Saturday, December 1, 2012

Emotional Roller Coaster - Transitions

It was an Emotional Roller Coaster...have you ever said that about a time in your life?  When I consider the term I think of being whipped around by a particular event or time in my life, on a wild ride that was completely out of my control and not knowing when the next freefall would come.  Yet I also think about the fact that a roller coaster has both breathtaking highs and punch-in-the-gut lows.   Marsha from HauteIceBeadwork, internal vote winner of our October 2012 "Misty Winter's Dawn" challenge has chosen that phrase as the theme for the Etsy Beadweavers December 2012 challenge.  Beading is one of the things that best helps me even out those roller coaster moments.  When I saw the theme I thought of one of the most difficult years in my life.

It was 1998 and my grandmother, matriarch to a huge family, had passed away after a long illness. My mother and I bonded as we drove together to Watertown NY for the memorial service. I reconnected with the dozens of cousins I had not seen in decades. While we shared the sadness of losing one of our favorite women, we also shared a treasure trove of memories and lots of laughter. When my mother returned home, she had found that my father had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. It was like emotional whiplash. Now I made the drive to Atlanta alone and in shock. My brother, sister, mother and I were able to comfort each other and plan a memorial and before long we were sharing memories and laughter through tears, finding strength in our connection to our dad. Later that year my sister married a wonderful man who became a fantastic father to her two kids and the roller coaster ride of emotions finished with a bittersweet yet life-affirming end.

Transitions. Some are harder than others. Some take time and others come upon you with the unexpected shock of a bolt of lightening. They can be full of hope and promise or a loss you never could have imagined.  So I named this piece "Transitions". The bib necklace is made with a freeform peyote technique that creates roads and bridges and connections from all directions using many colors, sizes, shapes and finishes of beads. The bright copper of laughter, the blue of tears and purple for memories join with other colors punctuated with solemn pearls, sparkling crystals and even deep red nuggets of sadness. At the heart of the necklace is a freeform raku pottery spiral like a circle of life captured in a peyote bezel featuring a shower of fringe.

The necklace measures about 19" around the neck. The raku center is about 3.5" across and the drop from the center neck to the tip of the spike fringe is 6" The centerpiece is backed with black felt and the closure is a beaded peyote toggle designed to fit into one of the loops formed by the freeform, so it can be adjusted smaller if needed.

Stop by the Etsy Beadweavers Blog on the 9-15th to vote for your favorite entry, and search Etsy for EBWC to see more fantastic entries.

Featured in this necklace is a beautiful raku spiral by Olivia at

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Moving on to Battle round 2!

Paisley Garden Boho Beaded Bag
The votes for round one of the Battle of the BeadSmith have been tallied and 40 exceptional works of beaded art are moving on to round two.  It took me a couple takes to realize that my Boho bag MADE IT TO ROUND TWO!!!  OK, so I realize that it's easy for me to say this since I am moving on in the competition, but I seriously did not expect to.  If you read my previous posts about the Battle, I'm pretty clear that I was thrilled to be an "also ran" or cannon fodder or whatever else equates to loser among so many of my beading idols.  One of whom GoodQuillHunting I was paired with!  You can view her amazing necklace "Wango Tango" here on her blog.  So stay tuned!  And if you haven't yet, treat yourself to a gallery of some of the best beaded art you'll ever see at the link above for the facebook group.  Go to the photos section.  Here is a picture of the fabulous "Wango Tango" by Christina Neit - GoodQuillHunting.  Yeah, I do you choose just one?!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pucci Collar Redux

Pucci Inspired Bib Necklace by Beadn4fun
I've been "seriously" beading for about 10 years now.  And in all that time, this Pucci Inspired Bib Necklace is the piece that has garnered the most recognition for Beadn4fun.  I created this wonderful piece of wearable art for the Etsy Beadweaver's March 2011 Challenge "Fashion through the Ages". Having been born in the 60's, I remember the Flower Power Generation and the bright groovy colors and designs that were so popular in the 60's-70's so I used Pucci, one of the most iconic fashion designers of the time as my inspiration. 

I was beyond thrilled when I was contacted by someone wanting to purchase this piece at long last!  I've sold dozens of pieces from my Etsy shop and on my own, but never a "big" statement piece like this.  I guess I even wondered if there was a market for such a thing and whether I could play in that market.  But of course it couldn't be a simple as someone loving and buying the piece as is, no muss, no fuss, cash in hand.  Toss in a language barrier from a customer half way around the world, and the difficulty I have in taking a firm stand on my art and its worth...and I had a bit of a panic.  She said she wanted the necklace "lengthened" and I said easy peasy how long do you need it (assuming she meant around her neck).  Well after a couple art sessions where we sent drawings back and forth, I finally figured out that she indeed wanted the front bib part of the necklace or "the drop" longer.  A total of 10" instead of 6".  Yipes. 

