Tuesday, 26 February 2013


A quick post to let you all know that I have been accepted as a participant in the second Battle of the Beadsmith. This is a Facebook based contest for 192 combatants from around the World. There is some stellar talent in that group and I am shaking in my shoes!!

I sent in photos of my 'Juno Moneta' as  my 'audition piece' and made the cut. As it is a knockout contest I fully expect to make it no further than the first round, but I am so pleased and excited to have been selected that I can hardly speak (and those of you who know me will realise what that means!)

Anyway, my project for the contest will remain a closely guarded secret until the reveal in the Summer, and work cannot even be started until the 1st of April, but I am beginning to deliberate over possible designs and doing a lot of browsing for beads and other materials. If the posts become less frequent over the next months you will, I hope, bear with me.

In the meantime please have a look at the Battle page (clicking the logo at the right should take you to the page). You should be able to see a gallery album of last year's pieces. Sadly there is no webpage for the Battle so you need to be on Facebook to see the lovelies.

A final excitement for this post: my friend Janine made a lovely montage of the bead-it-forward squares the OTTBS group made for Bead&Button magazine's appeal, and it was featured on their FB page

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Singin' the Blues

Last year I challenged myself to use more pink in my work as I had got a little stuck in my (green) rut. I managed to find a palette of pinks with which I was happy, generally mixing in some brown or cream to prevent things getting too saccharine. This year (you guessed it) it is the turn of the blues. I actually have a reasonable stash of blue beads, but rarely use them, so it shouldn't mean buying more beads...except, well when you start looking there are some VERY pretty blue things out there!

I also decided to move into 3D with the bead embroidery, now I feel I have served my apprenticeship with flat pieces, and am moderately competent! I asked Renetha Williams Stanziano to make me a fish shaped form and she made this for me:

And look, he is BLUE! He isn't that big but when I started I realised that working on a form is quite different to working 2D.

I raided the local fabric store for buttons for eyes, and looked through my books and the internet for some inspiration. At around the same time I ordered some spike beads from Beads of Bohemia, and when they arrived I had the idea of making a longhorn cowfish, so the first beads were added...

The placement of the mouth went a bit wrong so I had to reposition, but soon I was off with the actual embroidery. I also made some beadwoven fins in (of course) herringbone stitch, using some of the new Rizo beads between the ribs. The pectoral fins worked well, but in the dorsal fin the Rizos flopped sideways so had to be reinforced, the fireline I used is exposed a little but I think it is better than hiding the Rizos under a lot of other beads. Here is the current status of my fish whom I have named 'Finnegan' after all the 'begin agin' I have had to do!

The main colour of beads will be blue but with the orange and lime accents he will be quite exotic! I still don't know if I will completely cover the surface in beads

And finally, the OTTBS blog colour challenge for February 2013 happened to be 'Blue and Brown' so I decided to use some more spikes, this time in milky turquoise, and made a modified version of Sabine Lippert's Scheherezade, which I'm calling 'Dunyazade' (the name of Scheherezade's little sister, to whom she told the 1001 nights' tales)

So the 'Blue' year is well under way!