Tag Archives: malta

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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.

 

Preparing for a Craft Fair

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! 

  • Stand setup:
    - table cover
    - extension cord
    - lights
    - mirror
    - folding chair

  

  • Packaging:
    - boxes
    - tissue paper
    - string
    - bags

  

  • Display:
    - necklace busts
    - trays
    - ring holders
    - earring tree
  • Sundries:
    - ring sizer
    - measuring tape
    - scissors
    - tape
    - VAT receipt book
    - orders book
    - loose change
    - business cards
    - price tags
    - pen / pencil

  

I hope I’ve remembered to write everything down!  What else would YOU take?  I would love your comments so that I can update my list if it’s something I would need :)