Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brisbane Beaders Workshop 2nd August 2014 - Butterfly Kisses Earrings with Melissa Ingram

Note: The colour ways Olivine (non special effect) and Crystal Cathedral (special effect) are represented in the image.
Butterfly Kisses earrings have been designed for the Brisbane Beaders first workshop.  The project is suitable for Beginners and Intermediate Beaders.
The Butterfly Kisses design will assist you to understand the importance of tension within a project and expose the novice to Czech SuperDuo's & O Beads.
The workshop will include a lecture that discusses the types of beading threads available on the market, beading needles, understanding bead sizing, discuss the basic beading stitches plus a demonstration of peyote stitch. Lecture notes will be available.
The Limited Edition Butterfly Kisses earring kit ranges in price from $45 (non Special Effect Briolettes) to $55 (Special Effect Briolettes). Swarovski special effect (SE) briolettes were sourced internationally to offer 6 exciting colour ways to choose from. The kit consists of a variety of premium components:

  • 1 pair Quality Gold filled pierced earring findings.
  • 2x Swarovski Crystal Briolette Pendants - Olivine (non-SE), Crystal Sahara (SE), Crystal Cathedral (SE), Aquamarine Golden Sahara (SE), Aquamarine Green Sphinx (SE)and Olivine Sphinx (SE).
  • 4 x Swarovski Crystal Pearls
  • Seed beads in sizes 15 (24Kt gold plate, 11 and 6. (Permanent Galvanised metallic seed beads only) 
  • Czech SuperDuoTM beads & O BeadsTM
  • Miyuki Delicas size 11
  • A printed colour pattern and tutorial. (A digital copy is available on request).

Beading Mats, Beading Thread (Fireline 6lb), Microcrystalline Wax and Needles (sizes 12 & 15) will be available for sale on the day of the workshop. Payments can be made by cash or Eftpos at the workshop. Sales are open from 9am to 9.25am. The Workshop commences sharply at 9.30am.
The fee for the workshop is $50 per person.
Payment for the Workshop and Kit must be made prior to the workshop via direct deposit or Paypal. This will secure your place at workshop.
There is plenty of free parking on site.  Tea and Coffee will be provided. 
Please note there is a minimum of 10 people required for the Workshop to go ahead as scheduled; there is a maximum of 18 persons able to attend the workshop. This allows enough attention for those who require extra coaching.
Butterfly Kisses Earring Workshop with Melissa Ingram details:
Where: Unit 16/27 South Pine Road, Brendale
When:  2nd August 2014
Time:  Sales from 9.00am to 9.25am. Workshop 9.30am to 1.30pm.

Contact Melissa Ingram at to register your place at the Workshop.

Our website address


Monday, July 7, 2014

Creating 'Athena' .. Battle of the Beadsmith 2014

Battle of the Beadsmith 2014 was not the smooth design ride that the inaugural BOTB12 was for me. I knew without hesitation what I needed to do for that contest. Arabesque Armour reached the Top 5 which was an incredible achievement owing to the level of talent within the group.  BOTB14, not so easy, not so easy at all.

My initial inspiration for the BOTB14 was an infinity knot as a focal, I had no clue other than that! I did know I wanted the clasp to be bead embroidered. I achieved the infinity knot that was in my minds eye .. but once I started arranging the jewels and adding embellishment to the knot .. it began to look less and less of a battle worthy design.  It got shelved.  Below are three of the many design shuffles.

New plan.... 
I knew what the colorway was going to be .. turquoise and peridot softened with creamy pearls.  Textually I had to include my new love Shibori silk ribbon. I wanted the design to be beadwoven with the inclusion of bead embroidery.  After many trials I was able to create a bezel using CRAW for all of my navette shapped stones. It was nice and tight and gave me a good surface for embellishment. I wanted to use rose gold as my metallic highlight.  I bought a few hundred rose gold bicones from my local bead store .. I added them to the design.  Then I noticed that the rose gold coating was breaking off in tiny flakes on the bicones, leaving ugly black flea bites in their place.  I knew the problem would only get worse and this would compromise my design.  5 hours later every single bicone was removed from my design. Will I use 4mm rose gold bicones again no.

Whilst I was working on the main part of the neckpiece I was also working on the bead embroidered clasp. This is the only part of the design that I knew for certain from the beginning of the project.  The Shibori ribbon was supplied by (Lisa Kan) and the Arashi ribbon (Deborah Weaver).  I used Czech size 15 seed beads to outline my floral design. The clasp joins the neckpiece via snaps attached to the underside of the motif.  These attach with the other half of the snaps to the Shibori ribbon straps.

The bead embroidered clasp 'under construction'
After six weeks of expediting elements from the US, lots of worrying, lots of sketching of my thoughts, undoing and redoing parts of the design... it was finished.  I had booked my model and photograhphy session even before completing the design.  This gave me an absolute deadline and allowed the photographer time to edit the photos and allow for any reshoots. 

