It’s been an entire year since I first began writing this tutorial. I would sit and stare at it for a long time, but for some reason I just couldn’t make it work. I’m not a natural at illustrating. I had to teach myself to use the software, and if I’m honest, I still don’t know what I’m doing. But I always get there in the end, and I’m very proud of my results with this tutorial.
I struggled with one particular logistical problem, then suddenly, a few weeks ago, the solution popped into my head. Since then it’s been all go, beading, writing, refining, testing…. But now, it’s finally ready.
Provoquant features a beautiful 30mm Swarovski Pear stone, two 16mm Rivoli and a whole lot of CRAW. CRAW is a marvelous stitch, it has a robust structure while remaining lightweight on the wearer. If you have not learned CRAW yet, I have a free tutorial available here. This tutorial is also attached to the Provoquant tutorial, which is available in my Etsy store now, I hope you enjoy it!
What a painfully unproductive few months I’ve been having! I’ve been terribly unwell, but I’m slowly easing my way out of my hiatus with some gentle beadwork. I started with some earrings designed by the lovely Debra from DatzKatz Designs. She knows how I love her Hinged CRAW Diamond Drop earrings and she gave me permission to make several pairs to sell. You can find them in my Etsy store.
Next, I was back to basics working in spiral stitch. It’s good to work a simple stitch for a while. The repetition is therapeutic and it’s good to feel the beads in my hands again.
I’ve been watching what others have been working on lately and I’m constantly floored by the talent and creativity in our community. Marcia DeCoster’s communal Bead Love project is a great source of inspiration and it’s so good to see everyone getting in on it and embracing the idea behind it. Great things can happens when we remember why we do what we do. It’s for the love of beads and the love of creation.
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
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.
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.
This morning I lay in bed, not quite ready to function yet. I could hear my 3 year old son calling out to me, but I couldn’t register what I was hearing. My brain was still busy trying to process what I had just seen. A rickety old ship was being battered about by an extremely choppy ocean, it’s mast threatening to topple. On board, a wet and panicked Peter Jackson tried desperately to coax a Snuffleupagus out of his melancholy so that he could shoot a scene. Snuffy was lamenting his lack of a soulmate and bitterly suggested that he might consider buying a “girlfriend” (of the night) with his share of the movie proceeds. I’m really not sure what inner turmoil my subconscious was dealing with by creating such a surreal Sesame Street/A Perfect Storm/Meet the Feebles cross over, and I’m not sure I want to know.
At least my conscious mind is functioning adequately. For the most part. I need more wire practice so I’m working on some wire focal pieces, destined to become bracelets.
I make these in a free-form manner, because if I try to plan them, I just get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. The result isn’t always pretty, but I am improving, although sometimes the unexpected happens. Which is how Hector the PeaChick came into existence. My daughter asked why he didn’t have any legs, so I explained that he’s kind of like an Angry Bird, which she readily accepted. He’s not exactly a masterfully rendered little fellow, but I like him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him; I suspect he’ll just remain my own little mascot.
It’s super simple, but it’s surprisingly effective. Mailye is a teeny little component jointed with jump rings. The first Mailye necklace was borne of experimentation, and I liked it so much I decided to keep it for myself.
Afterwards, while rummaging though my bead stash, I spotted some beautiful turquoise AB Swarovski bicones and the temptation was too much, so I made another. This amazingly sparkly one can be found for sale here.
Of course other configurations are possible too, it all depends on how you link them together. Here is my third Mailye installment, a pretty cuff in bronze and gold, with a handy magnetic clasp. This one is also available for purchase here.
Perhaps the most surprising thing that I’ve learned about freeform peyote, is that it’s not particularly easy. There are countless ways for it to go awry and turn into a hideous mess. I spent more time looking at my piece, pondering my next move or trying to work out how to fix the aesthetic balance of the piece than doing actual beading.
I did enjoy the process, well, most of it; the ugly duckling phase was a little scary, and I thought I was going to have to rip it to bits and start again. The freedom to just choose whichever bead fits best was a rare joy, as was the ability to completely alter the look and feel on a whim. I hope I was able to do justice to the beautiful beachy “Summer Wave” focal bead made by the talented Lesley McIver of Glitz Art Glass, here in New Zealand. Check her out on Facebook to see her work as it comes out of the kiln, and remember, I’m more than happy to do commissions including any of the beads you see there. You can find this bracelet, named “Santa Cruz”, for sale at my Storenvy online store.
Sometimes life gets incredibly hectic and stressful, and we find we suddenly have little time for the things we do solely for ourselves. The little moments of ‘me time’ that are so crucial to our sanity. As you can probably guess, my mind maintenance involves beads and wire. I’m trying to squeeze it in where I can, because without it I’d bust a blood vessel, but I’m not getting in nearly as much time as I use to. However, family comes first and lately I’m finding that family is leaving me a depleted husk of a human being by the end of the day. Having a child with ADHD and on the autism spectrum will do that from time to time. Luckily for us, Nanny and Poppa have come to the rescue and taken our youngest to sleepover for a couple of days, allowing us to devote some extra time where it’s needed most. Hopefully things will settle down soon and I’ll be able to explore all the ideas lurking around in my head – starting with Freeform Peyote!
In the meantime, here is a showcase (aka blog-filler) of some of my creations this year: