My “back to school” days are over, so it’s “back to beading”.  This time ’round, let’s discuss experiments. We creative types are creative because we have a desire to try new things. Painters look for interesting subjects, or a twist on something they’re comfortable with. Writers keep their ears to the ground for that special bit of dialog and their eyes moving for that scene to spark the next story.

Beaders are no different. We look for interesting patterns, color palettes, textures to see if it can be translated with beads. Then to choose which method: peyote stitch? herringbone? embrodiery? Maybe it should just be strung: wire? cord? macrame?

Sometimes what works on paper doesn’t quite translate. For instance, I had a plan to create a needle holder. While reorganizing my BeadFest stash, I discovered a breath mint tin (no not Altoids(r) ) was the perfect size for my standard beading needles. Why not decorate one with beads? It would be a perfect addition to my home gift line.  After measuring and pondering over the little tin I decided to loom two swatches, adhere them to some ultrasuede squares, then glue to the tin.  Sounds simple, right?

Looming was the easy part. Using a bead mix that sat in my drawer I quickly whipped up the squares. The pattern came to me immediately.

One issue loom work and I have is finishing. For some reason, tying off ends and making them look pretty is not a strength. So I decided to not tie off since the swatch would be adhered to the ultra-suede.

Almost but not quite


Did I mention I barely passed geometry in high school? The ultra-suede is a little short. The pattern looks awesome, (love how the colors worked) but the ends need to be cleaned up somehow.  So back to the drawing board.

This isn’t the first “swing and a miss”. Last year was the wide cuff experiment. Again, created a hot loom pattern with a red based palette.

Pattern is hot, finishing is not.

Again, the finishing was not what I planned. I stitched the ultra-suede around the cuff, instead of using adhesive, so the underside didn’t look as clean.

Some experiments I break down and reassemble. Usually, the second go-round turns out better and it’s a go to offer for sale. Some, as with the cuff, won’t be. While I could reuse the materials, they serve as examples of what doesn’t work. Inspiration comes from flawed places too.



It Didn’t Make the Cut

October 6, 2009

While I love this beading path, there are occasions where something didn’t quite hit the bar. Usually it’s a first attempt at a new project, or skill. Wire wrapping is my biggest weakness at the moment. My loops look like cheap 99-cent store stuff. It would never make my studio. And for now that’s fine. Still learning, and we learn by doing. No sweat.

However there is one area where I really wanted to do something different, but just can’t achieve a professional look. Beaded cuffs. They drive me nuts. All the beading magazines tout it as the “hot” look. They’re supposed to be relatively easy to make. Well, they aren’t that difficult, but for some reason the “professional” look just eludes me. Here’s an example:

Combination of loom and cuff

Combination of loom and cuff

It seems okay at first glance, but a close up shot would reveal uneven stitching, on a cuff that seems too wide for my arm. I’m keeping it as a reminder that it’s okay to mess up a little.  Next time I know what works and doesn’t. But I love the color. 🙂

The Loom Shall Rise Again

September 22, 2009

Looming (or should it be weaving?) is very meditative. Lining up the beads, passing the thread through, lining up, passing through…

It forces one to focus on the task. It’s difficult to carry on a conversation when sliding beads into position.  Television becomes background noise, phone is ignored. Focus focus focus.  I love it.

The one thing I don’t do is graph my designs. Most weavers graph their designs before they start. It determines how much of each color you need, and to see the design before committing thread and beads. I do sketch my designs, but don’t graph the entire idea. Another trick is to print my inspiration photo in black & white.  Then I mark the colors to the section and run with it. Yes, it’s not the standard procedure. But it’s a heck of a lot of fun to see where the muse takes me.

I’ll post more photos of the project upon completion.

Beginning of my latest work

Beginning of my latest work