Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Soutache Embroidery - Covering the back!

Whilst working with Soutache (my second love behind beadwork) I discovered a neat way of finishing the back area of your Soutache piece's. I like the back to look tidy and professional. I've called it the MI Method!
Step 1
Remove as much excess Soutache tails as possible, the less bulk the better.  Pin on a piece of tracing paper or baking paper, over the area to be concealed, ensure you press down and capture the folds of the Soutache.  Using a marker, draw the out the area to be concealed. See Step 1. 
Note: The surface area is increased by the folds of the Soutache tail bulk, this must be factored in when preparing the template.

Step 2
Remove the pins and cut the template out, not to the marker line, just roughly around the template. See Step 2.  

Step 3
Pin the template to your section of UltraSuede or Leather (or whatever it is that you prefer to work with).  I have pinned my template to UltraSuede (see Step 3).  Cut out the template.  Lay it carefully onto the area to be concealed.  I like to find a particular area on the Soutache piece to lay the UltraSuede onto first.  In this sample I have started at the top (see Step 4). 
Step 4
I use Loctite glue for my Soutache work as it adhere's immediately. Ensure that you glue and press the UltraSuede into the folds of the Soutache tails (this part is important!).

Step 5
Using a pair of small sharp scissors, carefully snip the excess away from the Soutache perimeters of the area to be concealed (see Step 5).  Do this slowly and carefully, adding dots of Loctite to the area to be glued, pressing down to ensure adhereance, then moving onto the next area.

Step 6
Using the MI Method I have been able to proudly finish the back area of my Soutache pieces to a professional standard (see Step 6). 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith Round 3 - The Creation of Arabesque Armour

An original pencil design from my design journal of how I envisaged my then unamed Battle of the Beadsmith entry.
How was I inspired to create Arabesque Armour? This question was asked of me and in all honesty I do not really know. I do not always understand this about any of the artisan jewellery pieces that I create. Sometimes I get just an image in my mind, then process this sometimes for weeks. Visualising thread paths and possiblitilies. I will make samples using Nymo (rather than expensive Fireline) to get a feel for what my mind sees. I can be inspired by many things cloud shapes, my very large bead stash, how food and colours are displayed on a plate, vintage couture jewellery, even words can inspire me such as my latest piece "Anna's Snowrose". "Anna's Snowrose" was inspired by my Facebook friend Anna Lindell whom I met as she too is a participant of the Battle of the Beadsmith contest. Anna commented one day that my design Arabesque Armour resemebled a "rose on a stem". Later I met Snowrose Feldman another Facebook friend and with that my muse got me busy creating Anna's Snowrose (I will blog about this design another day).

A second original pencil design from my design journal, still playing with concepts.
Where did the floral focal inspiration arrive from for Arabesque Armour I will never know. Perhaps it was when I sit and create samples and play with stitches, my drawings or it could have been when I saw a magazine cover earlier this year that had a floral shaped cuff bangle.  I looked at that cuff design and thought ..'I can bead that' .. with that I snapped a pic with my iPhone, then promptly forgot about it.  Why did I even choose a floral focal?.. again, I do not exactly know. 
Pic snapped with my iPhone
I fiddled with samples for the floral focal for some time and finally went with Cubic Right Angle Weave as the stitch to bring my floral idea to life.  As only a beader will know, you may have an idea of a design in your creative mind, but actually creating it using only beads can sometimes just not be possible as ultimately the beads are boss. Design limitations and time resulted in the floral focal that became central to my Arabesque Armour design.  I knew that because it was CRAW I could embellish it and create something wonderful. The next part of the design process was how best to display the floral focal.  I decided on a beadwork frame setting that would be embellished with Swarovski elements and seed beads.

Because this piece was being designed for the Battle of the Beadsmith contest I wanted to produce my best work as the audience would be large, very large.  I wanted to include something new and different. I included CRAW attachment points on my Rivolis within the beadwork frame so that I could join them seamlessly.  I wanted wonderful curls that I could embellish and most of all I wanted to produce something totally original.  I chose a colour way that I had not ventured into before. I wanted it to say nothing more than 'fun' and colour especially pinks, lemon, purples and yellows suggest fun (to me anyway).  The Battle is about friendship and uniting artists around the world so I wanted my colour way choice to reflected just that.
For a bit of Battle fun I decided that the tassel must be detachable for Battle purposes; my thoughts being detach prior to Battle so that a flaying tassel does not interfere with sword weilding, all tongue in cheek though.
Arabesque Armour is continuing on into Round 3, this time I am paired with USA Artist Christian Rodriguez and her wonderful design "Antigua".

