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One cannot underestimate the power of a well-placed display cabinet where bead addicts can match up the styles and techniques with the name of the class in the newsletter. If it weren't for such a display cabinet in my beloved Beads & Beyond (no, they don't have a website) I never would have taken this class.




These are the first beauties I made and, as I do once in a blue moon, I actually ANTIQUED the fine silver wire! *shock horror*



These are made with faceted aquamarine marquises for the blossom, tiny pink tourmaline for the berries, and green tourmaline ovals for the leaves. Note the little tendril :)

Here are some more blossoms I've madeCollapse )



Of course, to challenge, the instructor also taught how to do the multiple blossom dangles. The ones above are rainbow moonstone faceted briolettes with garnet berries and peridot coin leaves. I found these to be difficult to do and although they were supposedly easier with pear briolettes I have so far found that they don't look as nice and, actually, I had a harder time with the pear ones. I may post a picture of an ill-fated necklace that utilised a trio of peruvian opal pear briolettes as a blossom with the rest of the necklace but I may not because I think I'm going to modify the pendant as it's too.... busy. In short, the triple blossoms made with the briolettes are a pain but turn out much nicer than the triple blossoms made with pear briolettes.




We also learned how to make vine components (for necklaces, bracelets, even earrings). The one above is made from faceted oval aquamarine leaves with tiny green tourmaline berries and pink pearl buds. This is a technique I haven't been doing ad nauseaum but I'd like to because the result would be STUNNING on a chain-and-bead necklace. (Hmmm, another project for the near future)

I have since made a dangle bracelet with aquamarine teardrop blossoms topped with peacock pearl berries (yeah, I had to go back and get three more strands of those sweet little peacock pearls) and I do like it (although have yet to upload the pictures - DOH!) but I'm thinking I should antique it. I did finally obtain some nice smelly liver of sulphur and recently got a nice big order of silver wire from Rio Grande so I think some antiquing is in the near future :) I am off work through the end of the month so I believe I'll be able to get on with my crafty self to my heart's content :)
I am feeling:
pleased pleased
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I am becoming more comfortable with this whole stringing thing - now I just have to take better pictures.

 

The strand of top-drilled pearls I bought (with the idea to basket-weave and/or make clover components) were begging to be in a strung necklace.  I caved in and recruited some delicate pink tourmaline buttons and faceted flashy rainbow moonstone rondels.

 

 

Gotta have matching earrings, right?  That Jennifer style I do is so freaking versatile.

 

    

 

I am becoming more comfortable with wire-wrapping to make links instead of/in addition to the plain rosary links.  Fine silver (or any dead soft wire) demands the wire-wrapping.  Ditto for fine gauge wire.

 

 

 

 

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That's green and purple fluorite beads with iridescent medium grey peacock pearls. Not the best lighting but delicious nonetheless.



You lot should all know by now that I hold a special place in my heart for fluorite. It is wonderfully cool to the touch and comes in wonderful, sometimes intertwining, colours of blue and purple and green as well as the most gorgeous slightly-coloured clear. The inclusions refract light in such a dazzling fashion. It's no wonder I couldn't resist when I came upon the strands of fluorite shou beads!

I am feeling:
pleased pleased
Listening to:
Koop
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Listening to:
McAlmont & Butler - Falling
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I know I haven't mentioned her by name but out of all of the instructors I've taken classes from I have been the most inspired by Tara Brisbine. Tara used to work at Beads & Beyond (the quintessential bead store in Bellevue) but has since moved to Orcas Island in the San Juans. She does come back to Beads & Beyond to teach a long weekend of classes at least once a year and also to do some trunk shows in/around Seattle. She doesn't have a website (I did mention LiveJournal to her and showed her a bit of this journal via my Sidekick but didn't give her as much information as I should have - next time) but she let me take a couple of pictures of her gorgeous work when I took her class a few weeks ago:
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The above collage is made from two pictures taken via my Sidekick so the quality isn't so great but you still get a good idea of Tara's fabulous work. In fact, if you look back in this journal and compare to the above picture you'll see how I was inspired by Tara when I made this necklace's hammered silver pendant, the the clover and flower pendants from these necklaces, and this pink opal/labradorite pendant. I did just finish another Tara-inspired piece last night made of iolite, dove blue pearl, and cherry amber that boasts a hammered silver wire pendant with a dove blue pearl adornment and iolite and cherry amber dangles.

