of the time but I love her to bits. Thank you for helping me out Sanaz!!

the pink bow brooch

LIST OF MATERIALS USED:

 


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A Desolate Brooch!

desolation brooch

Today my camera decided to give me attitude. No matter which way I turned it or how I adjusted the settings it did not want to take a good picture of this brooch and I am sorry the quality of these pictures are not that great.

desolation brooch

I work better with darker colours as I have mentioned before. I find that I am less critical of my work when I used darker colours and that is probably because my brain has been better trained to work with darker colours. But I don’t want all the pieces I make to look the same so I have been experimenting more and more with the silhouettes I was looking at ornate mirrors when I came up with the design for this brooch. Also the curves on the top part of the brooch go hand in hand with the design on the face of the girl in the picture.

The main image in this brooch is from a piece called “Desolation” by Natalie Shau. I am not sure what medium she has used for this piece. The woman looks too realistic to be a painting but there are some artists that you can’t really tell if their work is a painting or a photograph when you look at it. I am not sure if this piece is a photo ,a painting or is mixed media,  but the detail in it is amazing , but it unfortunately doesn’t come through in my pictures but you can see the actual picture here:  http://natalieshau.carbonmade.com/projects/3192174#22

desolation brooch

Usually when I do my beading I like to stick with the two-bead backstitch technique only because in my limited experience they give clean lines and I can cover the whole surface without leaving any gaps with this method. But I find it really hard to do the two-bead backstitch to fill in small spaces so after consulting my beading book  I went with a mixture of picot stitch and lazy stitch to fill the small spaces. As much as I like a picot edge I am not a big fan of the picot stitch. I don’t like the texture it creates (it reminds me of woolly carpets and I was never a fan of those either!!) but it is very effective in filling up small spaces and covering up the backing.

I did a sunshine edge all around so that I could do some edging but when I was done I just didn’t think I needed an edging but the top part felt really heavy and decorated compared to the bottom part of the piece so I ended up adding the dangling part to the bottom to balance the piece out.

 desolation brooch

LIST OF MATERIALS USED:


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The Eye Necklace

 

the eye necklace

One of the fun parts of making bead embroidered pieces for me is finding the focal image. Searching books ,magazines and websites for focal images has led me to discover some amazing contemporary artists. Artists whose work I would probably never have found had it not been for my bead embroidery obsession!!

One such artist is Naoto Hattori. A Japanese artist who I believe is now based in New York. Sometimes reading about all these amazing artists and finding out that they are based in New York or have exhibitions going on in New York makes me really want to drive down to the city more often. I just wish I were a bigger fan of the city. I really don’t understand why I cannot form the same emotional connection with NYC as I have with London!

the eye necklace

 

Most of Naoto Hattori’s work reminds me of Dali’s work. Maybe it’s because of the juxtaposition of elements; with larger pieces surrounded by random smaller objects or the dreamlike quality of work. Whatever it is the work is very captivating and interesting and also a little bit chilling.

The focal image I chose for this piece is called very appropriately “Inner eye”. To me it looks like an eye coming through the desert or very dehydrated greenish skin.

My first instinct was to make it into a brooch but then I thought well, it’s an inner eye and wouldn’t it be more appropriate if it actually lay on the skin. And since a headpiece for me would have been totally unwearable I went with the next best thing: a necklace!

the eye necklace

 

The way the necklace sits on the body makes it look like one has an eye growing out the middle of one’s chest and I like that. And there was a funny incidence where me and a friend were sat in a Pedicab up in NYC and the driver kept turning around to look at me and he finally broke down and said “it is so freaky ,that eye on your chest , its staring at me!” I couldn’t help myself I burst out laughing! Now I suspect that our driver was a little bit high which he denied but he was very amusing! And the way he described the necklace was perfect! To me the fact that he thought the piece was creepy was a compliment! 😀

 

the eye necklace

 the eye necklace detail

 the eye necklace

I did something different with this piece. I have been wanting to use bugle beads in the actual bead embroidered part of the work but the gap that is created by using bugle beads is something that I do not like and initially I wanted to use just bugle all around the eye after the bezel work was done, to kind of make it seem like rays of sun, to make its look like the “inner eye” was shinning through or something cheesy like that. But I just could not get over the gaps. so next best thing was to use it sporadically in the piece and fill up the spaces with seed beads so there would be no gaps. After the beadwork was done I added these unusual sequins that I have had for years which I really wanted to use in a piece and I thought well why not this piece!

