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 often...it 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. And...at 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!