Here I am deciding if the floral focal should sit above or below the CRAW beadwork.
This is the beginning of the curls that eventually sat either side of the beadwork frame. The curls sort of happened by accident whilst I was deciding how to hang the focal.

This is me wearing my completed design, Arabesque Armour

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gold Medal Winner - Presidents Award

The lovely Lauren Butler who is the Gold Medal First prize winner of the 2011 Swarovski Elements Fire Mountain Beads & Gems (FMG) Contest, enlightened me earlier this week that my design 'Lashed Lily' had in fact won the Gold Medal Prize Winner - Presidents Award for the 2011 Swarovski Elements Design Contest held annually by Fire Mountain Beads & Gems.

It was a very nice surprise.  My Aussie beading buddy, Noel Wyres scored bronze with her design 'Bouquet' so collectively the Australian's did very well in this contest.

Comments taken from the Fire Mountain Beads & Gems website from the President of FMG "Stuart, a trained aeronautics engineer, gravitated toward the gorgeous geometrics and cleverly hidden side clasp in Melissa Ingram’s Lashed Lily necklace. Melissa used tubular peyote stitch to construct the necklace body, then assembled the cascading centerpiece with mathematical precision".
Lashed Lily is a right angle woven (unlike FMG who refer to the stitch as peyote) necklace strap (beads over armature), the magnetic clasp is hidden in the necklace strap. However the focal resembles a toggle clasp which was created using the Swarovski Square Ring Article 4439 and two Swarosvki 'Lily Focal's' Article 6904 that I simply 'lashed' together to form the toggle part of the clasp, albeit a faux toggle clasp. The design focal is embellished with Swarovski pearls and bicones. The colour way is largely green and purple with matt sterling plated Toho seed beads forming most of the beadwork.

Happy Beading

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith 2012 - Arabesque Armour

July 10, 2012 was the deadline for submitting entries to the Battle of the Beadsmith.  On the 6th day (ie the 16th) Steven Weiss (Marketing Manager for Beadsmith and Creator of the Event) was still waiting for participants to submit their entries. I had to voice my concern which became 'an issue' but which resolved in time, decisions were made and the Battle proceeded. 

I felt that the participants who achieved the deadline had their effort's undervalued and not respected. A deadline is just that, an end point which must be adhered to plus the contest had 'alternatives' set aside for just this reason.  I totally 'get' that Steven was trying hard to accommodate and support each 'late' participant so that they could submit their respective entries but in doing so he was not supporting those who had submitted on time.  A difficult position to be in.

Battle Cuff
Battle Cuff
Arabesque Armour was submitted as my design entry for the contest, many of the participants began making celebration pieces as a sort of 'relax' piece following the mammoth effort to create and submit their respective entries on time.  I created the  'Battle Cuff' which matched Arabesque Armour.

Voting for Round 1 has well and truly commenced, the results should be released any day now.

Arabesque Armour is largely a cubic right angle woven neckpiece, 49 individually bezzeled vintage 47ss Chatons in Amethyst were carefully beaded, each bezzel takes approx. 30 minutes to complete.  The focal necklace and the choker are joined as one complete neckpiece through the use of a beadwoven clasp and 3 magnetic clasps.

I did want to create the piece so that the choker and necklace could be worn independantly, but this was not to be as I simply ran out of time.

The Chatons are teamed with Swarovski Rivolis & Oblong Stones (Article 4161) in Jonquil, Burgundy and Rose, Chessboard Rounds in Rose, bicones, drops and rounds in Fushia Brandy, Rose Brandy, Jonquil AB2x and Crystal Luminous Green.  The Swarovski Crystal pearls are 'Powdered Almond' a perfect accompaniment to the colour way as they have a soft pinkish hue.

The seed beads used are largely Miyuki 'Duracoat' Seed Beads and Rocailles.  Czech, size 15 seedies are also included in this design.  Stitches used CRAW, RAW, Peyote, Herringbone and Picots.

Happy Beading

Bead Dreams 2012 - Bead Artistry Contest

Tequila Sunrise
So the results are out .. in fact they have been out for weeks ... but I have been overwhelemed with so much that blogging has not been a regular event.  I am happy to report that my entries 'Tequila Sunrise' and 'Melbournian' were not only finalists but place holders .. both of the them in fact! 

When you submit entries to Bead Dreams you pay the submission fee of $US30 and for that you may submit two pieces ... so I submitted Melbournian, just because!  Some of you may already know of this particular piece "Melbournian"Melbournian will be published in the book Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry (Lark Publishing) (August 2012) she was selected along with my cuff design Magic Carpet Ride.  Thus Melbournian is not only an internationally published piece but also awarded as she is a Bead Dream finalist and Bead Dream 3rd Place winner in the Crystal Jewelry Category. 
What you might not know is that Melbournian was my 'grief' piece created when we moved from Melbourne, Victoria to Brisbane, Queensland.  My intention was to submit Melbournian to Bead Dreams 2011 but I just became overwhelmed from the move and did not complete her in time.  To date she is my most successful piece of beadwork.

Tequila Sunrise is the piece that I created and submitted for no other reason than Bead Dream's itself.  The bead woven fan design neckpiece took 5 months to design and bead and has won 3rd place in the Seed Bead Category.
As a first time entrant to this contest I am giddy with delight that I managed to achieve such a feat, twice!!

Tequila Sunrise and Melbournian returned home to Australia this week, complete with their respective ribbons, a box full of Swarovski Elements, the Swarovski magazine 'Sound', a congratulatory note from Kalambach Publishing and the Judges Notes.  I plan to talk about the Judges notes in particular as a separate blog as they are of considerable interest.
I intend submitting an entry/ies to the 2013 Bead Dreams Bead Artisty Contest.  Ideas have already formulated in my mind, however they need to stay there awhile longer as I am currently preparing beadwork for a new beading book about worldwide beading connections of which I will be a featured beading artist. 

Happy Beading

Friday, June 8, 2012

Connect Magazine - Member Spotlight - Melissa Ingram Issue 21, June 2012

This month I was featured in the Connect Magazine which is a quarterly publication produced by the Bead Society of Victoria, of which I am a member. I wrote the article at the invitation of Christine Mole who is the Secretary for the Society.  This is the article.

My beading journey began 20 years ago when I happened across a bead store in Fremantle, WA. I went inside and was immediately captivated by the possibilities of what lay inside those clear plastic jars & tubes!! I still have the gold bugle beads I bought that day but oddly I have not really explored bugle beads very much. In those days my capabilities extended only to stringing and creating bead embroidery appliqués but in 2004 whilst I was expecting my first child I began my beadweaving journey. I tried to teach myself peyote, but was even unsure how to pronounce the word peyote! With no YouTube videos available to watch or beading tutors it all just seemed futile. I persevered, and finally mastered this wonderful versatile stitch and have been teaching myself beadweaving stitches ever since. My favourite stitch is CRAW and I am experimenting with Albion Stitch. I attended Laura McCabe’s 2009 and Marcia DeCoster’s 2010 workshops and really enjoyed the experience and have been beadweaving full time more or less since 2008.

I have designed and authored beading and polymer clay projects, tutorials and articles for Australian Beading magazine since April 2008. My beadwork has appeared on the front cover five times, an achievement I am very proud of.

In 2010 I entered the “Create Your Style” Swarovski’ Australian Competition. 3 entries were finalists in the Open Division and 1 entry was a finalist in the Creative Division.
Late 2011 I enthusiastically submitted 3 pieces of beadwork to Lark Publishing as there was a call for submissions for their book ‘Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry’. February 2012 I received amazing news that ‘Melbournian’ and ‘Magic Carpet Ride Cuff’ were included in the book. The book will be released on August 7th 2012, and is available to ‘pre-order’ through Amazon.com.

My beadwork necklace ‘Lashed Lily’ is currently in the US awaiting second round judging for the Fire Mountain Beads & Gems Swarovski Jewelry Competition. Lashed Lily is a sinister name I know but it refers purely to the Swarovski ‘Lily’ pendants used in the design. ‘Lashed’ refers to exactly that as I have lashed two ‘Lily’ pendants together.

During 2011 I was very disappointed having at not being able to complete my Bead Dream entry in time for the deadline. We had moved from Melbourne to Brisbane due to my husbands employment so life was hectic and it just proved too difficult to meet the deadline. The piece inended for submission was ‘Melbournian’ which evolved from my grief of having to move away from my beloved Melbourne. This piece was later selected for the ‘Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry’ book so the journey of creating ‘Melbournian’ actually ended very happily.

After being dissapointed in 2012 I worked for 5 months with 6 weeks of 4 – 9 hours of daily beading to complete my beadwork entry for the Bead Dreams competition and as I write this article ‘Tequila Sunrise’ a beadwoven fan neckpiece is awaiting notification results due out in April.

My other love is Soutache embroidered jewellery and I have been sampling and learning as much as I can for the last year or so. My other interests include Crystal Clay, Precious Metal Clay, Polymer Clay and Resin

In September this year I will be teaching Soutache and Crystal Clay workshops at www.aussiebeadingretreats.com on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.

