Friday, March 25, 2016

New Pattern and Kits: Comet Trails Set

I've finished my next beading pattern, the Comet Trails Lariat and Earrings Set!


Beaded Beads with 2-Hole Crescents


I received a few packages of 2-hole crescent beads and 2-hole bar beads as part of Starman's Trendsetter program. After playing with them for a while I gravitated towards incorporating them into beaded beads, and I experimented with using them in geometric beaded bead embellishments. I couldn't decide whether to stick with bars or crescents for these embellishments, so I ended up using both for two different sets of spiky beaded beads. A lariat proved to be the ideal format to show off both versions.

Like the 2-hole triangles, the crescent beads have an "up" side and a down side that influences how they will orient themselves in the finished piece. I experimented with both orientations, but in this design the crescents preferred an outward orientation that gives the beaded bead a spiky look.


A Long Hubble Stitch Rope


I have a confession... Until I wove this piece, I didn't think I'd get into Hubble Stitch. Developed by Melanie de Miguel, this lacy, open weave is a cousin of right-angle weave and is reminiscent of a three-bead picot. I'd seen several lovely examples of this stitch from not only Melanie but also from Cynthia and Marcia, and I'd even made a few basic samples using the stitch, but I didn't initially see how it could be incorporated into any of my designs.

However, I noticed that the triangle shape formed by three-up Hubble looked like the seed bead embellishment in these beaded beads, so I set out to replicate that embellishment in a rope using Hubble stitch. The result is an extended variation, and by the definitions shown in Let's Hubble, it's an offset, four-up, tubular Hubble rope with periodic horizontal spaced out 2-hole beads. I like how this rope is light and lacy, but most of all how well it complements the beaded beads.


Matching Earrings


A pair of the smaller beaded beads make quick and easy matching earrings.



Three Colorways


Starman is continuously developing new colors and finishes for their beads, and it's quite fun to explore different colorways with this design.


The beading pattern for the Comet Trails Set includes complete written instructions on how to weave each component of the lariat, how to attach the components together, and how to weave the matching earrings. The pattern also includes a few images of the prototype pieces of beadwork that led to this design. Like the lariat, this pattern is on the long side; it's in the PDF format and clocks in at 30 pages and 117 full-color illustrations and photographs. I classify this pattern as intermediate, and it's most appropriate for beaders who have previous experience with beaded beads and who would like to learn a new way of creating them with 2-hole beads. Knowledge of Hubble Stitch is a plus but it isn't required to follow this pattern.

Kits for this design are available in three different colorways and make the completed lariat measuring up to 34" long, along with a pair of matching earrings. Each kit contains all the beads and findings needed to complete the project.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Prism Blossoms Pendant for the Spring

The other day I wove a new Prism Blossoms Pendant to celebrate the first day of spring. I used some new colorful metallic Dragon Scale beads that I picked up from Beki at Out on a Whim when they were exhibiting in San Diego.

A photo posted by Cindy (@beadorigami) on


(By the way, I'm on Instagram, where I like to post candid shots of what's on my bead board, and also cats).

I wanted to pair these beads with the new opaque Duracoat seed beads from Miyuki. I had been anticipating the release of these new beads ever since they showed off samples at the 2015 Bead & Button Show. Fortunately they shipped just in time for spring and they should be arriving at your favorite bead retailer soon.

A photo posted by Cindy (@beadorigami) on


I'm quite happy with how the pendant turned out!


Kits for this colorway are available at www.beadorigami.com, and contain all the materials needed to weave the finished pendant.

Thanks for looking!

New Pattern and Kits: Opulent Deltahedra Set

I wrote up a beading pattern for the Opulent Deltahedra Set!

Beaded Beads with Triangle Weave


You may have recognized this project from a 2015 issue of Beadwork Magazine; the Opulent Octahedron Necklace was one of my six Designer of the Year projects for 2015. These beaded beads use the geometry of the octahedron and a variation of triangle weave to make these sparkly, self-supporting beaded beads.


Five beaded beads pair with shiny crystal pearls and additional crystals for an elegant necklace:


Matching Pendant and Earrings


While I'm quite partial to the geometry of the octahedron (especially for beaded beads!), the great thing about triangle weave is that you can use it to create an infinite number of geometric objects made up of equilateral triangles. One of these objects is the icosahedron, which is made up of 20 triangles instead of eight. The Opulent Icosahedron makes a substantial beaded bead that's the perfect size for a pendant.


Additionally, a single triangle unit pairs with pear-shaped crystals for an easy, elegant pair of matching earrings.

Several Variations


The 3D shapes that can be made up only of equilateral triangles are called the deltahedra. While there are an infinite number of deltahedra (some of which feature quite cool star-shaped points), there are only eight that are strictly convex. I beaded all eight of them using the same technique that I used to make the Opulent Octahedron and Icosahedron. They make a collection of interesting structures that offer intriguing possibilities for further jewelry designs.


The beading pattern for this design includes complete written instructions on how to weave the Opulent Octahedron, the Opulent Icosahedron, and the matching Opulent Earrings. Additionally, I included several pages of variations showing photos and descriptions of all eight convex Opulent Deltahedra. The pattern is in the PDF format and clocks in at 26 pages and 89 full-color illustrations and photographs. I classify this pattern as intermediate and it's most appropriate for beaders who have already tried triangle weave and who would like to learn several possible ways to create 3D beaded beads with this stitch.



Kits for this design are available in three different colorways and in two different configurations; the Opulent Octahedron necklace kit makes one necklace with five Opulent Octahedron beaded beads, and the Opulent Icosahedron and Earrings kit makes one Opulent Icosahedron beaded bead that can easily make a pendant, and one pair of matching earrings. Each kit contains all the beads and findings needed to complete the project.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Pattern and Kits: Star Fragment Pendants

I finished my latest beading pattern, the Star Fragment Pendants.


Coiled Cubic Right-Angle Weave


Over the past several months I've been quietly working on this new variation on CRAW. It's an idea that originated from several places; most importantly it builds on Gwen Fisher's Twisted CRAW technique, though I recently dived through my old photos and prototypes and found related bits of beadwork dating back to 2008 (!). I started exploring this concept in earnest after taking a four-day class with David Chatt, where he encouraged me to explore versions of RAW and CRAW that twist and spiral.

That was last January, and since then I've beaded a whole box of beadwork ranging from promising experimental samples to quite ugly (but educational) failures to satisfying pieces of finished jewelry. It's been quite an artist's journey for me, full of both joy and disappointment, confusion and gradual understanding, and a whole lot of hard work. I'm looking forward to telling this story further as I present more of this beadwork, but for now I'll focus on the first design out of that box.

CRAW That Twists and Coils


The Star Fragment Pendants feature this CRAW variation that not only twists in the style of Gwen Fisher's technique, but also coils like an old-fashioned telephone cord. While others have explored these ideas with embellishment and bead size strategies, the twist of this version is generated by the specific thread path of the stitch. Like CRAW, coiled CRAW can be embellished and made into components, and the same ideas also apply to prismatic right-angle weave.


The beading pattern for this design describes how to make two different sizes of Star Fragment Pendants from embellished coiled CRAW components. In the pattern I explain the similarities and differences between CRAW, twisted CRAW, and coiled CRAW, and I introduce terminology to describe the unique features of the stitch. The pattern is in the PDF format and clocks in at 22 pages and 85 full-color illustrations and photographs. I classify this pattern as advanced and it's most appropriate for experienced beaders who have mastered CRAW and are ready for the challenge of learning this new variation. Though to be honest, I find the action of stitching twisted and coiled CRAW easier than traditional CRAW, but it's difficult to wrap one's brain around the subtle intricacies of coiled CRAW structures if you haven't already mastered CRAW.

Small and Large Star-Shaped Pendants


This design uses a collection of traditional beads; Japanese seed beads, round beads, fire polish beads, and bicone crystals. The petite pendant features one component, while the large one features two components in two different sizes. The components stack and join in an offset way that's a little tricky to assemble, but I like how this substantial component has such dimension and texture, and I'm quite happy that it also has negative space in the center (a concept that I frequently struggle with).


Kits for this design are available in three different colorways and include all the beads needed to make both pendants, though at the time of this writing the bronze colorway is currently sold out (I'm in the process of re-stocking this colorway, so check back soon for updated availability). Both pendants look lovely strung either separately or together on a silk ribbon.


Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Beaded Bead Reflection Photography

I've been playing with photographing some of my beaded beads on a reflective surface.


It's a fun but challenging photography technique and I think it works particularly well for silver beadwork. I used a piece of dark reflective plastic to generate the reflection, which does the job quite nicely however it also picks up every single speck of dust in the light tent. I had to spend a ton of time editing out the dust specks in post-processing to generate these shots.

Here's a shot of a Fairy Triangles beaded bead. I like how the reflection picks up the lower part of the beaded bead as well as the top.


Here's another shot of the silver Half Tila Technocluster beaded bead, which I previously tried to photograph in a previous post.


For reference, here's my previous attempt at photographing this beaded bead. The big difference is in the reflective surface; in the older shot I used a clear piece of plastic to generate the reflection (instead of a dark piece of plastic), but since both the top and bottom sides of the clear plastic show, it makes a double reflection rather than a single reflection.


I like the reflection in the new shot, but the beaded bead is a little overexposed. I prefer the way the beaded bead looks in the older photo.

Finally, I used this same technique to photograph the Diffractions Necklace, which is the project that I'll be teaching at the Beading by the Bay bead retreat in March of 2016.


This necklace features both cube- and dodecahedron-shaped beaded beads that use a unifying set of materials and embellishments, and I'm looking forward to teaching this project because it's a great example of beading with different geometries to make different types and sizes of beaded beads.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Beading Video and Kits: Dainty Prismatic Right-Angle Weave Flower Charms

A few months ago I had the opportunity to film a series of videos based on four different areas in beading. The videos are now available at the Interweave Store both as instant high definition video downloads as well as in the DVD format. This is the last in a series of four blog posts on those video projects; check out the previous posts herehere and here.

Together with the team over at Interweave/F+W, we organized these videos with each level of beader in mind. Beginners can watch me weave each step of the project one stitch at a time, I share several variations for experienced beaders, and throughout the course of each video I include many tips and tricks that are useful for beaders of all levels. If you're new to my Bead Origami style then these videos are a great introduction to my approach to beadweaving, but if you're already familiar with my work then you'll want to check them out too as I cover a new project in each one.


For the last video I focused on a topic that often shows up in my work; stitching beaded flowers using Prismatic Right-Angle Weave (PRAW).


Stitching Flowers with PRAW


Last spring I put together a webinar on Prismatic Right-Angle Weave where I talked about the geometry behind the term, and I showed several different examples of beaded art that use this technique. I also explained how to stitch four different kinds of basic PRAW beaded ropes in a detailed supplementary PDF file, which was then adapted into an article for the August/September 2015 issue of Beadwork Magazine.

In this video I talk about how to use PRAW to make dainty beaded flowers using a collection of shaped beads and seed beads. I start with a brief review of PRAW, and then I show how to weave three different sizes of these flowers using PRAW-4 (CRAW), PRAW-5, and PRAW-6. When we use the same materials and vary the PRAW count, we get flowers with four, five, and six petals (respectively).


I also discuss petal-shaped beads in this video. For this project I chose dragon scale beads in a specific finish that gives us many different colors in one bag of beads, but I've also used lentils, rizos, rose petals, and even drop beads to emulate flower petals with beads.

