Thursday, September 26, 2013

Haute Couture Challenge

One of the projects I am working on now is a necklace for the Haute Couture challenge from Good Quill Hunting. The entry is to be based on one of the 24 fashion photos from her Pinterest board. A lot of the designs are pretty far out there, but I can see them being selected more as inspiration than to actually wear. There are many pretty, flowing dresses as well as some ultra modern pieces. I am leaning towards this one, a fantastic offering from Slava Zaitsev as featured on the Ullabenulla blog.


It has purple and green, and who can resist pink fringe? The mix of color and texture is a tempting challenge.  The only problem is the chance the finished necklace will be more suited to the Ugly Necklace contest instead. I have been working on a solid weave floral base that is to be embellished with sparkly jewels. It is a bit over the top, but so far it is not too gaudy.  
The second part of the entry is a short essay on how the fashion design inspired you. For me, the beading is intuitive; putting into words what inspired my creative process is very difficult. That's what makes this a good competition though. I am enjoying the challenge.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Evolution of a design

 Working through the design for the morning glory, I think have finally gotten it right(?) Each time I make a flower I think it looks great until I make the next one incorporating the changes I thought of after the previous attempt. This time I didn't use any extra increase in the brick stitch. I used the same beads as last time, size 10 vintage French beads and mixed brands of Japanese beads with a few Czech thrown in. 


For the leaf I used a Miyuki green lined green size 8 triangle bead, they didn't seem as flashy as the silver lined beads were. 
Now that I have done some bead "sketches" I am ready to work on the finished piece. I am envisioning vines and flower buds and maybe a few seed pods. I like to pick examples of the flowers I am beading so I can reference them as I work, fortunately morning glories bloom until there is a frost. I usually mix other flowers into a necklace to accent the primary blossoms; I saw some nice asters and snapdragons at the lake the other day that might be interesting. The praying mantis that lives on the porch with the morning glory would be cool, but that's a project in itself.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Another morning glory



Here is this weeks attempt at a morning glory. I found a nicer purple, and this time I used a size 10 vintage French seed bead for the base. I kept the increase, using the size 11 for the brick stitch.  By using the 11's combined with the 10's there wasn't as much ruffle and the overall shape is formed nicely.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cape Fuchsia

This week I decided to try one of the flowers on my list, the Cape Fuchsia. Latin name Phygelius, this plant is native to South Africa, and not related to fuchsia.


I made a few flowers that had the wrong kind of bell at the bottom before I remembered to keep it simple. 



I used 3 shades of matte red to make these flowers. The flat 5 petal flower has the matte transparent cherry in the center of the petal, matte transparent Siam ruby filling out to the edges which are matte transparent ruby. I test color combinations by making these flat flowers because you can usually see the subtle differences in the beads. With these reds it was still hard to tell. I used the same three colors in the tubular flower, there the gradation is a little easier to see. I find using colors that are close to each other adds to the overall effect even if the difference is not readily apparent.
The centers of the flowers and insides of the petals are a yellowish orange color.  I used a faceted oval bead to reflect the light and mixed yellows for the stamens. 




Friday, September 13, 2013

Landscape



 
Once again an older work. I like the idea of making wall hangings, pictures out of beads instead of paints.  The base of this landscape was woven with size 11 Czech seed beads. The difference in sizes of the beads caused the bead work to flare as I worked from the sky to the foreground. That gave me the idea to add fringe to represent the flowing grasses of a meadow. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Periwinkle Garden

Periwinkle was always my favorite color in the crayon box. In this necklace I used 5 different size 15 purples to make the flowers.


I made the butterfly wings the same way as the leaves, using a two direction peyote. The base is triangular herringbone stitch. 
This was a design I planned before beading, usually I make it up as I go.