 

 

the eye necklace

the eye necklace

For the chain I used a mixture of the seed beads I had used in the bead embroidery part as well as the gold bugle beads. The good thing about using bugle beads and other bigger beads is that they add length to the chain without having to use too many of the beads. Making a whole chain from just seed beads uses up a lot of beads and in the end is not as interesting as using a mixture of bead and it is also not that economical!

 

the eye necklace back

 

LIST OF MATERIALS USED:

 

 


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Golden Cicada Bracelet

Golden Cicada Bracelet
I have been wanting to a completely bead embroidered bracelet ever since I started doing bead embroidery but I though the task was too daunting. There was just too much to consider from foundation, what sort of beads to use, how to finish the piece off and everything in between and I didn’t think I had enough skills to get me through the whole thing.
I kept running different scenarios of what kind of bracelet I wanted, what colour I wanted it to be and all that, and how it should be put together in my head but I really had no idea if my theories would work. I used to do that back in school whenever I had to tackle a new garment pattern. I would analyze everything in my head before getting into it and cutting the fabric and seeing how it would react. No matter how thorough I was in my analytical thinking before my practical work, something would always surprise me when I got to actually see the pattern all the way through.
   Golden Cicada Bracelet
 I knew that the best way to know if my way of putting a bracelet together would work was to actually make one and see. Worse comes to worst I would have to take all the beads off and do something else.
For foundation I measured my wrist and then cut a piece of Lacy’s stiff stuff foundation as well as the Ultrasuede I use for my backing and stitched them roughly together. The reasoning behind this was so that if there were gaps in between the beads the black Ultrasuede would be a better option to show through instead of the white fuzz of the Lacy’s stiff stuff and also the black would make the colours on top look more intense.
       Golden Cicada Bracelet
           Golden Cicada Bracelet Front
Golden Cicada Bracelet
The whole basis behind the design of this particular bracelet was the fact that I really wanted to use some of these crystal and pearl chains that I had just purchased. Everything else in the bracelet from the cabochons to the rest of the beads were chosen to correspond in particular with the pearl chain. I introduced the crystal chain to the sides of the beadwork because as always I wanted more sparkle. As I always say more sparkle is always better 😀
   Golden Cicada Bracelet
I really took my time with this piece and took it one step at a time. I chose a picture by Derek Nobbs who does these very interesting paintings most of which have a skeletal figures in them and you know how I like skulls. This painting is called “Cicada King”. If you are interested in the artist check out his work at http://dereknobbs.com/
 Now I have no love for bugs and insects usually but this painting came closest to the colour scheme I was going with and I also thought it would be an unusual centerpiece for a bracelet that I knew was going to be very elegant and ornate.
           Golden Cicada Bracelet
Golden Cicada Bracelet Detail
Golden Cicada Bracelet
I did my bezel work, and then added my beloved pearl chain followed by another row of gold beads. Then it was time to start the sides of the bracelet. I rummaged through my stuff and found these smaller crystal cabs that gave off the most beautiful sparkle. You can see different hues of pink ,gold and little bit of green and magenta, which really picks up on the colours in the cabochon. For continuity I did a simpler variation of the bezel work I had done around the main cabochon around the smaller cab followed by a row of size 8 frosted white beads stacked with a size 15 gold seed bead. Once I was happy with this side I did the same work on the other side.
     Golden Cicada Bracelet
This was as far as I had planned but when I put the piece around my wrist it was apparent to me that I needed to add some other element to the side and I did have these flat back pearls which went absolutely perfectly.
   Golden Cicada Bracelet
I have to say I never thought a piece could go so smoothly. It just felt like everything was falling into place, I had all the pieces that could go together well and I have to say out of all the stuff I have made up to now, this piece really was a joy to work on. Even the marguerites, which were added as somewhat of an afterthought to cover the Ultrasuede that was showing through a big gap between the beads, worked out well.
   Golden Cicada Bracelet
I really wish all pieces worked out as well as this one did for me. After the main part of the beadwork was done I cut around the piece, glued it on top of another piece of Ultrasuede and did a sunshine edge all around the piece. I attached my toggle clasp and did a picot edge around the main cabochon and the piece was done.
Golden Cicada Bracelet
         Golden Cicada Bracelet
Golden Cicada Bracelet
LIST OF MATERIALS USED:
 

