Monday, 25 November 2013

A little bit of seaside

Dreamy Dagger beads
Bead love alert!
dreamy dagger beads!
When these arrived in the post, I decided that deadlines could
go hang, time to follow my bliss for a few evenings and bead me a necklace!

The hanks of beads were silky and tactile and I soooo wanted to have them with me as fringy pendants to swish my fingers through.

The colours reminded me of a piece of Abalone shell, picked up during a last long walk on a beach at the end of a holiday. I kept it to remind me of the pure luxury of sand between the toes, salt in my hair and the warmth of the sun.

The necklace grew simply, from the colours and with no particular plan in mind. More importantly, no stopping. No stopping to get caught up with re-works, rip outs, or planning, no stopping to think too hard about bead choices... Instead I kind of worked with the same frame of mind as that walk on the beach. Oh, and no stopping to tidy up the bead board, random messy, definitely a new approach and the random juxtaposition of beads gave me ideas and choices I might not usually have made.

Random act of beadiness!
The cord is a length of crochet, worked in fine cotton around a length of narrow jewellery tube, which gave a simple base to add a bail and beaded beads around.
The finished necklace

The pendant is simple bead embroidery, it's been an age since I did any, but it seemed the easiest way to bezel the irregular shell piece, and add the swishy fringing. Accent beads include semi precious stone beads, of South African Jade and pink Phosphosiderite.
I'm really happy with the outcome, it's not ground breaking, all the techniques are old favourites, but it's a fun piece to wear, and while I might not have time to go dig my toes into warm sand just now, instead I can run my fingers through those swishy fringes and take a moment to dream.

Lots of swishy fringes
Random embellishments

Monday, 11 November 2013

Colour and cream teas

I seem to spend a lot of my early mornings driving through the countryside to get to bead groups this autumn. Fileigh Beaders meet in the heart of Devonshire. We were meeting to spend a day playing with colour. It's one of my favourite classes to teach as we get to do colouring in all day! We also bead and dare to try new hues and it is always deeply rewarding to watch. It is also a class where I am sorely tempted to go buy beads as everyone brings yet more colours and combinations which I fall in love with instantly!
Autumn in Devon
Cream tea all for me
Devon has a unique landscape of rolling hills and rich farmland, Clotted cream country! At some points on my journey there is simply the ribbon of road laying across beautiful countryside, with not a house in sight. The Fileigh beaders are a lovely crowd and everyone seems to have been busy baking the night before, afternoon tea is awesome! and I am presented with a special plate of gluten free scones with, of course, clotted cream and the most delicious blackcurrant jam, and yes dear reader... I ate them all! yum!!
I took my camera for a little walk to show you the view, and as we were playing with colour, pictures of these Hydrangeas, planted around the village hall. So many great colour and shape ideas.
Almost the end of Autumn
Reaching for the beads...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Relic pendant

Did Anne gaze out from here?
In September we had an outing to Hever Castle. Anne Boleyn lived there as a child, and so it was on the wish list of places to visit. The girls in my family are all caught up in the drama of Philippa Gregory's awesome series of books on the royal women who shaped our history so magnificently.
At Hever, although it was made over by William Waldorf Astor in the 1920's, it remains a 13th century castle at heart, complete with winding stone stairs and casement windows. Who could help but be utterly inspired!
A view of the orchard at Hever
My ongoing project has been the symbols and trinkets designs which I've blogged about before, here. It's still got me fascinated, and the inclusion of secret compartments within the designs is becoming a bit of a habit. The Tudors were great lovers of trinkets and beautiful jewels were sewn on to garments as well as being worn as jewellery.
Lovers would exchange bejewelled message pendants and these too would be sewn onto sleeves. Some romeo's were painted with a sleeve full, to give away when someone caught their fancy? or maybe to show off how popular they were!

Relic Pendant in Pewter
Meanwhile, back at home, on my desk were some Czech glass stud beads in the perfect shades of pewter and bronze, just itching to be used. The new bead shapes and designs are coming thick and fast out of Czechoslovakia,
as a new generation of bead makers explore the glass. It is lovely, exciting and inspiring to get the new beads to play with.
The result is the Relic Pendant. A little container for a message or treasure to be concealed within. Worked in Albion Stitch and clearly way more influenced by my visit to Hever than I realised whilst I was beading.
I've written up the pattern, which is also available as a download, and put together kits in the first two colourways inspired by the beautiful patina of time aged metals.

Relic Pendants in Bronze and Pewter