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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Alpha and the Omega

I said goodbye to two of my pieces over the weekend and sent them off to their new home with a wonderful patron of beadwoven art.  She has purchased my work before and I have enjoyed working with her on a custom project as well.  Her new purchases include one of the first beadwoven necklaces I designed and created, starting about 3 months after I discovered beading, and stretching over a several month period to completion.
The first (my "alpha") piece is called "Mom's African Violets."  It was based on my mother's collection of leafy beauties.  I researched on and was astonished by the amazing number of varieties and colors.  At that point, I knew peyote stitch and had just learned right angle weave.   When I showed it to another beader for the first time they said, "Oh, so the leaves are brick stitch..." and I had to say I didn't know what that was.  They were my first experiment with sculpting in peyote. Both the leaves and violets were my own design, and I have since seen many similar leaves, but never quite this violet configuration, which still pleases me. The components are stitched onto a terra cotta colored, v-shaped, right angle weave base, representing the little clay pots my mom's violets call home.

I found the amazingly vast array of textures, finishes, and colors of beads very exciting, and decided to do a value study to see how the beautiful little bits of glass worked together.

At the center front of the necklace, I used the lightest possible value, white, and a deep dark green, and as I worked my way back, I darkened the value of the figure (violets) and lightened the ground (leaves) until they were equal. By the back, I had dark figures sitting on light ground. I learned SO much about how bead texture and finish affects value doing this.  It didn't work exactly the way I thought it would, and I discovered that my favorite value grouping was the one featuring the darkest figure on the lightest ground, but I have always loved yellow greens and that may have had something to do with my love of this particular group.  Someday,it will be another project, I think.

Happily, the result of my study is this great little spring necklace, like wearing your own garden of violets. It is 18 inches long and closes with a base metal toggle clasp.  My client asked for matching earrings, and I was happy to oblige with this pair.  I structured the two pieces independently, stitched each to a jumpring, and hung them from a French hook finding, so they had lovely movement, as well as just being so darn cute.

The second piece purchased was the my most recent, created for the April 2010 Etsy Beadweavers "Light as a Breeze" Challenge. It's my temporary omega piece, but certainly will not be my last for long.  I started with a beautiful piece of hand-painted lace from Etsy seller Jennie's Heirlooms in Australia at:, and bead embroidered it densely, trying to keep it as light and airy as I possibly could.  Below, you can see the first piece of lace embroidered (on the left), and the second, (right side) as it looked when I started.

I cut away the second large flower, joined the lace together and beaded the second half of the lace, and then added a delicate pearly neckstrap with a beautiful gold filigree box clasp.

Light, airy, and a springtime garden of literal neck lace. I also made simple earrings for this piece at the buyers request.  On Saturday the boxes were packed and headed south to their new owner.  I hope she will enjoy owning and displaying them as much as I loved making them!


  1. Congrats on the sales - those are beautiful pieces :)

  2. You´ve created two wonderful pieces!Maybe it helps a bit that you know the new owner.

    Anna from annamei

  3. Congratulation on sale!! Stunnig necklaces!!

  4. Congratulations to the sales! Those two were among my favorites in your shop.

    The buyer will love them, I am sure!

  5. Congratulations on the sales. Both pieces are beautiful.

  6. Congrats on the sales! It's nice when we know our work is going to someone who really appreciates it!

  7. It is bitter sweet to send our work out into the world, but sharing our gifts and talents is what makes the world a better place. Our creations come from a part inside of us that we may not have been aware of before and is very personal. Our motives for beading are far more than money. A blocked artist advised me not to sell my best work; I wished she was creating new work so I could learn from her.

    Painters create a series of work on a theme, practically to keep working while the paint dries, and each piece has its own merits. I think this can be applied to beading as well. I look forward to seeing your new african violet pieces or whatever bubbles up from that mysterious place of who we are.

    I admire all of your pieces of jewelry. They are all special. What's it like to have a collector?

  8. Thank you so very much for your time and comments ladies. Some very thought provolking ideas in there. I deeply value you all and am so thankful for your observations. I am a very lucky woman.

  9. KRDesigns, I wanted to take a day to think about your question, before trying to answer. I have two "collectors," for whom I am deeply grateful. The one collects beadweaving in quantity and has purchased from many of my EBW team members. The other is a client of mine through my other business and sees my beadweaving in my studio when she visits for costume fittings. What's it like? All I can come up with is the same trite answer that occurred yesterday, GREAT! I feel really good about it and so honored when they make a new purchase. Maybe it's somthing to live up to as well... but a blessing for sure.

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  11. What BEAUTIFUL pieces!!! Great Job!!!!


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