Monday, August 13, 2018

Bolas Canastas & Cellini peyote freaks

You may have noticed by now that I am a Cellini Peyote freak. And a pearl aficionada. My moto could be

"If it ain't got pearls, it's got to have swirls."

Because I love pearls too. I love to use them together.

Cosmic Spiral (not Cellini peyote, but it's got pearls and swirls)
After coming up with the dimensional Cellini peyote shapes within the framework of my 'Waves and Flames' study, I asked you, people of Planet Bead, if I should make a tut for each  or for all, and if I should create a group on Facebook where to share ideas and many answered that you wanted "all". Of course!

Lotus Bangle, Mermaid Tails,
Parrot earrings, Precious
Pomanderand Tulip Tassel
"Open Heart" - pendant, earrings,
bracelet and necklace
So I made nearly all the tutorials, individually, and also listed them as bundles: duos, a trio and  a quintet for the pieces I made with the 'Flames start; and 1 tutorial for several designs made with the 'waves' start.
I haven't made tuts for everything yet, but I have created the proposed Facebook group, to share ideas with like-minded beaders, who love this stitch too: the "Cellini Peyote Freaks" group. You are welcome to join.

'Waves and Flames, unfinished'
In this group you will find my paper about the principles of the "Waves and Flames" start, including guidelines to make a "Waves and Flames, unfinished" bangle. If you are not into Facebook, you can send me an e-mail via my website to ask for it.

To have something new to photograph for the banner of the group, I beaded up something swirly, of course: a Cellini bezel, which became a beaded bead.

The Cellini bezel is an old idea, left in a drawer, which I took out for the pink ice CZ in Anthea's Tiara - I wanted the bezel to match the Yukka Flowers. It is based on diagonal peyote.

Pink Ice cubic zirconia on top of Anthea's Tiara

And as explained in my previous post, this gave me the idea to make a gigantic bezel for a tape measure.

Cellini Measure Tape
My first try was not what I wanted for the tape measure and so it became a beaded bead.

Because of its resemblance with Mexican woven basketry (canastas), I called it Bola Canastas. 
It provoked something inside of me. Something I cannot explain in words, but these bolas are addictive. I made more. 
And more.
And more!

Rounder, longer, double etc. 

It's so much fun.

Because I have to take a break to rest my arms, instead of adding this to my pile of stuff to tutify, I posted a short, pretty bad video in the group, to show the beady world how to do it. It's just a technical trick... Amazingly, many beaders got instantly hooked too. Enthusiasm is infectious! I love that. But my video was unclear, so I made a graph and a new video, which you can watch here too:

In the Cellini group, many members seem to actually never have done Cellini, so I created class rooms and made the first graphs for 2 basic techniques, so that they can get started. There is still more to do. It's a nice place, with advanced beaders and beginners, and members are helping one another. Isn't that awesome?

Interaction with other beaders is what I love most. It is what keeps me going and writing patterns and inventing new designs. "Drink me" will probably be a tutorial (perhaps the tape measure too!). Perhaps even a kit, but I will have to find a better quality tassel.

Unfortunately for my arms, all this provoked massive tendon-overload, so now that my video is up, and you beady peeps can fly, I am going to slow down the pace, and thus...

I need help

I need a little help in the group. Thankfully Elisanne M. McCutchen joined nearly immediately as Admin. I am so grateful for her help. But we need moderators. So if you have a passion for beading, are inclined to help fellow beaders, and know Cellini peyote, maybe you will like to help moderate the group? It's not complicated: approving (sometimes rejecting) new membership requests, help newbies finding this or that information and perhaps delete a post that is off-topic.

My dream team would be composed of one more person in the Americas, two from the East (Asian, Australian), one or two more from Europe / South-Africa (or anywhere in between) and a Russian and a person from the Middle East. That would really be awesome. One instead of two would already be awesome, but you've got to aim for the moon to land among the stars, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said so well.

Enter the rabbit hole. Let's celebrate Cellini peyote together.

Thank you!!


Thursday, August 2, 2018

IBW "All year long bead along"

Beading is important in my life, so I am a proud IBW ambassador. IBW means International Beading Week. It takes place the first week of August every year and is meant to bring beadworkers together, to celebrate and promote beading to a wider public. IBW started as NBW, National Beading Week in the UK, under the flag of the Beadworkers Guild, a registered charity dedicated to supporting and promoting the art of beadweaving and is open to beadworkers and bead artists everywhere.

In the IBW Facebook group managed by moi, to have some fun in between last year's and this year's events, several members participated in a year-long-bead-along, e.g. making each month one component in the color of the IBW banner, and assemble it during this Beading Week.

