Two Beaders Enter, One Beader Leaves!

The Battle Of The Beadsmith 2014 is underway!

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Some of you may remember the Mad Max movies from the ’80s and the quote “Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves” from the third movie in the series.  The Battle Of The Beadsmith is a tournament in which there are several “battles” between two designs, with only one entry from each battle making it through to the next round, where again they will be paired off and voted on until only one remains.  Thankfully though, that’s where any similarity ends.  The only hazards associated with the BOTB are pricked fingers and sore fingertips, sore shoulders, neck and back as well as sleepless nights and worsening eyesight … the usual beading hazards. ;)

The Battle Of The Beadsmith is the brainchild of Steven Weiss of the Beadsmith Company and in his own words: “In an effort to create more awareness of some of the incredible bead artistry being executed by bead masters worldwide, I thought it would be fun to set up a beading ‘tournament’ where original works can be viewed, shared, and celebrated both by the participants, and the beading public alike.  256 seed bead artists have been invited to participate in an elimination “tournament” to determine which piece of their original beadwork best captures the imagination of their fellow designers, and the beading public.”

This is my first time in the contest and I have been paired with a seasoned battler from Austria, Svetlana Hackl.  My inspiration came from the land and sea around me on my beautiful Island home Malta.  The sea urchin shell in the centre of my design is one from my collection that my husband, with the occasional help from my two sons, finds for me from the seabed around the Maltese Islands.  My blogpost here gives some details on the preparation of these wonderful shells.

I wanted the sea urchin to be worked on top of fish leather, the latter to be partly visible through a design of beads framing the shell.  I ordered some gorgeous pearlescent fish leather and was overjoyed when I opened the package and saw that it matched perfectly with one of my pink-beige shells, they seem to have been made for each other!  The lines running down the shell are echoed in the beadwork, with the final touch being a beadwoven starfish at the centre of the shell.

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The shell is flanked by two stylised dolphins inspired by the Baroque dolphins found all around Malta. I worked the eyes using a variety of Miyuki beads around Abalone shells, with Czech dagger beads for an extra touch of fantasy.

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A series of pearl beads and loops makes this piece adjustable in multiple positions whilst retaining the centering of the design.

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Please join the Facebook Group and browse the photo albums to view the designs.  You may find my entry in Group C, Battle 1.  Wish me luck!

Joanne.

 

Spring Celebration Necklace

My latest work is a necklace I created for Beadaholique’s “Green!” beading contest.  “Spring Celebration” features bead embroidered Malachite and Carnelian cabochons, adorned with a variety of seed beads and Swarovski crystals and finished off with a fringe.  A tiny cluster of Czech glass flowers nestle on one side of the focal stone and glass leaves hang from the fringe.

Spring Celebration Bead Embroidered Necklace

Spring Celebration Bead Embroidered Necklace

I’m very happy that my necklace was chosen as one of the finalists.  Voting is open until the 16th April so please head on over to Beadaholique’s Facebook page and “Like” my photo in their album.

One US and one International finalist will each win a $50 gift certificate and it’s all up to you as the winners will be decided by public vote according to the number of “Likes” on the photos.

Thank you for your votes! :D

Joanne.

 

Crystal Spiral and Fringe Necklace

Here it is! My first creation for 2014, made especially for the Etsy Beadweavers January challenge.

 

Handmade beadwoven necklace with crystals and fringe by Joanne Zammit gr8jewellery

Handmade beadwoven necklace with crystals and fringe

This was a kind of double challenge for me, the first being that I challenged myself to learn the Dutch Spiral to incorporate it in this necklace and second and not least was that it had to be done amidst the million other things going on at Christmastime!

I experimented with the spiral first, trying out different sized beads and number of beads in the ‘bridge’ that circles on the outside of the spiral.  I liked the effect of tiny beads in the bridge, which gave an airy feel to the spiral and allowed the spiral core to show through.

An image of what I wanted my finished necklace to look like was forming in my head and I set about creating it.  I used the Dutch Spriral as a feature on the sides, mirroring the spiral around the neck. Where the Dutch Spiral ends, I continued with odd-count peyote spiral around the back. The central part is tubular peyote from which hangs a fringe. I wanted a beadwoven Swarovski rivoli to hang separately in front of the fringe, so I left the top part of the fringe plain as a backdrop for this.

