Sunday, February 7, 2016

The path to "Getting what I am looking for…"

Today I would like to share another of the methods I use.
This post is NOT a post on how to make a rope but rather how I get the combination/colour/look
of a rope for a centrepiece.

Whenever creating a 'rope' I have a general idea of what I want and mostly know 
what colours to use - having already created the feature components.

Below is a length of 'rope' which is the way I work out how I want the rope to look. 
I will explain each step I used and give reasons why I abandoned the idea.

Reading the images from your left to right -

STEPS TAKEN                                                                              
1) A FIVE bead around PRAW started and abandoned - No image shown 
REASON ABANDONED: Needs an even number for easy embellishing                                                                         
2) A four bead around CRAW started - I wanted to see 
how a row of green 11s, then gold 11s, then green 11s
would look.                
REASON ABANDONED: Rope looked too 'busy'.              

3) Plain green was used and embellished with green 15s              
REASON ABANDONED: It was plain and boring

4) Plain green was used and embellished with gold 15s
SUCCESS: I liked this for the thinner rope sections

5) Went into gold 11s and then 2mm Czech Fire 
Polished gold beads embellished in a mauve 11 and 15s.              
REASON ABANDONED: Didn't like the mauve 15s, too attention grabbing

6) Used 4mm Czech Fire Polish and embellishing in between with green magatamas.                                                      
REASON ABANDONED: Overall colour looking too dull, didn't like the maggies.

7) Made a combination of CRAW with 2mm Czech Fire Polish with green 11s                                                    
SUCCESS: I liked this bit
8) Got side tracked seeing what the rope would look like if I tried to increase the width then added in some mauve 11s to bring down the increase. Then repeated this again.   
REASON ABANDONED: Not what I was looking for but felt the increase/decrease in size was interesting.

THEN I started another rope of 6 beads around CRAW - (no image shown)
After doing a couple of inches I decided I didn't want that either.                       

9) Returning to the long rope I did a section of green
11s embellished in gold 15s to give me some space for when I cut off what wasn't working

10) Started weaving in the green 11s and gold Czech 2mm Fire Polish, then embellished in mauve features with gold 15s netting
REASON ABANDONED: Too much gold!! if that is possible! Still didn't like the mauve 15s.                                                             

11) Next couple of rows woven using 2mm and 3mm gold Czech FP crystals then another row using a 4mm
purple druk bead.                 
REASON ABANDONED: Still too much gold, cannot see the FP beads under the netting and the Purple druk was making it too dark.                                                              

12) The 4mm druk replaced with a pale green druk. Embellised this in green 15s with gold cross points
REASON ABANDONED: Embellishment was too dark, but I liked the pale green druk.

By this stage I had a much better idea of the rope I was after and started beading the combination I wanted - which has been removed from the experimental piece and is seen in the image below.
I am unable to show more of the rope at this point - it is being saved for a reveal in due course.

Here you will see some of the trials from the above experimental rope.

I stayed with a 4 bead around CRAW in green.
I used a gold 15 seed bead embellishment.
I enjoyed the raised bit of the top rope but achieved this look with a 2mm Czech Fire Polish bead embellishment.
I stayed with the 2mm gold Czech FP in the rope as a way to increase the width of rope and ready
the rope for the 4mm pale green druk beads.
The embellishment of the druks remained pale coloured to help lighten up the appearance of the
overall look. 


Saves your Fireline/One G/favourite thread. When you put aside what you don't like and start another you are wasting thread.

Gives you something to hold onto as you continue working on the piece you have in your hand.

Keeps abandoned ideas under your nose. Hopefully you won't repeat them further on.

Keeps ideas you DO like under your nose for repetition when you have your intended rope pattern.

Helps to determine the intricacies and subtleties of your colour palette.

Helps you figure out the best thread path/s 

So this is how I decide on a rope for the necklace/centrepiece I am designing. I am sure it is not everyone's way of working - and that is okay - but it is my way. 
I am not a person that sits and draws their designs. I generally have an idea in my mind's eye, sometimes an image also, but not always. 
I sit down, get out the beads and begin and I keep going until I achieve what I set out to achieve, or
abandon an idea if I see it doesn't work or look good.

Designing is most definitely a trial and error occupation. I am amazed when a new beader makes comments implying they think designing comes easy to designers. Believe me….it doesn't! …..
in most cases.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Rivette" magazine tutorial

I am pleased to share a pendant I designed - called "Rivette" - which has been published in the December 2015/January 2016 Beadwork magazine. 
This is my first US magazine tutorial and hopefully won't be my last. 

Already I have had some ladies send me messages on Facebook saying they love the design
and pics of their pieces have been sent to me.

I hope you like the pendant and enjoy making one also.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

As 2015 comes to its end I often reflect on the year and take stock.

