Sunday, November 25, 2012

Birthday Star Pendant

Just a quick post to say that I'm not gone and that new content is coming soon. The picture above is a pendant I made for a friend's birthday. More of my experiments with spiky beads. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

David's Star Pendant Tutorial

It's finally finished! \(^-^)/

Wow. That took longer than I thought it would. I worked hard to find the simplest thread path's amazing how many unnecessary stitches I customarily use in designs, though that is admittedly due to the fact that I rarely know what the finished piece will look like when I'm designing. I'm not a diagrams kind of girl. I design by the seat of my pants. (^-^)

In any case, below you will find the image for the tutorial. Keep in mind that you will need to know the Star Base, which you can find instructions for in the previous post. I'll also add a tag at some point here for "Bases" so that the base tutorials are easier to find as I add them.

Enjoy! (^-^)/

Star Base Tutorial

So, here’s the thing…normally, I try to keep the tutorials to one single image that can be easily downloaded. But then I realized that the first half of the David’s Star tutorial used a beaded component that I often start with when designing new pieces. It made sense to do a tutorial for the base separately, so I can refer back to it in future tutorials and they don’t take me as much time to complete. [ And boy did this one take time to complete. (T-T) ]

Because this isn’t a really complicated base (and to save time so I can get the actual tutorial to you lovely people sooner) I’m not doing a single image for this one, but rather, a blog post that I can link in future tutorials which make use of this base.

Star Base
Materials: Tila beads, Twin beads, size 11 SB, 14mm Rivoli

Step 1: Make a ring of 6 Tila beads and 6 size 11 SB in an alternating pattern as shown and tie it off. Weave the tail thread into the ring (just go around a few times) and snip it. Exit the main thread from a Tila.

Step 2: Stitch “up” so your thread is now exiting the top hole of a Tila bead.

Step 3: Pick up 1 size 11 SB, 1 Twin bead, 1 size 11 SB. Pass through the next Tila’s top hole.

Step 4: Continue to repeat step three around the circle until you are back with your thread exiting the first Tila.

Step 5: Square stitch a new Tila on top of the one from the previous round (hereafter referred to as the “base Tilas”).

Step 6: Continue around the circle adding new Tilas on top of the base Tilas with square stitch. Then “fold” the new Tilas down so they lie on top of the base Tilas.

Step 7: Leave your thread exiting a Twin bead. Pick up 1 size 11 SB and sew through the “joint hole” of the new Tila next to it. (This is the hole on the outer edge of the circle once you have folded the Tilas down.)

Step 8: Pick up 1 size 11 SB and pass through the next Twin bead. Pick up another size 11 SB and sew through the next joint hole/outer edge of the next new Tila.

Step 9: Continue around repeating step 8 until you are back to the beginning of the round. Leave your thread exiting a new Tila bead.

Step 10: Stitch “down” into the lower/inner hole of the new Tila.

Step 11: Set your Rivoli into the space between the base Tilas and the new Tilas.

Step 12: Pick up 1 size 11 SB and pass through the next Tila.

Step 13: Continue around. Then retrace the thread path several times to secure the Rivoli. Weave through your work so your thread is exiting a twin bead.

***Star Base is Finished!***
This is a great base to build off of, so don’t hesitate to try designing with it. It is my gift to you. <3 Next time, we’ll use the Star Base to make a David’s Star pendant.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Koi Flower

Koi Flower

I actually designed this pattern so that I could make the main "flower" and hang any charm I wanted from the base of it. Instant customization. I think that's a fun option to have with a piece of jewelry, because in the end, all of us like to have items in our wardrobe that say something about us as people. Jewelry especially should reflect who we are in a meaningful way. :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Job's Tear Pendant

Job's Tear Pendant

This was one of many summer creations. I wish the photo did better justice to the dimensionality of this piece, but on the up side, the colors are well represented. :) The piece receives its name from the pale white seed hanging from the bottom, which is called a Job's Tear, referencing a biblical story found in the old testament and the Hebrew bible. 