Deciding which colour Shibori to use for the necklace strap.  
Why call the piece Athena .. The Goddess Athena from ancient Greek mythology was the custodian of War (although she did not condone it, she was the Goddess of Inspiration and Weaving.  All symbols that in part define the Battle of the Beadsmith.

One of the many designs for the necklace strap that were not used.
These are a selection of photos from the Photo shoot, May 2014. Photography credits Frank Hurrell of Imago Photography.  Athena managed to move onto the next round, Round 2. I wish all Battler's much success.

The bead woven clasp

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

6 out of 6!

All 6 books that have my work included within their pages have now been published!  It took almost three years of waiting for all 6 to be published.  The Beaders Guide to Designing Jewelry by Margie Deeb is my number 6 addition. 

I have an honoured, proud, giddy and a 'still can't believe it sort of feeling' about the publications.

Back in late 2011 I submitted two submissions to the call from Lark Books for 'Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry'.  To my delight and shock they were both curated in.  Melbournian (neckpiece) and Magic Carpet Ride Cuff were published!

Then there was another call from Lark Books, but this time for 'Showcase 500 Art Necklaces'.  I submitted a single submission, Arabesque Armour.  She was accepted! 

Arabesque Armour is my most acclaimed piece of beadwork.  She was created for the inaugural Battle of the Beadsmith 2012 of which she reached the dizzy heights of Top 5.  She was then selected to be featured as part of an article along with other selected beadworks from the Battle in the German beading magazine 'Perlen Poesie'. I entered Arabesque Armour along with 'The Jewelled Net of Indra' into the 2013 Bead Dreams contest, both were Finalists.  Finally, Arabesque Armour was selected to feature in the book 'Marcia DeCoster Presents'.

Next, an email from the lovely Anneta Valious inviting me to submit images of 'Jacaranda Nights'. Jacaranda Nights is a Swarovski zipper neckpiece that was created for an Australian Swarovski contest.  No seed beads were allowed, only Swarovski elements.  She did not place.  Jacaranda Nights was selected to feature in the Gallery section of Anneta's book 'Soutache 30 Gorgeous Bead Embroidery Designs by Anneta Valious'.

Hepzibah's Pendulum was created for the Gallery section of Marcia DeCoster's second book 'Beads in Motion.
The lovely Marcia DeCoster invited me to participate as one of 30 beaders to share our beading techniques and inspirations for her third book. 'Marcia DeCoster Presents Interviews with 30 Beaders on Inspiration & Technique'.
Margie Deeb emailed me asking to use images of my previously published 'Magic Carpet Ride Cuff' (published Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry - Lark Books) for her new book 'The Beaders Guide to Jewelry Design'.  Of course I said yes! 
Thank you so very much to Ray Hemachandra, Chungi Choo, Lark Books, Anneta Valious, Marcia DeCoster and Margie Deeb. 
What an incredible honour and priviledge to have my work included within the pages of your magnificent beading books.
A special thank you to my dear beading pal, Patrick Duggan is well in order as well.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Battle of the Beadsmith 2014 - it has begun

I was an original battler when the inaugural Battle of the Beadsmith aka BOTB12 kicked off in 2012.  Battling legend and front man Steven Weiss of The Beadsmith was the brains behind the contest.  There were 80 original battlers (or if you like invited participants) and one winner.  The uber talented Alla Maslennikova, won with her achingly beautiful design 'Baroque'..... My design Arabesque Armour made it to the Top 5.

I withdrew from the Battle of the Beadsmith aka BOTB13 due to other beading commitments and general design fatigue following my Bead Dream design marathon.  However I was still involved with the contest, but as a judge which was a difficult task in itself. Ann Braginsky was the winner for BOTB13 contest with her exceptional bead embroidered piece, 'Tenth Wave'. 

BOTB14 I am again a participant.  I have been working on my design since April 1, which was the official start date of the Battle. There are 256 Battlers in this contest, so the contest has increased considerably.  Participants from all over the world have come together to push their design selves and interact within a vibrant and friendly international beading community.

Calmly I waited until April 1 then rummaged through my stash to get to the source of my inspiration for my Battle piece.  Deflated I found it .. it was not what I had remembered it to be like.  It was smaller and not as elegant. Damn.  I began a lengthy internet search in the hope of acquiring a more dramatic 'piece' to use for Plan A.  I discovered it in Germany, expedited shipping was 170 Euros plus the price of the 'piece' and I had not even ordered the beads yet.  Plan A got shelved.

I then began work on Plan B and tinkered with it for a few days.  I soon discovered that it was not Battle worthy and put it to one side.  I waited a few days giving my muse time to roll things around and commenced Plan C.  I liked Plan C and how it was evolving and continued with the design for a couple of weeks.  Soon my interest in Plan C was waning ... I put it down and returned to Plan B with renewed interest.  Gathering more inspiration, sourcing new design elements and wandering around on Pinterest seeking images that would inspire my design pitch for that particular period in history.  But. After a few days I returned to Plan C again this time with a completely new colour way.  I was excited about it this time, very excited.  I fiddled, then ordered more materials and was off again firmly with Plan C + a new colour way as my way forward. 

