Monday, December 31, 2007

YOJ Week 52 - The Promise of the Sun King

This is the last week of 2007's Year of Jewelry project and the theme is the Promise of the Sun King. After doing some research I learned that on the Winter Solstice the (new) Sun King is born and as he grows stronger the days grow longer and brighter. So, to help him fulfill his promise I created a very, very sunny piece - one that is shaped like the sun and colored as the sun is - so even if it doesn't help him, it very definitely cheers me out of the winter doldrums.
For this bracelet I used a gold chain and added some charms I crafted out of 20ga gold filled wire, flat square gold beads and topaz Swarovski crystals. I made a charm for every other link in the bracelet - and even though there are 28 of them the bracelet is not heavy. To make each charm, I cut a piece of wire approximately an inch and a half long, put a loop in one end, added a flat bead, strung the wire through the link in the bracelet, added the crystal and another loop then twisted the wire together over the link in the bracelet. And repeated it 27 more times! It's a fun bracelet to wear, has tremendous sparkle and really makes me smile - even if I can't get a tan from it!
Happy New Year everybody!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

YOJ Week 50 - Ocean Floor

An experiment is what this cuff is - but I won't say it's a failed experiment as I really love it. The theme was the ocean floor so I found a great thermal image of the ocean floor from space - etched the image into a copper cuff and then set out to add some patina to the piece. I had just read an article in "the Blue Issue" of BeadStyle magazine for adding patina to copper - a blue patina at that, and I thought that would be just perfect for what I wanted to do. It is a bit involved but truly no more involved than etching the copper is. I followed all the instructions but as the instructions weren't very involved to begin with (just about 5 steps under two pictures)I am not sure if I messed up something or skipped something along the way. The patina is very definitely blue and though the color is very consistent along the piece, there are areas where there is no patina at all. I cleaned the piece thoroughly after taking it out of the etching solution - even went so far as to lightly scrub with a scotch brite pad to make sure no oils or solution remained on the piece. I wore latex gloves when handling the copper and moving it from one step to the next, so how the bare spots came to be I do not know. BUT, I really love the color that came out on the copper and am definitely going to try this again. When it was dry and cleaned, I buffed it with some wax to preserve the patina color - although the patina seems to be really set on there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

YOJ Week 49 - Jack Frost Nipping at your Nose

When I saw the theme for this weeks entry, and being that I live in Maine, I knew I wouldn't have a shortage of inspiration! In the end I decided to use the cold winter morning colors as a guide - and figured surely that would portray a definite Jack Frost feeling! I had some wonderfully sparkly round 2 holed cz's in two sizes that I paired with some 20gauge sterling silver wire that I curved to add some movement and interest - connected them all up and added a beautiful "color-changing" cz (both cz's can be found here )as a drop to the center curve. The colors in the cz drop are reminiscent of the colors I see here in the morning in the sky over the lake and the rest of the necklace reminds me of a very cold winters day. The necklace sits at choker length and is delicate yet supremely sparkly - perfect when paired with that little black dress. mrs beadsley

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Getting ready for the holidays..........

Is it really possible to do that? It just seems that as hard as I try to keep up, that is how far I get behind!

On a brighter note, I had an order for 10 bracelets that are going to be Christmas presents and I thought I would share a couple of them here, in case anyone thinks I only make one piece a week.
I didn't have any restrictions on what to make (don't you just love clients like that?!) except that 5 are for girls 10-15 years old and the other 5 are for women 40 years old.

I love memory wire for girls - it makes a nice splash of color and no matter the size of the wrist, you know it will fit. For my first bracelet, I used some pretty small glass cubes in multi colors and used no pattern - just a jumble of soft colors. It came out pretty good, so good in fact that the client said "more of the same!" I added a heart charm and a crystal drop to the ends so the loops didn't look so plain. The other memory wire bracelet is made with seed beads (6/0) silver lined aqua ones and crystal ones. I strung them on the wire in a pattern which worked well as now it looks very symmetrical.
I had great fun making all the bracelets as it gave me an opportunity to go through my bead/findings stash and use some beads that haven't seen the light of day for at least a year!! The really good news is that I made a few extra bracelets for the client to choose from and she had a look and decided to take them all!! (her reason being "bracelets are great gifts all year"!!! - a sentiment I agree with completely). Here are a couple more along with a really gorgeous lapis and silver bracelet I made for my sister for Christmas.

Gray pearls, vintage crystals and silver accents

Matte finshed aqua rounds with gold scrollwork, gold filled bead accents, hammered gold filled toggle.

