Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fruits, Pearls, and Lavender for Bead Star

Today I entered my first jewelry design contest. I had thought about entering Bead Dreams or Bead Arts in the past, but I've found the finalist designs in those contests quite intimidating and I don't think my work is up to that level (yet). One of my fellow members over at the SJA forums mentioned the Bead Star contest, and I figured I'd give it a shot and enter a few pieces. The Bead Star contest is limited to specific, simpler techniques, so it was a challenge for me to get out of my comfort zone of geometric beadweaving and into designing using only simple stringing, crimping, and wire wrapping techniques.

I came up with a total of three pieces. The first is a bracelet featuring some fun fruit-shaped Czech glass beads that I've had sitting around for a while. I also entered this piece in the SJA April "Over the Rainbow" design challenge, since it reminds me of a delicious rainbow fruit salad.

I'm really happy with the photography on this piece. After my old digital camera died I invested in a new camera, bought some daylight CFLs, and built a new lightbox. I haven't figured out all the features on the new camera but I've been very happy with the pictures I've gotten out of it so far.

The next piece is a three-strand necklace made out of freshwater pearls. The pearls are leftover from other various projects but I think they came together nicely in this necklace.

This last necklace is my favorite of the three and by far took the most time to design and create. For the seed bead category I originally envisioned a collar necklace made from loops of thin SoftFlex, but I couldn't get that design to work without getting too complicated. I experimented with braiding strands of seed beads but found that too homogenous. Finally I decided on multiple strands of 11° seed beads blending six different colors, interspersed with 6° and 8° seed beads, 4mm bicone crystals and Czech glass, topped off with a simple Venetian twist as the focal. This is my first necklace finished off with bead cones, which was easier to do than I had previously thought. I also had to test the focal bead to make sure it could withstand 18 passes of fireline!

Regardless of the results of the contest, I'm happy with what I designed and I feel more comfortable entering contests in the future. But for now, I'm looking forward to getting back to my beaded beads :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Geometric Jewels: Green Bling

I made this piece a while ago, but over the past year or so it's turned out to be one of my favorite necklaces so I just had to share it. It's become my "go-to" necklace for Saturday nights out on the town.

I received the Miyuki “Magic” seed beads in this piece as a gift, and I wanted to show off these seed beads as the focus of this necklace. So I decided to keep the color scheme monochromatic and I designed a variety of textured beaded beads with the seed beads. This necklace features four different kinds of beaded beads; the smallest beaded beads are cubes consisting of Miyuki drop beads. The second-smallest are cuboctahedra woven together from the seed beads. The second-largest are also cuboctahedra containing both seed and drop beads. Finally, the largest, focal beaded bead is an icosidodecahedron woven from 60 seed beads! All the beaded beads are hollow and completely self-supporting. This piece also features authentic, handmade Venetian beads from Murano, and some AB2X emerald Swarovski crystals.

I made a similar necklace in winter colors, which I'll post as soon as I can get my new lightbox set up. What other colors would look good for this design?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

First Blog Post

This is my first blog post. I suppose I should introduce myself; I'm a jewelry designer, beadweaver, and general overall fan of geometric beadwork. I have been a crafty person all my life and have dabbled in all sorts of craft forms, but one genre that is truly dear to my heart is geometric modular origami. I was amazed to discover that so many similar geometric polyhedra could be beautifully created with beads!

I have been developing my bead designs for about three years with no formal training, but with plenty of inspiration from many talented bead artists out there. I like working with Czech glass beads, freshwater pearls, and all kinds of seed beads, but I use all kinds of materials in my designs.

I hail from the San Francisco Bay Area, where I have lived all my life. When I'm not beading, I'm working on my doctoral degree in Biochemistry.

I'll gradually post images of my work here as I create and photograph my work. For the complete library of my designs, please visit my website. I sell my jewelry on Etsy, and I can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr. I'm an active member of the Starving Jewelry Artists, and I am continually inspired by the fantastic creations that come out of this group.

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