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.