 It took me the better part of an evening to figure how I might acheive that and how much I would charge to make that significant a change.  And that was only after I allowed myself to think it was OK to basically make this finished piece into something completely different.  Well, I knew I had to take the backing and edging off to start with.  
Then I drew the addition onto a piece of stiffened felt (my bead embroidery medium of choice), and began beading the addition using all the original colors (size 11 Czech opaques) in the same patterns.  With that finished I needed to join the original backing with the new backing and complete the beading to make it look seamless.
There was only a small gap between the original and the addition, but that was easily covered with more beading.  Then I recovered the entire back with a layer of interfacing and tan ultra-suede and did the edge beading (a variety of a brick stitch with size 8 white beads). 
I had originally had a beaded "chain" for around the neck, but I needed to make it just a little more substantial for all that extra weight.  So I redid the single chain into a modified right angle weave triple "chain" and reattached it to the closure I had made and the edge beading on the bib.  
Pucci Inspired Bib Necklace Redux!

And with a huge sigh of relief, I created a pair of earrings to match.
So my Pucci Inspired Collar has been transformed and is making its way to Saudi Arabia to a happy girl who I shamelessly tried to set up with my still single son.  I'll keep you posted!  On the collar, that is.  ;~)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith Update

At long last I can reveal the piece I created for an incredible challenge called "Battle of the Beadsmith". 80 talented beaders from all over the globe were asked to push the boundries of their beading. To see the mindblowing beaded art created for the battle, check out

I have honestly been amazed at the generosity, camaraderie, support, friendly and witty banter, and all around just plain niceness of all the competitors. We're all humans...and artists at that! And I count so many of the competitors among my bead goddesses and gods that I am beyond overwhelmed at being included. And seriously, creating and finishing my Boho bag, while one of my favorite creations to date, quickly took a back seat to admiring all the immense talent and fabulous beaded art showcased here.

Paisley Garden Boho Beaded Bag

Inspiration: "Boho" is an abbreviation of bohemian, meaning someone who doesn’t conform to society and is often focused on art; someone who wears unique clothes and holds art as their focus above all else. Boho-chic is a fashion style drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences with flowing lines, flowers, fringes and freedom. My Paisley Garden Boho Beaded Bag embodies the spirit and style of Boho. Paisley prints figured prominently in the fashion of the late 60’s and early 70’s among the “hippie” generation, as did anything “flower power”. The lush fringe on the bag is also a throwback to the leather vests and bags of that time that sported fringe from every seam. Using freeform bead embroidery gives this beaded bag a casual feel but is just as comfortable with jeans and a tee-shirt, a peasant blouse and layered skirt, or the perfect little black dress.

Purse Details:
Approximately 100 total hours
Material is cotton broadcloth backed with heavy interfacing
Bag is 7” wide and 8” tall and 3” deep. Weight 14oz.
Fringe hangs down 2.75” Total drop with fringe 14.5”
Purse strap is embellished peyote 1.5” wide and 14.5” long.
Purse charm with lampwork bead doubles as a bracelet and creates a sweet tinkle.
Antique brass magnetic snap closure.
Bead materials: Miyuki 8/o seed beads in silver-lined bright green and iris purple for strap. Swarovski 3mm bicone crystals in olivine, Czech crystals in purple, Czech glass purple dagger beads. Czech glass seed beads in silver-lined olive, light green, deep purple and lavender rainbow; opaque sky blue and lavender. Miyuki 8/o seed beads in Iris purple and matte purple. Fresh-water pearls in white, olive green and iris purple; glass pearls in purple and sky blue. Swarovski rivolis in purple (1-18mm, 2-14mm) and olivine (3-12mm) and a purple “mountain jade” cabochon.
Stitches include peyote on bezels and strap, fringing, cubic right angle weave on bracelet/charm, backstitch embroidery and stack-stitch on bead embroidery.
Bag is completely hand stitched together with a contrasting fabric on the gusset and lining. Thread: cotton for seams, nymo and 4lb Fireline for bead embroidery.

