Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beadwork's 15th Anniversary Beaded Bead Contest: Cube Cluster

I completed my version of the second beaded bead in Beadwork's 15th Anniversary Beaded Bead series, Gwen Fisher's Cube Cluster (check out my previous post in this series here).
This is a sister design to Gwen and Florence's popular Octahedral Cluster beaded bead; it uses the same lace overlay technique over a hollow cluster of beads, only with the geometry of a cube instead of an octahedron. The result is a slightly larger beaded bead (about 1 inch in diameter) which is a great size for focal bead, with a hole large enough to accommodate a cord or a chain.
After weaving together many Octahedral Clusters in the past, the Cube Cluster was quite fun to construct. My color palette was dictated by the 8 mm round beads and 3 mm fire polish beads that I had on hand, but I combined these brown and metallic beads with green patina seed beads for a near-neutral color scheme. I'm amazed the sturdiness of this hollow beaded bead; an inch in diameter and no squish!
This design can be challenging to construct if you're unfamiliar with the lace overlay technique. If you've constructed an Octahedral Cluster before, I think you'll be able to weave together a Cube Cluster from the abridged version of its pattern in the current issue of Beadwork magazine. The full pattern is available from beAd Infinitum in a 2-for-1 deal with the Octahedral Cluster pattern. Both beaded beads complement each other quite well (as you can see in this photo Florence posted in her Facebook album).
The Cube Cluster beaded bead pattern can be found at beAd Infinitum, and an abridged version can be found in the April/May issue of Beadwork Magazine. More information about the 15th Anniversary Beaded Bead Contest is available on the Beading Daily website.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Travel Notice: March 29 - April 11

I'm traveling to Japan to visit my sister from March 29 through April 11, so I'll be unable to ship any jewelry or kit orders during this time. My Etsy shop will be on vacation mode for the duration of my trip. You will still be able to place orders for kits via my website, but they will ship out on April 12. So, if you have your eye on any possible Easter gifts, please place your order before March 29. 

Fortunately, since the patterns on my website are available as PDF downloads, you can still order and download these patterns while I'm away. I'll have somewhat limited e-mail access while I'm traveling, but if you have any questions about a pattern order, just e-mail me anyway and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Patterns and kits for the Sakura CharmCircle Starburst, and Balloon Box designs will continue to be available at beAd Infinitum.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing my sister, and I'm fortunate to be visiting Japan around the time that the sakura trees will be in bloom (and not during the miserable heat and humidity of the Japanese summer). I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures! In the meantime, here's a picture that I took the last time I visited Japan. It's of the Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavillion) in Kyoto:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Origami Interlude: Washi Masu Boxes

I have a confession... I love washi paper.
OK, that isn't the confession. When I visited Japan in August 2010, I bought several full-size sheets of the most gorgeous handmade washi from the heavenly Morita Washi and Ito-ya stationary stores.
The confession is... Since visiting Japan a year and a half ago, I hadn't folded anything from these papers. I'd carefully unwrap and drool over them from time to time, as a jewelry maker would with a collection of one-of-a-kind lampwork beads; ogling them, brainstorming how to showcase them in the perfect piece of art, but, not actually using them in jewelry... Er, paper crafts.
The problem is, I'm visiting Japan again in less than two weeks, where I will surely purchase more Washi paper. So, it was time to fold something out of the papers that I already have.

I still have visions of cracking open one of Tokomo Fusé's books and folding these papers into one of her gorgeous geometric origami designs. But in the meantime, I was running low on the masu boxes that I use for jewelry purchased from my Etsy shop. So, I carefully cut the washi into squares alongside matching colors of card stock for a new stack of jewelry boxes.
Folding washi is like sewing with silk; it's easy on the fingers and is very forgiving of an errant crease.
The downside with washi is that it's not very stiff, so when I use it with masu boxes, I reinforce it with an extra layer of card stock in both the top and bottom halves of the box. The extra layer fits inside the blinz base (after Step 2 is completed), and is also a square piece of paper measuring √2/2 (about 0.7) times the length of the outer layer.
I love modular boxes too, but the simplicity of the masu box really brings out the print of the washi:
Plus, they're really easy to fold, and in great numbers:
What's your favorite kind of jewelry packaging material? Do you prefer jewelry pouches, or jewelry boxes?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Plum Egg Pendants in the Shop

I added several new Plum Egg beaded bead pendants to my Etsy shop (click on the photos below for more information about each piece). First up there's this simple pendant woven with 3 mm freshwater pearls:
Next is this pendant woven from two shades of pink Swarovski crystal pearls:
And another with 3 mm Swarovski crystal pearls, in white:
This one uses cream-colored Swarovski crystal pearls, in the 4 mm size for a slightly larger egg:
And finally, this one uses peach freshwater pearls, again in 4 mm:
Again, all of these pieces are available in my Etsy shop. Please note that I'll be traveling internationally from March 29 through April 11 and my Etsy shop will be on vacation mode during this time, so make sure to place your orders for Easter before March 29. However, my website will be active throughout the duration of my trip; kits ordered between March 29 and April 11 will be shipped on April 12, but patterns purchased through my website will be available for instant download (as they are now).

