Saturday, January 29, 2011

Margie and Me Color Challenge: The Village Corner

For this month's Margie and Me Color Challenge, Marcie put forth two color palettes to choose from; the Amazon River-inspired palette #29 from Margie Deeb's The Beader's Color Palette, and a largely turquoise palette based off of this photo of a little medicine shop from a small village in Mexico:

Since I've been working with turquoise drop beads for another project, I went with the Village Corner palette. After some tinkering, I used this palette to create a larger version of my Pagoda beaded charm design as a pendant:
I hadn't originally intended to use the coral beads side-by-side; my first idea was to intersperse them throughout the pendant. But I like how they give little frames to the finished pendant, similar to the doors in the inspiration photo. 
For this Pagoda beaded charm variation, I basically scaled up all the beads in the original design to a larger size; the 4 mm bicone crystals became 6 mm bicone crystals, the 15° seed beads became 11°, etc. I made some further adjustments to the design compared to the original, but the shape is essentially the same. Here it is side-by-side with an original Pagoda beaded charm:
Be sure to check out all the other Margie and Me challenge pieces on Marcie's blog

What techniques and strategies do you use to scale up an original design to a larger size?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Winter Starburst Set in the Shop

I listed a new jewelry set in my Artfire and Etsy shops today. It consists of a Circle Starburst beaded bead pendant and Squared Circles beaded bead earrings:

It's in sort of a wintery nighttime color palette huh? I think that the sharpness of the Swarovski crystal circle pendants accentuate the crisp feeling of this palette.

The Circle Starburst pattern is available at beAd Infinitum, while the Squared Circles tutorial is available in my Artfire and Etsy shops.

I also recently received the beads for my latest contribution to the blogger program, which is also in a wintertime theme this time around. The colors will be in more of a black and light sapphire palette, and the beaded beads will be of a different construction, so stay tuned for this piece over the next few weeks.

What beads do you choose for a wintertime theme?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Color Matching: Lampwork and Beaded Beads

I'm always looking to challenge myself to incorporate new color palettes into my beadwork. One of the more fun ways to accomplish this is to color-match beadwork to the colors of a lampwork focal bead or bead set. Indeed, color maven Margie Deeb recently noted how seed bead and lampwork artisans are kindred spirits in the exploration of color, and expressed a desire to see more collaboration between these groups of artists (I'd argue that Cynthia Newcomer Daniel and Melissa Vess are making much headway in this area). 

So when I was making some new Double Pagoda beaded beads in preparation for writing a tutorial, I decided to color-match some of them to one of Melissa's focal beads.
I was picky about the colors that I chose for this beaded bead, since Melissa's bead contains some very specific shades of tan and silvery aqua. For the Swarovski crystals, I chose the dark indigo hue, which is similar to the dark blue iris shade of my chosen peanut seed beads. I went all-tan with the seed beads, in slightly different shades, and put the aqua colors in the drop beads. 
My first Double Pagoda attempt contained more tan and less blue than the lampwork bead, so I swapped some of the tan seed beads for dark blue iris.
The difference is somewhat subtle, but I think it matches the lampwork bead much better.
Here are both attempts side-by-side next to the lampwork bead:
Do the colors match and complement the lampwork bead? What do you think?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shooting Stars

A few weeks ago Marcie Abney released a tutorial for her Shooting Stars Bracelet, a design I've been admiring for some time. I purchased the tut from her Etsy shop and made a few shooting stars of my own. I started with the color proportions called for in the pattern, but since I didn't have the specified color of faceted drops, I chose a different color palette in blue and silver:
The design is quite fun to weave together. The stars have a not-quite-flat quality to them that I actually quite like, and since I'm not particularly a bracelet person I can work up the individual star components for other types of jewelry. At just over an inch across, they'd probably make nice solo pendants, and Marcie shows that they can make a festive pair of earrings too. I made another one in teal and metallic bronze, and added some 2.8 mm Miyuki drops to the corners for a little bit of flair:
Finally, I mixed up the color proportions and made a shooting star in the electric green palette that I used for an Ionic Octahedron a few months back
This palette is really growing on me, so it's definitely not the last time I'll be using it. 