8mm lapis beads, ornate bali silver beads, sterling silver rounds and silver rose toggle.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Week 47 - Earth/Love your Planet

A simple submission this week - I had some beautiful green and blue/green lampwork beads that I thought would go wonderfully with this theme. I staggered the more solid green among the blue and blue/green beads to echo the seas and continents on the planet. In between, I handwrapped some brass wire and added a brass handcrafted spiral clasp.

mrs beadsley

Monday, November 19, 2007

Week 46 - NOT on theme

What a truly frustrating week it has been. As you can see by the heading, this piece is not on theme for week 46 (themes to choose from were Mines of Moria, Stones Abides, or Bare Trees - all of which are excellent jewelry themes). I started out planning a project on the Bare Trees theme - I pictured a Viking Knit necklace out of copper with some brass and wood accents. Wow - great idea, huh? Well, the Viking Knit just did not want to be made. I struggled with it for days before admitting defeat (after having snarled up miles and miles of copper wire)and moving onto Mines of Moria. For those that don't know, Mines of Moria is a fictional place created by JRR Tolkien (yes of the Lord of the Rings fame). OOhhh, lots of good ideas from that!! I decided to try copper etching (for the first time) and wanted to use the door to the mines as my central image. OK, so I finally have an idea and a direction so I cut down the piece of copper sheet I had to create a cuff (easier said than done as I don't have a jewelers saw! - luckily copper is soft enough to cut with shears - but, please, wear gloves - a lesson I learned the hard way!). Once I had the cuff the width and length I wanted (1.50"wide and 7" long) I set out to draw a rendition of the "magical" door to the mines. In the etching method I chose to use, Sharpie marker is used as the resist. Well, somewhere between then (then being the time I used to paint) and now, I seem to have lost my ability to draw. I kid you not - I can't tell you how many times I attempted to draw the scene in my head only to have it look like some "stick figure" drawing from a 4 year old. So, at this point, I've drawn on the cuff (and scrubbed off the cuff)about 10 different renderings - none of them any good at all. I didn't have the glossy paper necessary to transfer (by heat - see tutorial here) a printed picture, so I had to draw it myself. (see above (-:) After the tenth time, I decided to do a very simple drawing of clouds over the moon with an owl flying by. See what I mean? I really had to make it simple!!! But it etched beautifully (see tutorial here) and for my first attempt, I was relatively happy with it. From there I wanted to add some depth to it, so I decided to patina it. I have no LOS (liver of sulphur) so I decided to use heat to add the color. That turned out to be the most fun I had on this whole project! Using a torch, I heated the strip of copper until I was happy with the colors I got. (and a special thanks goes to my dear SO who patiently walked me through the heating process) I then formed the cuff around a coffee mug and there you have it.

you can see more of my work on my web site

Monday, November 12, 2007

Week 45 - Inter-Connection

Using some (of my MOST favorite) black steel and some 8mm vintage (glass) pearls, I created single swirled components out of the 19gauge steel using a hand-concocted jig (simply a 3/8" metal rod in a piece of pre-drilled teflon) and my needle nosed pliers. That satisfied my desire for symmetry in each unit and made it much easier to form each swirl.
Before I added the loop at the end, I slipped on an 8mm vintage pearl and then connected them so the necklace resembles a sort of vine curling around itself and up and around the neck, and the pearls seem to float on the vine.
I added a hand formed "S" clasp and an extender chain (for added length), but once it was on it seemed too plain, so I added three lengths of curved, hammered steel, staggered in length, each with a pearl, to the center unit. When on, the necklace sits on the collarbone and the center dangle rests just at breast level.

you can see more of my jewelry on my web site.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Week 44 - Moonlight Sonata

Lyrical words evoking images of soft summer evenings, full glowing moon and music softly playing. I wanted to capture the feel of music - the movement of notes through a piece - the feel of the highs and lows throughout. Using black steel wire I fashioned U shaped links which each hold one single crystal dichroic seed bead (the flash on these is AMAZING and something I am simply unable to capture with the camera) - my nod to the midnight mood - with a Swarovski crystal focal centered between two faceted crystal quartz rounds - to represent the moonlight. The necklace is 17" long (with an extender chain at the handwrought 'S 'clasp) and sits nicely at the neck. While this piece did not come out at all like I first imagined it (how many times has that happened!!!?)and in spite of the fact that I didn't (unfortunately) have a moonstone briolette the right size to serve as a focal, I am happy with it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Week 43 - Harvest Time

This is my submission for week 43 of the 'Year of Jewelry' - Harvest Time. I have wanted to try Viking Knit for a while and decided this would be the time to try it. After reading all I could find on 'how to', and after having found an online tutorial complete with pictures (, I sat down one morning and tried it. After using yards and yards of copper wire (in this case 24 gauge, although I see 24, 26 and 28 are the most recommended wire to use)the weaving part was done. From there, the piece has to be pulled through a drawplate (which I didn't have, of course - and a SPECIAL thanks to my dear SO who - after laughing at my attempt to create one from a piece of pine - made one for me out of teflon) of successively smaller holes which compacts the weave and lengthens the necklace. This was the most difficult part for me. Through trial and error, I found that the pulling has to be consistent so that bumps and bulges do not occur. Once the necklace was finished I sat down to try to create a grape leaf out of copper. I sketched a grape leaf and then traced around the sketch with 18gauge copper wire to create the armature. I then used 26 gauge copper to weave the wire and sew on the garnets (which represent grapes......not nearly enough of them I see - ah hindsight!) - and once the leaf was done, I sewed it onto the necklace, again using the 26 gauge copper wire. I didn't want the leaf to be a free moving pendant, so I positioned it to the left of center so that it sits asymmetrically, which I think makes it look like it's still on the vine and ready to be picked.

