Tag Archives: style

Amethyst Purple and Crystal Earring

I don’t know why but lately I have been really into making earrings. I think it’s probably because they are quicker to make and I am less afraid to use colour in smaller pieces than I in bigger pieces. To be honest I am not sure. I was never much of an earring wearer to begin with. I am more of a bracelet and ring person but I am not sure if a bead-embroidered ring would work.

When I was putting together pieces that I could use in earrings I came across these wonderful faceted square Swarovski crystals that my mom had sent me. The good thing about them was that they didn’t have any holes for sewing through in them, bad thing about them was that they had a faceted back and I was bit iffy about using them.

So the challenge for this piece was gluing the faceted piece to the backing. I had read in the dimensional embroidery book that the way to use these types of stones was to use some sort of air-dry clay under them to make some sort of a setting. I was a little apprehensive to be honest about how to actually do it but after doing more research and finding no other method I decided to just give it a try.

The book says to use air-dry clay and the only type that I found on the day that I went to Michaels was the Martha Stewart’s crafter clay, which is very puffy and kind of reminds me of marshmallows. I made small balls and put the stone on top of the clay ball and pushed it down onto a flat surface to make the setting that the gem would sit in and trimmed the excess clay. Once the clay was dry I checked to see if it was actually stuck to the gem and I found that I could easily peel it back. the thing is that once the bezel was done , the gem would have been completely encased in the beads and would not have fallen out but just to be on the safe side I decided to  glue the stone to the setting and then sanded them a little so that the setting would be as thin as possible and then glued it on to my backing.

Once that whole section was done then it was off to doing the bezel work and the beadwork. For these earrings I went with a gold and bronze palette to compliment the vintage purple cabochons.


The thing with beaded earring as I found out is that they are very lightweight. I usually don’t wear earrings because after a while my ears start throbbing but I have been really comfortable with the beaded earrings that I have made for myself. I think it is probably because there is no metal setting involved in making the earrings, which makes the pieces very light and hence comfortable to wear.


Posted by Mana © BeadFeast. All Rights Reserved


Filed under accessories, bead embroidery, Earrings

Sailor Girl

I would like to start off by saying that this piece turned out to a bane of my beading existence. I had wanted to do something with this painting from Mary Jane Ansell for a while and I thought it would work perfectly with the swarovski crystal chains that I had ordered. This piece is from her “The beauty of the Hours” series and is titled “Girl in a cocked hat”

I glued the piece on the backing and did the initial bezel. I decided to do a row around the bezel with the navy blue beads I had used in the bezel to make the crystal chain pop a little bit more. And then did another row with the same beads after I had sewed on the crystal chain. So far so good.

I started this piece right after I had done my Maleficent bracelet so I was pumped. That piece had come together so nicely that I wanted to replicate that experience. That’s when I decided to turn this piece into a bracelet.

Since I had planned this piece as a brooch I had glued it to a small piece of backing which meant that the bracelet would have to be made of separate pieces. But that was ok. I drew out the shape I wanted the sides to look like and went looking for stones, cabochons and other beads to use in the piece. And I had nothing. Well I mean I had stuff but nothing that would go with this piece.

So I went online in search of blue stones. I found some blue opal stones on the website where I had purchased the crystal chains so I thought they would be a good a choice. While I was at it I went on my favorite website for buying seed beads to get some that might help the process along.

So at this point I couldn’t really go any further with the piece. I had to wait until I had all my pieces so I could start up again. Leaving a piece half finished is never a good idea. I lose my train of thought and my groove and it’s always a little hard to get back into that exact same frame of mind to finish up a piece. But I had no choice, I moved onto doing other pieces.

A week or so passed and I got my packages but I really wasn’t feeling it so I didn’t go back to the piece. But the fact that it was unfinished kept nagging me so I gave in and decided to just finish the piece and be done with it.

I glued on the blue opal stones I had purchased for this piece and started doing the same bezel as I had done around main focal image. It took me a couple of tries to get an even number around the piece in order to get the bezel done but I finally got there. I followed the same pattern as the main image and added the pearl and goldstone.