All entries for the challenge may be seen on the Etsy Beadweavers team blog.  Please view all entries and vote for your favourite by the 15th January 2014 at the link below

http://etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com/2014/01/voting-for-january-2014-rising-star.html

Tangled Up In Blue

 

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I created the necklace “Tangled Up In Blue” for the Etsy Beadweavers September 2013 Challenge having the theme “My Favorite Song.” 

Trying to pinpoint one specific song as my favourite was a challenge in itself as there are so many I love and never tire of listening to.  The songwriting genius of Bob Dylan came out tops though,  and I chose to bead the touching “Tangled Up In Blue”.

Originally released in 1975 on the album Blood On The Tracks, “Tangled Up In Blue” has been performed many many times and Dylan often changes the lyrics, however the story remains the same: the complexity of relationships and love.  My favourite version, which has slightly different lyrics to the original, is found in The Bootleg Series Volume 2.   Poetry in music, absolutely wonderful!


TANGLED UP IN BLUE
Bob Dylan

Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’,
he was lyin’ in bed
Wond’rin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red.
Her folks they said their lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough.
And he was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on his shoes
Heading out for the old East Coast
Lord knows he’s paid some dues gettin’ through,
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when they first met,
Soon to be divorced.
He helped her out of a jam, I guess,
But he used a little too much force.
They drove that car as far as they could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best.
She turned around to look at him
As he was walkin’ away
she said: “This can’t be the end
We’ll meet on another day, on the avenue,”
Tangled up in blue.

He had a job in the old north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But he never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell.
Well, he drifted down to L.A.
Where he reckoned to try his luck
Workin’ for a while on an airplane plant,
Loading cargo onto a truck
But all the while he was alone
The past was close behind,
He seen a lot of women
But she never escaped his mind, and he just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was workin’ in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer,
I just kept looking’ at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear.
And later on, as the crowd thinned out
I’s about to do the same,
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, “What’s your name?”
I muttered somethin’ underneath my breath,
She studied the lines on my face.
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe,
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
“I thought you’d never say hello,” she said
“You look like the silent type.”
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century.
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burnin’ coal
Pourin’ off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you,
Tangled up in blue.

He was always in a hurry,
too busy or too stoned,
And everything that she ever planned,
just a-had to be postponed.
She thought they were successful,
She thought they were blessed,
with objects and material things,
but I never was impressed.
And when it all came crashing down,
I became withdrawn,
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin’ on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue.

So now I’m goin’ back again,
I got to get to her somehow.
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now.
Some are mathematicians
Some are doctors’ wives.
Don’t know how it all got started,
I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives.
But me, I’m still on the road
Headin’ for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.

 

 

I created my necklace by first making a core around which I built up layers of blue strands in different seed beads, Czech glass beads and Swarovski crystals.  The blue is predominantly cobalt with a few strands in slightly dlifferent shades and also hints of violet.

The clasp is a beadwoven toggle clasp made from the same Toho permanent finish galvanised silver seed beads as the core with the addition of firepolised beads in the loop and a Swarovski heart on the toggle end.  

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Work in progress. Beading the Ndebele core in Toho permanet finish galvanised silver seed beads.

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Beadwoven toggle clasp with Czech firepolished beads.

Work in progress.  Starting to build up the blue strands. Weaving in and out of the Ndebele core.

Work in progress. Starting to build up the blue strands. Weaving in and out of the Ndebele core.

Beadwoven toggle clasp with Swarovski heart.

Beadwoven toggle clasp with Swarovski heart.

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Voting for this challenge is open until 15th September 2013.
Please visit http://www.etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com to view all entries and vote for your favourite!

 

UK Magazine’s Challenge Design Winner

Wonderful surprise for me!  Making Jewellery, Britain’s top selling jewellery making magazine, held a design challenge back in July, with the winners to be announced in this month’s issue.  Imagine my glee at seeing my Sea Urchin and Soutache necklace taking first place!  Thrilled to see my necklace in a magazine and really pleased with their comments on it! :D

“Jo’s necklace is our winner; it’s beautifully designed and looks amazing. We particularly like the way she has used the colours from the photo as her inspiration.”