This is one of those pendants which took a while to grow on me. I'll admit that I wasn't fond of it when I first finished making it, but found myself wearing it anyway. Over time, I liked it more and more. The odd thing is that it has a similar effect on my friends and coworkers. Almost no one is "drawn to it" as they are many of my other necklaces, but inevitably, it is the one that gets the most attention if they keep looking at my pendants for a long enough time. An interesting effect which adds to the overall mystique of the piece, especially given the nature of the biblical reference. I like how that almost says something about the person who interacts with this object--the way that one is not immediately enamored with the piece but comes to see the beauty of it only by considering it fully on the object's own terms.

Wow. I sounded like a "serious" artist there for a second. ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Deep Sea Star Pendant

Deep Sea Star

This pendant was an experiment with using two hole daggers. The double holes gave me a convenient anchor point for the rose-montes that are wrapped around the bases. This is also an example of how the recently popularized tila bezel technique can make a good base for a 6 pointed star as I mentioned in the previous post--observant readers will notice the same trick was used in the David's Star pendants which I am working on the tutorial for. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Technique: Math and Star Points

This is my first attempt at writing about my techniques. Today I am talking about star points and specifically how I arrived at a means to make these little beauties: 

Sevenstar Charms

These little charms were an experiment in number. I noticed when using spikes, or whatever other major shape I was wanting to work with, and twin beads that I was often beading around bezeled rivolis with delics, then adding a row of twins--spaced by skipping every other stitch--and then adding my main shaped beads between those twins. The twins are good for stabilizing things in this arrangement, so it's a natural technique to default to, and I like the "star" like look that one can achieve. I also developed other "star" shapes using the tila bezel technique. 

However...I was bothered by the limitations on what type of star I could make this way. When doing a standard peyote bezel as a star base, the number of points is predetermined (if you want them to be evenly spaced) because of the numbers involved. Using size 14 rivolis, the natural number of points will always be 9, for size 12 rivolis, it will always be 8. If I use a tila bezel instead of a peyote bezel, I can get 6 points or 5 points respectively (a technique I'll write about separately). And while that's a pretty decent range of variation, I really wanted the ability to make a 7 point star, because...well, because. :P

So I had to think about the numbers a bit in order to make my seven pointed star dream come true:

 I use a standard number of beads to bezel a rivoli: 36 delicas for a 14mm, 32 delicas for a 12mm.  But when I stitch the supporting twin beads, I am stitching in the ditch of the peyote round below it, which is the base divided by 2 (18 for a 14mm, 16 for a 12mm). Because I have to skip a stitch between each twin, so there is room for the "point" of the star between them, I am dividing the round by 2 again--which is how we get 9 points on a 14mm rivoli and 8 points on a 12mm rivoli. Mathematically, that means I take the original number of beads strung for the bezel and divide by 4 to see how many points the star will have. (14mm=36 delicas / 4 =9; 12mm=32 delicas / 4 =8) With me so far?

Now, I want a seven point star. In math, equations have to work both ways if operations are reversed. So if the original base ring of beades divided by 4 gives me the number of points, then the number of points multiplied by 4 should give me the base number of beads I need in the bezel, which in this case is 28 (4x7). Therefore, if I want a seven pointed star from a peyote bezel using my standard technique, all I need to do is find the correct size rivoli to fit a 28 delica bezel. Turns out there is just such a rivoli: the new 10.5 mm size fits perfectly. (Though you can use 47ss dentelles, which will also fit that bezel, if you are so inclined--I did on my first few charms because I didn't have any 10.5mm rivolis on hand.)

So now I can make stars with 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 points. I could go bigger than 9, but I am satisfied with this range. For anyone who wants to play with more points, I have some advice:

10 points requires a starting bezel with 40 beads, which is about right for a 16mm rivoli so that's easy. Going any higher, however, gets problematic. 11 points requires a bezel of 44, which is just shy of the 46 needed to properly bezel an 18mm rivoli. One might think that 12 points would better fit an 18mm, and it would, but it requires a bezel of 48--which you might be able to get around an 18mm, but it could be a bit loose depending on how you do your stitching. There currently is no size between a 16mm and 18mm rivoli, so the best way to go about 11 and 12 point stars, in my opinion, is to skip having a center rivoli and bead off a peyote ring (so you can control the base number of delicas more finitely).