Less travel this year and no teaching commitments made for a more relaxed schedule. 
Although I felt somewhat lost for a good while there. It was strange not having to be 'on-the-go'.

I had bronchitis early in 2015 - the sickest I can ever remember feeling.
They say when you relax is when sickness can happen. Kind of making room for it.

I again entered the Battle of the Beadsmith with my "Francesca" design and lasted for a few rounds, That was nice to have happen.
I released my "Francesca" tutorial and it is one of my best selling tutorials. 

I entered an Australian competition and was in the top ten finalists. Since it was my own beading community, being in the finalists was very gratifying.

I accepted a teaching gig in USA for 2016 which I am really looking forward to - (more details later).

I managed to have a tutorial published in Beadwork magazine, that was great to achieve. 
You know it takes a year for something like this to happen. Sheesh!!

So, on the achievement level I haven't done too badly.

My passion for beading fluctuated throughout the year, coming and going, returning then leaving again.
New designs have been created - but not shown -  as I have plans for these in 2016.

A long friendship came to an end, without regrets. An even older friendship was renewed and strengthened, with much joy. Wonderful how nature balances !!

My attitude to retiring has shifted somewhat. Having wanted to retire at age 55 (but financially unable to), I am now 65 and financially able to. Earlier this year I realised I enjoy working two days a week. It gets me out of the house and interacting with others - not to mention it pays most of the bills  LOL !
Maybe the "wisdom" gene kicked in as retirement loomed nearer. 
So my job will continue as long as they want me there ! 

Having lived in my current home for over 22 years I am feeling in the need for a change of scenery. 
Maintaining a three bedroom house with front and back gardens is more than I wish for these days.       I have been craving a sea or tree change further out of Sydney but still reachable. 
I am thinking I'll rent my home then rent a property where I would like to live. Sort of  'try before I buy'.  I shall be exploring this further in 2016, after I get my home ready for rental.

That pretty much sums up the events of my year. How would I describe the year ??  
I would say 2015 was 'Grounding' - bringing me back to earth, back to myself, helping me to see 
where I want to go in the near future.

So with the ending of 2015 I wish all a Very Happy New Year
and may 2016 bring your heart's desire. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Friendly Reminder - Christmas Ornament Tutorials in my store.


The time for making Christmas presents and gift box ornaments is upon us already

I am taking the liberty to remind you I have a few items in my tutorial store on ArtFire.

If you like any and want to purchase the tutorial/s just click on the ArtFire link on the righthand side of my blog.

STELLA AUSTRALIS - the seven pointed star.

THE CHRISTMAS TREES - a tree ornament, gift box ornament, and earrings (if made in 15s)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Where is my Mojo? What do I Create Now?

I have been very busy fulfilling beading commitments and lately I have not had a lot of time to sit and play with beads. Since these commitments have been slowly fulfilled and taken off the 'to do' list 
I now sit at my bead mat, look at all the abandoned sample pieces and ask myself
"what would I like to make now?"

I wouldn't have a clue !!!

I have sat there, I have sat there and I have sat there.
I have taken samples, pulled them apart and put the beads away, just to give myself something to do. 
I have opened drawers of finished items and looked at them - asking myself "how the hell did I make this one?" "Do I want to make another?" Nah - that was then this is now!! 

I have been in this space before - no design ideas flowing.  Not knowing what to make, not liking what I do attempt to make, wanting a new direction, not knowing what that direction is.
I occupy my time, putting new beads away, tidying up my bead table - all in the hope something will trigger an idea. 

The longer I am in this space the more it begins to affect my mood. I find I become short tempered, irritable, the cat gets yelled at - even though the cat is the cat and doesn't change from one day to the next!!!  
It is me and I am disgruntled, I lose patience with other things, and I just begin to feel, lost, directionless, not very fulfilled. I worry that maybe my design mojo will not return.
Heaven forbid !!!

Who would have thought that beading governs so much of my everyday life?   

Is it the beading that governs?? or is it that small part of my day whereby I shut out the rest of life and immerse myself in "the NOW" - like the buddhists say we should do each day - meditate. 

When I bead I am totally focussed on what is in my hand, what I am creating - immersed in the NOW.
Am I missing the beading, the making of something new, or am I missing that time whereby 
I live in the moment?

To me it is a combination of both. A combination of time out (from life) to play (and create). 
That is what I am missing, causing me to feel unfulfilled. 

BUT - there is good news!
Whenever I have been in this space before - and there have been a few times - when my mojo is ready to flow again, generally new passion is forthcoming.  

I am looking forward to it so in the meantime, I deconstruct and tidy, making ready for the Mojo!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Christmas Tree - an eTutorial newly released

I recently finished writing the tutorial for my Christmas Tree.
This pattern is a beginner's level pattern and can be used as earrings, a tree ornament, a gift tag ornament for presents, as well as a Festive Season pendant if worn on a chain.