The main focal for Plan C morphed unexpectedly so Plan C + new colour way did a complete right turn, so I'm calling it Plan C.2.  The motif that I completed that would have been used as part of the focal has been cast aside. I am currently planning and sketching a new focal to replace the said 'meh' focal.  It is still at the drawing on a sheet of paper stage. Time will tell if it will be the actual focal used. 

With all of this flipping around with designs there as been a flurry of activity on various sites as I acquired the necessary materials to create what my muse ordered.  Expedited shipping from the US to Australia has been called upon three times so far.

I'm hopeful Plan C.2 will be my acutal piece to enter to the contest as I am running out of time for revisions and new Plans. The funny thing about this is the original Battle, BOTB12 I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I used every day available to me to build it.  BOTB12 was quite an unremarkable process compared to my BOTB14. 

All we be revealed after June 8. 

Happy Beading.

Three in Three Years ... the dream faded.

2012 and 2013 were consecutive and successful beading years for me.  Four of my beadwork designs were selected and made their long journey to Milwaukee USA from Australia to be inside the Cabinet of Dreams. 

What cabinet is this I'm talking about you ask?? .. At the entrance to the Bead & Button show every year is a glass cabinet that contains the Finalists and winners of the Bead Dreams contest for that particular year. It is hallowed ground for beaders.

This year I beaded a single design to enter the Bead Dreams 2014 contest with. Dearly hoping I could achieve 'Three in Three Years with my work being chosen to be either a Finalists or even a winner of this epic contest.

Now I understand completely that there were no guarantees that my work would have even made the cut this year, but everyone can dream .. right .. This is the Bead Dream contest after all.

Despite gruelling hours of beading right up to the last few hours before the contest closed I was unable to complete my design. I packed it away and sulked for a few days.

I achieved Two in Two years and I am grateful and happy with that achievement. I will enter my 'as yet unfinished' design into the Bead Dreams 2015 contest. I have more than plenty of time to finish it graciously.

I have many friends whose work has already been chosen as Finalists. Currently their work awaits final judging that will be announced around when the Bead & Button show kicks off. I wish all of them the very best of luck.

Happy Beading my friends .. x

Finalist & Crystal Jewelry 3rd place Winner
Bead Dreams 2012
Finalist & Seed Bead Jewelry 3rd place Winner
Bead Dreams 2012
Bead Dreams 2013

Bead Dreams 2013

The International Bead Awards 2015

Earlier this year I was invited by the (then) Editor, Verena Greene-Christ from the European beading magazine Perlen Poesis to be a member of the judging panel for the European contest, International Bead Awards 2015. (see link for more details).

Delighted, I agreed.

The judging panel consists of Melissa Ingram (me), Isabella Lam, Sherry Serafini, Martina Nagele and Helena Tang-Lim.

The details for the contest are:

Beads must be strung using thread or wire in the commonly known techniques; they can, however, be combined with other materials such as polymer clay, paper, leather, metal, etc. Lampworkers are also welcome.
The world — its nations and peoples are many and varied. We want to showcase this with the help of your beadwork.
There are two categories WEARABLE JEWELRY (for both men and women) and OBJECTS OF ART. There will be 5 winners in each category, as well as a Readers’ Choice Award
Entry begins: October 1, 2014
Deadline: December 31, 2014

Nominees will be announced in the Spring 2015 issue of Perlen Poesie. Winners will be presented at the 5th BEADERS BEST Bead Art Fair in 2015.

Oddly the prizes for the winners has not been advised at this time.  I will update this blog with the details as soon as I know.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marcia DeCoster Presents Interviews with 30 Beaders on Inspiration & Technique

Melissa Ingram with Willo and Hudson.
I think it must have been mid to late 2012 when the lovely Marcia DeCoster messaged me on Facebook enquiring if I would like to be included in her third venture with Lark Publishing. The book was to be a compilation of 30 Beaders sharing their inspirations and techniques.
I answered with an immediate 'yes please'.  I mean ... who would not!! How exciting to be invited to participate in such a publication.  It took me all day to float down from my hyper happy state.
The book shares insights into each represented beaders thought processes, where their inspiration's arrive from, techniques and images of their work. This book is a must for every beader. 
I share the pages with talented beaders and friends.  I am deeply honoured for the inclusion, without a doubt this is one of the true highlights of my beading journey.  I thank Marcia DeCoster deeply for the invitation.
Marcia DeCoster and I. Melbourne, Australia 2010.
Marcia is a leader in the world of beading and shares her experience, knowledge and skills of beadwork with the beading world and the beading world love her for it.

Now available on