All 9 Yukka flowers, in company of the pentabezels

I made two designs, one with pentabezels for the Meryl bracelet, which you can learn in the  Facebook group during beading week (you can still join and participate), and one with the Yukka flowers.

Here are the marvelous pieces made by the designers who participated:

Karan Parker made a unique design and covered one of her friends with hugs and kisses - in the IBW FB group you will see how amazing the necklace looks on her.
Coral Johnson also had an awesome idea: she made 12 beautiful twisted triangles (a June Huber design), to make a mobile with them!
Teresa Shelton made her own design, the "Sawblade Bangle" using her astonishing folded triangles.
Erin Markowitz made a gorgeous rainbow garden. She used the explanations from the Petal to Pod document to make little leaves for nearly all the components she designed for her necklace. I think that it looks like a paradise!
Amanda Cape-Davis took a very unique take on a design by Marsha Wiest-Hines - Lilac blossoms, by using a base color and adding each month flowers to it with a color from the rainbow. Something very special and beautiful.
Beth Clark made a beautiful collection of beaded beads in delicious neon colors and sent all her beads to participate in the IBW 2018 draw, and become part of the big Beadworkers Guild collection. Knowing that my own beaded bead is there now too, maybe sandwiched by hers, puts a big smile on my face.
and yours truly made a tiara (I describe the making of this piece in this article about the inspiration behind it).

My compliments to all the participants!!! Thank you for participating!

Anthea's Tiara

I made tons of photos while assembling my design made with the Yukka Flowers to show you during IBW... and then discovered that I had no SD card in my camera for most of the time. Arrghh! But I will describe the making of briefly below. First I would like to explain the inspiration.

Yukka flower with cubic zirconia 
The idea of a tiara made with "Yukka" flowers has been in my mind since I added an 8mm crystal chaton inside the flower for the first time... And although I had a metal diadem base from Bobby Beads since forever in my stash... I was convinced that it would be too heavy and didn't have the courage to bead so much for simply confirming that. 

So for the IBW 'year-long-bead-along', I had other hair accessories in mind: hair sticks. Flowers in 9 colors to match any outfit, with a zirconia in their center... awesome sauce.

Hair stick made with a chop stick
I planned to use the remaining 3 green colors for petals. Perhaps you remember me asking in the IBW FB Group for the colorful IKEA chop sticks that were out of stock world-wide? I finally found colorful plastic chopsticks for kids, but not in all the colors. In the photo on the right you can see an attempt with January's purple flower, using green "petals" for the end cap. I don't like it. It did not turn out as I hoped it would. 

Then I thought of making 2 barrettes, but the weight factor indeed became an issue, and the flowers slipped on the barrette in every direction. I struggled with their unwillingness to stand tall, and the flowers were too close to each other, which looked unattractive. It didn't do the lovely swirls justice, and ruined the rainbow effect. That actually didn't encourage me to make a tiara, and I felt a bit disheartened.

But in May, a real-life fairy tail happened: a beautiful girl from California became a British royal princess, and while wondering what to do with my flowers, my FB news feed got flooded with photos of tiaras. That pulled the trigger: I had to make that tiara I imagined with my swirly flowers and find a way to have them stand tall... As you may know, I believe in signs from the universe! And I think that I did well, because

It worked!

Here is Anthea's Tiara

Anthea's Tiara - front view
Upon suggestion of a Facebook friend, I kept the yellow flower with its rebellious swirl. I like that it shows that the flowers can be made with the swirl in the opposite direction. Somehow it balances the whole. May's malachite, June's olive and July's peridot can be found in the little bees, and the beads used to cover the diadem and to make the little petals (on the sides, and as bee wings) are July's too.

Anthea's Tiara - back view. I love zirconias because the light shines through
It sits really beautifully on top of the head, as you can see in the photo below.

Why Anthea's?

In Greek the name Anthea means: Flower; Lady of flowers. In Greek mythology, it is one of the names borne by goddess Hera, who received a garden from Gaia when she accepted to become Zeus's spouse. The guardians of this garden were the Hesperides, the "Nymphs of the West" (where the sun goes down or Evening Nymphs), believed to be the grand-daughters of the Evening star. Their number is unclear. The Evening star is nothing less but Venus in our constellation, and Venus is the goddess of love.
Hesperoyucca whipplei
or Western Yucca

Because I named my 'Yukka' flowers after the Western yucca flower (hesperoyucca whipplei) just before opening, I think that they represent the Hesperides well;
Because my muse obliged me to use the remaining, but larger pink ice CZ left in my stash by hiding my 8mm, suddenly Venus as the Evening star was beautifully represented too;
And because a garden needs bees, I made two earrings representing little bees;
The whole forms the beautiful rainbow.

