Artsy Asymmetry

I often receive comments from people intrigued by the intricate details of my beadwoven pieces. But what wows me are designers who take wire and beads and string them and wrap them into striking works of art. Sleek and modern, rustic and tribal, vintage, exotic, iconic - how do they do that? To help answer that question, I signed up for Deryn Mentock’s online design class, the Alchemy of Objects.

Last week Deryn challenged us to create an asymmetrical piece. I started with a vintage button and a strand of lapis rounds, then pulled together all the metal components and coordinating strands I could find. (When the situation calls for more than seed beads, my stash gets a little thin.) I did allow myself a single tube of size 8 seed beads in zinc, which contrasted nicely with the shine and the natural gold flecks in the lapis.

The class videos gave glimpses into the creative decisions that go into
Deryn’s own enviable designs and were rich in examples for achieving both visual and physical balance.
I chose monochromatic with this first attempt, and am looking forward to challenging myself with more color for next week’s adventure: Texture.
Sign-ups for Deryn’s class are open until mid-October, so head over to her website if you're looking for an inspiring, nuts-and-bolts design class.





Fall-worthy Herringbone and Free Patterns from Lark

As I was adding the final embellishments to this Sinusoidal Necklace design by Melissa Grakowsky (won’t it just make a Fall wardrobe pop!), I was thinking that I’d like to take Melissa’s sine-wave shaping and use it in a more casual necklace.
And then I was reading Jean Yates’ blog, and saw that Melissa has already done that for me! Her new book, I Can Herringbone, is due out in early-November, but Lark has given us two preview projects now, including the Athena necklace.
Athena Necklace by Melissa Grakowsky
Can’t you just see this with a druzy quartz focal? (There’s a braided bracelet, too.) Click over to Lark and check out the free herringbone designs from Melissa Grakowsky and Mabeline Gidez’s sparkling right-angle-weave .


The Shape of Water

Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container. – Wallace Stephens

While I worked on this necklace, I was listening to Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, where Wallace Stephens’ quote is certainly borne out as three downed World War II airmen drift 2,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean in a 2-person canvas and rubber raft.  Water is practically a character, both giving and taking life in Hillenbrand’s epic tale.

Which brings me to the water focal, the second of four focals I received from Beth and Evie McCord of EB Bead and Metalworks. I wanted to use it as the centerpiece in a statement necklace to wear this upcoming season, something with dramatic drape in a face-framing length. I chose Swarovski pearls, graduated in size (from 6-10mm) and in shades of blue (from inky night blue to sparkling light blue.)
I wore it to a meeting yesterday with an open-neck white shirt and black slacks. I can see it work very casually with a chambray shirt or a square neck tee, or elegantly with a sheath dress and sweater. No earrings or bracelets required!


My first blog award!

My blog has been awarded the One Lovely Blog Award by Mandy of Beads for Brains:365! Much thanks to Mandy, whom I first met when we were paired up for a Bead Mavens challenge. (How I miss the Bead Mavens!) It was both my and Mandy’s first venture into the world of beading challenges, so we instantly bonded. If you’re not familiar with Mandy’s blog, she has, in the space of just over a year, assembled a virtual encyclopedia of all things beading.

As a condition of acceptance, I am asked to:
  1. Thank the nominee and link back to them in the post.
  2. Share 7 random facts about myself.
  3. Nominate 15 (or so) bloggers I admire.
  4. Contact them to let them know they have been nominated.

On to the 7 Random Facts:
  1. Until I took up beading 3 years ago, I had never attempted anything creative with my hands unless a couple of big-eyed macramé owls in the 1970’s count!
  2. I am thoroughly addicted to the banterings on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me on Saturday mornings.
  3. My husband, Dan, is a much better cook than I am.
  4. When I finish a beading project, I put every single bead from that project away before I can start another one.
  5. If I’m feeling out-of-sorts, it’s probably because I haven’t read a Joyce Carol Oates novel in awhile.
  6. I’ve lived in a dozen cities, from Pennsylvania to Arizona. Atlanta, my current home, is my favorite.
  7. Our four children live in Louisville, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Rome, so I travel. A lot.