 


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Crystal Macrame Bracelet

crystal macrame bracelet

So this is going to be a very quick post!Every summer I go in search of dainty bracelets to wear stacked on top of each other. I love the way some people have an innate ability to mix metals and friendship bracelets and make it look really cool. I for one have never been good at passing that sort of style off but that hasn’t really stopped me from attempting to mix up different bangles and friendship bracelets especially now that I have started making my own stuff.

I started with the simplest of things .a simple bracelet with a macramé knotted sliding closure. The whole purpose behind this bracelet was to learn the macramé knot, which was something I knew nothing about.

crystal macrame bracelet

I chose a beautiful swarovski crystal as my focal point, the thinnest cording I could find and some size 8 seed beads to make this bracelet.

I looped two long pieces of cord around the crystal and then slid on my beads which was believe me the hardest part of the process as the hole inside the bead was not big enough to accommodate the double cord but luckily the beads were not that uniform in size so every so often I could find one with a larger whole that would let both cords get through. I also put a little bit of glue on the ends of the cord so they would be stiffer and act as a needlepoint so that they would slide through easier.

crystal macrame bracelet

When all the beads were strung I started on my macramé knot. The first few times I tried it the knots kept twisting and I couldn’t figure out why but I finally found a great set of instructions online that told me what I was doing wrong and after that the knot proved to be very easy.

To finish it off I cut the extra cord, added a small seed bead to the end of the cord and knotted them and voila the bracelet was done!

LIST OF MATERIALS USED

2MM UNWAXED GREY CORD

20MM VITRAI LIGHT SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL COSMIC RING

GREY SAGE SEED BEADS SIZE 8


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Claudia Brooch

 

Claudia brooch

I have been obsessing somewhat over Lori Earley’s drawings and my mom has been asking me for a while to make a brooch for a friend of hers.

My mom understandably wanted something that suited her friend’s style and personality and to be honest girly, hearts and flowery stuff are not my style. I like skulls and leather and creepy art like Michael Hussar’s drawings and apparently I am the only one around here that appreciates that sort of things cause every time I wear one of my pieces someone comments on how scary they are!! Oh well what can you do.

Out of all the pictures I had printed up for my cabochons “Claudia” was the least cynical and my mom approved of the picture so I started off the beading.

 Claudia brooch

 

“Claudia” is a graphite on paper sketch so obviously the fact that picture has no colour meant that I didn’t have any colours to try and match my beading to but I wanted to keep the whole thing soft and feminine so I went with the classic silver lined clear beads all the way around the cabochon.

I have to say that a pale cabochon and pale beading did not equal an interesting piece and I didn’t think it would when I was doing it but I was trying to rein myself as much as I could cause this piece wasn’t for me and I tend to go a little crazy with my bead choices sometimes.

 

Claudia broochClaudia brooch

In the end I can say I really tried to keep it simple but I just couldn’t leave the piece, as it was cause it was just plain boring and Claudia deserved better.

I fished out all the larger beads I had in the black and grey family and stitched them on top of the beading that I had already done. it brought a little bit more contrast to the piece and it made it all the more tactile .

Claudia brooch

 

I did a simple clean edge around the piece and the piece was finished in no more than a couple of hours!!

 

Claudia brooch

LIST OF MATERIALS USED:

 

 


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The Crown of Ms.V

the crown of ms.v

You know how sometimes you want to make something super special and whatever you think of doesn’t seem special enough. This is how I felt about this piece.

