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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.
I’ve been seeing lots of pictures of Soutache work and thought “Yippee! Something new to try!!”
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.
… 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:
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.
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.
I have some new supplies in antiqued copper and brass that I’ve been playing with, including some lovely filigree flowers and heart lockets.
I’ve made my first necklace with one of the filigree flowers, for which I worked a Swarovski rivoli for its centre. I have half a dozen flowers in different colours so I matched the crystals to the colour of the flower.
I’ve also been busy taking new photos of some of my existing work and the new packaging.
I’ve been busy preparing for a craft fair this week. The Christmas edition of Patches is to be held this Sunday 12th December at the old indoor market in the capital city, Valletta.
I made some new jewellery items of course, but I also wanted to be able to offer some small gifts and Christmas ornaments. After a few trials and errors for hanging angels I was happy with the result I made in silver lined beads and coordinating wire with silver cord for hanging. I gave each angel a unique touch by handpainting each wooden bead to be used for the head.
My angel faces, drying off before use.
The finished angels
I also made a wire tree for displaying my earrings. I used a mixture of brown, copper and olive wires and used several strands to hold many earrings. I finished off each branch with a loop to hold the earrings securely.
The market will be held indoors and we will be supplied with a table 8ft long and 2ft wide. The rest is up to us so I started a checklist I can work from when packing everything up, otherwise I’m sure to forget something!
I am happy and proud to announce that I have received the ArtFire Certified Handmade Artifact.
ArtFire has created the first Certified Handmade Award in the handmade market. All the applicants are rigorously reviewed and the artifact is awarded only to artisans offering exclusively Handmade or Fine Art items. I meet all the criteria so I sent off my application together with an explanation of my handmade process plus photos of my studio and of works in progress.
As designer and creator of all my jewellery, I take great pride in my work. Each piece is meticulously and skilfully made with my own hands. This badge, which is displayed in my ArtFire shop and listings, provides extra reassurance to all my visitors of my commitment to handmade.
Exciting news from Frances J Melhop who has managed to raise enough funds to travel from New Zealand to Italy for her residency. Full steam ahead now to help enable her project. Click on the link below to help her along:
I’ve searched for trees from the European Street Team for my moodboard today. Here are some of my favourites: