Tag Archives: art

Happy (belated) New Year

Phew what a year! It was one of my busiest, but one of my least productive jewellery-wise, with my world being all topsy-turvy.  I have much to be grateful for, including the support that I have received from members of this amazing international network of beaders. I love the way we rally around each other in times of struggle, boosting each others sales to help through the hard times.  In 2015, beaders helped me get back on my feet after my separation, and also helped to pay for Kranky-cat’s ear surgery, thank you all. I hope 2016 will bring more opportunities to create.


The weaving has been slow, but I have managed to complete two new necklaces that were custom ordered. My lovely customer already owns a necklace that I made years ago, featuring one of these lovely resin roses in red. When she discovered that I had black and ivory in my stash as well, she couldn’t resist.


The ivory necklace is made with Toho seed beads in chenille stitch. To allow the bead work to fit through the narrow bail on the pendant, I used a bead-quilling technique with 15/0 seed beads. The black necklace features Czech seed beads in a variation of a filled net weave.

Wishing you all a fantastic year full of art and inspiration.



Zig-Wing Exploration

I’m certain most, if not all of you, have heard about the announcement of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork III (AND the Pattern Book AND the colouring book) and I’m sure, you’re all just as excited as I am. It’s an incredible labour of love for Kate and her amazing team, the editors, the translators, the illustrators and of course the beaders. Seeing all the beautiful work that the online community has been churning out spurred me in to action. It was time for Jenny to try a Zig-Wing.

Of course, I’m a tinkerer, so I couldn’t just reproduce the original Zig-Wing without making my own changes.

The Zig-Wing Sun-baked Starfish

The Zig-Wing Sun-baked Starfish

Then I got an idea to make a tiny Zig-Wing, which lead me to this.

The sweet little Zig-Wing Flat Flower Pendant

The sweet little Zig-Wing Flat Flower Pendant

And then things got out of control.

The Zig-Wing Pixie Hat, or the Zig-Wing Tea Cosy...

The Zig-Wing Pixie Hat, or the Zig-Wing Tea Cosy…

...perhaps the Zig-Wing Alien Egg Nursery Pod

…perhaps the Zig-Wing Alien Egg Nursery Pod

The possibilities for the Zig-Wing and friends are truly endless.

Learning Something New

Many moons ago I purchased, with good intention, a piece of Nicole’s Bead-backing along with a square of dark blue ultrasuede. Having spent countless hours sitting enchanted at the amazing examples of bead embroidery on my computer screen, I decided to give it a crack. But before I started, I became distracted with a gazillion other shiny projects and my plans were forgotten.

Not so long ago, I found those two enticing pieces of fabric, and so put thread to needle. With out any clear planning of what I was making,  I sketched a design on the bead-backing, bezeled on a cabochon, completely ignored my design and made a thing. It was pretty rough in places, and a poorly placed pearl came loose, but as I progressed, my stitches improved.

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In my next piece, I was confident enough to use a pretty copper Swarovski Cosmic crystal. I only use my crystals if I’m confident, because wasting crystals is an unforgivable sin. With the addition of some turquoise, orange, dark brown, and copper, I turned it into a super awesome unique necklace.


B.O.T.B ’15

Lately there seems to have been a rash of beaders suffering hand injuries or surgeries, it’s all a bit tragic. I, myself have been no exception. With the prick of a small, insignificant rose thorn, my beading has been greatly stifled. Two weeks and a course of antibiotics later, and it has again flared up and is causing me grief. I’ve now started my second course of antibiotics, and am hoping that they’ll do the trick. By the time evening rolls around (my traditional bead therapy time) my thumb has little range of movement left. Bit by bit, I am managing to add to my first ever bead embroidery… broach?… pendant?… whatzit? Something.

In the meantime, I’ve been awestruck by the incredible talent participating in this years Battle of the Beadsmith. Every year this competition gets better and better. Anyone can thread a bead, but the vision, and the execution of these pieces is astounding. I am not even close to having seen them all, but of what I have seen, these are amongst my favourites.

“Self Portrait” by Kris Empting-Obenland.