 I fell in love with the works of Lori Earley when I saw her work in Hi-Fructose magazine a few years ago and this painting titled “Ms. V” was on the cover. There is something about her work that really draws me in. the women are so unusual yet beautiful and there is something somewhat sinister about them which I really like. They are beautiful but dark and mysterious. If you are interested in seeing more of her work you can visit her website at: http://www.loriearley.com/

the crown of ms.v

I wish I knew the story behind this painting but to me Ms. V is very regal and the painting is gorgeous enough so it doesn’t need that much in terms of embellishments but I wanted it too be special and different from the other things that I have made. I racked my brain for a couple of days to come up with a plan for this piece.

the crown of ms.v

I mentioned that I really thought Ms. V looked regal and what is more regal than a crown. The shape I set out creating around the cabochon is reminiscent of a crown in a way. In keeping with the theme I used my favorite gold seed beads and various pearls.

the crown of ms.v

I drew on my crown shape around the cabochon on my foundation to give me an idea of the boundaries I should be working in. After doing my bezel row and a second row of beading all the way around the cab I started on the Crown Point where I used alternating gold and white pearls.

the crown of ms.v

I liked the colours and everything was matching really well but I wanted the crown part more pointed and adding another row of the same pearls wasn’t giving me the effect I was after. The good thing is for some reason I seem to have white pearls in every size and to be honest I am not even sure I have come to own so many different sizes of pearls. I have never been a big fan of pearls but to be completely honest with you they have been great assets in this bead embroidery journey. Every time I have wanted to add a bit of sophistication to the work, or have wanted introduce a new element to my work but not knowing what to actually add, I have turned to these pearls and they seem to go with practically anything, so I am chuffed to bits with them!!!!

the crown of ms.v

I was ready to cut around the piece and finish it off when I had done the top part but on second inspection I thought I it could really do with something on the bottom part to balance the piece and that’s why I added the round part on the bottom. I had an idea of hanging a teardrop pearl from the bottom so that in the end it would look more triangular rather than rounded and mirror what was going on up top but I could not find my teardrop pearls anywhere so I had to improvise and make a shape that somewhat resembled a teardrop shape with the stuff I had on hand and that’s how I came up with the concoction on the bottom. And I think all in all it worked out great. But now I have to go find those teardrop pearls!!!

 the crown of ms.v

the crown of ms.v

To finish off the work completely I added a picot edge only to the top part of the beading to add to the “crown” part and I love how dainty the edge looks.

the crown of ms.v

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white embellished shirt

 white embellished shirt

I have been seeing a lot of shirts with embellished collars around and I have wanted one but unfortunately none of the ones I liked came in my size. Then I thought well I have all these beads and stones why not just make my own.

white shirt

white embellished shirt

I bought a Tommy Hilfiger shirt that I liked and I just placed some crystals and beads on one side of the collar randomly and then tried to repeat the exact pattern on the other side of the collar.

The shirt collar is not completely symmetrical and one side is about a couple of millimeters longer and wider than the other so the beadwork is not exactly the same on both sides, but it is close enough and you wouldn’t be able to notice the difference unless you were really focusing on the beadwork.

white embellished shirt

 I used a variation of crystals and pearls in different sizes. To fill up the gaps I used gold and silver bugle and hex cut beads .I also used an assortment of different dark gold /bronzy beads to pick up on the thread colour that is used all through the shirt and to bring a pop of colour and break the monotony of white on white as well as make the collar stand out a little bit more.

 white embellished shirt

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A Turquoise Bracelet

A Turquoise Bracelet

I have wanted to do a bracelet for a while. To be honest I held back from making one because I thought the project would be too big for me. But rings and bracelets are probably the two types of accessories I tend to use the most so I said to myself that when I find a picture or a stone that I would like as a centerpiece, I would make myself a bracelet.