Here is an example of how that might look (though this is one is made with only 9 points, because that's as many points as I, personally, prefer to have):

Star Wheel

You can see how the number of points can be easily changed in this design. The pendant will get larger as you add more points and there will be a bigger hole in the middle, but it's very doable. This method does make the "star" sort of roundish, but depending on what you are going for, that might work to your advantage. 

Hope this helps anyone wanting to make star designs. Next time, we talk about the versatility of tila bezels. :)

Happy beading! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Northstar

The Northstar

So what does a beader wear as her personal special piece of jewelry? Well, if your me, you wear this. (^-^)
I made this pendant fairly early on in the summer and have been wearing it ever since. It was one of my first experiments with spiky beads and I liked it so much that I added it to my personal collection. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lotus Jewel Pendant

Lotus Jewel Pendant

It's almost a tease to put this out here since it sold from the shop earlier today, but I had this post backlogged for over a week, so I didn't know it would sell before I posted. 

In Ancient Egypt, the lotus was a symbol of new beginnings and, in some myths, was the origin of the cosmos. I have always loved the form of the lotus with it's many petals radiating from its center like the rays of light feathering around the sun in a cloudy sky. I chose the colors of my native river, muted blue and green, to render it--the "petals" are actually slightly translucent, almost murky, and they reminded me of river water when I first found the beads. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Criss-Crossed Pendant

Criss-Crossed Pendant

More fun with spiky beads. :3

I'm using the baby spikes Czech beads in a lot of projects lately. I like how they add so much dimension and visual interest without weighing down a piece or making things needlessly complex.

Also: this pendant is now available in the shop! \(^-^)/
 [along with all of the ones from the three design options in the Reader's Choice Tutorial poll] 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Reader's Choice Tutorial Poll Winner

The Reader's Choice Tutorial poll is now officially closed and though the final numbers ended up in a tie between the David's Star pendant and the Thorn Flower pendant, one of those votes on the Thorn Flower pendant was actually mine from when I was testing the polling widget. Removing my vote, the David's Star pendant was clearly the reader's choice. :)

Thus: The David's Star pendant it will be! \(^-^)/

Be looking for the tutorial to show up in late August or early September. In the mean time, this blog will return to it's regularly scheduled postings. :)

Thanks for voting everyone! :D

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Reader's Choice Tutorial Poll

You may have already seen it, but the Reader's Choice Tutorial Poll is up and running. You can find it on the left sidebar of the site and have until Aug. 11th to vote. There won't be any new updates to the blog until after the poll closes so that the three entries detailing the candidates stay at the top of the blog. The posts are clearly marked in their titles. As said in the three posts, I will be making a FREE tutorial for the pendant design which gets the most votes by the time the poll closes.

As always, thanks for reading. I'm so excited to see which design people like the most and which one I will be making a tutorial of. So go vote already!   \(^-^)/

Thorn Flower Pendants (A Reader's Choice Tutorial candidate)

Thorn Flower Pendants

Of all my new designs from this summer, I am most proud of this one. Making use of both the new twin beads and the new baby spike beads along with my favored tila bezel technique--it's really just a great example of my personal aesthetic as a designer as translated into the new and exciting materials that have become available in the last few years.

There are actually two different versions of the design in the photo above, and just so no one is disappointed, the center one is the one which would be featured in the tutorial if this design wins the poll. Here's a close up shot of it:

The difference between the two versions is very slight, but the changes I made to the way I stitched this third pendant (as opposed to the original two) makes it less difficult to show in tutorial diagrams and easier to make in general. 

