Sunday, April 1, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Crocus

When the Etsy Beadweavers "Seed Beads Only" challenge was announced, I thought it might be nice opportunity to make beaded flowers, something I usually enjoy.  I began with researching crocus on google images and found the variety of colors and shapes appealing, so decided to make several different colored and shaped versions to replicate one particularly appealing image, from Dutch Mill Bulbs.

The range of colors ran from white through yellow to blue, purple, and even magenta. There were also lovely stripey patterns and beautiful ombre's. They all had six petals, but some were pointy, some more blunt, and opened from tightly closed to gently cupped with age.

I simplified a little to try to avoid visual confusion. And finally after a number of test petals, selected five I liked, and got the flowers finished, complete with upright stamen and pistils.   Most of the plants had delicate grasslike leaves and those were my biggest struggle.  I tried some peyote ones that I could cup a little with bead choice and thread tension, but they looked like bandaids to me.  Drat!  :o)
Then I turned the peyote sideways and did a double needle odd count technique, with beads in 4 sizes.  This did not have the same structural merit as the little bandaids, but did pleasantly reflect the size and shape of the leaves.

The white center stripe was also clean and clear with this technique, and I could create curves, but they required support.  So, enter the bead backing.  I created each leaf and then stitched it to the bead backing.  I decided the spiky quality of the leaf structure didn't really want to be other than straight, so ditched the curve potential.  I placed the leaves in what I hoped was a randomly balanced  pattern, and trimmed away the backing as I went.

Then I went on a hunt for something soft and comfortable to back the bead backing with, and a means to apply the backing without widening the leaves with the traditionaly quilled edge beads. I asked my friend Kinga Nichols (beauteous bead embroiderer!) a million questions about leather, adhesives, and stitches which she patiently answered. I found a beautiful piece of "super softy pigskin" in a deep green, and know I will re-visit Tandy Leather in Roseville to buy more in other colors some day.  I tried buttonhole and blanket stitches without an edge bead, but finally decided that the best finish was the quilling.  I quilled with both size 11 and 15 beads, and kept my shape reasonably well with only a small amount of additional width.  I thought the leaves looked like tiny crocodiles from the sides, with their two rows of scary tooth beads!

This finished product is certainly organic in feeling, different from my usual precise and more formal results, but a happy little piece, and certainly a nice harbinger of Spring.

27 comments:

  1. muy bonito, y original,felicidades

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  2. Delightful...Happy April :)
    -Eva Maria

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    1. Thank you Eva Maria. Happy Spring to you as well!

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  3. Love those flowers.

    Did you have the same green beads in all those sizes? It seems to me that no matter how many beads I have I never have just the right bead for the task at hand.

    Have a happy spring.

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    1. I had all but the size 6 beads and I am SO fortunate to live within a short drive of Bobby Bead, where they were on the shelf for me! Happy Spring to you too!

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  4. What a delightful necklace, it speaks of Spring and your use of color and the leaves are wonderful, though it is a departure, it is a pleasant one that brings a smile to my face.
    Enjoy the Spring and all it's beauty.
    Deborah

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    1. Thank you. It IS a departure, and it took some stern words to myself to actually finish it. :o) I learned some fun stuff in the process, so, it's good to find a little value in the project!

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  5. Very pretty! Happy Spring :))

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  6. It's just beautiful Marsha and I am loving those leaves and the technique you used - good for you for persevering!

    Kerrie x

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  7. Absolutely glorious, Marsha!! You brought those to life with superb skill, and I love how your leaves came out! What a laborious thing it can be to come up with that perfect shape, and I love how you've shared the journey. I think it's really difficult to come up with something that sparkles and shines without using crystals or gemstones, but you have made it a reality!

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    1. Oh Nancy, you are so kind to me. Thank you.

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  8. Beautiful, Marsha. I love reading about your creative process!

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    1. Thanks Betty! I love your ghlass tile pieces!!!

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  9. Marsha, I love your jaunty and fresh spring flowers! The "seed beads only" challenge was a real challenge, I think, and this piece perfectly captures the essence of what can be accomplished using only those tiny bits of glass. Thanks for sharing your inspiration and design process with us; your work is always an inspiration, in itself!

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    1. Thanks so much Callie. I love your entry as well. It WAS a challenge. :o)

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  10. Awww Marsha, I am glad I got to help you out, more often then not it's the other way around:))) The necklace is lovely, and it feels very alive, very springy and fun too. I love how you incorporated al l the different color crocuses and the final version of leaves is really neat too. Congrats, it's an awesome piece!

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    1. Thanks Kinga. I am just LOVING your octopus for the next Nautical Inspired challenge!!!

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  11. Very pretty flowers, that do not need water;) I love them! They are so beautiful!

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  12. wow, beautiful representations of one of my favorite flowers!

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    1. Thank you April Dawn. Given your lovely name, I can appreciate crocus being a flower you are fond of!

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  13. I love this design Marsha, especially how you hung them. I have been doing some similar flowers in frangipani colours with 6 petals only to realise frangipani only have 5 petals. I then thought I pass them off as crocus. ;-D
    Greetings.....Patrick

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  14. Patrick, thank you! I have to go and figure out what fragipani is now! I'm glad to have provided an excuse for your 6 petal flowers. *hugs*

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