Flowers in Fall Colors

As the summer winds down the flowers that are still blooming seem much more colorful than they did when the greens of the trees and grasses were so vibrant. The Pantone fall color palette has a rich orange called Koi that for me represents the color essence of autumn. From gourds and leaves to spiders and Monarch butterflies the color is everywhere. Even though I am more of a purple person the influence of the season always has an affect on my bead work. My color choices and subject matter often reflect nature. I make components like flowers and leaves because I can jump around to different palettes without having to work on one specific project. Eventually I end up with enough parts that I combine together into a finished work. I feel this approach gives the bead work a more organic feel than it would if I followed a set pattern.  Sometimes when I see a flower I get a flash of inspiration as to how I could make it out of beads, not giving much thought to its still to be determined use.
One of the flowers that is still blooming in my garden is a Gaillardia. The red-orange and cadmium yellow petals gave me an excuse to buy more beads.





At first I had used red lined amber drop beads for the center, but they were too bright. After a few mixes of red, amber, matte etc. I decided on a purple lined amber color drop bead for the center.



A nice thing about working in components is the ability to change the overall look by changing pieces.


 I made the flower in size 15 seed beads using a flat peyote stitch. The first try was a nice blend of colors but the petals didn't have enough orange or picot to properly represent the petals edges. I added a center to that base and made a completely different kind of flower. I like the effect even if it does not resemble a live bloom. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Images from Space

Last weekend while sitting in the darkness away from city lights, waiting for NASA to launch a rocket to the moon, I could see the night sky filled with stars. The band of the Milky Way rose into the sky from the launch pad, and the launch looked like this. It was quite spectacular. The pictures from the space telescopes are some of my favorite images. One of the beaders who inspired me when  I first began beading was Virgina Blakelock. This piece in particular, Galaxy NGC1300, a circular collar loomed out of something like size 22 vintage seed beads, impressed me. Determined to create something just as awesome I bought her book, Those Bad, Bad Beads, built a loom that was wide enough for 150 beads per row and began beading. Soon I discovered it was difficult to find enough time to work that many beads in one row, not to mention frustration of having a bead in the middle of a row with its hole too small. And what do you do with the loom strings? After making a few pieces I decided loomwork wasn't my favorite thing. Eventually I discovered square stitch and using that with delica beads was a lot more satisfying. I finally was able to create beaded panels that were easy to work on and had square edges.
One of my favorite nebula pictures is The Cygnus Loop from the Hubble telescope featured at the Astronomy Picture of the Day. I had done drawings of it and seemed a good selection for beadwork.
I made this piece in 2001.




Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Flowers

One of the great things about flowers is that there are so many different kinds- all shapes, sizes and colors. In this day of infinite sources for the exotic and unusual there are many types of flowers I encounter in visits to different gardens, and most of them seem like good candidates for beading projects. Recently I was visiting a landscaped property with a few interesting flowers.


I encountered a bell shaped clematis that also had some swirly seed pods.


 
This is called Beauty Berry.
 Seems like a 4mm or 6mm round bead would make good berries, if I can find them in the right color.
 
 

 I am not sure what this is. It looks like a honeysuckle but I don't think it is.



This is a mystery as well. It's almost like a sweet pea flower, only it was on a huge bush.



 This is a woodland anemone. The plants were 3 feet tall and looked gorgeous mixed with the red lobelia.


 
And a passionflower, a popular choice for beading that I attempted once, but definitely need to try again.




Morning glory update

After finishing the first morning glory flower I took a trip to the local bead store to check out their collection of size 11 purples. They only carry Miyuki seed beads at that store, and the colors are always different than the Toho beads I mail order.  While I was there I picked up some matte silver lined green triangle beads in two shades of green which I am hoping to use for leaves.

My original idea for the morning glory still seems valid after creating the first flower- the beadwork is not floppy and the flower has a nice ruffle which gives it some dimension.


I think the next time I will try without the increase that made such a deep ruffle, and also build up a tube on the back side of the flower. I like the way flower is flat enough to easily attach to a base, but maybe it will look better from the side view if it has the shape of the real flower.

Once I had made the flower I felt compelled to search online for other people's take on beaded morning glories. I found two popular patterns that had been published in books. Diane Fitgerald's book The Beaded Garden has a flower that is created using brick stitch that is quite attractive. I found an example of it by Jann Block. Another book with a morning glory design is Barbara L. Grangier's Dimensional Flowers, Leaves and Vines. This one also uses brick stitch. A beautiful example of this flower was made by Svetlana Eltsova. There are so many talented bead artists who share photos of their work online. I am always amazed and inspired by them.