Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tutorial: The Under 15 minute Botanical Silk Corsage Bracelet

Well, like I mentioned on my website a few days ago, I had such a blast in Philly that I brought home the flu too. So I took Tuesday to Thursday off from the studio to rest a bit, worked on paperwork and updated the site with the Botanicals catalog. (Not really resting but... not in the studio in the 100 degree weather.) You can now find photos of the 23 (and I'm not done creating more yet) Botanical colors now available. There are some limited edition colors made from rare production glass rods from my vault. I still have more rods to go through so who knows what floral colors will turn up next. Stay tuned!

So at Philly Bead Fest I was showing off my "Under 15 minute" Botanical Silk Corsage Bracelet. I am sure you can utilize this idea for other types of beads/materials but the bracelet turned out so beautiful using silk ribbons from my friends, Fran and Judy, of Class Act Designs. Simplicity is the key here, not only in materials but in techniques. Sometimes you don't need to employ seedbeading and hours of labor to make a wonderful "instant gratification" and "I am DONE?" piece of jewelry. The flowers on THIS corsage will live forever and a perfect gift to make for yourself (or someone special). I used the Professional Precision Tools for the wrapped loops.

Here goes my first free online tutorial!

All you need to make this wonderful corsage bracelet is three 6mm Swarovski Margarita crystals (Crystal AB is what I used); three 1.5" headpins, three Botanicals (I used BT005 for this sample), three 8/o seed beads (or any leftover bead about 3mm for cushioning between the wire and Botanical flower) and one silk ribbon from Class Act Designs (or similar product). Make shank buttons as shown above using the wrapped loop technique.

Carefully slide the three Botanical buttons onto the silk ribbon. Center the three as best as you can, visually. I spaced mine about 1/4" apart. You are done making the bracelet! Walla.... really? Yes you are REALLY done.

To wear the bracelet, center the flowers on your wrist. Wrap ribbon around your wrist, criss-crossing through the center to lock the flowers. Wrap ribbon as much as you'd like around your wrist until there is just enough remaining ribbon to create a square knot. Then tie a loose but secure square knot. Don't knot so tight that you can't undo the bracelet later. Lastly, tuck the knot under one of the ribbon wraps to hide. If you practice, you can tie the bracelet around by yourself without any help.

There you are! Wear and enjoy the bracelet. Make a few more as these make wonderful quick gifts that won't break the bank.

Disclaimer: Dependent on how proficient you are in making wrapped loops, creating the button shanks may take you longer than 15 minutes but that is an average. You may also want to periodically iron your silk ribbon so that the ribbon lays flat with each wear.

So go have some fun with the Botanicals! Look below at some of the bracelets I've made recently! (No, they were not all for me)

Using Botanicals Item #BT013

Using Botanicals Item #BT014 Limited Edition

Using Botanicals Item #BT004

P.S. Talk about ambidextrous. I took all the photos above with my left hand while my right wrist was being modeled!

Until next time,

Bead Simple but Creatively


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

About the new Botanicals . . .

Hi there...

Yeah, I know... you don't have to say it.

Sorry for not posting more often here on the blog, but I really have been busy in the studio, really.

This time, I've been getting ready for Bead Fest Philly!

So, I hope everyone's summer has been going great and you've been able to spend some quality time with the family. I know that I've been fortunate to do so most of July. Summer will be coming to an end soon and that's when the show season ramps up. I'm looking forward to all the upcoming shows.

In the meantime, I did promise in the last post that I would write a bit about the inspiration and development of the new Botanical series. I won't be able to update the website's online catalog until September so you'll just have to trust me that I've been diligently working hard in the studio. It's always a challenge to work in front of a hot torch in the summer months but the new series and experimenting with colors have enticed me daily.

Before I show and tell you all about the Botanical series, I want to take a few moments to thank all the wonderful beaders that visited me at the San Diego Bead Society Bazaar. It was fun to catch up with old friends and make new connections. Part of my joy in exhibiting at bead shows, in particular bead society bazaars, is that I get to see so many creative folks wearing their lovely creations. I get most excited when I recognize designs from Bead Romantique or a design from one of my bead articles. It is so nice of beaders to drop by the booth and proudly show me what they have created. It is even more exciting when I meet a new beader that expresses their joy in learning beadwork.

I am currently taking a well deserved break from writing and designing beadwork for publication but I hope everyone continues to look forward to the remainder Beadwork Designer of the Year projects. Two more are yet to be published!! After busying myself in writing and designing for magazines and my book for the last three years, I somewhat "neglected" my glasswork. Many glassy ideas were placed on the back burner of "to do's" until I had more time to develop them. This is why I was so very excited when the Botanical series came to life after my writing commitments were completed. Yay!

It has been several years since I have wanted to create this series. I have mulled over the technical aspects and challenges of the creation in my mind, spent countless hours dreaming consciously as well as subconsciously in the execution, and as usual, a design never comes to realization until it's time. And it was time... this July.

So here's the story...

When we purchased our home in 2002, one of the requests I made to my husband Nick was to have either plum or cherry blossom trees planted in the front garden. Not to disappoint, we planted two plum blossom trees. Although the trees are still quite young, this Spring (May) they blossomed beautifully. (see below)

Can you see above why I love plum and cherry blossoms? They are stupendously gorgeous.

The Chinese view the plum blossoms as both a symbol of winter as well as a harbinger of spring. Because the tree blossoms in the winter in China, it also serves as an example of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. The Japanese, on the other hand, believes the plum blossom “Ume” as a protective charm against evil and traditionally plant the tree in the north-east part of the garden, from the direction where evil is believed to travel. Interesting tidbits of info...

Below is a sample photo of the first batch of plum/cherry blossom inspired Botanicals. The floral shaping is inspired by the blossoms from my tree above, but since I love to play with color and I know beaders like me do as well, I've since created these Botanicals in a myriad of colors. The photo only shows a smidgen of available colors. And since I've been busy in the studio for the last 2.5 weeks, there will be over TWENTY (20!!) colors available for Philly Beadfest attendees. As colors become standardize, I will add them to the website's online catalog. For now, the Botanical series is only available at shows.

I like to use a 6mm Swarovski margarite in the center, as shown above. Soon, when I have "free" time, I shall design a beaded collar with these flowers to give you further design ideas. In the meantime, at shows you'll see a wirewrapped rendition with five Botanicals. These plum/cherry blossom inspired Botanicals are exactly how I envisioned them and finally after more than two years of thinking about making them... here they are! These flowers range from 0.75" to a little over 1"... just about quarter sized but less than half dollar. I didn't want the flowers to be too large and I think these are perfectly sized for beadwork. What do you all think?

I'm excited... and these fingers are itching to bead but I can't ...

Not yet, at least...

Prepping for shows come first as beading is a rare luxury these days.

You will also see a connection of the Botanical series with the next Beadwork Magazine Designer of the Year project coming up in the Oct/Nov issue. I won't spoil it for you folks but you will be able to connect everything later.

P.S. Btw, many of you have asked why I do NOT teach beading in a classroom setting. One of the prime reasons is that beading is my hobby. If I start teaching beading then it will become "work" and may make beading less fun for me. That's a risk I am not ready to make just yet. A girl's gotta have some fun, so for now I don't teach.

Until next time, stay creative!!


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