 I have wanted to create a beaded purse for the last year after drooling over the fantastic work of Jo Browne, Nancy Dale, Triz and other artists. When the Battle of the Beadsmith came up, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to push myself to make that bag. I found some fantastic paisley material that I fell in love with and took my cue from the colors and shapes in the material. What I love most about bead embroidery is that I can let it tell me where it wants to go and what shape it wants to be. I didn’t set out to make this shape purse, but that’s the shape it became. Part of me really wanted to do an elegant clutch type evening bag, but this Paisley Garden Boho Bag and I are thrilled to be just what we are!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mysterious Amazon - EBW June Challenge


 It's time for another Etsy Beadweavers Challenge!  This month the theme is "Mystery".  I love to read audiobooks while I bead and I read plenty of mysteries, but I wasn't feeling any inspiration from any one in particular.  Then I came upon Ann Patchett's lastest book "State of Wonder"; a mystery of sorts that takes place in the Amazon rainforest.  The storyline revolves around studying indigenous tribes and the potential to use what they eat and medicate themselves with to develop pharmaceuticals.  


The rain forest covering the vast Amazon River basin looks from the air like a uniform green carpet cut here and there by water. The "carpet" is actually the forest's canopy formed by the broad leaves of many different kinds of giant trees. This canopy is only the topmost layer of an ecosystem supporting more species than any other region on earth. The rain forest is home to an estimated 80,000 plant species and possibly 30 million animal species (most of them insects), many of these with no other known related species. Pharmaceutical companies send researchers to find new sources for medicine. The cure for our worst known diseases could possibly be as yet undiscovered among the plant life of the Amazon rain forest. Scientists from all fields explore the Amazon to solve the mystery of how such a wide range of life came to be in such a short period of time, and in such a specific area. The bright green of the impression jasper stones imitate an aerial view of the tropical rainforest, and the rich corals represent the brilliant plant and animal species found there.  


Necklace details: At the heart of this piece is a set of 5 lovely dyed impression jasper stones. The middle teardrop is captured in a peyote bezel and all the stones are surrounded by a variety of beautiful coral rounds, lightest green glass pearls and seed beads. A rich fringe ending in a forest of Czech glass leaves give the piece life and movement. The center piece is about 9" wide and has a 6" drop including the fringe. It is backed with tan ultrasuede for comfort and is suspended from a spiral rope necklace with a silver leaf and hook closure. The necklace measures about 25" around and is meant to fall well below the collar line, but can be adjusted to your specifications.

Stop by the EBW Team's blog on May 9-15 to vote for your favorite Mystery entry. And search Etsy for EBWC to see more entries. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 Battle of the BeadSmith Tournament

I LOVE the online beading community; it's such a supportive and hugely talented group of bead artists that encourage and inspire one another.  I'm constantly challenged to push the limits of my own beading abilities while being astonished by the artistry of others.  You might think that with so many beaders there would be a lot of competition and jockeying for position, but I've found quite the opposite.  Well, OK, maybe a little competition, but in a wonderfully good natured way.  In the words of The Beadsmith's Steven Weiss, "There are no losers, but there is only one winner!"
I was thrilled to have been invited to join The Beadsmith in the "Heavy Metal Jewelry Challenge" earlier this year.  To promote their line of metal seed beads a group of beaders were offered seed beads of their choice to create some heavy metal jewelry. 
"Heavy Metal" Copper Cellini Spiral

Inspired in part by college basketball's "March Madness, the Beadsmith has invited 80 seed bead artists from all over the globe to participate in an elimination tournament to determine which piece of their original beadwork best captures the imagination of their fellow designers, specialty bead shop owners, and members of various beading magazine editorial staffs.  I can't describe what an honor it is to be considered among so many of the "Bead Gods/Goddesses".

UPDATE: I have been paired with the incredible Christina Neit of GoodQuillHunting!  I have long considered her to be among my favorite bead goddesses, so I'm honored, inspired and perspiring!

On May 14th random artist pairings will be created establishing a first round of competition consisting of 40 artists vs. artist "contests".  Artists will then have seven weeks from the announcement of the first round pairings to create a single piece of original beadwork, and submit four photos best highlighting the works most important elements. The competitors not involved in a particular round plus invited judges will vote for the piece that best captures their imagination. A majority of total voters will determine a winner. All necklaces, bracelets, earring, brooches, headpieces, belts, handbags, or any other wearable adornments are acceptable for submission. The deadline for all of the submissions is July 10th.