What’s next for me....? I intend on exploring and experimenting further to push the boundaries of my beadwork and Soutache Embroidery.

My website is www.aussiebeader.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vintage Porcelain Doll Face Cabochons

From left to right 'Lola', Missing #7, 'Nadine', 'Whitney', 'Veronica' and 'Edith' is centre (GI Jane is not shown).

Coco - Guardian Girl (Private Collection)
I purchased a large booty of vintage (1940's) minature, handpainted porcelain doll face cabochons from the US back in 2008.  The dealer knew very little about them; other than they were made in Taiwan and possibly from the 1940's.

I have 6 different  and beautiful face cabochons in 3 sizes listed in my Etsy store.  There is a 7th face cabochon, however I am having some difficulty locating her.  Each face is delicately handpainted and while each may look the same if you compare them they are in fact unique.  Some imperfections are present in some of the faces, but they are slight.  There are  no cracks or chips in any of the cabochons.

I got busy with them and created perhaps, twenty or so beaded girls.  I called the collection 'Guardian Girls', they all sold.

I lost interest in beading my girls, boxed and shelved them in my bead stash cupboards and moved on to beading other jewellery bits and pieces. 

I posted a pic of Coco (who now resides with my dear High School friend, Jane) an elaborately embellished Guardian Girl on Joanne Browne's (of JosJewels1) Facebook page as she was seeking inspiration for beading some face cabochons that she had been gifted. 

The interest in my girls was so great that I decided to list them in my Etsy store for others to share.  I listed them yesterday and overnight there was a flurry of activity.  I've got girls travelling to Mexico, Israel, the US and a few orders within Australia.

I charge only what Australia Post charge me ie there are no inflated postage rates or handing charges.  I will refund any postage over charge, guranteed.

I will reserve some girls to take with me to the Aussie Beading Retreats in September of this year to offer at the mini market (Friday night) along with other fabulous bits and bobs from my giant bead stash!!

Take heed though .. if you 'want em .. git em quick'.  The supply is not infinite and so when they are gone my friends, they are gone.  Happy Beading

Jenny (Private Collection)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith .. Begin It Has.

The Battle of the Beadsmith began without fanfare on May 14 2012, May 15 here in Australia owing to the global time zones.  The participant number increased from 64 to 80 due to controversy*.

My colour way had already been selected and the large bundle of bead filled tubes and assorted components already purchased.  My decision to choose this particular colour way was based on two elements 1. Fun and 2. a colour way I had not ever worked with before. I cleared my work area .. took a deep breath and opened the first factory package of vintage Swarovski Chatons that I managed to source from the UK.  This particular colour was hard to find and I thought I would never find it despite extensive internet searches.  Then the task of individually beading them commenced .. each one takes around 30 minutes to bead .. and I have alot to do. 

I had sketched out my initial design in my trusty handmade, leather bound journal; but as always it morphs into something that only slightly resembles the original design.  I have beaded other parts of the design and do this when I get tired of continually beading the Chatons.  I always design like this .. constantly moving around the design.  If I get stumped I walk away and let it rest and give my mind time to visualise the design and explore solutions.  I have what I call 'on board CAD software' that is I can visualise, rotate in 3D and design in my head.  I can see thread paths and bead intricate designs using my minds eye. I like to do this quietly, it's a sort of meditative process.  I can block any white noise around me and just focus.

This Tournament for me is not about trying to out do each other, it is about celebrating beading as an artform and sharing in the moment with other like minded bead artists.  I am truly honoured and grateful for being invited to be a part of the Tournament. When it comes time for my design not to progress into another round, do not be sad for me .. do not think ... 'oh, she must be disappointed'. Please just be happy for me that I was a participant of this wonderful fun, Tournament. I will politely curtsey, smile and usher graciously to whom I am paired with to step forward to the next round.

*The participant number increased from 64 to 80 owing to some controversy. I will elaborate .. Initially the Tournament, created by Steven Weiss (Marketing Manager for Beadsmith) was a secret group on Facebook, with members invited to participate by Steven. When the Battle of the Beadsmith group became 'Open' a Canadian woman became unhappy that Canada was not represented in the group. Her thoughts were that this was a global Tournament when in fact it was not. Anyhoo the upshot is that there was lots of discussion, some pleasant some not so pleasant so Steven made the hard decision to increase the participant number to 80.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

4 Year Anniversary with Australian Beading magazine

This is cover of the April 2012 edition of Australian Beading magazine, Vol 6. No.2.  This edition is especially poignant for me as both a project contributor and a beading artist.  The Editor, Kelly Nealon and the team announced me to the readers of the magazine as an 'Internationally Acclaimed Beading Artist'. 