This is as far as I had planned but when I put the pieces next to each other it was so obvious that the piece would not fit around my wrist. So I had to add more.

Initially I thought I’d do a row of bugle beads all around the piece. I had seen it done and I though how hard can it be, the answer was very hard. I just could not get the beads to sit right, there were unsightly gaps and they just look weird . So I thought why not just use seed beads. But on second inspection I found out that I had run out of the navy blue seed beads I had used in the piece.

Argghhhhhhhhhhhh!! This is the point at which I started thinking this piece just does not want to get made!

The right thing would have been to order the blue beads but I was just really frustrated with the piece at this point and I didn’t want to have to wait another week or so for beads. I decided to use what I had instead.

Once the few rows were added I was thinking surely it will fit at this point. But alas it was not to be. So I started adding other elements. I mean at this point I just had to laugh and go with it. Ok maybe had I planned things better or if this pattern was what I had in mind I would have been ok with it but since I had to keep adding and adding things just to make this bracelet reach the 7.5 inches I needed for it to fit around my wrist, everything felt like an afterthought.

I cut the pieces out finished the edges and connected them together. And wouldn’t you know it, the damn thing still didn’t fit!!

I mean the process I went to through to finish this piece was so ridiculous that it makes me laugh. I have done enough beading now, not to have to repeat these basic stuff over and over again to get it right but with this piece  I had to rework every element over and over just to get it somewhat right!

All in all I am at peace with this bracelet, its not one of my favorites but I don’t hate it now as much as I did when I was making it. But I am sure glad it’s done


Posted by Mana © BeadFeast. All Rights Reserved


Filed under accessories, bead embroidery, bracelets

Gold Sparkly Earrings

One of my proudest moments in the bead embroidery journey was when I finished my first bracelet. I just kept thinking that making a whole beaded bracelet was going to be such a huge ordeal and what if I don’t like the piece and what if I can’t do it and all that. It is funny that I am always one of those people who tells everyone to try something and if it doesn’t work out they will know for sure but I seem to not want to take my own advice. I mean giving advice is so much easier than taking it , right!

But I am glad I started making bracelets and its ironic that the reason that I like making bracelets now is the exact reason why I avoided them in the first place. Now I like having to spend time on a piece for more than a day or so, because the process is calming and it gives me time to think and plan new pieces in my head. Also because there is more space to fill out with beads I get to experiment more with different techniques and shapes, which I normally don’t do on smaller pieces. And sometimes when I am experimenting with the patterns on a bracelet I get inspiration for other pieces.

That is exactly what happened when I was done making the Golden Cicada bracelet. I loved the sides of that bracelet and when I was looking at it I thought why don’t I just turn that shape into earrings.

Good thing was that I still had enough of the material to make a pair of earrings and because I had already made that pattern once the pieces came together all too quickly.

For me these type of projects are the stuff I like to do when I am not inspired to make anything new but I still don’t want to sit around and twiddle my thumb. The pattern is already there I know what beads I am going to use so I don’t have to sit around for hours trying to decide which beads would work well together which is my main obstacle when planning my pieces

But having worked with this pattern twice now and liking how it turns out I know now that if I were to change the colours and use different beads it would still give me something unique. That’s the beauty of a good pattern and a pattern you like to work with!



Posted by Mana © BeadFeast. All Rights Reserved


Filed under accessories, bead embroidery, Earrings

Sad Tale of a Studded Top

studdedtopanddressGFW1Today was one of those days. I woke up for some reason feeling the weight of world on me for no good reason. Then I remembered it was fashion week time.

It’s been a couple of years since I the last time I was part of fashion week and I miss it. I miss the backstage drama, not that the drama is fun when you are amidst it all but afterwards it all seems to be so worth it. I remember the very first London fashion week I was at. I was backstage at Bora Aksu’s show whom I was working for at that time and I was in charge of dressing one of the models for the show and my model was late. And by late I mean she showed up about ten minutes before she was supposed to be on the stage. I remember being on the floor shuffling behind her trying to put her shoe on and lacing it up and being nearly dragged on to the stage cause she couldn’t stand still for two seconds for me to lace up her shoes and then I had to run back and sew something that had torn off I was in a panic and my hands shook and my hands never shake. I am really good at hand sewing but with all the adrenaline of backstage I couldn’t even thread my needle!