A Turquoise Bracelet

A while later while skimming through some art magazine, I came across the works of Spanish artist Fernando Vicente. I knew immediately that I had found what I was looking for to use in my bracelet. Going through Vicente’s work, I was amazed at what I saw. His anatomy paintings are just ingenious and I had a hard time choosing which image to use as my focal image. They are just all so beautiful and to make it even better they are already drawn inside a circle, which means no cropping!!!

A Turquoise Bracelet

I settled for this image, which is called “Presentimiento” from his “Vanitas” collection. I like that the work is somewhat eerie but it still looks so beautiful.I made the cabochon and did a simple bezel around it. I used some of the beautiful turquoise seed beads but since I didn’t have enough for all three components I was making I had to alternate it with the green faceted beads from the bead gallery, which was lucky because it added a lot of sparkle.

A Turquoise Bracelet

The focal points in the two side components are from these stud earrings that I just cut the backs off. I used the same design that I had done to go around the element to make the piece cohesive.

A Turquoise Bracelet

After that I had to figure out how to connect all the pieces together. I wanted a three-strand bracelet but the spacer and the clasp that I had on hand had 5 holes in them so I just had to make the adjustments to be able to use the pieces I had. After everything was connected together I did a picot edge around all the three pieces so that they would have a nicely finished edge.

A Turquoise Bracelet

LIST OF MATERIALS USED

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The Evil Queen

the evil queen

A few months or so ago when I was stocking up on my reading materials when I happened upon this book called “Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen” that had the most amazing painting of snow white’s evil queen on the book sleeve. I should not have been surprised, I mean snow white seems to be everywhere right now; in movies, TV series and now books. It’s like she has been rediscovered again after 70 years.

I was tempted enough to buy the book just because of the cover but I am not a huge snow-white fan. To me it’s not the most interesting Disney cartoon. I am a huge “The Little Mermaid” fan, I think she is the best Disney princess ever but my mom would beg to differ. To her the best Disney cartoon will always be Cinderella!!

Disney really does have some gorgeous villains. For me Maleficent has to be the most beautiful but Evil Queen is a very close second.The cover art for the book only shows half of the evil queen’s face so in order to make a center cabochon for my necklace I made a flip of the picture in Photoshop and then connected the two pictures together to make her whole face.

the evil queen

Lately I have been thinking that there is probably an easier way to make my cabochons than pouring resin, which is extremely time consuming and the results are not always great. I finally decided to go with the clear glass domes. I wasn’t really sold on the idea of using the clear glass domes because I thought they would be too heavy for jewelry pieces but I was pleasantly surprised to find these glasses are extremely light. This method makes the cabochon making process incredibly fast and easy and I only have to wait a few minutes for the glue to dry and I am ready to start beading. No more hours of pouring resin and biting nails and wondering will they or won’t they come out OK. The glasses do give a little bit of a doming effect and make the picture look bigger but its not too much and it doesn’t distort the image.

the evil queen

I used a black and white palette again, only because it really complimented the picture and since she has purple eyeshadow on, I used hematite seed beads that have a little bit of purple to them. The frosted clear beads are from a shop in New York and they are just exquisite. They are beautiful and soft and I kept walking past them in the shop and in the end I just have to have them. The only downside is that I have no idea what they are made of and what they are called all I remember is that they were about 15 dollars a strand.

 the evil queen

For the bezel, I decided to try out some of the techniques that are in the Dimensional Bead embroidery book. The beadwork around this piece is a duplicate of a piece in the book, which combines what the author calls an outside window bezel and a wave edge.i tried to follow the instructions in the book exactly as they were but my piece didn’t look anything like what I was seeing in the picture and I really wanted to emulate the design in the picture. What I ended up doing in order to get my beading looking more similar to what I was seeing in the book was to add a clear seed bead in between each of the frosted clear beads so that the black row of beads looks as though its running in between the beads rather than sitting on top of them.

 the evil queen

 I didn’t have a clasp to finish this piece off so I made the necklace loop long enough that I could put my head through it but this method eats up a lot of beads and its just not practical. I need to invest in some clasps I guess and learn how to attach them 😀

the evil queen

LIST OF MATERIALS USED

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