Monday, October 22, 2007

YOJ week 42 - Breast Cancer Awareness

This weeks theme is 'think pink - breast cancer awareness'. I wanted to somehow communicate the courage and determination I have seen time and time again in people I know that are battling this disease. I used some gorgeous soft pink peruvian opals - 8mm rounds and a beautiful focal - and paired them with some black annealed steel - the wire of strength. The opals are linked by "spring" components - each wound and formed by hand - they represent the tough yet flexible spirit of each person battling the disease. The clasp is also hand formed - the pink opal wrapped in steel and the S hook of steel - the look of delicacy with the strength of steel. Once I had the necklace finished, I realized I had used my sister in law as inspiration for this piece. Here's to you, Pat!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

YOJ Week 41 - Copper Peapod

Week 41's theme was seeds and germination. Can I tell you I had no clue what I would be doing? I started working with some copper wire - tried to fashion a leaf (I now know SO many ways not to make a leaf)but halfway through that 'exercise in agony', I decided I was going to try some wire weaving. I have seen it on a few pieces I really loved and wanted to try to re-create it. After a bucketload of tries, I finally fashioned a small curve of woven wire - and from there I knew what I wanted to do. I used 16gauge copper to form a neckpiece - I then wrapped the neckpiece with fine gauge (26) copper wire and some really pretty amber and light green rounds (with AB finish) from one end to the other - so the beads spiral around the collar. The copper curve had magically become a pod - and in the middle of the pod I strung some light green rounds on a head pin and once I put those in the pod, they became the seeds. I finished it all with a small 'leaf' for the clasp.

YOJ week 40

*Sigh* - I've been so bad at keeping up with this blog..........I had hoped that when I signed up for the Year in Jewelry (over on the Creative Wire Jewelry Forum) that I would be spurred on to posting my work here - and the intentions have been good, but lack of time and my infernal surfing when I get on the computer have both wreaked havoc with that idea. So, here are the first three weeks all in one day - along with my fervent hope that this will not be a common occurence.

The theme for the first week (or week 40 to those that are keeping track) was Falling Leaves. I had some beautiful black steel wire I used to create about a million jump rings to which I added some 6/0 seed beads - kind of soft earth colors. Connected them all into a necklace (about 21 inches long) and added some beautiful glass AB leaves in varying hues of pink, green and very light aqua. Not your typical fall leaves! I created a "s" clasp for cosure. The brown tones in the seed beads keep it from looking like a spring creation.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Bracelet

Well, it would seem, looking at the date I posted the beginning of this project, that it took me a REALLY long time to finish this bracelet, but the reality is that life happened and as such, I am now updating my progress and moving on to the next step in the project. I started with the beads I chose, 12 beads wide starting with the 11/0 matte gold delicas. I did 7 rows and then switched to the 8/0 gold lined aqua beads for 3 rows then the 6/0 bright aqua for 4 rows.

You can start to see the form of the bracelet already! Once the 4 rows of bright aqua were added, I then went back to the 8/0 gold lined aqua for 3 rows and the 11/0 matte gold delicas for 7 rows and started the bead changes all over again. I continued this pattern until the bracelet measured 7".

I like the look of the spaces between the increases, but that is a personal choice. You can certainly add less rows of the smallest beads so the ridges are closer together. For that matter, each of the bead increases can be less or more rows depending on the look you want to create - it all depends on your own personal taste. If you need help starting the peyote stitch, there are great tutorials on the internet (check out for a really good one), and there are also some great books out there, too.

Next, we add a clasp.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What's my next project?

I have been beadweaving for a little more than 3 years. I started out by teaching myself the spiral rope stitch. I made a few necklaces as Christmas presents, and by then I was truly hooked. I found a really fabulous book "The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving" by Carolyn Wilcox Wells, and learned the stitches one by one; peyote, herringbone, netting, brick, ladder and of course, the spiral rope. I also found a wealth of information on the internet - stitch techniques as well as patterns for each stitch. I love the beads I use for weaving. Seed beads. Teeny tiny little critters......some so tiny they look like glitter, but all in a gorgeous rainbow of colors and finishes. This blog is my journey through the creative process- the stitch, the pattern, the colors and the sizes of beads - from spark to finished product. I will outline the technical aspects of the stich as well as the idea of the design - with tips and hints I pick up along the way.This project will start with three colors of beads, each one size larger than the other, in colors that I feel blend/contrast well with each other, as well as the IDEA of a stitch. It's relatively straight forward - even count peyote made to look sculptural by using different sized beads, starting with the smallest bead then gradually increasing to the largest and then back down to the smallest. I will make this a bracelet. I chose a matte gold colored size 11/0 seed beads; gold lined light aqua size 8/0 seed beads and bright aqua size 6/0 seed beads. I will be using Nymo D (off the cone - IMHO more durable and less prone to fraying than off the bobbin) and a size 12 beading needle.