It feels amazing to wear.

Do you think that Hera would wear it?

Making of the tiara:

I used only beads, thread, zirconia and a metal diadem base. No glue and no fabric. 

8mm zirconia in flower
I covered the diadem with beads in 3-drop peyote (lesson learned from the barrettes). Beading on the inside of the curve inside the diadem was challenging - I had to bend my needle and be really careful to not break a bead. The flowers stand up so well that it surprised me. Thread tension was key. I feared that the whole would flip over, but even without the small bezels between them, the flowers stand perfectly tall.

bezelled 8mm zirconias
Initially, I hoped that, standing straight, the flowers would hold the 8mm zirconias well inside their 3 points (as you can see in the photo right). I abandoned that idea after loosing the pink and aqua stones, found the aqua back and bezelled them all (photo left). They now sit between the flowers on the tiara, which looks much better than without them, actually...

The large, pink ice CZ is captured inside a flat Cellini peyote bezel. Of course this made the Tiara heavier... I really wondered if it would remain on my head or tip over.

About the Cellini peyote bezel - this pretty technique gave me plenty of new ideas, like a bigger bezel for a tape measure, and beaded beads. I wanted to take a break after all that I have made the past months, but Eddy won't leave me alone :D, so I created a Facebook group to share our mutual passion for this stitch.

I put everything on the diadem with the combs "to the bottom" as if it was to be put on the head like a crown, but this resulted in combs pointing towards my front. Although this probably is technically incorrect, it appeared to be the best thing I could have done: the weight of the beadwork leaning to the back somewhat pushes the combs to the front, and it remains in place. It sits perfectly well on my head. If I had mounted the piece with the combs pointing backwards, the combs would slip out of my hair and the tiara would certainly fall.

Because so many happy coincidences made this piece come to life, and better then I had hoped for, it makes me believe that something out there wanted this to come to fruition. I call this "beading with the Universe". I love it when that happens.

About the Yukka flowers pattern: you will find a new, improved pattern in my Indie shop.

So log in, and download the new version! Contact me if you need help.

And join the Cellini Peyote Freaks Group!

Thank you for reading and for beading with me!


Thursday, July 12, 2018

With Open Heart

Finally, after the 5 designs made with dimensional Cellini peyote with a "flames" start, I finished one tutorial for designs made with Cellini peyote with a "waves" start: the Open Hearts. The components are wonderfully versatile and you can make them in small, medium and large size - to either use on their own to make earrings (small) or pendants (large), or as links of a "Fox tail chain" (medium) for a bracelet or a necklace.

It is, of course, my favorite design of the moment. It makes me think of a Victorian corset, but also of birds dancing together, like the very endangered hooded grebe. But it also really looks like the beak / head of an owl. I might well bead an owl using it one day. But despite the fact that I have a lot of birds, I called it Open Heart (there will be more "Wings" in the future, wink).

Here is a little video showing the chain a little bit better:

I've been very busy designing, drawing, photographing, and beading (and a lot of starting over) for this tutorial, not counting the study on Dimensional Cellini technique itself, for which I will soon publish a paper.

I have also been beading a lot on three pieces within the framework of International Beading Week! I made (and sent) a beaded bead, "Peak into the Soul", for a draw organized by the Beadworkers guild, founders of National Beading Week several years ago (which is now International Beading Week (IBW)). It is a layered sort of puzzle beaded bead, cool to play with. You can still participate in this draw too - send a beaded bead, or more! There are lots of prizes. Visit the website to learn more about what to do to enter.

I managed the International Beading Week group on Facebook the past 12 months - from July last year to now. In this group we shared photos and videos of our favorite moments during Beading Week last year, and will again this year.

During the 11 months between last year's beading week and this year's, members of the group beaded something every month, in one color of the beading week banner, to end up with a rainbow of elements. The photo below shows  some of mine. I can honestly say that if the first color hadn't been yellow - which was not at all my favorite, I would have had difficulties finishing all this. The entire year long, I was astounded by how the collection looked happy and fun with yellow. Thanks to this year long bead along, I have developed a true love for the color combo yellow-orange-fuchsia. I am grateful for that!

Now that it's beading week, we are going to put it all together. I have a bit of advance, because In the group, during beading week, I will teach the bracelet I made with the "pentabezels" as I like to call them, so I had to finish it before the date. May I just say that this bracelet looks stunning on the wrist, and is very pleasant to wear? I'm really happy with the result.