 

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This is the challenge as appeared in July:

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Beadwoven Starfish and Seaglass Earrings are Contest Finalists!

I entered Beadaholique‘s “Ocean Treasures” Beading Challenge with my Beadwoven Starfish and Seaglass Earrings and was chosen as a finalist!

In my design I wanted to highlight the seaglass pendant beads I had bought from Beadaholique and wanted my entry to be simple enough for anyone with basic beadweaving knowledge to make themselves.

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The starfish are beadwoven in herringbone, also called Ndebele, stitch using Fireline and round seed beads in sizes 8/0 and 11/0 and incorporate a wire guard for easy connection to the kidney earwires. The Seaglass Pendants are attached to a very short length of chain to allow them to hang just below the starfish.

Voting is open till the 14th August. One US finalist and one International finalist can each win a $100 gift voucher from Beadaholique. The photo with the most “Likes” wins! 

If you like my earrings please click here and “Like” my pic! :D

 

Joanne.

 

 

Maltese Island Blue Seas Necklace is a Winner!

Beads Direct UK is currently holding a weekly contest for jewellery designs inspired by favourite places.  I sent in a photo of my Blue Seas Necklace together with a photo of Comino’s Blue Lagoon.  Comino, the smallest of the three main Islands that make up the Maltese Archipelago has the most beautiful turquoise water, which was the inspiration for my piece.

Happy news when I saw my necklace featured in their weekly newsletter as the winning piece!  I’m really looking forward to receiving my prize, which is a bead hamper worth Fifty Pounds Sterling!! :D

Newsletter from Beads Direct showing the winning necklace from Joanne Zammit of gr8jewellery.

Newsletter from Beads Direct showing the winning necklace from Joanne Zammit of gr8jewellery.

Diving for Supplies

In this necklace I combined beadwork with a touch of soutache to frame a wonderful example of a sea urchin shell.  A chunky sea glass fringe and thick braided leather cord complete this unique piece.

A unique handmade necklace featuring a natural sea urchin shell.  In this necklace I combined beadwork with a touch of soutache to frame a wonderful sea urchin shell. A chunky sea glass fringe and thick braided leather cord complete this original piece.

 

 

The beautiful, clear blue sea that surrounds the Maltese Islands is not only a great source of inspiration, it is also occasionally a source of my materials.

Sea urchin shells make wonderful focal features in jewellery and accessories.  I collect only sea urchin shells and never live sea urchins.  The shells are extremely fragile and must be washed very carefully and strengthened before they can be used.

 

Sea urchin shells, washed.

Sea urchin shells, washed.

 

 

After washing the shells I check them and put aside those with visible defects.  The good ones make it to the the next step: strengthening.  This is when I I fill them and apply several coats of non-yellowing varnish.

Sea urchin shells, strenthening.

Sea urchin shells, filling and varnishing.

 

Now the fun begins, deciding what I’m going to do with them!

 

Joanne.

 

 

 

 

 

Mediterranean Inspirations

The sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean have always been a source of inspiration for me.  The colour, the sparkle, the life under the waves all have a place in jewellery.

Blue Seas Necklace.  Swarovski pendant with beadwoven tiny seed beads and cluster of Swarovski crystals.

Blue Seas Necklace. Swarovski pendant with beadwoven tiny seed beads and cluster of Swarovski crystals.

 

Beadwoven starfish and seaglass necklace by gr8jewellery

Beadwoven starfish and seaglass necklace by gr8jewellery

 

Beadwoven starfish and seaglass earrings by gr8jewellery

Beadwoven starfish and seaglass earrings by gr8jewellery

 

 

Folk Fest Necklace

The jury is out and my “Folk Fest Necklace”, which was entered for the Finished Jewelry category of the 2013 Fashion Colorworks Beading Contest, didn’t make it to the final ten.

It was clear even from the thumbnails that some wonderful creations were participating in all three categories.  It was really beneficial for me to take on the challenge and create my first major work featuring Soutache.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out. :D

Fashion Colorworks 2013

 

Folk Fest Necklace

 

Folk Fest Necklace

 

A big well done to all finalists.  Click here to visit the contest page and vote on your favourites.  The People’s Choice Award voting will be open until July 5.

Joanne.