My Entry to the 2013 Fashion Colorworks Beading Contest

I recently learnt about a beading contest organised by bead artist Zoya Gutina.  The whole idea of the contest is to create something using one of the colour combinations below, picked from the Pantone Color Institute’s Fashion Color Report for Spring 2013.

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Entries could be made for one of three categories:

  • Seed Bead Jewelry. Entries include jewelry and jewelry-related objects. Each entry must be not less than 50 percent seed beads.
  • Finished Jewelry. Each entry must be less than 50 percent seed beads; and other materials such as, but not limited to, glass beads, crystals, semi-precious stones, wire, metal clay, found objects, etc.
  • Seed Bead Objects. Entries include any not jewelry-related objects, accessories and sculptural objects. Each entry must be not less than 50 percent seed beads.

Further details and full rules here.

I had been slightly out of touch with the beading world for a few months so I learnt about this contest with barely three weeks till the closing date.  Not put off by the fact that I would have to rely on my existing bead stash to create something, I sifted through my supplies and was lucky to find the beads I needed in just the perfect shades to make a necklace using the third combination, African Violet, Tender Shoots and Lemon Zest!

Here’s a tiny sneak peek of my entry:

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All entries had to be submitted by 15th June, and the finalists are to be announced at some time TODAY!  Waiting impatiently to find out if my entry has been selected to be one of the finalists.  It’s a tough competition with so many wonderful entries to choose from!

Joanne.

 

Spikes and Duos

So many new shapes of beads are available, makes beadwork even more fun!

When I saw these spike beads I knew I wanted to try and make a cuff bracelet that incorporates them at the ends.  I teamed them up with Super Duo beads to create end-caps and used them on metallic Eco Nappa Leather.

Handmade beadwoven spike caps for cuff bracelet.

 

A picture of the work in progress:

Beadwoven spike caps for cuff bracelet

 

 

Venturing into Soutache

I’ve been seeing lots of pictures of Soutache work and thought “Yippee! Something new to try!!” :D

Very similar in technique to bead embroidery, flat back cabochons are stuck to a backing such as Lacy’s Stiff Stuff,  with beads and Soutache cord stitched around the focal cab.  Soutache can also be stitched directly to drilled beads without the need for a foundation.

Soutache work is very time consuming and great care has to be taken to ensure that the needle passes exactly through the centre channel on the soutache cord and also to make sure that the thread isn’t pulled too tight or the cord will pucker up.

My first Soutache work was a pendant.  The focal Turquoise cabochon was undrilled so I worked with a foundation.

Pendant with Soutache cord by gr8jewellery.
Work in progress.

 

I stuck Ultra Suede to the back to hide and secure all the ends, then stitched it to the foundation for a lasting finish.

Hand stitched backing on Soutache pendant.

The finished necklace.  Suede cord in turquoise and lime green and clasp with extender chain.

 

 

 

My Creative Space – 26.Jul.2012

Loads of stuff on my desk today …

First off, a leather bracelet with a Sterling Silver double heart.  I punched holes along the lengths and threaded lilac and pink Toho thread then attached a magnetic clasp.

 

I finished off four bracelets I started earlier this week.

 

and I started work on this beadwoven bail to hang a Swarovski Helios pendant for a choker.

See more of my Creative Space here.

 

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Creative Space

On my desk this week …

… another addition to my collection of hand knotted bracelets, this one featuring Swarovski crystals in white opal with metallic leather.  I’m also making a coordinating necklace with a Swarovski Square crystal with a beadworked bail.

 

Also a pair of wire wrapped earrings using some really gorgeous Czech firepolished beads I bought recently:

 

More Creative Space posts here.

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Lessons in Filigree

I’ve mentioned on my facebook page that I’ve been taking lessons in silver filigree, once weekly sessions of about 1.5 to 2 hours each for 8 weeks.  Each week our tutor Kevin Attard started off by explaining the filling technique we would be learning that week and then we would have a go at creating a piece of jewellery ourselves, shaping and soldering the frame, then coiling the delicate silver and finally filling in the frame and soldering everything.

I took some photos of my work in progress from lesson two onwards, it didn’t cross my mind in the first week.  The finished pieces can be viewed all together in the last photo.

The projects were:

Lesson 1:  Drop pendant

No photos of work in progress… my bad!  Finished pendant may be seen in last photo at end of post.

Lesson 2:  Earrings

Lesson 3:  Adjustable ring

Lessons 4 & 5:  Flower pendant & flower earrings

Lesson 6:  Ring of own design

During lesson 6 we were to make a ring of our own design to be shown alongside our tutor’s works at an exhibition called “Crieket” (meaning “Rings”).  Unfortunately I missed this lesson as I was abroad, however I managed to have a simple frame formed and soldered before the start of the lesson the following week.

I filled in the outer area with filigree work and soldered it before shaping the ring to fit.

