Monday, September 30, 2013

Wild Forget-Me-Nots Set

Now that my newest beading pattern is complete, I thought I'd talk about an (almost) complete set of the different kinds of jewelry that you can make with this Wildflower Fields pattern. All of the pieces in this set are in the light blue Forget-Me-Not colorway, which is one of the colorways for this design that's available as a kit.

A Pair of Charm Earrings

The first piece that this pattern teaches you how to make is the basic Wildflower Fields charm, which uses a variation of the circular peyote stitch. This self-supporting charm includes an 8° seed bead at the top, so you can easily attach it to a jump ring. Two of them make for a pair of hanging earrings.

The great thing about this charm is that the beads on the back balance out those on the front, so the resulting earrings are balanced; they don't lean forward, rather they hang straight, facing the viewer.

A Pair of Post Earrings

The second piece in this set is the pair of post earrings. I was very excited about this part of the set, as I had never engineered a pair of beaded post earrings before! They're really easy to make and quick to work up, so you can easily make a different pair for each day of the week. The ear post is bezeled into the middle of the flower, so no glue is needed!

I used stainless steel posts for this particular pair of earrings, but I included sterling silver posts in the kits to minimize any potential metal allergy issues (though apparently, titanium ear posts are the best for metal allergies - is this true?)

A Matching Topiary Ball Pendant

The cornerstone piece of this set is the pendant, which looks like a beaded topiary ball. The pendant is what puts this pattern into the "advanced" category, as it is built from a net of seed beads over a round core bead, using the geometry of a dodecahedron. The thread path of this net is a little counter-intuitive, although I included many illustrations in the pattern to explain it properly. If you've ever had the chance to make the Tila Garden Pendant, this design will be quite familiar.

The core bead in this pendant can be made of any material, however this particular pendant uses a plastic core bead, so it's very light! I think it would also look great as a focal bead in a more elaborative necklace... What do you think?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My First Attempts at Crystal Clay

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a talk and class at my local bead society by the very talented beading artist Nikia Angel. Her talk was called "Steal Like an Artist," a title sure to grab your attention, but the actual talk was not about stealing per se, but about the different ways an artist will get their ideas and express them in their art. Based on a concept by Austin Kleon, it was a fantastic talk that will be referring to quite often in the future.

Nikia's class was on crystal clay, and it was the first time that I had tried anything in this medium. It was a really fun class, as each student was given several options of which settings, clay, and crystals to use, and several examples for inspiration. However, the class was focused on learning and playing in the medium, so each student's pieces were different from their neighbor's work. I completed two cabochons and one pendant in class:

For my first crystal clay piece, I tried to take an asymmetric, semi-random approach with a collection of mostly round Swarovski crystals, in clear AB, greens, and purples, all with a silver clay background:

For my second piece, which became my favorite of the three, I used a quintet of delightful little fans, and surrounded them with additional crystals to make a pendant. I added a bunch of tiny little silver craft beads in between the crystals, which gave the piece a really neat texture!

I used these beads again on my final piece, a nice little cab featuring several round crystals, again in purple and green.

It was an interesting experience to take this class; the medium is definitely outside of my usual element of precision beadwork, but I was very grateful for the opportunity to experiment in something different. Nikia is a fantastic teacher; she's patient, knowledgable, and very generous with her advice. She has my full recommendation!

Have you ever taken a class outside of your usual medium? How did you like it?

Friday, September 27, 2013

New Pattern and Kits: Wildflower Fields Set

My newest beading pattern, the Wildflower Fields Set, is now available at! This all-seed bead design features a collection of seed beads, including shaped seed beads such as drop beads and peanut beads, which all combine together to make a cute flower charm that can make earrings, a bracelet, or a beautiful pendant!

A Beaded Topiary Ball Pendant

The cornerstone piece of this set is the pendant, which measures about 28 mm in diameter and can also serve as a large beaded bead. The pendant is in the geometry of a dodecahedron, with twelve little flowers spread out evenly around the piece.

A Twisting Bracelet

Several individual wildflower motifs can be beaded together to form a petite little bracelet:

Post Earrings

In this pattern, I also describe how to create post earrings out of a pair of wildflower components. The ear post for each earring is incorporated into the middle of each beaded flower, which secures it in place much like a beaded bezel on a rivoli crystal. No glue required!