Pentabezel bracelet "Meryl"
Like captured sunlight, the color yellow has a hold on me.
It is named after movie star Meryl Streep, actress extraordinaire (my favorite) because she can play just any character so brilliantly; all the colors of the rainbow! The bezel draws a star in the open space of the bezel where the rivolis shine through. Yes, rivolis, which act very well as pentagons. If pentagon crystal stones exist in colors and sizes like the rivolis, I haven't been able to find any. About 3 years ago, I asked Swarovski (over FB) if they would make some, and I asked again when starting this project, but got no answer, alas.

The bezels of my bracelet are closed at the back,
but I will show you that you can (more) easily back
the stones with leather.
I will soon reveal what I made with the 'Yukka flower' components in another blog article. Join the International Beading Week Facebook Group to bead along with us. You will find a shopping list for this project there.

For those who are interested: the interview I told you about in my previous post about IBW, has been published in issue #88 of Bead & Jewellery Magazine. Get a copy - it is full of beautiful projects by talented people (you can see the cover in the column on the right).

And finally, before I forget: I recently archived two of the Facebook groups I created - the Petal to Pod group, and the Tutorial Tuesday group. There was not much happening in these two groups and checking them daily (like 8 days a week :) ) for spam posts was not the funniest thing to do. Note that these groups can be unarchived any time, which I will probably do for the petal to pod group after IBW and a good Summer break! We'll see then!

In the meantime, I wish you happy beading!


Look at that yellow... hide it and tell me
how that looks ;-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Perfumes and Pomanders

The past months, I have not only beaded and tutified a lot, as you may have understood from my previous post; I have also, somehow,  made an old dream come true.

Precious Pomanders is the easiest design in my series with
dimensional Cellini peyote with flames start
I must have been about 15 when I met with the father of one of my brother's good friends. The man was a nose for the firm Firmenich in Geneva. Ah! creating fragrances - how divine! Of course, I wanted to do that too. My mom seemed not so enthusiastic about it, but during the "professional orientation" meetings which were organized by the Department of Education of the canton, I asked to meet with translators (my other option), and with people working at one of the (still now) major producers of perfumes and fragrances in Geneva, Firmenich or Givaudan.

Together with 2 other students the visit took place at Firmenich. We saw the old labs and facilities (not so attractive, actually), where thousands of graduated phials and other mysterious materials were on display. We also briefly visited the administrative building, where we took a Paternoster, which was an event on its own. This is a Paternoster:

Although it might have been a great way to test people's reactions, or wake them up enough to do a good job (and not blow the lab up with a silly chemical reaction), the dangerous thing has been removed because accidents ought to be avoided everywhere, of course. But I loved it. Being a monkey in Chinese astrology must mean something: as a kid I climbed on every metallic structure when there was one on a play ground and, older, even crawled from one balcony to the other on 3rd floor one day, so this was peanuts.

"Nose" working at an impressive perfume organ
Working in a lab didn't seem very attractive (I don't remember seeing their perfume organs, which was somewhat disappointing), but sitting in a little box as a translator even less, so I already saw myself enter Firmenich for an apprenticeship and was super motivated. Chemistry became my best subject. I loved experimenting and collected miniatures of all perfumes that hit the market.

My first favorite fragrance

Sadly, I did not become a nose, but not because of my nose...
I became an administrative assistant. This was not bad at all, in particular in the pharmaceutical branch and even more the International Union for Conservation of Nature, where infrastructure was/still is very good, but when a book  like "the Perfume" - and later the film- came out, my heart reminded me of my old dream. Fortunately, a visit to the parfumerie and a new flask of Eau de toilette in my bag did somewhat the trick.

Perfume can make you feel better in many ways. It should lift your spirits, makes you feel a stronger, more beautiful you, bring self-confidence. If it doesn't, you haven't chosen the right one. Also, you shouldn't smell much of it yourself. That is the hard thing with a well-chosen perfume: you nearly won't smell it yourself, because it is very much "you". It should feel like an invisible veil magnifying your charms. You won't notice it much, but others sure will. If you smell it yourself, it is either not the right scent, or you put on way too much.

My last bottle of The Beat "died" not long before last Christmas, so I decided to find a new favorite scent, something I had smelled earlier on somebody, "Sì" by Giorgio Armani.