I hope you like them.
Click on the image and you will be taken to my Artfire Tutorial Store if you wish. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Sydney Bead Show - Part 1 - Lampworkers

Earlier this month I was happy to attend the Sydney Bead Show. Whilst there I got to thinking how we have so much talent in Australia and I was wondering if the rest of the world would like to see some.
I asked the Bead Show organisers if I may do a story or two for my blog and with their permission I would like to introduce you to some of our lamp workers and their art - in no particular order.

Wendy Bergamin - Bergamin Beads
I started lampworking around May 2007 I have been involved with art and crafts all my life, ever since I learnt to use a sewing machine at age six. I trained as a secondary school Arts and Crafts teacher and taught for over a decade. I then started beading wedding dresses for a private firm and had three finalist entries in 'The Gown of The Year' as 'The Little Aussie Beader'
After that I started a children's clothing label 'Birichino' followed by several years of making collectable teddy bears out of German mohair. This led onto making lamp work beads which in turn led me into making jewellery. I wanted to get more into jewellery so I went to several classes both here and in America with lamp work bead artists and lapidaries.
I have traded in shows around Australia with both the bears and then lamp work beads. I then went onto trading at the Bead and Button show in the U.S. I have been trading there for nine years now and for the past two years I have been at The Best Bead Show in Tucson. I sell lamp work beads, gemstone cabochons, which I polish myself, and also finished jewellery, combining both lamp work beads, cabochons and other gemstones.
For the last four years I have attended classes with Native American Indians and have been learning more metal working. I now do a lot of gemstone in Viking knitting and Kumihimo braiding with gemstones. My work is available on my website, at shows and also at The Studio at Flinders art gallery.

 Yunita YUDODIHARDJO - Yuri Glass Art  -

​I started lampworking around May 2007 after a 3 hour beginner class with a nice lady that worked at Finn's Glass, Revesby, NSW.​  I then read a lot of books, watched online tutorials that I could find, asked lots of questions on lamp working forums, with lots of practices in between. So basically, I'm self taught.

Encasing floral beads was the main reason I wanted to learn lampworking.  Jan Cahill and Kerry Harper are my favourite Australian lamp workers.  I mainly working on soft glass but occasionally I work on boro especially for sculpture works. I'm using cricket and mini CC torch with oxycon at the moment.  I mostly only melt glass on Saturday because I have full time job. (I work Sunday night - Friday morning)

Denise Smith - DKS Lampwork 
In 2003, I was talked into doing a lamp working class and fell in love with the process of melting glass to make beads. My beads are varied but feature a lot of flowers and geometric designs. 

All my beads are handmade by me in my studio in Sydney, Australia and go through the proper annealing process. I primarily use soft glass from Italy and the USA for their quality, vibrancy and colour.

Monday, September 7, 2015

"Brigit" The Goddess of Spring

When I first started beading we had a yearly Bead and Gem Show but with the global financial crisis the Bead & Gem Show became smaller and smaller and eventually ceased happening altogether.
 We were left without a show in Australia for a few years, which made it difficult to see and touch any of the new products coming into the market. 

Last year a new Bead Show began and was very successful (more will follow on The Bead Show soon) This year they held their first competition.
Generally I don't bother competing in anything, I don't really see myself as competitive, but this time I thought - why not have a go??

In April I designed "Brigit" and entered her in The Bead Show's inaugural Inspired Colour Competition. Here is Brigit's story and my inspiration.

In her maiden aspect the Goddess Brigit is honoured at the festival of Imbolc, which celebrates the first stirrings of Spring in the Celtic/Irish culture.

In my garden, due to a canopy of mature trees, not a lot of blooms happen. 
The first indication that Spring is on the way are my Clivias – luckily a shade loving plant and very prolific when flowering.  

Clivias can be found in a limited colour range with most of the common variety flower in varying shades of orange, therefore
I used the Clivia orange/s for my colour inspiration.

Not wanting to be too literal,  
the diamond shapes in my ‘rope’ represent leaves and how they bloom in varying shades of greens and different sizes. The three centrepieces are to represent the "flowers" of Spring.

I am not one who enjoys waiting to show a finished design so entering a competition in April and waiting to show images in September has been challenging and frustrating, but I managed.

Last week I received an email advising I was one of ten finalists in the competition. That was nice to know.


On Friday I attended the Bead Show and they announced the winner. Unfortunately it was not me but a beading buddy of mine. I was happy nevertheless as I am now able to show my design, and I hope you like "Brigit".
Will I enter next year? only time will tell.

I am very grateful to the presenters of The Bead Show and its sponsors for supporting Australian Beaders. 

If you would like to see the ten finalists and winner click on the link below

Sunday, August 23, 2015

eTutorial for my "Francesca" necklace is now available

Click on the picture above and you will be taken to my Artfire store for the "Francesca" tutorial.