In the class I took a few weeks ago I learned how to basket weave wire around focus beads, briolettes, teardrops, and top-drilled beads. Again, in the above picture, you can see the basket weave work Tara does. Here's an example of the basket weaving I've done so far:
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Three amazonite briolettes, a green fluorite briolette that was used to complete a pendant of a sodalite and aventurine necklace, and a set of sapphire-coloured swarovski crystal teardrops. I did the crystal teardrops first and realised that 26 gauge wasn't going to work quite so well for the weaving so I started using 28 gauge which made the weaving tighter.
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I have a lot of practicing to do. I am far from perfecting this method but I plan on using it a lot in the future.
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I am feeling:
chipper chipper
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Strangely enough, I was inspired to do this necklace (and matching bracelet) after I started stringing.
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Those are luscious faceted rubies sandwiching aquamarine rondelles and interspersed with links of dove blue pearls. I apologise for the lack of light in the above picture.
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The focal bead in the pendant is faceted aquamarine accented with bali and sterling silver beads and a dove blue pearl.
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The dangles contain sterling silver beads, faceted rubies, large and small aquamarine rondelles, and an iridescent silver seed pearl.
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I am feeling:
pleased well chuffed
Listening to:
The Specials - A Message To You Rudy
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Dangly earrings of amber that range from lightest lemon to honey and cognac to finally end in a graduated rich cherry.
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I so need to stock up on amber and thoroughly represent the Litvak in Paddy Litvak!
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I am feeling:
pleased pleased
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What I learned on SaturdayCollapse )

perhaps the most important thing I learned was to NEVER slipknot the soft-flex if you need to put the unfinished necklace away.

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Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, kinky!
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I do plan on restringing the necklace and using part of the non-kinked wire for a bracelet.

Unfortunately, it's hard to see the colours I used unless you look up close:

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That's pale gold pearls, garnet rounds, and faceted green tourmalines. Sounds better in theory. Looks relatively dull to me :\ The instructor did say that adding metal or a yellow colour to a piece will keep it from looking dull. I guess that's why my previous work always "shines" - it ALWAYS has metal showing!

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So I decided to make another one with a melange of colours that I adore:
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Moonstone rounds with iolite rounds and faceted peridot rondelles and tiny silver seed pearls :))))))))))))

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Reminds me of something I'd see in a J. Jill catalog.
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Still kinda dull, though. Maybe I'll add a pendant or something. I needed to make something more MY STYLE. In order to do that, I needed to start in the middle and work my way out on each side instead of stringing from one side to another.

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Ta da!
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Yes, ma'am,. THIS is more my style. That's brownish peacock pearls with faceted aquamarine rondelles and three lufferly faceted green teardrops to accent the middle :)))))

Here's the close-up of the middle on a surface:
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and here's the close-up of the middle hanging:
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YES! Something that's "my style". As Murphy's Law would have it, of course, I ran out of pearls before I was able to finish it to 18" so it's more like 16". Ah well, it'll be good for someone with a smaller neck than mine ;)

I am not going to use stringing INSTEAD of wire working. I never planned on it. There are just some designs I have in my head that will look better strung than on wire. The one I talked about previously with the onyx and the amber will probably look better strung than on wire. I can also experiment with more things that wouldn't look right (to me) on wire - like big silver and/or marcasite beads :)))))) I look forward to this!!!! I've been afraid of getting marcasite beads b/c of the cost but I can make up for it in labour AND it'll be a relatively expensive piece anyhoo - ESP if that's what I do when I FINALLY make a 72" lariat :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Oooooooooooooooo getting toooo excited now ;) I wonder what the inspiration and creativity will spawn in days to come :) Last night I made a fluorite and amethyst necklace and I made a few necklaces tonight as well (I still need to get the, erm, hang of how beads hang on soft-flex) but I'll post that maybe next time.

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I finished these earrings yesterday:
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I didn't know what I thought of them after I made them but I think I like them now. Mrs. Booger gave me some catalog clippings and I modeled these after a pair I saw in them. These are iolite and pearl with green fluorite faceted teardrops - the originals have gold chain and findings and blue chalcedony faceted briolettes.
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This might be the only time I make these as I'm learning the basket weave technique of wrapping briolettes in two weeks. I'm going to assume that I'll like that technique well enough to use it in almost all of my future briolette/top drilled encounters :)

Tomorrow I finally learn about stringing. Yes, stringing. All my work up until now has been some sort of silver wirework. This will add a new dimension. I have LOADS of tiny lovely beads just ITCHING to be used in this way. I hope to post more this weekend.
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I am feeling:
creative inspired
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What can one say about the beauty and simplicity of cathedral beads...



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When I first started making jewelry I only wanted to use silver wire and semi-precious stones. Then I discovered cathedral beads. *drool* There is just a natural attraction to glass and its visual properties. The way it sparkles, the way it reflects.
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I plan on eventually working with it via lampwork torch, of course :)))) But the cathedral beads in their regal elegance will always be a favourite of mine and you will always be able to find them in my works :)
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