I remember my own graduate fashion show. It was the best day of my life but I was a mess. it was such a rush to have my stuff on the catwalk and I was our school’s closing collection. I had worked so hard on my collection, to be honest we all had every single person on my fashion course worked their asses off to get on to the catwalk show and we knew that only a handful of us could get on the show. I only hoped I would be chosen, I couldn’t fathom being the closing act.

I had made a collection inspired by armour and the alien creature from the alien movies and I was damn proud of it. The models came down the runway to a blaring siouxsie Sioux song and then it was over in about 60 seconds. I loved all the pieces I had made but one was my pride and joy, a studded top and legging worn under a black dress. I got quite a few orders for that dress too!! It took me night after night of staying up until 3-4 in the morning after full days of being in the studio at school from 8am till 9pm to finish sewing on all those studs. the studs were sewn after the top was finished so the beading line would be continuous , you could imagine how laborious it was sewing each bead making sure the spacing was right and the piece was getting heavier by the second and harder to hold and sew, getting into the smaller parts of the sleeve .But I loved it. It was such a wonderful piece. And here is the problem; it “was” not “is” as it was stolen from me.

But these are not the reasons why I am so mad, sad and frustrated today. All these emotions came along because I saw one of those facebook friendship notifications in my email today asking me if I knew a Richard Shoyemi.

After the Graduate fashion show I was contacted by this guy telling me his name was Richard Shoyemi and he was a stylist he loved my stuff and he wanted to use my work for a shoot. I was young I was very stupid and I was just getting out of fashion school with no experience and I thought having my stuff in some sort of a magazine would benefit me. I even googled him and there were loads of articles and stuff on him so I gave him the pieces he had asked for.

that was one call I wish I had missed and Did I live to regret it. He took 5 of my garments. I thank god everyday that I was able to get three of them back after months and months of calling him nonstop. But he never returned my studded top and legging. I dogged him for over 6 months he stopped picking up, he would have other people answer his phone, then one day he said he would post them, I told him I wanted the photos he had promised me of my garments as well and I said I would come and get all of it from him in person. I didn’t want him to blame it on being lost in the post. When I refused to have him post it he said he had lost them and hung up.

Oh boy !!

I didn’t give up! I called the magazine he said he had wanted the garments for, they didn’t have the photos, they said they would talk to him all the stuff. I even as a last resort went to the police asking if there was anything I could do. But I am a small fish in a humongous pond and worst things happen in the world so why would anyone care about something so small, which is unfortunately totally understandable. If only our biggest problems in the world were getting garments from back from untrustworthy stylists!

This last year since moving to America I gave up on getting my garments back, four years after they were stolen. I don’t think about the pieces that often anymore and I was at peace even though I always have an eye out to see if I see it pop up anywhere. But that was all until I got that bloody notification email asking me if I knew Richard Shoyemi.

Yes I know him, I know him as the guy who stole two pieces from my graduate fashion show. Two pieces that cost about £400 in materials alone, I don’t even want to think about how many hours I spend on sewing the pieces together and finishing it off.

And what finally broke me was the fact that when I looked through his facebook page I saw that he had used my piece in one of his shoots and he told me he hadn’t. The picture was right there. When I saw it my heart sank to the bottom of my stomach, I felt such sadness it overwhelmed me .the picture below is the one i found with my studded leggings, the dress is not mine and I don’t know whose it is since no credits were given to anyone in these photos:

I am probably never going to get to hold my pieces in my hands again, I wish I had said a proper goodbye to them before I sent them away for the photo shoot. I wish I had looked at them one last time before putting them in the garment bag and handing them over. I am just so glad that we were encouraged to photograph our work and I am glad I have photos of these two pieces to look at and reminisce.

I know I am talking about some pieces of fabric and beads and it is just fashion, nothing deep, no life and death situation but they were made with such love and care that I cannot help but be filled with sorrow.

Posted by Mana © BeadFeast. All Rights Reserved


Filed under fashion