Monday, September 14, 2015

More jewelry designs with SuperDuos

The bead world has been inundated with new bead shapes in the last year, and many of them are beads with two holes.  It has been a little mind boggling to think about designing with all the new shapes.  But one new two-hole bead - the SuperDuo - has been warmly accepted.

My most recent bracelet design using SuperDuos is a bracelet I call "Better Shape Up," named for the "step up" layer added down the middle.  The tutorial for this bracelet is available in my Etsy shop.

I have also created kits in four color ways and they are also available in my Etsy shop.  The photo above uses the African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix.  The other three color ways are shown below.  The first photo shows the Night Magic (purple) SuperDuo mix.  The second photo shows the Silver and Gold SuperDuo Mix (which I call Night Life).  The third photo shows the White Wedding SuperDuo mix.  The kits come with enough beads to create an 8 1/2" (21.5 cm) bracelet and the magnetic clasp adds another 1/2" (12 mm).

Because the SuperDuo beads have been so popular, the Czech Matubo company has also produced a MiniDuo bead.  I created a necklace using both the MiniDuos and SuperDuos.  The tutorial for it is available through local bead stores who purchase from Beadsmith.

I encourage you to being using the new two hole Super or Mini Duo beads!
Happy Beading!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

SuperDuos and Hiding Thread

I recently published a new tutorial for my "Night Out on the Town" Necklace and inside it I revealed a trick for hiding thread when creating a beaded rope using SuperDuos.

Most everyone knows that when using SuperDuos, you somehow need to get from the bottom hole to the top hole of the bead in order to connect it to other beads.  There are two methods for accomplishing this.

Method 1 - The most common way is to pass the thread along the side of the SuperDuo that the thread is exiting and then pass through the top hole. 

This method will cause the thread to move in the opposite direction around the circle when adding the next beads.  The thread can be seen along the edge of the SuperDuo.  

There is nothing wrong with the above technique. In fact, there really is no other way to do it when beading flat bead work (like a bracelet).  But as I was beading my rope, I really didn't like seeing the thread laying on the side of the bead.   

It suddenly dawned on me that I could hide the thread!  So here is the method for hiding the thread when creating a rope.

 Method 2 -  Instead of going up the same side of the SuperDuo that the thread is exiting, move the thread across the “back/inside edge” of the SuperDuo and pass through the hole of the SuperDuo on the opposite side from where the thread is exiting. 

When the SuperDuo beads are pulled together into a circle forming the rope, the inside of the SuperDuo where the thread passed over will not show.  It will be on the inside of the rope and you will continue to add beads in the same direction each time. 

This also works for making Beaded Beads which are explained in my Night Out On the Town  necklace Tutorial which can be purchased in my Etsy shop.

As always, I wish you Happy Beading!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

OK, So It's Been a While!

Yes, life happens and blogs get put at the bottom of the list.  But I'm still here and am going to try to keep up with blogging a little better in 2015.  It's a New Year with new goals.

Mainly I want to share about my jewelry business which continues to be a big part of my life.  For the past year I've been concentrating on designing bracelets and took a good part of 2014 learning Adobe Illustrator so that I could write tutorials using diagrams to explain the process.  I'm happy with my progress and plan to continue on this pathway, expanding into necklace and earring tutorials.

I'm a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad which keeps me learning about and designing with some of the new beads being manufactured.  So I'll be sharing some posts on all of these new beads and what I'm creating with them.  Here are a few things I've designed over the past few months.

Bezel and Chain using Half Tilas

Hex Pyramid Beads

New Duracoat Silverlined Delicas

African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix and Matubo 8/0 Seed Beads

African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix and O Beads

I have not yet written tutorials for any of the designs shown above, but I did just finish writing a tutorial for my "Night Out on the Town" necklace that uses the new Silver and Gold SuperDuo Mix.  I used beadweaving and stringing techniques in creating this necklace.

The tutorial can be purchased on either my Etsy site or my Artfire site.

Here's to a good 2015 for you all!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thoughts on Competing

Do you ever enter contests where you are challenged to create something that will be compared to the creations of other brilliant artists?  I entered the Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 challenge this year in a rather na├»ve kind of way.  I thought I had a good attitude about it being an opportunity to grow as a bead artist, but in the back of my mind I was pretty certain I wouldn't make it very far - and that was perfectly OK with me. 
Perhaps it is the normal artist's self doubt that is ever present when creating.  Perhaps it's also a legitimate acceptance of reality of where I think I am as an artist.  Let's face it, when we are being compared to some of the world's best beading artists, it's a bit intimidating and it takes a good deal of persistence to continue on - knowing that we are going to face all kinds of emotions. 

What if "they" don't like my piece?   Can I take the rejection?  How will I handle it?   Please God, don't let me be embarrassed.

I would have been quite content to have ended the battle at Round 3, believing that I had created something I liked and that lots of other people liked - satisfied that I didn't embarrass myself in the eyes of the beading world.

To my amazement (as well as to the amazement of lots of other people) I won the Round 3 battle by the hair on my chinny chin chin!  This beautiful artistic creation called The Phoenix Collar by Helena Tang-Lim was my competition in Round 3.

 I think Helena's piece is incredibly beautiful and had my vote hands down.  To find out that it was a very close race and that I won was not only surprising, but also confusing.  I'm having to deal with some pretty strange emotions - like guilt, shame and sadness.  Very strange emotions for a "winner," huh?  Food for thought that perhaps I am more comfortable with "losing" than with "winning."  I know my self worth does not come from the outcome of these battles, but when there are comparisons going on, those feelings do come to mind and have to be dealt with.

I am more than aware that there were some beautiful pieces that were eliminated in each round, not because they weren't awesome and worthy, but simply because they were paired up with an equally awesome and worthy entry.  Part of moving on is simply due to the luck of the draw - a reminder to be humble.

I think it best to not question the outcomes or my abilities, but just to accept the results and go on to face the next battle and finish the race.  In Round 4, I am once again up against a formidable beading artist, Tamuna Lezhava who created this amazing piece called Treasure of Topkapi.

You can view all the remaining 24 entries in this facebook album created by Tamuna.  Just click on this link.  If you want to find out more about the Battle of the Beadsmith, join the  B.O.T.B. '13 Facebook group by clicking on this link.  Voting for your favorites will begin soon.

To those who have "fallen in battle" and to the remaining 24 battlers, I salute you all.  I encourage you to not grow faint and to be an encouragement to all.  We truly are all united by our love for beads and we can make a difference for good and beauty in our world.

Here are a couple photos of my entry called Crystal Volcano.

       Crystal Volcano - front                                 Crystal Volcano - back
Thank you to all the people who voted for me in the battles so far.  I appreciate your support more than I can say!