Stay tuned to this blog and on facebook for updates and check out the incredible work of the participants on Facebook: Battle of the Beadsmith:

Patrick Duggan
Melissa Ingram
Joanne Browne
Neva Brown
Lauren Macgregor
Maryanne Villalba
Karyn Healey-White
Noel Wyres

Laurence Dethier

Ella Des

Jacquie Champion

Czech Republic:
Lea Palickova
Katka Vaclavikova
Marta Koudelova
Denisa Kangas
Iva Jar

Dominican Republic:
Edgar Lopez Disenos

Anneta Valious
Mouna Marini

Tamuna Lezhava

Elke Leonhardt Rath
Olga Haserodt

Annie Hatvani
Eva Dobos
Orsolya Füzesi
Ibolya Ingesné Barkóczi
Éva Csizmadia Lajosné
Katalin Budainé Nagy

Anastasia O'sarantseva

Ann Braginsky
Miriam Cielo Shimon

Eliana Maniero

Guzialia Reed

Sigifredo Contreras

Sandra Dokter van Esveld

Irina Chikineva
Nella Moskvichjova
Julia Turova
Alla Maslennikova
Olga Shumilova
Ekaterina Kalinina
Marina Nosova

Olga Petterson
Misan Tejre
Nausikaa Dahllof
Anna Lindell

Helena Tang

Alla Vizir
Katherine Gezey
Anna Bystryk

United Kingdom:
Heather Kingsley Heath
Jill Thomas
Lynn Davy

Linda Roberts
Sharayah Sheldon
Nancy Dale
Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
Marsha Wiest Hines
Carol Dean Sharpe
Christina Neit
Sue Horine
Alexandra Sydorenko
Betty Stephan
Callie Mitchell
Christian Rodriguez
Kinga Nichols
Mikki Ferrugiaro
Amy Katz
Kassie Inman
Dini Alves
Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten
Rosita Pisarchick
Roxan O'brien
Christine Boyer Maj
Kathy King
Susan Brackett
Hannah Rosner
Terri Richards
ARachel Nelson Smith
Ulyana Rakcheyeva Seryankina-USA

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Seed Beads Only: EBW April Challenge

Seed beads...the primary tool of every beadweaver.  Oh, how I love the tiny little creatures and their myriad colors, shapes and sizes.  A tube of seed beads carries within it a hundred possibilities just waiting to be realized by the beadweaver.  OK, so maybe I don't need to wax poetic about them, but have I mentioned how happy seed beads make me?! 

Our EBW team's April Challenge is "seed beads only".  Hey, I'm there!  I'm all about the seed beads!  Oh, wait, no crystals, no cabochons, no gemstones, no pearls.  Hmmm, maybe not so easy.  One of the things I love about seed beads is creating a structure to feature a favorite clay focal or gemstone cabochon.  I love to take inspiration from a great focal piece and choose the seed beads to best accent the colors or texture of the piece. 

This spring, I've been inspired by the color palette of the Pantone Spring 2012 color report.  Pretty much all my favorite colors all together.  I wanted to try and highlight as many colors as possible and the perfect way to do that would be with a cellini spiral necklace!  You know I love doing a cellini spiral.  You can feature a rainbow of colors or a variety of monochromatic hues in an array of sizes.  So I dove into my bead stash and found the colors and sizes I needed and created "Spring Carnival" using 8 of the pantone colors and 4 sizes of seed beads.

For more beautiful beadwoven jewelry, search EBW Team on Etsy. And for more great entries in the April Challenge, search EBWC on Etsy. Please stop by our blog and vote for your favorite entry April 9-15.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

EBW February Challenge "Nest"

Bird Nest Loop Fringe Necklace

I've created this one-of-a-kind beadwoven necklace for the Etsy Beadweavers Team February Challenge "Nest". Just about all creatures on earth are hardwired to seek and build their own nest for themselves and those they love. A Nest conjures feelings of warmth, comfort, care and home. My husband and I love to birdwatch especially the nesting activities that begin in the spring. A bird will find bits and pieces of any and all suitable materials to build and then line their nest. From grasses, twigs, leaves, feathers to yarn, string, ribbon or other manmade substances that might catch their eye. I love to watch the hummingbirds gather spiderwebs for their nests.

I started this necklace with a base rope of cubic right angle weave with purple/brown matte rainbow beads and then embellished it with a loopy fringe using a variety of purple seed beads and some amethyst, cat's eye, crystal and dagger beads as accents. Nestled into the center of the necklace is a sweet raku pottery bird surrounded by gold luster purple and copper bead embroidery and attached to the base rope. The 24" necklace has a vintage matte lilac Czech glass button as a closure. The bird is about 3" wide by 2" high and the center of the necklace with fringe is about 3.5" high.

Perfect for the bird lover and those who just love a lot of funky fringe!
Please visit our team blog, ( between the 9th and 15th and vote for your favorite entry. Search EBWC to find more incredible entries.

One of my very favorite element designers is Olivia of ODDDesigns.  She just happens to be a resident of the Triad in NC as well.  Her raku pottery pieces are irresistible!  Featured in this necklace is a beautiful raku bird by Olivia at