Friday, August 30, 2013

Origami Interlude: Crystallized Masu Boxes

A few days ago I briefly broke from the beading routine to try out my brand new Crystal Katana with a handful of Swarovski flatback crystals. Of all the different surfaces that I could bling out with crystals, I decided to first try it out on a trio of Masu origami boxes.

Working with Flatback Crystals

This was my first time working with the small, no-hole, sequin-shaped flatback crystals. But I was happy to find that the crystal katana is really easy to use. First you apply a dot of glue onto each point where you want to add a crystal (I used the precision glue bottle). Then you pick up the top of the crystal with the wax end of the katana, gently set it into the glue, and the crystal will transfer from the katana to the spot of glue. When you're done adding them, you can use the other end of the katana to set the crystals in place.

Crystallized Masu Boxes

I experimented with a few methods of adding crystals to the washi covers of my masu boxes. Since the yuzen washi used in these boxes already comes in so many gorgeous, detailed patterns, only a few crystals are needed to add just a little bit of extra bling. On this box, I added the crystals to the centers of the flowers:

The print on this box has an interesting floral-and-fan combination, so I added a few crystals to accentuate the fan-like shapes:

Finally, on this box I added the crystals into the negative spaces between the flowers. I think I like this one the best.

Many Possibilities

For this first attempt, I only crystallized three boxes, but there are as many possible crystal-and-origami combinations as there are prints of washi! I'll definitely be investigating this idea more in the future.

Thanks to Kellie the Crystal Ninja for inventing such a neat tool!

Check out some of my previous interludes into paper origami here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Scenes from Bead Fest Philly

I'm back at home and decompressing from a fun trip to Bead Fest Philly, and I thought I'd share a few of the pictures I managed to snag while I was there.

Susan took a few minutes between the Wildflower Fields class and the Tila Garden class to find some black tila and round seed beads on the show floor. She combined them with the beads from the Rizo Flowers kit to create this striking version of the Tila Garden Pendant:

I had a nice classroom space for this class, with a whiteboard and everything! I used it to point out some helpful tips for this project:

Several students finished one piece or another of the Sparkling Compass Set in class! Here's a completed bracelet in the Golden Denim colorway:

And the earrings in the Jet Cosmos colorway:

I managed to do a bit of shopping on the show floor too. I picked up some buttons and Czech glass beads from Nirvana Beads, filigree from Kabela Design, Swarovski flat backs and Miyuki long drops from Beyond Beadery, and a Crystal Katana from the Ninja herself!

I'm looking forward to playing with these new components this week. Next up on my schedule is a class on the Cosmic Nocturne Pendant at the Beading Bar this weekend in San Diego, followed by preparation for my classes at the BABE! show in November. If you're interested in any of my BABE! classes, be sure to register soon, as some are close to selling out!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sakura Bouquet Necklace

Continuing the theme of workshop beading projects, I have another new workshop to write about today, the Sakura Bouquet Necklace.

Revisiting the Sakura Charm

I first designed the Sakura Charm back in the Spring of 2011. This petite charm combines lentil beads with tiny seed beads for cute little cherry blossom flowers, and you can use them in several different kinds of jewelry projects.

When I was asked to teach this project, I thought about all the different kinds of beads that have been developed in the past few years since I first came up with this design. Many of these new beads can act as different kinds of sakura petals, just as there are many different kinds of sakura blossoms. Did you know that there are over 200 varieties in Japan alone? These are just a few of them from my trip to Japan a little over a year ago:

(though I think one of those may be plum blossoms... Sometimes it's hard to tell!)

A Bouquet of Cherry Blossoms

With this idea in mind, I came up with several new ways to weave a Sakura Charm from different kinds of beads! This piece expands the original design into four different varieties of the cherry blossom flower, and collects them together into a cascading necklace bouquet. These blossoms are woven from lentils, petal beads, teardrop beads, and rizos, and each one has a slightly different thread path to make the most stable, self-supporting version of each flower. A net of bugle beads ties them together into the completed necklace.

Beading Class at BABE!

I'll be teaching this class at the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza! show this November. Classes are held from November 15-17 (Fri-Sun), while the exhibition hall is open on November 16 and 17. Since this class is available in two sessions (Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th), you can kickstart a fabulous weekend of beading with this class on Friday afternoon, saving plenty of time for shopping over the weekend. Or you can take this class on Saturday morning, but please note that the Saturday session is almost sold out, so book now if you're interested in this session.

Interestingly, my complete class lineup at BABE! this year follows a decidedly floral theme; I'll also be teaching the Tila Garden Pendant, a slightly streamlined version of the Raindrop Flower Necklace, and a slightly expanded version of the Tropical Dahlia Set. Please visit the BABE! website for more information on how to register!