Quick Petite Earrings


In the next part of the video I show how to make a quick pair of earrings using 5-sided charms with matching pear-shaped crystals. I also cover how to balance the earrings so that the flower faces forward.


Delicate Bracelet


In the last part of the video I show how to make a matching bracelet using 4-sided charms, including how to connect them together and how to attach a magnet clasp.


Once you're comfortable making these charms and connecting them together, try creating a collection of charms using a different number of sides. You can mix and match and connect them together to make more intricate necklaces, bracelets, and earrings!

This video is available both as a High Definition Video Download and in the DVD format, and includes a supplementary PDF pattern with step-by-step written instructions and a complete materials list for the bracelet and purple pair of earrings shown in this post. Additionally, a special limited edition kit is also available for this project, and it includes the video download, the PDF, as well as all the beads needed to make the bracelet and earrings shown here. The last time I partnered with Interweave to sell a kit it completely sold out, so you won't want to miss your chance to snag this one!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, October 26, 2015

New Beading Video: Stitching Beaded Molecules

A few months ago I had the opportunity to film a series of videos based on four different areas in beading. The videos are now available at the Interweave Store both as instant high definition video downloads as well as in the DVD format. This is the third in a series of four blog posts on those video projects; check out the previous posts here and here.

Together with the team over at Interweave/F+W, we organized these videos with each level of beader in mind. Beginners can watch me weave each step of the project one stitch at a time, I share several variations for experienced beaders, and throughout the course of each video I include many tips and tricks that are useful for beaders of all levels. If you're new to my Bead Origami style then these videos are a great introduction to my approach to beadweaving, but if you're already familiar with my work then you'll want to check them out too as I cover a new project in each one.


The third video in this series combines two of my favorite topics: beadwork and chemistry!


I start the video with a little lesson in organic chemistry (don't worry: there's no test at the end!). I give a brief overview about the atoms that make up molecules found in living things and how those atoms are connected together to make molecules. I also talk about different ways to visualize or render molecular structures, from 3D renders that show the dimensionality of the molecule to the shorthand skeletal structures that form the basis for the beadwork in the video. I also review several of the beaded molecules that I've already covered in patterns on my website (such as caffeine, serotonin, and dopamine), and I explain why these "small molecules" are ideal for this specific method of making beaded molecules.

The main molecule that I focus on in this video is L-ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant small molecule made up of six carbon, eight hydrogen, and six oxygen atoms, and it's also notable for having chirality; it's the counter-clockwise or left-handed version of a pair of molecules that have the same structure but are mirror images of each other. As is the case with many organic molecules, only this left-handed version is biologically significant, and it acts as a cofactor in at least eight different enzymes that serve a variety of important biological functions. To keep the beadweaving simpler, we ignore the chirality as well as the hydrogen atoms in this beaded version of vitamin C, but being a stickler for such things I felt the need to point out the importance of chirality in molecular structures anyway ;).


After I show how to weave the beaded vitamin C molecule, I also demonstrate how to stiffen the molecule using a clear acrylic floor finish. It's a technique pioneered by Diane Fitzgerald and Jean Cox for firming up and supporting finished beadwork. Once called Future Floor Wax, it's now called Pledge Floor Care with Future Shine, but whatever the name it makes the finished beaded molecules stiff and supported.

With a few jump rings, a handful of drop crystals, and little bit of chain, a pair of these molecules make lovely chandelier-style earrings. I wove them in red and silver for a berry-flavored version, and I also made a grape-flavored pair in purples in greens.


Finally, this golden version uses smaller seed beads and a variety of colors of crystals for a more delicate, brighter variation.


This video is available both as a High Definition Video Download and in the DVD format, and includes a supplementary PDF pattern with step-by-step written instructions and a complete materials list for the pair of red and silver earrings shown in this post.

Thanks for looking!
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