Tag Archives: necklace

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.

 

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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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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.

Fiery Fridays – tips from the top!

It is not uncommon for ArtFire admin to pop in to a forum thread with some really helpful comments and tips to the user community.

There was a discussion going on this week about a letter from the UK Handmade Community to Mary Queen of Shops, and her reply.  ArtFire admin jumped into the thread with some excellent tips on the importance of writing interesting product descriptions and creating a story around your listings to engage the buyer and highlight what is unique and special about your goods.

Here’s the new introduction to my beadwoven pendant with the ‘secret’ Maltese Cross:

Love, restless,
burning fever bright.
I sit and wait with longing,
each second an eternity,
until my Knight returns.
Our meetings secret,
our union forbidden.

read more here.