It felt peculiar too have such high accolades not only spoken but printed on the cover of a magazine! 

I was emailed the .pdf of the cover prior to it's release but I did not see the top caption at first .. just saw my Spanish Dancer earring design (top right) on the cover.  Terrific .. I thought .. wow .. Mel, that is 5 times on the cover of this popular bead mag.  I looked at the mag cover at least 3 times again before I noticed the thin pink line at the top of the mag with white letters.  My first reaction was a big belly laugh .. I don't know why .. it just felt right.  I still now feel a little uncomfortable with the title.  I try to push aside my insecurities and difficulties with 'self promotion' I literally forced myself to include the title on such things as my Linked profile, my website, Facebook and other networking threads. My thought process being well if Australian Beading feel this way .. then so must I.

I thank the magazine deeply for their support of my jewellery projects and articles.  I have been writing for this publication for exactly 4 years this April.  It is fitting too that the April edition, my 4th year as a contributor that I have grown to become an 'internationally acclaimed beading artist'.

ps for those wondering how this came about .. two of my beadwork pieces were included in the prestigous 500 Series by Lark Publishing.  Lark Publishing a US publishing house will release on August 2012 'Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry'.  I am extremely proud to be a part of this publication. I have two beadwork pieces currently in the US with the Bead & Button team awaiting further jurying for both the Seed Bead Category and the Crystal Jewelry Category.  I have one other piece of beadwork also in the US with Fire Mountain Beads & Gems as a finalist with their Swarovski Crystal Jewelry Competition.

pss The Spanish Dancer earring pattern/tutorial appears on page 108.

Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 Battle of the BeadSmith

In an effort to create more awareness of some of the incredible bead artistry being executed by bead masters worldwide, Steven Weiss (Marketing Manager for The Beadsmith) thought it would be fun to set up a beading "Tournament" where original works could be viewed, shared, and celebrated both by the participants, and the beading public alike.
64 seed bead artists were invited to participate in an elimination "Tournament" to determine which piece of their original beadwork best captures the imagination of 101 of their fellow designers, specialty bead shop owners, and members of various beading magazine editorial staffs.

I, along with Patrick Duggan, Joanne Browne, Neva Brown and Lauren MacGregor were all selected for inclusion within this Tournament and collectively we are representing Australia in this event. I personally am not only honoured but flattered with the inclusion as I am keeping company with some extremely talented artists from around the world.

Just cast your eye over the incredible Participants list of beading artists!

May 14th sees random artist pairings created, establishing a first round of competition, consisting of 32 artists vs. artist "contests". (For example, round one might have the work of Californian Linda Roberts paired up against the work of Vermont's Nancy Dale, and so on.)
Artists will have seven weeks from the announcement of the first round pairings to create, a single piece of original beadwork. The 62 competitors not involved in a particular round one "contest", plus 41 invited judges, will vote for the piece that best captures their imagination. A majority of at least 85 of the possible 103 total voters will be enough to determine a winner. All necklaces, bracelets, earring, brooches, headpieces, belts, handbags, or any other wearable adornments are acceptable for submission. The deadline for all of the submissions, by the artists, is July 10th, Tuesday
The 32 winners of round one will be randomly paired again in one of the 16 new "contests" in round 2 and the voting process will begin again.
The 8 winners of round two are again randomly paired in 4 new round 3 "contests" to determine the final four competitors.
The 4 winners of round 3 are randomly paired in two "contests" to determine the final two competitors.
Round 4 determines the winner.......
Competitors can use almost any beads or materials, so long as the piece falls under the umbrella of beadweaving, or bead embroidery. Japanese seed beads***, Metal seed beads, Preciosa Czech seed beads, semi precious stones, Swarovski and Preciosa Crystal, fire polished glass, and individually created art glass and ceramic beads etc are all perfectly acceptable.

***As the Beadsmith has a relationship with the Miyuki Company of Japan, they have requested that competitors preferably use Miyuki Seed beads when using Japanese beads for this competition.

