Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Melbournian - A Beaded Tribute

As most of you know I recently (February 2011) had to leave my beloved city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to head north to Brisbane, which is the capital city of Queensland, Australia due to my husbands employment. It was with a heavy heart that I left this city .. here was where I felt at 'home' for the first time in my adult life and a place that was so cosmoplitan and happening that it really had everything to offer. Melbourne has been ranked in the Top Three most liveable cities since 2002 and I cannot agree more.

What is a Melbournian you might ask ....?? A Melbournian is a local person who resides in Melbourne, it is what us Australians do it would seem .. for example if you live in Perth, Western Australia you are a Sand Groper .. if you live in Darwin, Northern Territory you are a Territorian and so on and so forth. I am now a Queenslander, who lives in Brisvegas' (local term). Melbournian is a beaded tribute to Melbourne, my favourite Australian City and to Autumn my favourite Season. I enjoyed 6 Autumn's in Melbourne.

Melbournian came about after I was unable to complete what was to be my first Bead Dreams entry, due to time constraints, exhaustion and just a general overwhelming work load I could just not complete it in time. I parked it .... then returned to it a week or so later, undid what I had already beaded and began again .. this time on a totally different 'thread path' if you like. I have beaded parts of this, over and over .. trying to get the tension correct so that the symmetry of the curve that is evident in the SC Stone component of the focal was perfect.

The necklace straps are peyote beaded armatures, ie plastic tubing that I beaded around. I needed elements of the neckpiece straps to be strong and bold to tie in with the bold focal component of the neckpiece. The armatures where further embellished with herringbone, right angle weave and picot stitches. The focal sections of this neckpiece are comprised of 5 separate sections. The large embellished Swarovski Crystal stone focal has been created using 8 (18x13mm) stones, 3 65SS stones, 3mm & 4mm bicones, Toho, Czech and Miyuki seed and cylinder beads in sizes ranging from micro (size 16) through to size 15 to size 11.

The second component is the large Swarovski Crystal Cosmic Ring, this is the bridging element that suspends the three large Swarovski Crystal Navette Pendants who swing handsomely from their 'winged bails'. Winged bails are a design I created using peyote and herringbone to form the 'wings'. Navette 1 is a 30mm Navette, the centre is a 40mm Navette .. the third being another SC 30mm Navette.

Colours and Swarovski Elements (Beads & Stones), Seed Beads and Cylinder beads used in the construction of this large statement piece are vast and varied: The Swarovski Crystal Element colours are Golden Shadow, Crystal Coppper, Khaki, Khaki AB, Olivine, Diorion and Topaz. The Swarovski pearls are Cream. Swarovski Crystal Elements used are Cosmic Rings, Column Pendants, Rondelles, Navette Pendants, Bicones, Foiled stones and Briolettes. The seed beads are dark red these are micro beads, size 16 very tiny .. the tiniest I have worked with. Other seed beads include Toho faceted seed beads, Miyuki cylinder beads, Czech charlottes in a range of colours including green, matt green, bronze, gold and cream. Beadweaving stitches used to build this neckpiece include Even Count Peyote, Tubular Peyote, Herringbone, Tubular Herringbone, Right Angle Weave, Netting, Picot and Freeform.

The clasp of this neckpiece is quite clever (in my humble opinion) as it is in fact a 'faux toggle clasp'. It does not open like you would expect but is released via a magnetic closure that I have hidden beneath a skirt of right angle weave woven bicones and hammered seed beads. The toggle was created by weaving together two Swarovski Crystal barrettes, then hiding the join beneath further embellishment. The ring part of the Swarovski Crystal Toggle Clasp is a Swarovski Crystal Cosmic Ring.

The future for Melbournian is that I plan to keep her... she is to lovely to part with. I will however be making another more elaborate neckpiece using this design as a foundation but using an entirely different colour scheme that is yet to be decided. I will then submit it to the Swarovski Cyrstal Fire Mountain Gems competiton which opens later this year. Happy Beading.

All of these needles were harmed in the making of this neckpiece .. John James needles of whom I HAD (so past tense) a complete preference and bias to seriously let me down.

Note: the needle packets looked like this ! Top packet is what the back looks like with the statement "Packed and inspected in England using needles made in China to Entaco's quality and specification" Boo I say Entaco ... Boo ...

I purchased about 25 packets (about 625 needles!) of these needles in size 12 and 13 from only to discover that they were no longer made in England but were now only packaged in England and made in China ... nasty, cheap and downright frustrating needles to work with. They do not have any 'bend' ability, they cannot cope with tight thread passes and will break into more than one piece! I will reserve the use of these needles to simple beadwoven exercises were there is not any need for pressure or force. I am told by Carol Dean Sharpe of Sandfibres that Ponies and Tulip needles are the best ... I will investigate these needles and source them immediately!

PSS This is what my bead station number 2 looks like after Melbournian was completed .. I have two work stations within my 'Beading Lounge' aka Mad Womans Den. Better get busy and tidy up for the next beading session ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh where is my beading mojo hiding..

Mid February saw us, that is me and my family which consists of two little boys, two Cavoodle dogs and one husband, 4 and a half sea containers full of possessions, not to mention 32 boxes of beads and beading/craft room things, 3 cars and 1 motorbike uplift and head north to sunny Brisbane. The move was due to my husbands employment with a large mining company, they had estabslished a head office of sorts in Brisbane and my husband the now General Manager had to go, so go we did. We spent 5.5 beautiful years in Melbourne, prior to that it was Perth, but my heart will always be in Melbourne. I am a cold weather bunny and love a winter wardrobe and cool days.. there was nothing I did not like about Melbourne .. oh maybe except the traffic congestion!! Brisbane has a winter but not as freezing as a Melbourne winter I have noted. Brisbane summers are hot and steamy, steamy and sweaty is not a feeling I like so much. Still, we have to look at things with a positive note and I am surrendering to this relocation albeit slowly. My beading mojo has seriously been affected by the relocation and I am not entirely sure why. We have been here three months and except for a couple of pairs of earrings and a couple of kits I have not completed anything. I commenced work on my Bead Dreams entry but did not complete it and I have been fiddling with it ever since. I bead parts of it .. hate it and then undo it all .. tis maddening... In this house I have a dedicated beading room, known fondly now as the little beading lounge. I have two huge built in cupboards to store all of my equipment in, shelving for beads and no carpets to loose beads in, yet still the mojo justs drifts in and drifts out. Please come back Melly's mojo ... I am missing you...