So there you have it. The Thorn Flower Pendant is the last of the three possible choices for my reader's choice tutorial poll. I'll be making a tutorial for the design which gets the most votes. Be looking for the poll to show up soon (provided I can get it to work--otherwise we may have to vote via comments...) Details will be posted as soon as I get it up and running! (^-^)

Friday, August 3, 2012

David's Star Pendants (Reader's Choice Tutorial candidate)

David's Star Pendants

These pendants are my modern take on traditional Star of David necklaces. I have a lot of Jewish heritage in my family and one day I noticed that the common tila bezel for 14mm rivolis is six sided. then the design just clicked. While I unfortunately don't have pictures of the backs of these, this design marks a change in my perspective of how to make pendants.

During the summer, a woman at a grocery store asked me for my business card because she loved the pendant I was wearing. I was flattered and gave her one. But when I got to my car, I realized the pendant was flipped backwards! 

It was an ah-ha moment for me. Pendants flip fairly pays to make the backs as pretty as possible. The back of these pendants are very similar to the front. Not reversible, exactly, but nice enough that one would not be embarrassed to have it flip the wrong way. I make all of my newer pendants with this lesson in mind. 

The David's Star pendant is one of the choices for the reader's choice tutorial pool I am going to attempt sometime next week. I will be making a tutorial of the design with the most votes. Stay tuned tomorrow for the next of the three options. (^-^)

***Edit: the David's Star pendant won the poll! Find the tutorial here***

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wheel of Fate Pendants (A Reader's Choice Tutorial candidate)

"Wheel of Fate" Pendants

The first major design breakthrough I had this summer was these Wheel of Fate pendants. I wish the pictures conveyed their dimensional layering better, but alas, I am at best a poor photographer. Here's a side view of one of them to try and show what I mean:

In person, they are rather complex looking--an effect achieved through the use of Tila beads and a small suspension trick also used in the construction of bridges.They look difficult to make, but are really more of an intermediate project, I think (if you can bezel a rivoli, you can make this pendant). They also work up fairly quickly, clocking in at an hour to an hour and a half to make from start to finish.  

The Wheel of Fate pendant is one of the choices for the reader's choice tutorial poll I am going to attempt sometime next week. I will be making a tutorial of the design with the most votes. Stayed tuned tomorrow for the next of the three options. (^-^)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back in Action!

"Ephemeral" Beaded Ropes

Well, I am back from my hiatus with a couple of lovely ropes for you.

I'm getting started again kind of slowly, but I will have more pictures of my summer time misadventures in beading. In the next few days, I'll be showcasing and talking about three designs that I'm most proud of. the end of that there will be a poll to see which one I will make a tutorial of! \(^-^)/

That is provided that I can figure out how to do polls on here... (?-_-) But we will try!

Sunday, June 17, 2012


This piece, as of yet untitled, is one of many I have made over the last month. I have over a dozen new designs that I have made since the last time I posted, but due to my current circumstances (ongoing family health issues) I have not had much time to take pictures of them or update the website. I thank those of you who visit the blog for sticking with me through this difficult time. Rest assured that I will return full force as soon as I am able. Currently, I am looking at being on something of a hiatus until late July. I apologize that it took me so long to announce that officially--it was unfortunately not something I thought to do until just now.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding and for the support so many of you have shown these past weeks. I truly appreciate it.

See you in July!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Leaf Blade in Rose

This piece is an example of design driven by components I pick up randomly in bead shops. :) I loved the pointed oval onyx stone, but needed to come up with a way to incorporate it despite the somewhat odd placement of the holes. I love the overall effect the shapes involved allow me to to achieve.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Atomic Flower Pendant

A variation on the Atomic Snowflake designs. The picture seems to have washed the colors out a little, but it is very sparkly in person. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quicksilver Snowflake

One of the newest designs to enter my growing portfolio of work.  This one got a lot of attention at the Zonta fair :)

I seem to be on a snowflake theme lately. Maybe due to the lack of snow this season? Do I secretly feel deprived, perhaps?  Who knows. What I do know is that snowflake shapes seem to make for beautiful jewelry.