The Participants:

Olga Petterson-Sweden
Sigifredo Contreras-Mexico
Linda Roberts- USA
Heather Kingsley Heath- England
Sharayah Sheldon-USA
Helena Tang-Singapore
Nancy Dale-USA
Cynthia Newcomer Daniel-USA
Patrick Duggan-Australia
Marsha Wiest Hines- USA
Carol Dean Sharpe-USA
Annie Hatvani-Hungary
Christina Neit-USA, Sue Horine-USA
Ann Braginsky-Israel
Lea Palickova-Czech Republic
Alexandra Sydorenko-USA
Betty Stephan-USA
Callie Mitchell-USA
Christian Rodriguez-USA
Eva Dobos-Hungary
Katka Vaclavikova-Czech Republic
Misan Tejre-Sweden
Kinga Nichols-USA
Melissa Ingram-Australia
Anneta Valious-France
Mikki Ferrugiaro-USA
Miriam Cielo Shimon-Israel
Amy Katz-USA
Elke Leonhardt Rath- Germany
Irina Chikineva-Russia
Edgar Lopez Disenos-Dominican Republic
Kassie Inman-USA
Orsolya Füzesi-Hungary
Jill Thomas-England
Ibolya Ingesné Barkóczi-Hungary
Éva Csizmadia Lajosné-Hungary
Nausikka Dahllof-Sweden
Nella Moskvichjova-Russia
Julia Turova-Russia
Alla Vizir-Ukraine
Lynn Davy-England
Dini Alves-USA
Guzialia Reed-Japan
Alla Maslennikova -Russia
Sandra Dokter van Esveld-The Netherlands
Olga Haserodt-Germany
Joanne Browne-Australia
Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten-USA
Rosita Pisarchick-USA
Roxan O'brien USA
Christine Boyer Maj-USA
Kathy King-USA
Susan Brackett-USA
Olga Shumilova-Russia
Neva Brown-Australia
Ella Des- Belgrade Serbia
Katherine Gezey-Ukraine
Lauren Macgregor -Australia
Hannah Rosner-Ohio
Ekaterina Kalinina-Russia
Marta Koudelova-Czech Republic
Terri Richards-USA
Marina Nosova-Russia

The Judges:

Sabine Lippert-Germany, Smadar Grossmann-Israel, Maggie Roschyk-USA, Adele Rogers Recklies-USA, Diane Hyde-USA, Jean Campbell-USA, Patrizia Tager-Israel, Zoya Gutina-USA, Jana Tarhala-Finland, Kerrie Slade-England, Laura Boudloche Zeiner-USA, Cath Thomas-Switzerland, Heather Collin-South Africa, Claudia Schuman-Germany, Chloe Menage-England (Bead Magazine Editor), Laura Andrews-USA, Kathleen Mccabe-Elsey- USA, Julia Gerlach-USA (Bead and Button Magazine Editor), Diane Fitzgerald- USA, Verena Greene-Christ- Germany (Perlen Poesie Magazine), Jean Power- England, Ana Garcia-USA, Paulette Rosner Baron-USA, Amy Blevins- New Jersey, Kelly Nealon-Australia (Australian Beading Magazine Editor), Melinda Barta-USA (Beadwork Magazine Editor), Karin Nilsson-Sweden, Jo Lochhead-Scotland, Kandra Norsigian-California, Kenj Katsuoka-Japan (Miyuki Company), Juliet Browse-England, Jamie Cloud Eakin-USA, Pamela Hawkins-USA (Bead Design Studio Magazine Editor), Marjon Donker-The Netherlands ( Editor Polymer To Art Magazine), Kate Bannister Tracton- USA, Deb Moffet Hall-USA (Bead- Patterns The Magazine & Quick Stitch Peyote Card), Barbara Conrad-USA, Lea Avroch-USA, MaryLou Holvenstot-USA, Anna Elizabeth Draeger-USA, Galina Pchelkina-Russia (Editor of Чудесные мгновения Magazine)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No More Commissions - So Sorry.

It is with regret that I have to withdraw providing private commission bespoke jewellery.  Why?. Time, or rather lack of. 

There really is no room in my busy life for beading at all, yet I pursue this passion because it is very much an essential part of my being and life journey which includes such things as cell division and breathing.  It is that important to me.  However I am feeling incredibly strained with all of my beading commitments so much so that I have had to say no, somewhere and commissions have to cease at this point in time.

I will continue with my Beadwork competition pieces, samples of Beading & Soutache experimentation and exploration, teaching workshops, Australian Beading magazine projects and tutorials and the odd piece of finished Beadwork or Soutache that I will make available for sale in my Etsy store, Facebooking, Blogging and general other Beading or Soutache 'stuff'.

