This past September I had the tremendous privilege and pleasure to sew my daughter's wedding dress and to make the jewelry that she wore on her wedding day. Here are a couple of pictures of my lovely Anna.
A couple of years ago we had several powerful snowstorms in New England, and since I work at a school we had several snow days, and always on a Monday!. On a very snowy Monday it occurred to me that maybe I should do some sewing. I hadn't touched my sewing machine in several years, for any significant project. The old Pfaff would come out once in a while to make a repair or to hem a pair of pants for my husband. On this particular day, I remembered that years ago I had purchased a quilt kit while on a vacation in New Hampshire. So, I pulled out the kit, an early Quiltworx paper pieced design and started to work on it. I was in heaven. It is now three years from that winter and I have made about 12 quilts (not all of them are finished). What drove me back to this passion with fabric was all the fresh new designs, multitudes of bright color, whimsical scapes, lots of coordinates and those wonderful cotton textures. I continue to be in love. Below are some of the projects, finished and unfinished.
This is the "Ruffle Bracelet" made with Preciosa twin beads. They are the beads that comprise the body of the bracelet. The ruffle is is made using 6o's. The Preciosa beads were a joy to work with. The design works up fast and the incredible uniformity of the twins make a flawless bracelet.
This is a small study of the creative process. This necklace took about 5 hours to make, give or take. It was important to assemble the materials first. Working with color is an endless learning curve, but there is so much joy in it.
Here is a variety of seed beads, (Tohos) Swarovski crystals and lucite flowers.
For this necklace it was best to start with the larger beads, as they are the focal point.
Notice how the workspace gets messier as the work progresses :)
Checking for drape and composition. Necklace does not seem quite right yet.
I decided to stop here. Although I could have spent another hour on it, but I was sleepy!
Fresh water pearls, Swarovksi crystals and Toho silver beads. 32"-34" ...five times around the wris. How cute are these?
I discovered beads about five years ago...I should say that I started making jewelry about 5 years ago. My niece Emily showed me how to string beads and attach them to a clasp using a crimp. I was so hooked! I learned wonderful new words like "crimp" and "findings" and .825 silver and lampwork and Miyuki and Swarovski. And, many many more "new" words that describe those magical components that make up the jewelry we wear. All of a sudden the mystery of making jewelry revealed itself to me and I was in a little creative heaven.
Prior to beading I was a painter. For those of you who ever took a decorative or tole painting class, or had the pleasure of painting on wood or tin, I'm sure you are aware of all the accoutrement that come with that craft...the paints, brushes, varnishes, patterns, embellishments, wood shapes and on and on....anything from homemade gadgets to tons of purchased "aids" that one must have to get that perfect brush stroke or mimic the exact style of the designer. Ha!
Although I must admit that I was a pretty good painter, jewelry design and execution has truly allowed my creative side to flourish, and I largely attribute that to painting. If you've ever worked with color, you probably understand that the transition to another medium is not that difficult. Color theory is pretty much universal in the crafts and in life.
For me, the most difficult hurdle was trying to choose what kind of jewelry I wanted to focus on. I knew that I could not do all of it, even though I wanted to. I found myself drawn to tiny seed beads, maybe because they are just like individual little bottles of paint. There are more colors of seed beads than there are colors of craft paint. I found myself enjoying the process of working with seed beads. I truly love all the various bead stitches: peyote, ndebele herringbone, RAW, netting, ladder and my current triumph, bead crochet.
Please check back for future posts where I will show the process of working in these various stitches.