Spring Zonta 2012

Just an update on last weekend's appearance at the Spring Zonta fair in Pierre. With pictures! (^-^)

Big thanks to everyone who was able to come out and see me! You guys are the best! \(^-^)/

Monday, April 2, 2012

Dragon Fishing Pendant

This pendant got its name because long magatma beads always make me think of dragons ever since the Dragon Bangle project in Beadwork, and I couldn't help thinking that this pendant was a stylized tale about a dragon fishing for Koi out of a pond with his claw. I find stories come naturally while I am making unique pendants like this. It gets me into trouble because sometimes, having a story with a piece makes it hard to give it up later when it gets sold. :(  But I take comfort in the knowledge that my works go to good homes where their new owners will love them at least as much as I do. :) 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Carnival Princess Pendant

My obsession with black and while stripes continues. :)

This pendant is just as striking as The Circus at Night pendant but more petite and easier to wear. The design makes use of the new Twin Beads integrated with herringbone stitch. I'm still not sure how I feel about the twin beads, but this pendant pleased me greatly, so I guess I am slowly becoming a fan of them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Atomic Snowflake Series

I started the Atomic Snowflake Series as an experiment. The green one  was the first design I came up with (which is why it is listed as 001 in my Artfire shop--I numbered them in the order I came up with the variations). It was developed while playing around with twin beads, and I liked it so much, I quickly ordered supplies in a full rainbow of colors to make more of them.

But then I got to thinking...what if I tried to create a variation for each color instead of simply duplicating the same design seven times? The result was a surprisingly varied series.

 I was pleased with how versatile the basic form is and the range of shapes I could get just from changing one or two elements. In a sense, this is also part of my larger effort to gain an understanding of how Hungarian beaded pendant designs function--since I used mainly techniques I have learned from Hungarian beaders to create these designs.

Note: all of these are currently up for sale in my Artfire Shop :) 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grand Opening of Art Fire Studio!

I finally have an online store front!

 For the time being, it is small and limited in inventory. I also don't have a lot of features available yet--including international shipping. Sorry! :( But I am hoping to build the site slowly and be operating at full speed by summer.

As promised, if you enter the code at the bottom of this coupon, you'll get 10% off an item of your choosing. :) The coupon runs from Mar.19th to Apr. 20th and I will be adding inventory throughout that window, so there is plenty of time to take advantage of the offer.

(BTW: the number on the coupon code is also the number of hits on my site since I started this blog back in the fall. Thanks everyone!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tutorial: The Circus at Night

I call this pendant "The Circus at Night" and my design was inspired by the book The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern which I have recently read. If you haven't already read the book, I highly recommend it!

In any case, I liked the pendant so much that I not only made several of them, I decided to make a tutorial so others could enjoy it as well! :)

Happy Beading!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Original Work: Royal DNA

This piece utilizes a Swarovski crystal navette of unusually large size: 32x17mm. It is surrounded by a double tila bezel and embellished with fire-polished rounds and drops. The leather cord is wrapped where the pendant hangs by a hollow beaded tube (created with a traditional Russian technique). Hexagonal cut seed beads are used to make the end-caps of the beaded tube, as well as the bail of the pendant. 

Royal DNA is priced at $140 and will be available at my booth during the Zonta Spring Craft Show in Pierre, SD (April 15-16). 

Artist Appearance: Zonta Spring Craft Show

Got my confirmation that I have a space at the 2012 Zonta Spring Craft Show in Pierre, SD. I'll be exhibiting and selling my work at the Pierre Mall on April 15-16. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop on by! I'll be raffling off one of my pendants (raffle entry is free). So mention my blog to get a  second raffle ticket and double your chances to score a free pendant! :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Favorite Hungarian Beadwork: Tilammy Pendant

The Tilammy Pendant: I saw this beautiful pendant post as an original work on Ewa’s blog and was drooling over it long before she made a pattern to go with it. I just love the way she uses Tila’s in this piece. I’ve decided: Ewa is the Goddess of Hungarian beadwork! (^-^)