A good perfume should feel like an invisible veil
magnifying your charms, but should not contain
phtalates and other dangerous ingredients.
Fact is: they nearly all do
Delicious, but... perfume can also make people feel really bad. My poor husband had a terrible
 reaction to it and got really sick, and even I felt that something was wrong with it. Browsing the web we discovered that there are many allergic people and that many perfumes are just a big mix of chemical poisons.

Because perfumes always have to be the same, producers rely on chemical essences (artificial scents) to always recreate perfectly the same fragrance. Natural products always differ from one batch to another, due to the weather, soil, temperature and maturity of a plant at harvesting time, etc... I've noticed that essential oils, like eucalyptus, can differ quite a bit depending on the batch, producer, year, geography... Of course, there are chemical products that are harmless, and there are natural products that can provoke skin reactions.

I decided to find out more about perfumes made with essential oils and to go for what I know I can eat. I first searched for matching aromas present in my favorite brands over the past years and wasn't surprised to find several common ingredients, like bergamot, vanilla and mandarin (and always jasmine too, but that is most certainly a culprit for my hubby's allergic reaction, seeing that he can't even bear natural jasmine flowers or alike).

I ordered some oils and extracts - all high quality, organic products, played with them like a real pro - with blotters and all, and...  created a scent that makes me happy. My perfume is a fruity and slightly spicy scent with vanilla, bergamot, rose petals, cardamom and pear, all things that are edible... It smells very good, and it doesn't make my husband sick. Hurray! Also, each time I work with my oils, I feel immediately better, in particular emotionally.

Nicolas Neufchâtel - Portrait of a Woman
holding a Pomander - Detail
Confident that it wouldn't harm the best man in the world, I could finally make what I had planned to make with my dimensional Cellini peyote baubles: Precious Pomanders.

Pomanders are so delightful! Precursors of modern aromatherapy, their name comes from "pomme d'ambre" (Amber apples in French). Very popular during the plague at the end of the Middle Ages, these balls filled with herbs, preserved in a wax-like substance, worn around the neck, wrist, or waist, rapidly became the ultimate accessory jewelry among the wealthy. It can often be seen in portraits, worn by people (men and women) who believed in nearly magic protection. This protection was actually somewhat correct, seeing that many plants have antiseptic properties. Learn more in this interesting article about pomanders, and discover an ancient recipe by Nostradamus, who was primarily a doctor and apothecary, and way ahead of his time in the field of phytotherapy and hygiene, and maybe the reason why Catherine of Medici lived pretty long in those hazardous times.

Pomanders are very practical for people who avoid perfume on their skin, or like to change scent without fear of interactions between two different ones.

A wonderful present: this Orchid Pomander
with May Rose Petals scent is truly heavenly
Glass beads offer enough of a barrier between the oils and the skin, but let the scent emanate well, so a beaded pomander could only be a good idea. All I needed to find was a carrier bead. Not one supporting the bead work to give it a shape, but a bead to carry the oils. I found back colorful felt balls in my drawers, which appear to be perfect for this. Two drops of E.O. per bead are more than enough. I let the beads cure in a glass container, so that the volatile essences went inside the bead. A few days sufficed for the felt beads, which are very porous, but a couple of weeks in the jar would be better for wooden beads.

The fragrance can easily be renewed by adding a drop of oil to the carrier bead through the slits on the side of the pomander. The same scent as the one before should be used.

Tip: you can match the colors of beads with the fragrance - like purple for lavender, red or rose for roses, etc.

I don't know if the oils will affect the coating of the beads in some way. So far everything is fine, but it probably depends a lot on what oils are used. But I can always bead another pomander and change oils. I imagine making them in yellow for lemon, bergamot or vanilla, orange for mandarin, oranges, and cinnamon, maybe a green one with peppermint and eucalyptus,... purple... pink... red... yum. One for every occasion.

Precious Pomander with harmony ball
on long, soft Chirmen cord

In my previous blog post, you may have read that I put a "musical bead" in the fruit punch & gold pomander. It is also called harmony ball or Mexican bola, and is often worn by pregnant women on very long chains or cords so that the ball itself rests on the belly button. It is said that as of 16-20 weeks, the unborn baby will hear the soft chimes sound coming from the harmony ball. The sound is said to soothe the unborn baby and can even have calming benefits for the mother to be. Personally, the sound makes me think of magic and I simply love to play with it. But the baby will remember the sound heard in the safe mother's protecting womb, and that will help him or her soothe when feeling discomfort or stress after birth.

The pomander can also be beautiful bauble for Christmas decorations, or a precious napkin ring if the points are left open. All this is explained in the tutorial.

Thank  you for reading this long post! Please leave a comment below - I love to hear from you.