What's your favorite kind of beaded blossom? Drop me a line in the comments!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Golden Rizo Triangles Necklace

I wove another Rizo Triangles Necklace to prepare for my class at The Beading Bar on Friday. This one uses tans, light purples, and just a touch of gold:

It's a new colorway for me, but I quite like it!

I'll be teaching this project at The Beading Bar in the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego on August 16 from 10 AM-3 PM. More information about this class and how to sign up can be found here. I'd love to see you there!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wildflower Fields Collection

Bead Fest Philly is just around the corner, and I've been busy putting together the instructions and kits for the three classes that I'll be teaching there. Yesterday I wove a purple version of my Wildflower Fields Pendant:

A Topiary Flower Ball Pendant

I must admit that it's been an interesting process to re-focus on this design. I first came up with it over a year and a half ago, and at the time I was totally in love with its petite, little wildflower components that only require a minimal number of round and shaped seed beads to weave. But since then, so many other interesting bead shapes have come to market, and in my flurry of experimenting with two-hole beads and rizos, this design fell by the wayside. I was worried that re-visiting this design wouldn't be as exciting as when I first beaded it.

But I was pleasantly surprised at how this piece is still satisfying to create, and how adaptable it is to many different kinds of jewelry. The flowers are five-sided, so twelve of them can join together make a cute little dodecahedron-shaped pendant that reminds me of a floral topiary ball.

(Such floral topiary designs are quite common in modular origami, as I've noted on this blog before!)

Earrings and Charms

These little wildflowers are a great source for component-based jewelry design. Just one flower can be attached to a jump ring to make a cute little charm, and two pair together for a quick pair of earrings. But unlike my other beading designs, these flowers can also be incorporated into stud earrings. Neat huh?

Many Possibilities

The wildflowers can also be connected together for a twisting little bracelet, that matches both the pendant and earrings for the complete collection.

I also like how easy it is to develop different colorways for this design. The primary colors in this piece are only from two shapes of Japanese seed beads, so I don't need to worry about matching different kinds of crystals and glass beads from three different countries to come together into one piece (although that can be a fun challenge too). And since shaped seed beads come in dozens of colors (and round seed beads come in hundreds!), many different colorways are possible.

I'll be teaching this project at Bead Fest Philly on Saturday, August 24, from 8:30 AM-4 PM. More information about how to register for this class can be found on the Bead Fest Philly website.

Are you going to Bead Fest Philly? I'd love to see you there!

Friday, August 9, 2013

New Kit: Special Edition Heliotrope Tropical Dahlia Necklace

New kits are now available for the Heliotrope Tropical Dahlia Necklace:

I received so many compliments about this piece at the Bead & Button Show that I had to put it together as a kit. Unfortunately, after the show I learned that heliotrope Swarovski rivolis are a limited-edition crystal, and it took me a while to source more of them. Since I don't know if I'll be able to source them again, this will be a Special Edition kit.

Each kit contains all the beads needed to make the complete necklace, including Swarovski rivoli crystals, rizo beads, Czech teardrop beads, Japanese seed beads, large sterling silver jump rings, and a sterling silver clasp (please note that you will need to supply your own Fireline thread to complete the necklace). The necklace is choker-length, however you can add to its length with a couple more jump rings or a short bit of chain.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rizo Triangles Necklace Class

I've been hard at work on a number of new pieces for the classroom and the Bead Origami website. One such piece is this one, the Rizo Triangles Necklace:

This piece features two different kinds of self-supporting, reversible triangular beaded components that show off Rizo and SuperDuo beads, which are joined together for the focal point of this necklace. Its matching beaded rope also features a triangular element woven from Rizo beads and Japanese seed beads, and final triangular component makes for a unifying toggle clasp. Three Swarovski crystals add a nice touch of sparkle.

This is my new favorite necklace and I've been wearing it a bunch when I've been out and about. I like how it goes with everything from blue jeans to a little black dress.

And of course, the smaller triangular components make for an easy pair of matching earrings :)

I'll be teaching this project at The Beading Bar in the University Heights neighborhood of San Diego on August 16 from 10 AM-3 PM. The Beading Bar is a new local bead store to the San Diego area, and they carry a ton of the hottest new beads including Rizos, SuperDuos, Tilas, and Long Magatamas, but they also have a fascinating collection of vintage beads including glass pearls and fancy buttons! I'm stoked to have such a cute and well-stocked local bead store only 10 minutes from my house, and I'm doubly stoked to be teaching there!

More information about this class and how to sign up can be found here. I'd love to see you there!

Do you have a favorite local bead store? Tell me about it in the comments!
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