 And now it’s  my turn to pass this award on to another round of deserving bloggers. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Artful Living on the Bluff.  Although she has previously received this award, I had to include Cindy Caraway on my list. Artful Living is one of the first creative blogs I discovered and Cindy graciously encouraged me as a fledgling beader to explore the art of bead embroidery. I have gleaned so much inspiration from her site, and it remains a wonderful resource for design and color exploration –from soft and romantic to bold and dramatic.

Baublicious.  Karen Williams, of the Baublicious blog and Skunk Hill Studio, is a gifted artist, inspired writer, and natural teacher. I learn so much from her books, beautifully illustrated and meticulously detailed tutorials, and inspiring links. Head over to her blog right now and catch up on her current series where she’s sharing her expertise on the Elements of Design.

Beadsong Jewelry.  I recently blogged about meeting Bobbie Rafferty and seeing her one-of-a-kind designs in person at a craft fair in Indiana. She documents her life and art at Beadsong Jewelry, where her readers have come to expect posts filled with humor and grace. Oh, and if there were an award for Best Crafting of Post Titles, Bobbie would be on everyone's list for that one, too!


EB Bead and Metalworks.  Mandy, who gave me this award, was my first challenge partner, so it is only fitting that my latest partner(s), Evie and Beth McCord of EB Bead and Metalworks, are on my list. Beth writes their blog, giving us a look into their studio and sharing the hand and heart work of running a metals-enameling-lampwork business. Their collaborative pieces are a celebration of nature and the elements  - and a treat for the eyes!
Modern Nature Studio.  Kathleen Lange Klik, an extraordinary jewelry artist and photographer, inspires me with her rich, creative world at Modern Nature Studio. Blog hops are a great way to discover new artists, and that’s how I first found Kathleen and her lovely blog. I can still remember clicking on her entry and being instantly captivated.  If you’re looking for artistic expression that is beautiful, striking, inventive and unique, you will find it here.

Riverlea Beads. Shelley loves experimenting – with beads at her Riverlea Beads blog, and, as a foodie at Riverlea Foods. She shares so many aspects of her personal creativity with her readers. Whether it’s a new beading pattern or  a gluten-free tower of peanut butter and chocolate, there’s always something luscious to look at (and try for yourself) on her blogs.
Sweet Freedom Designs.  I walked into Lesley’s brick-and-mortar bead story nearly 2 years ago, and entered a sanctuary brimming with awe inspiring, creative jewelry. Her pieces were full of movement, texture and form and I left her store with a redefined sense of just what's possible with glass, gemstones and metal. If you don’t live within driving distance of Augusta, you can take a virtual tour on her blog, where Lesley shares her process of creation as well as her finished pieces of art.
Thank you again, Mandy, for being a great beading friend, and for choosing my blog for this award!


MoJo Magic - Titanium and Gold

Titanium is the elegant and cool neutral in this season’s color palette from Pantone. It seems to me that it would work well with every other color in the Fall palette, a theory I plan to have lots of fun putting to the test over the next month.

I’ve paired it here with Honey Gold, a true Fall classic, and the very delicious, chocolaty brown, French Roast.

Heather Collin’s cubic right angle weave pattern, MoJo, was my vehicle. I chose Heather’s pendant for its balanced proportions and sculptural curves, and because her designs are always magical - fun to stitch and fabulous to wear!


Fresh Inspiration for Fall

I stopped in at my favorite Nashville bead store, Be Dazzled Beads, on my way home from Louisville. Owner, Warren Feld’s, mission is to carry every color of seed bead available, and he delivers on that dream, as these photos attest.
Hanks of Czech Seed Beads at Be Dazzled

Just a sampling of Be Dazzled's selection of size 11 and 15 seed beads

My quest yesterday was to gather up all the beads I could find afford in my favorite color from Pantone’s Fall 2012 Color Report - Titanium, a lovely warm gray with a bit of silvery shine. And since I was literally surrounded by Be Dazzled’s gorgeous walls of color, I splurged on some pops of Ultramarine and Rhapsody that I can’t wait to pair it with.
Gray has always been my go-to neutral for Fall. Do you have a favorite color combination from this season’s Color Report?