When you're following a tutorial or a pattern, do you use the specified colors, or do you mix it up?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rivoli Sunflowers

I dabbled in rivoli bezeling the other day and made a few Rivoli Sunflowers. My first attempt is now a solo pendant:

The design is straightforward and fun to put together, and somewhat easier in construction than your typical peyote or RAW rivoli bezel. I've had issues with thread showing when I use peyote to bezel a rivoli, so when I use this method I have to pay attention to minor differences in bead size between different batches of seed beads (which is probably why the evenly-sized delicas are so commonly-used in this technique). Since the Rivoli Sunflower is a fringe method design, it's a little more forgiving in this respect. And it has Miyuki fringe drops, which makes it extra awesome, since drop beads are awesome. 

My second Rivoli Sunflower ended up very orange, an unusual color choice for me. I think I'm either terribly missing the summertime during these winter months, or I'm channeling my inner Giants fan. Probably both. I paired the Rivoli Sunflower with Swarovski bicones, cranberry Czech glass, Venetian rounds, and two basic cube beaded beads in this necklace:

The Rivoli Sunflower pattern is available at beAd Infinitum if you'd like to make your own.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Circle Starburst Kits

Two kits are now available for the Circle Starburst pattern at beAd Infinitum. The first is in copper, purple, and silver, in a color palette I've named Royal Copper:

The second uses Swarovski crystal circle pendants instead of glass lentils, in deep red and dark purple, with a hint of silver. This color palette is called Sharp Siam: 
Both kits can be found on the beAd Infinitum Patterns and Kits page, and include the full pattern, all the beads necessary to complete the project, two needles and plenty of thread, and (since it is recommended for this design) a copper headpin for storing the finished bead. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Origami Interlude: Sonobe Unit Origami

This January, I've been thinking about what I'd like to accomplish this year, both with this blog and with my beady and crafty art in general. I want to get back to exploring some of the basic geometric shapes that I've used in my work, both in beads and in origami. 

I was first introduced to modular origami many years ago through the Sonobe unit, an invention of Mitsonobu Sonobe. As one of the simplest units in modular origami, combinations of multiple Sonobe units can be pieced together to form an infinite number of polyhedra. Twelve units create this stellated octahedron:

Here's an individual basic Sonobe unit. Each unit has two tabs on the edges and two corresponding pockets in the center.

I used four sheets each in three colors of paper to create this polyhedron. The flower-patterned paper is washi, which is a dream to fold.

The smallest Sonobe octahedron that I've ever made measures about 20 mm in diameter, or about the size of a medium beaded bead. I've thought about creating beads out of Sonobe origami, but they would need to be reinforced with glue or a layer of varnish to withstand any wear and tear. 

An additional fold to the Sonobe unit results in a slightly different effect, as shown in this cube. It uses six units in three colors:

A popular Sonobe polyhedron is the stellated icosahedron, which requires 30 units. Here's one in six colors:

Free instructions for a simple Sonobe unit can be found at this link, with instructions on how to piece together the 30-unit polyhedron here. Check out this page for a taste of the many more variations on this unit, which have been thoroughly explored by origami masters such as Tomoko FuséKunihiko Kasahara, and Meenakshi Mukerji.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Beaded Bead Sets in the Shop

When designing a new piece of jewelry, whether a necklace or set of earrings or even a solo pendant, I tend to try a number of different color patterns in my beaded beads. Sometimes I'll finish a beaded bead and then realize that the colors are not quite right for what I'm aiming for, but instead of taking it apart I'll usually keep it in a box with other prototypes and beady experiments.

The box has become rather full, so I've decided to part with some of these orphan beadies. I've sorted them into four sets and listed them for sale at discount prices. Click on the images for more information:

All of these sets are currently available in my Artfire and Etsy shops. 
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