Finally, I attached round crystals in the middle hollow section with silver wire.

I’m pretty happy with the design, however I’ve notched up another reason for buying my own soldering equipment! :)

Lesson 7:  Hair Barrette

Lesson 8:  Cleaning of projects

The last lessons was reserved for cleaning all the projects done during the course.

 

 

Making a photo light tent … trial and error

I’ve been thinking about buying a pop-up light tent but before doing so I decided to try making one myself.  The theory of a light tent is to place your light source outside the translucent material of the tent, thereby reducing glare.  Ideally you should have lights on the top and sides to also eliminate shadows.

Start with a cardboard box, the size depends on what you need to photograph.  I had an empty dogfood box measuring 15″ wide and approximately 11″ high and deep that was suitable for photographing my jewellery.

I turned the box on its side so what was the top became the front.

Then I cut off the top flaps and cut out the sides and top, leaving a narrow border all around.

I had some leftover white spray paint, so I lightly sprayed the interior white.  No need for perfection as I would be lining the sides and back with white paper too.

 

The plan was to sew a fabric lining for the box, with slits at the top and at the front so I could take photos from above and also from the front.  Having the box fully lined would eliminate reflections showing up in the jewellery photos.

I measured the inside of the box and cut out pattern pieces …

pinned the pieces together …

while Neo supervised the work in progress …

and finally sewed all the pieces together and hung the lining in the box.

Here is the result, the pic has not been edited in any way.

I was aiming for a completely seamless look with the lining, hence the reason for hanging it from the inside of the box.  Although the pics are quite OK after a bit of editing, I’m not really happy with the result as the fabric isn’t taut enough and it shows.

 

Take 2 … eliminate the fabric.

To cover the sides and top I cut up two plastic hanging files, cut two halves to fit the sides and stuck them in place.  One half of a file was just the right size for the top and I decided to simply place it on top rather than sticking it so I could remove it easily in case I wanted to photograph anything from the top.

That’s it, a simple light tent ready to be used.  At the moment we have good natural light and I’m using the box outside in the balcony overlooking our courtyard with no additional artificial light.  Come Winter, I’ll find a suitable place indoors and use daylight lamps to provide light from the top and the sides.

Here’s the result, photo has not been touched or edited in any way yet.

Just a bit of cropping and brightening and here’s the final pic:

 

 

Hand knotted bracelets

I’ve recently been working on a number of knotted and beaded bracelets in two very different styles.

Waxed cotton cord and high quality Toho seed beads were combined with carefully chosen buttons to form the basis of my new “Wild Whippet” collection.  Perfect for stacking up and showing off on bare arms.

 

 

The second line of bracelets once again used hand knotted waxed cord, but the inclusion of feature beads set with sparkly crystals gave a completely different look.

Available from my shop.

 

 

 

Sights and Sounds on a Sunday Morning

Some of the sights that greeted me as I went out to buy freshly baked bread today.

Rabat was dressed up for the feast of Corpus Christi …

Already very hot here, and an enterprising soul set up a granita cart on the church parvis.  You can see the top of it in the lower right hand corner of the photo above, and enlarged below:

 

The market which is set up every Sunday morning in Rabat was still there too, though everybody was taking the stalls down since it was past midday.

 

In Istanbul With Friends

 Just one week ago today I landed in Istanbul to spend a few days with four virtual friends I had gotten to know on Etsy’s European Street Team.  It’s a big leap from chatting on the net to chatting in real life, especially since being chatty isn’t exactly one of my strong points! ;)

The whole holiday was great, the girls were fantastic and just as I’d imagined them to be.  It felt as though we had known each other forever and the four days passed in a whirlwind of laughter, food, more laughter, lots of sightseeing, even more food and yet more laughter!

Happy times in Istanbul with (left to right)
Stephanie, Inger, Renate and Kristin. Little me on the right.
Thanks to Stephanie for the photo!

 

A little time was spent on supplies shopping too of course!

Braiding supplies from Istanbul

Fabric from Istanbul

 

One of the highlights for me was to watch Kristin from EviHAN at work in her studio, making one of her delightful angel faces.

 

She even let me have a go at trying to make a bead!  She makes it look super easy, and it may be too … after lots and lots of practice!  Here’s my first attempt …

 

We were lucky to have Kristin to show us around and help us to choose the most delicious food.

 

 

One of our walks led us to a small snackbar where we tasted a cheese-filled Filo pastry “pie” that tasted just like Maltese Ricotta Pastizzi!

 

Scrumptious breakfasts, lunches and dinners could easily have given us an extra 10Kg each, luckily we walked lots of it off to take in all the sights.  Here are a few:

 

The Bosphorus Strait

   
  

Inside the Topkapi Palace

  

The Basilica Cistern

  
  

Hagia Sofia & The Blue Mosque