Sunday, 21 April 2013

Battle Skirmishing

I have been steadily working on my Battle piece since the first of April, but for the last couple of days have laid it aside. I made about 18 woven motifs and applied them in a 'pleasing arrangement', and am now up to 23 motifs, with extra ones worked directly in place. So far, so good. BUT one of the motifs is not quite is OK, it looks pretty, but somehow it is too 'unlike' the rest of the work to fit.

I am not sure enough to unpick it straight away, but I need to think about it, and whether I can recycle the idea in a more coherent (to the overall design) manner. Could be I decide that it is just because I am seeing it  in isolation without the surrounding area and it would actually be fine as is...

The positive side (i.e. the 22 elements which I like) are definitely staying though. I have used a variety of stones ranging in size from 27mm diameter to 8mm, and several different shapes consistent with my original theme, and for something scientific, it is looking rather artistic.

Yes I did say scientific! I have another life in scientific research, and many times have seen images and structures crying out to be rendered in beads, so that is my inspiration in this piece. I can't be more specific, but I am sure the motifs I have made from this theme will be great additions to my beading repertoire, I hope to make a range of necklaces based on them later on.

Anyway, I'm very busy at work this week so I think the battle piece will be left until the weekend for the cut/don't cut decision, when I'm feeling more relaxed...

....And now it is the weekend, I've taken up the work again, and have managed, by removing the outer ring of beads, to make the problem part 'work' again! I also managed to add in a few of the little navettes I bought, along with the cupchain, from The Crystal Pool

Here is a tiny teaser for you, to show the navette (motif is about 2cm long):

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Battling on...

So I expect your curiosity as to my BOTB'13 project knows no bounds? No? Well I admit I am curious as to where this challenge is taking me that's for sure. There are teaser shots going up from many of the contestants, and it seems fair to say that the standard is likely to be as high as last year's. Does it intimidate me? Maybe a little. It is easy to look at the small pile of pieces on the beadmat and think that my progress is painfully slow, but on the other hand I have tackled 3 shapes which are new to me and have begun the process of laying out the full design. I have 4 days left (including today) before I return to the full time job, so after that the the beading will be limited to weekends and evenings. I am beginning to dream the finished project though, so I think it has 'gelled' in my brain- all I have to do is execute the design (hollow laugh).

You would like a teaser shot? Really? OK then, this is the Battle stash as seen in the Battle Biscuit Tin! What's that? Who ate the biscuits? I have no idea what you mean!

I have also indulged in a mini shopping spree for cupchain which is new to me (apart from a one inch section which someone gave me from a Swarovski sample box). Haven't decided quite how I shall incorporate it into the Battle piece but the initial trial looks OK.

Well I can't say much more other than the piece has both woven and embroidered elements, and will be shimmery and sparkly enough to satisfy my inner magpie!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Bead Book and Bounce Blog Hop: Sabine Lippert's Beaded Fantasies

This is one of the series of Bead Book Bounce blogspots Visit the OTTBS blog to see other group members' reviews, links and work

At last a bead book to review that I have actually used quite a lot! Lark Books published 'Beaded Fantasies' last year to instant acclaim. One of the 'Masters' series it has 30 projects within its covers, and what projects they are! Among my favourites are the Granada brooch (and I know others love it too: I can't tell you how many different versions I have seen. it seems to work in just about any colours!) and the Scheherezade pendant. Whilst the projects are, in general, exceedingly sparkly, Sabine's fondness for using firepolished Czech beads means they are not quite as financially crippling as they look (except that it is difficult to resist making several different colourways for each project). Swarovski crystals are also much used, but in ways to maximise their impact. The unique bezeling technique developed by Sabine means that the majority of a rivoli or chaton is showing rather than hidden by peyote.

This book is a great jumping off point for explorations in beadwork, particularly using Right Angle Weave. The final chapter is called 'Sabination Nation' and describes the processes involved in Sabine's designing. I was encouraged by this to try some variations on the themes in the book and am particularly pleased with the spiky Scheherezades. Here is my latest version:

Overall, this is a book which will appeal to experienced beaders, as well as those with an intermediate understanding of basic techniques. Although some projects can be demanding and require careful tension they are clearly explained. There are a few errors in my edition so it is worth contacting the author if you find something is not working. My one reservation is that several steps are usually combined in one figure, so that if you are more guided by illustrations you may need to spend time working out the order of steps. Reading the written instructions as well is probably the way to go!