I was never in this artform for any financial gain, it is just something that is intrinsically a part of me and something that I must do and be involved in despite the exhausting effects of juggling family, domestic duty, sleep, exercise ... and of course the list goes on and on because life is just so busy these days.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tequila Sunrise - A Beadwork Fan - Bead Dreams 2012

Tequila Sunrise - A Beadwork Fan Neckpiece
April last year I failed to complete my first ever Bead Dream beadwork entry due to many factors, primarily we had to move (ever so reluctantly) from Melbourne to Brisbane due to my husbands employment.  The submission date passed and I steadily toiled to complete 'Melbournian' which in fact was my 'grief' piece to settle my nerves at having to leave my beloved Melbourne.  All was not lost though as months later 'Melbournian' (along with one other design 'Magic Carpet Ride' Cuff) was selected for inclusion in the Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry book that will be released August 7, 2012!!

Bead Dream 2012 I was absolutely determined to make the submission date so I began designing and planning my submission back in late August/September 2011.  It did not take me long to visulize a fan design and I began looking at lots and lots of images of fans through 'Images' on Google.

Looking at the images on Google I was able to understand the actual fan design and construction, the different styles and ways the fan was decorated or embellished.  I searched 'beaded fans' and surprisingly only two beadwork designers (well known and highly talented designers I might add!!) had designed some beadwork pieces that resembled the familiar and classic fan shape .. Smadar Grossman of Smaders Treasures and Marcia DeCoster of MADDesigns.

I wanted my piece to be large and of course that meant sculptural.  I had taught myself cubic right angle weave (CRAW) thanks to Heather Collins of Studio183 YouTube video demonstration (which I highly recommend).

The beadwork fan is largely cubic right angle weave, the curve of the fan was achieved by CRAW beadwork sections then joining them together. Embellishing the fan was just a natural progression of design 'play' and I purchased a lot of elements as I went along that I thought would work well with the design.  Consequently I have a huge box full of elements that did not work with this design .. I am sure they will work with another though.
Tequila Sunrise

More times than I like to remember I undid hours of beadwork and redid just to achieve a particular look or shape to the fan design.  About 200 yards of Fireline, Wildfire and Invisbraid beading threads are worked into this piece.  I have not used a single Delica in this design all the beadwork is either Toho or Miyuki seed beads in sizes ranging from size 15 up to size 6.  I have used Toho glass drops in Matt Gold which were really expensive and acquired from Laura McCabes website.  The colour way (color way for my American friends) is made up of many, many different bead colours and types.  I opted for the more expensive Duracoat seed beads as I definately did not want the colour rubbing off.  Some of the colours used included Dyed Smokey Light Rose Alabaster, Topaz Gold Lustre, Galvanized Champagne, Galvanised Dark Berry, various Bronz/Gold tones and Gold plated size 15 seed beads. 

I used a very rare and vintage Swarovski stone as my focal an Art. 4723 Topaz Cal which was a special edition, they are triangular.  I used Albion Stitch to bezel the stone then heavily embellished it with size 15 Toho seed beads and Swarovski Crystal pearls.

Art. 4723 unfoiled Topaz Cal Special (vintage)
I used vintage gold plate Maderia Topaz 2 hole montees which are sewn between the base of each of the blades of the fan design.  Swarovski Crystal 3mm bicones in 'Copper Crystal' adorn the blades along with vintage Swarovski Crystal 47ss Chatons in Maderia Topaz.  Each 47ss Chaton has been bezzeled using three beading stiches, each took about 40 minutes to bead.  It took me weeks to design a thread path method of beading a bezel for each of these small Chatons.

The collar is similar to that of my beadwork neckpiece 'Melbournian', although it is quite different in many ways.  I devised a way of being able to 'anchor' the pearl strand to the beadwork which makes it remarkably strong.  The collar is made up of various sized Swarovski pearls leading towards a structural piece which is tube armature, surrounded by right angle woven beads, then further embellished with netting stitch.  The toggle clasp has been constructed by using a Swarovski Cosmic Ring attached with a section of my 'winged bail' design.  The 'toggle' has been woven using embellished CRAW and the ends of the toggle have oval shaped Topaz Montees sewn into the void

Close up of the 'collar' and Toggle Clasp.

How did I visualize and bring Tequila Sunrise to life ... don't know .. just did.  I simply loved the idea of a beaded fan and felt immensly challenged as to how I could articulate the 'fan' design in my head into reality using only beads.  I hope you enjoy looking at 'Tequila Sunrise' as much as I did creating her.  She was a trial but also a joy and I miss that I can no longer work on her.  I will be investigating my beadwork fan designs further though .. I am in total love with the concept and embrace the challenge. The next one will not be quite as large though!

Tequila Sunrise as a name for this beadwork piece was born of the actual fan design and the colour way which lends itself to the classic cocktail 'Tequila Sunrise' as the Grenadine floats and diffuses through the Orange Juice.

