Saturday, August 29, 2009

Freshwater Pearls - Shopping Haul and a Woven Pendant

There's something about a freshwater pearl that just calls to me. Maybe it's the unique shapes, the variety of colors, or the beautiful luster, but either way I'm always drawn to them every time I'm shopping at a bead or gem show.

At the beginning of the month I attended a special seminar on freshwater pearls underwritten by the Bead Society of Northern California (BSNC), an organization devoted to the education of bead history, production, design, and exhibition. It was a very interesting seminar presented by Damien & Wendy Masterson of East West Best Trading Company, and they had some great tips on how to judge the quality of a pearl based on shape, luster, and the dye job. I took their tips into account the next time I went shopping, and came away with this stash from a vendor called Chau's Pearl (who sadly do not have a functional website):

As you can see, I'm partial to small, evenly-shaped pearls that I can attempt to incorporate into beadwoven designs (except for the funky-shaped white pearls near the top; I just found those too cool to pass up). It can be quite difficult to find these qualities in small freshwater pearls, and unfortunately some of the pearls I bought didn't have the kind of luster I was looking for.

I did however find some gorgeous peacock-toned drop pearls that size very closely to the Czech teardrop beads that I've been using in my recent designs. Since the Bubble Box beaded bead worked so well with either Czech or Japanese drops, I decided to try it with these pearls and came up with this pendant:

I was thrilled when I found that these pearls work so well with this design! Although these pearls are not as uneven as other pearls that I've tried to work with, they still have a bit of variability so I'm not sure if they will work in my other teardrop beaded beads. I should these pearls in my other designs to find out!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Tutorial - Bubble Box Beaded Beads

I've finished my newest beaded bead tutorial, the Bubble Box beaded bead.

This design is in the same family as the Double Bubble Jacks and Teardrop Bubbles beaded beads, but it has different construction elements that separate it from both of my previous designs. This design is also much more adaptable to different sizes of drop beads; I've made it with Czech teardrop beads, Miyuki fringe drop beads, and even freshwater pearls! I'm very happy with how this tutorial turned out, because I think my illustration skills are improving. I'm much more comfortable with Adobe Illustrator than I have been in the past, although I still have a lot to learn!

The Bubble Box beaded bead rounds out my teardrop beaded bead trilogy, and I'll be working on other non-teardrop beaded bead designs for a while. I have some ideas for some Czech lentils and roundelles that I'm looking forward to creating.

Anyway, I've created a number of pieces using this design. Here's a pendant that I mentioned in my last blog post:

These Bubble Boxes are made with Miyuki fringe drops for a more petite look. It was interesting and challenging to work in a black-and-white color palette for this piece:

Finally, this piece features both Bubble Box and Double Bubble Jacks beaded beads, along with some Swarovski crystal pearls. I really like how both beaded bead designs complement each other.

You can see more images of these and other designs in the gallery of my website. As always, if you use this tutorial, I'd love to see your creations!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Bubble Box Pendants

I made a couple of new pendants the other day, contributing to my collection of teardrop beaded beads. I think they look like little boxes of bubbles. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

News From the 'Net

I haven't posted very much lately, but I've been mentioned in a couple of places and I'd like to talk about their work in return:

Diana mentioned my Teardrop Bubbles tutorial on her blog, GlasPerlenDesign. She has a great eye for beadwork, and although I can't read German, it's a great deal of fun to peruse her site and ogle over the beautiful designs that she's posted there.

Amigo created a beautiful pendant from the Double Bubble Jacks and Teardrop Bubbles beaded bead tutorials. I love the Czech drop beads that she used in this piece! She has a whole bunch of beautiful beaded pieces up on her blog, so be sure to check it out!

Finally, I snagged a treasury featuring a bunch of my SATeamates, and I'm included in this gorgeous treasury by JewlieBeads!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beautiful Treasury

Cindy of JewelryTales was kind enough to include my Blue Grey Clusters earrings in this beautiful treasury. I have to say that she has a great eye for treasuries and I always look forward to what she'll come up with next.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Beaded Bead Earrings

I listed some new beaded bead earrings in my Etsy shop today. I've made beaded beads in this design for a while, but I don't think I've ever posted them anywhere online before. It's quite a versatile design and I like how these earrings turned out.

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