Monthly Archives: December 2013

Kina Ice-cream

I have just completed my first ever Fortuneteller Bangle, a design introduced to myself and many others from Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Volume I. I said I was going to try to stay true to the pattern, rather than deviate off on to my usual tangents but alas, there is one very small change. I accidentally began my mini-horn increases one notch further down into the valleys. This did not affect the overall design significantly – just slightly smaller horns.

My version has been compared to a sea urchin (which we in New Zealand call ‘kina’) and the colours make me think of ice-cream, so I named the piece ‘Kina Ice-cream’ – which sounds absolutely wretched, so I like the irony of giving the name to such a pretty thing.  I won’t clutter up this post with any more words, I will simply share my photos with you all.

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Fortune Teller


Big projects. They’re both the bane of, and reason for my existence. Painfully slow, but oh so rewarding. I’ve been pining for a big project for a while and have several floating around in my brain at any one time, which frankly, makes choosing one very difficult. Among the embryonic ideas are a peyote portrait of Alice Cooper, a snakeskin inspired armband, a CRAW necklace and a bunch of unidentified trinkets. But one the thing that’s been playing on my mind more than anything, is my very own Fortune Teller bangle.

The original Fortune Teller was designed by Christina Vandervlist and featured in Kate McKinnon’s book Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Vol I. I have made a few pieces using the techniques in this amazing book, but nothing quite so intriguing as this gem. I have been looking forward to it for sometime and with the release of CGB Vol II looming ever nearer, now is a good time to get some more of these sculptural concepts under my belt.


The original fortune teller. Artwork and photography by Christina Vandervlist. Genius!

My struggle will be following the pattern, not because I find the instructions difficult to read, but because of the constant temptation to experiment. Now I know that Kate herself would encourage me to do this, “go forth and create,” she would say “expand on our ideas and turn our world upside down!” But just this once I will restrain myself. I want to have a completed, original, Fortune Teller in my hands to inspect. I want to have a tangible three dimensional model that I can hold as I envision what other possibilities it holds. My creative license will be in the colour choice and pattern. I can’t wait to see it finished but first I must endure a few weeks of alternating tedium and delight as I watch it grow.

This vague shape took me 6 hours. I need to work with better lighting.

This vague shape took me 6 hours. I need to work with better lighting.

Custom Work and Wire Fun


This year, in a move completely out of character, I got organised for Christmas early. All of my shopping is done, dinner is going to be a casual summer barbecue; all I need to do is wrap the presents and I’m done.  It’s a good thing too, because my little Facebook Christmas sale seems to have ramped up interest in my artisan jewellery and custom work has been pouring in this last week. I’ve never had anything like it and I’m utterly thrilled.  I’ve had to order materials from the same store three days in a row and must offer my sincere thanks to the gracious Queen Bead from The Bead Hold. In the midst of her big relocation, no doubt the last thing she needed was picky customers (me) constantly amending orders.

2013-11-30 23.10.37My main focus over the last week or so has been wire. Once I find something that works, I often have trouble breaking away from a method to find new ways of doing something. In an attempt to stretch my creativity, I’ve been practicing making free-form pendants. I’m quite pleased with what I’ve come up with; they’re not as flawless as I would like, but hey, what is?

One great bonus to working with wire is how much quicker setup and pack up is. Everything goes in one box, all I need is a few simple tools and I’m good to go. Beading is a little more chaotic. I have numerous boxes and compartments, inside which are many more smaller containers containing hundreds different beads. Finding the right combination of beads for a project can be tedious.  At the end of the night I have to painstakingly return each container to its box or drawer and find any needles or beads that I may have dropped.  I guess it’s a small price to pay for doing something you love.

Healing Jewellery


Recently, I had an enquiry from a mother asking if I could make a necklace for her son using healing gemstones. While I do occasionally use gemstones, both in my jewellery and in my personal life, they’re not a subject I can claim expertise on. I am, however, interested in the subject and felt honoured to be asked. Now I’m not sure just how useful gemstones are in regards to their metaphysical properties, perhaps they resonate with the body and soul acting as a catalyst for healing, perhaps they function entire because of a placebo effect. However they work, it is clear that many people find them to be very effective and as long as they’r e not being used in lieu of medical care, they certainly can’t hurt. 2013-12-14 19.52.37

After doing some very thorough research I found out which stones were the most appropriate for the issues that my client wanted to address and set about finding a source for the beads and planning a design.  I do feel that a certain amount of intuition comes in to play when selecting stones, I found myself rejecting stones that matched my criteria for no reason other than they didn’t ‘feel right’ for the purpose. I’m very pleased with the end result, and I hope my client and her son will be too.