I wish every entrant to this fantastic competition the very best of luck and may the best design in every category win!  Good luck!!

Happy Beading my friends.. Mel

PS ... So utterly intense was my ambition to complete this piece that I worked on it night and day solidly for about 6 weeks which equates to about 200+ hours of actual bead time. I wear prescription glasses and used my lit magnifyer every time I worked on the piece but despite this I am now awaiting my new prescription glasses .. so I in fact wore my eyes out!!

Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry - Lark Publishing

Last year I submitted three pieces of my beadwork to Lark Publishing as hopefuls for inclusion in a book that was to form part of the very popular '500 Series'.  I completed several beadwork pieces and had them professionally photographed by Thaddeus of TWK Studios who expertly took the photographs. Lark Publishing stated that a 'great' photograph was everything as you could present a fantastic design but be denied due to the quality of the photograph.  So for me this was a 'no brainer' just hire a photographer!!

February I received an email that contained the most amazing news ... my beadwork neckpiece 'Melbournian' had been selected for inclusion in the book.  I was so in shock and excited all at once that I actually had to sit down on the floor straight away.  How could this be I thought ... Melbournian is in .. she's in!!  I emailed all my family and phoned my husband .. so high on life was I.  I shared the news with my Facebook friends then shared the news with my peeps on my page.  I was on a high all day .. I decided that I needed a lie down as the excitement was (dare I say) a little too much.  I laid down and then picked up my iPhone and scrolled through my messages then noted a second email from Lark Publishing that I had missed earlier?? I clicked and to my utter astonishment my beadwork cuff  'Magic Carpet Ride' had too been selected for inclusion in the book!  I took a deep breath was this so .. had two out of my three submissions been selected.  This was so huge I did not do anything for about 10 minutes, then I phoned my husband and shared my news, emailed my family again and advised my Facebook friends and peeps of my 'missed' email news. 

I was always remember that day, it was a highlight of my beading career and my life.  The book will be released August 7, 2012.  I look forward to that day I have 3 copies pre-ordered for family members.  Lark Publishing will send me a free book due to my beadwork inclusion in the book.

I deeply thank Lark Publishing, Ray Hemachandra (Editor) and Lark Publishing staff for this honour and amazing opportunity for selecting my beadwork for inclusion in such a wonderful book 'Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry'.

Aussie Beading Retreats

It feels like a lifetime since I have had a quiet moment to sit and just blog! Of course since November 2011 can't be a lifetime .. much as been going on in my life and so many wonderful things in the life of Social Butterfly Beadwork but I will talk about Aussie Beading Retreats only in this blog.

Some of you may know of my love for Soutache embroidered jewellery some of you may not.  I came across it about two years ago whilst conducting an internet search for something totally unrelated.   I browsed the many images of 'Soutache' jewellery and with lots of ooohhhhss and ahhhsss I became addicted to the curls and swirls of the vibrant coloured strips of braid, known as Soutache. It was the work of Miriam Cielo Shimon (Cielo Design) and Dori Csengeri who inspired me whole heartedly to try it myself.  I am fortunate to own a piece of Miriam's Soutache work and I wear it often.

Soutache is French for braid but is believed to be derived from a Hungarian word.  The origins of Soutache embroidered jewellery perhaps are from Russia but it is definately a European craft regardless of its exact origin. I intend to research the origins of Soutache .. don't hold your breath for a blog though.  This will be a work in progress for sometime I feel as there is much to investigate.

What I do know is that the method of construction was closely guarded and is only now in the last year or so becoming available through tutorials on Etsy or through YouTube.  I have experimented with 40 samples at least in attempt to learn and experiment with this beautiful art form.  I feel my level of experience is such that I will be teaching a series of Soutache workshops for Aussie Beading Retreats on the Sunshine Coast, QLD in September 2012.

But my involvement with Aussie Beading Retreats does not end there as I will also be conducting workshops sharing my experience and skills using Crystal Clay as well.  Crystal Clay is a two part epoxy glue that is maleable and gives you working time before hardening.  It's uses are many and varied and jewellery making is no exception.  I wrote an article and project on Crystal Clay for Australian Beading magazine which will be published in April 2012.

Other workshops being offered at the Retreat include EarthenWare Clay, Beadwork, Chain Maille, Viking Weave, Resin, Lampwork, Enamelling, Polymer Clay, Micro Macrame and Kumihimo Braiding.

Registrations are being accepted now and accommodation for those requiring it can be arranged as well.  Visit the website for further details.