“Francesca’s Farfelle” by Patrick Duggan


“Diva” by Aldona Pintea.

“Élan” by Erika Bita-Simon.

Bitza Bangle

Those of you who follow my personal blog, Unplanned Detour, will be aware of my recent changes; for the sake of those of you who do not, I’ll fill you in. I got a job! Well, two jobs: cleaning, and gardening. It’s hard physical work for my unaccustomed body, but it’s satisfying all the same. Even bigger news, I’ve bought a house! I move in next weekend, and I can’t wait. I’m probably going to be dirt poor, for the next 30 years, but I’ll figure it out. If you want to help me pay my lawyer fees, head over to my Etsy store and go nuts.

Somehow, in amongst all the madness, I managed to complete my new Bitza Bangle. Returning to some of the CGB techniques I’ve grown to love so much, this one features a nice little winged miniskirt and a scalloped edge. The skirt repeats the diamond pattern of the bangle beneath, so it’s a subtle detail which I love to run my fingers over. I’d love to make a tutorial for this one too, if only I can find the time and focus. Tutorials take a bit more cognitive power than beading, I’m not sure I have much cognitive power to spend at the moment.

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Onward and Upward

I’m happy to announce that I have my inspiration back. The last few weeks have been full of emotional ups and downs, but we’re on the right track and, most importantly, so is my beading. I’m super busy, but I’ve managed to keep my needle ticking along and it’s been a wonderful creative outlet for everything going on in my head. First I made myself a pair of sparkly earrings to cheer myself up, then I made three more pairs just because. Next, I decided that dark times called for neon colours and chained a bunch of beaded beads together to make a fun necklace with Superduo’s and O-beads.

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Then, near tragedy struck, when I ran out of Fireline and had no money left to buy any. I have a policy that (ex) Husband’s earnings don’t pay for my jewellery materials, so I have to sell things to buy things. Considering our current situation, it would be a little too cheeky of me to break that rule now.  It’s been a long time since I sold anything; the coffers are bone-dry.

Then a most wonderful, amazing, generous person, surprised me with a deposit in my bank account. I actually cried. Not over the Fireline, although it is pretty amazing stuff, I cried that someone cared enough to do that for me. My day had been horrendous, and this gesture reminded me that the world is full of good people who care about other people.

Feeling inspired I immediately rummaged through my stash and found beads and crystals that reminded me of my Fireline Fairy, who by all accounts, has the most gorgeous blue eyes. With my newly purchased Fireline, I managed to pull them together to become this silver and blue herringbone necklace with Bermuda Blue Swarovski Cosmic Crystals and a peyote bail. I’m slightly hesitant, as it may be a touch too long for her, but I can alter it if necessary. I just hope she likes it.


But it’s onward and upward for me. I’ve been applying for jobs left, right, and centre, looking at houses to live in, working and reworking my budget over and over to try to make it tell me something different, and just generally swinging wildly from stress to elation. I’m happy/nervous/scared/excited and I don’t quite know how things are going to work out, but I know that with a little time, work out they will.

A Message of Gratitude

I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has purchased my Harlequin tutorial. It has been the largest tutorial I have written and was a huge learning experience. I also want to thank everyone who gave me feedback, both complementary and constructive criticism. Some truly wonderful advice was received and changes were made accordingly, transforming it into something I feel very proud of. I’m also grateful to have received my first reviews on Etsy (5 stars – whoop whoop!). It has been wonderful to see photos of your own Harlequins – please keep sharing them!

Harlequin Bangle - Small Neon

Harlequin Bangle – Small Neon

Having worked almost exclusively with delicas for the last few months it’s been nice to just tinker with the bead stash again. I came up with these nifty little cubes.

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The kids pilfered the first four (not pictured), which I made while trying to perfect the final thread-path. Then the lure of the visible colour spectrum drew me in. I began weaving the indigo/violet cube, but realised that the violet wasn’t quite right. It was pale and silver lined, whereas the other colours are bright and opaque. I’ve ordered three different purples from The Bead Hold, just to be sure. I have a vague idea of where I’m going with this, but vague ideas are subject to change without notice. Time will tell.