The complete Wildflower Fields pattern is appropriate for Advanced beaders, as the thread path of the pendant is a little tricky. However, Advanced Beginner beaders who are comfortable working with size 15° seed beads should be able to complete the charm and earrings, and, when ready, move on to the bracelet and the pendant.

Kits in Three Colorways

Kits for this design are available in three colorways: Pink Blossoms, Lavender, and Forget-Me-Not. Each kit contains all the beads and thread needed to make one pendant, one bracelet, two charms, and one pair of stud earrings!

The beading pattern and kits for the Wildflower Fields Set is available exclusively at!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cosmic Windows Pendant

In my last post about beaded cherry blossoms, I mentioned the idea of using component design to arrange several smaller beaded components into many different types of jewelry. I've continued this concept in my newest piece, this Cosmic Windows Pendant:

A Pendant of Windows

This piece features a total of six Cosmic Windows components, arranged in a tetrahedral geometry with one component on each of the six edges of the tetrahedron. This 3D arrangement gives the pendant a great deal of depth and dimensionality that photos can't entirely capture. Here it is on its edge on a jewelry bust:

The main tetrahedral body of the pendant is about an inch and a half in diameter; on the big side for a beaded bead, but not quite too big for a beaded pendant.

A Variation on a Bracelet

The Cosmic Windows design originally started as a bracelet, featuring six linked components woven with Miyuki tila beads and seed beads, which come together to frame the irregular cosmic Swarovski crystals that give the piece its name. Here's a photo of this bracelet in its original antique colorway:

With a little bit of beaded fringe and a bail for an ear wire, the Cosmic Windows components also make fancy matching earrings:

I used the same silver and blue colorway for this pendant:

Dimension and Symmetry

Each component in the pendant is joined together at the corners of the tetrahedron with additional briolette crystals and Japanese seed beads. It took a few attempts to get it to hold its shape, but I was surprised at how I didn't need that many additional beads to join the components together (it did, however, require many passes of thread!) A beaded bail and a bunch of beaded fringe finish the pendant.

I'm thinking that it would also make a very fancy Christmas ornament too!

The original Cosmic Windows beading pattern and kits are available at If you're interested in learning how to make this variation from the original pattern, drop me a line!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Purple Sakura Charms and Possible Arrangements

I came up with a new colorway for the Sakura Bouquet Necklace, which I'm teaching at the BABE! Show this November.

Purple and Silver Sakura Charms

Four different shades of purple combine with silver to form this colorway. The four different beads used for the cherry blossom petals also have a variety of finishes, ranging from transparent, to luster, to the "magic" finish on the rizo beads.

It's still monochromatic, but it has more color variety compared to the original version.

Four Different Varieties of Sakura

The set features four different charms corresponding to four different varieties of sakura, and each is woven in a slightly different way.

Forty Sakura Charms

Each class kit will include the materials to make a total of 40 charms. This is actually more charms than I used in the original necklace, so students will be able to make about a dozen extra charms. Here's a complete set of all 40 of them:

Many Possible Arrangements

The great thing about these little flowers is that they're adaptable to so many different kinds of jewelry. They fit neatly into the concept of component design, which is where you weave several beaded components and then combine them together as you're designing the finished piece. While it won't be the focus of my class, it's a concept that advanced beaders may want to approach with these charms after taking the class.

I took a little time to explore this concept myself with this set. I've already turned two of them into a pair of earrings:

But a small handful of them could make a nice little pendant:

Repeating just two of the charms makes a simple, yet very pretty choker-length necklace:

While just under 20 of them could make a Y-shaped necklace:

Another idea is to take an asymmetric approach, and fill the other half of the necklace with a beaded rope or chain:

Finally, all 40 charms together would make a very nice necklace indeed:

Please visit the BABE! website for more information on this class, including how to register. One session is already sold out, so act soon to reserve your seat!

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Tropical Dahlia Pendants

In preparation for the BABE! Show this upcoming November, I wove two new Tropical Dahlia pendants with specialty rivoli crystals. This one features a black diamond Swarovski rivoli with the glacier blue coating.

It was a little tricky to position the drop beads optimally on this pendant, as they're coated on one side but not the other. I like the whimsy of this color scheme, and I'm sure I'll be wearing it a whole bunch.

This pendant, on the other hand, features muted golds, amethyst, and a glacier fuchsia rivoli for a very autumn feel.

I think it has a little too much amethyst though...

I used a sparkler light bulb for these photographs, which seems to work well for crystal-focused pieces such as these.

Which pendant do you prefer?
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