The Plum Egg beaded bead pattern is available exclusively at my website if you'd like to make your own basket of eggs in time for Easter.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beadwork's 15th Anniversary Beaded Bead Contest: Seeing Stars

Beadwork Magazine is celebrating their 15th Anniversary with a contest on my favorite beading subject, none other than beaded beads! The magazine will publish a total of five beaded bead projects in each of their 2012 issues. To enter the contest, create a piece of jewelry that incorporates all five beaded bead designs, and submit a picture of your piece to Beading Daily by October 26, 2012. More details about the official entry rules are available on the Beading Daily website.

I'm honored to be contributing a design to this series, which will be published in the October/November issue later this year. While I can't enter the contest myself, I'll still be playing along by making at least one beaded bead from each design in the series. The first beaded bead, "Seeing Stars" by Beadwork editor Melinda Barta, was published in the February/March issue.
This design uses 15° or 11° seed beads to create eight little stars over a round or roundelle core bead. I decided to weave this one with silver- and gold-plated seed beads over a round red bead.
I made another one of these beads in a different color pattern, using metallic green and silver-plated beads. The stars in this color pattern are less distinguished, but the coloring is more uniform over the entire beaded bead:
I must admit that I'm very intrigued by the symmetry of this design; many star- or pentagon-faced beaded bead designs use the symmetry of the 12-sided dodecahedron, however this more economical design uses only eight stars instead of 12.
That being said, I'm sure a dodecahedral version of this beaded bead is possible. Will you be the one to create this variation?
The Seeing Stars beaded bead pattern can be found in the February/March issue of Beadwork Magazine. More information about the 15th Anniversary Beaded Bead Contest is available on the Beading Daily website. I hope that you'll decide to enter!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Pattern: Plum Egg Beaded Bead

Just in time for Easter, I finished my latest pattern, the Plum Egg beaded bead:
This design was originally inspired by the origami of Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein, which I wrote about last spring. I wove my first beaded version out of grey freshwater pearls:
Beadweavers at the advanced beginner level should be able to tackle this pattern, and it's a great step-up for beginners who have already woven Candy Cube and Candy Dodecahedron beaded beads. (Both of these designs are available as free downloads at my website).

The Plum Egg beaded bead design works well with both 3 mm and 4 mm round beads for two different size options, and makes a nice solo pendant with freshwater pearls:
The more regularly-shaped Swarovski crystal pearls work very well too, and are a little easier to work with since the holes of these beads are bigger than those of freshwater pearls:
The Plum Egg beaded bead pattern is available exclusively at my website if you'd like to make your own basket of eggs in time for Easter. And once the fall rolls around, I think it would also make a fun football.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Free Pattern: Candy Dodecahedron Beaded Bead

I've written another free beaded bead pattern which is now available for download at my website. This Candy Dodecahedron beaded bead uses the structure of a dodecahedron to gather thirty beads into a round ball shape, and also features a unique color distribution:
Six beads in each of five colors are symmetrically distributed evenly throughout the structure so that no two colors sit right next to each other. It's a color combination I've explored before in origami. It reminds me of a ball of candy, hence its name :)
Of course, you can also make a dodecahedron beaded bead with just one type of bead. Here's one in peachy freshwater pearls:
I also wove one with keshi pearls for a rather irregularly-shaped structure. It's amazing how you can use different bead types with the same pattern for a completely different piece of jewelry:
I strung this beaded bead through two of its openings with Czech glass beads and additional pearls for a purply necklace:
The Candy Dodecahedron beaded bead is available on my website as a free download. Have you ever woven a dodecahedron beaded bead? I'd love to see your interpretation!

Thanks for visiting my blog! Please subscribe to my mailing list for updates on the latest and greatest Bead Origami news!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ice Queen Necklace Alternate Color Ideas

I came up with a couple of alternate color ideas for my Ice Queen Necklace class to be taught at Bead & Button this June. I started by working them into pairs of earrings to get a sense of the colors before weaving the entire necklace. For this pair I combined blue iris and black with silver:
And for this pair, I combined tanzanite with dark purple, red, and gold:
This is actually the third pair of Pagoda charm earrings that I've made in fall colors... For some reason I'm drawn to these colors in this particular design (previous versions here and here).

For reference, here's the original Ice Queen Necklace:
Which combo do you prefer?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...