Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Shop, New Designs, and my Toho Challenge piece in an Advertisement in Bead and Button Magazine

Today 16 May 2017 is the day of the opening of my beautiful new shop. 

I left Etsy, or let's say it as it really is: I'll let them 'suspend my seller's rights' on the 18th, because their new mandatory payment system is not very sustainable for us here in Europe. I hesitated to do this when their obligation to collect VAT on our sales of electronic files resulted in 30% increase of the price of a tut for some customers in Europe, because they are a gigantic platform. But I'm not. I stayed because Etsy's advantages still outnumbered the disadvantages. However, their rude e-mail, less than 4 weeks ago, not giving us a reasonable deadline to change (on purpose, I guess) ended up being the incentive I needed. Please forgive the mistakes and imperfections - tell me about them so that I can improve your shopping experience. Or just write to say what you think about it, I'd be really pleased!

I thank Mikki Ferrugiaro who paved the way and opened a shop with IndieMade a simple, inexpensive solution to easily build a nice website for stand-alone-artist like me who don't have a phd in i-technologies. I also thank Heather Collin who gave me a simple but very efficient tip that was that the listings, once transferred by csv file from Etsy to Indie, could quite easily be modified to become digital items instead of physical items. Certain things among which shipping need to be adapted. I suggested a profile be created for a bulk modification and maybe you will soon benefit from that option in the future. Their support is extremely fast and good. And sofar the cyber attacks of the past days haven't affected the shops hosted there. It may be a little bit slow at some moments, because of the firewalls being active, but that is another reason why I am happy with them.

Sadly I will loose the 5-star feedback you folks gave me on Etsy. I would like to thank you for that, and for your support over the past 4 years. If it wasn't for you wonderful peeps and for beading, this would never have been possible. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Note: the thank-you coupon code which was valid in my Etsy is also valid in my new shop (the Etsy shop will be closed on the 18th of May 2017). I hope that you will visit often to discover my new designs, or maybe order something custom-made. I love to make OOAK jewelry, things with a meaning. 

To welcome you to my new shop, you can have a special 25% discount on your first purchase. Use coupon code


to include before you complete your order.

This is valid only during 2 days on your first purchase

***correction - this is valid until the 20th of May 2017***

In French they say that "a good new never comes alone". In English it is always plural, and it's true:

My arms are better and my desire to create and write tutorials is back. I'm working on pretty designs and tutorials for you. Preciosa Ornella sent me Farfalle beads and Twin beads to participate in two challenges in February and March that greatly inspired me, and both designs I made were chosen as winners. 

The tutorial for the February design is already available, I called it Farfalle stitch, a new pentagon stitch mixing DW variations. It draws lovely little butterflies, bows or pretty flowers.


I will soon work on a tut for the Pinwheel cuff, winner of their March contest:


Right now I am working on the tutorial for the beautiful Cosmic Spiral (below left) based on Colimaçon spiral (below right) part of my Toho Challenge. It offers lots of options, you can use many sorts of beads, and make it spiral a lot or a little.


"Time has Wings" will be exhibited in Milwaukee in less then a month - it pleases me to be at the show somehow! Toho chose my design to appear in an advertisement in Bead & Button Magazine, which makes me feel very proud:

The photo in the ad shows only the Wings of my piece - see everything and learn more about i in my blog article about the inspiration and wip regarding this piece. I am so happy with how this piece came together. It represents two months of true creative bliss. This piece made me realize how much I love beading.

You can see more photos on my blog, but also in the portfolio on my website where you can (re)discover my work other than the tutorials (still adding photos).

Last but not least, you probably know that the book Diamond Weave was finally published on Amazon through their Print-On-Demand press. I couldn't be more proud of it! I was happy with the POD option because printing only what is necessary represents a limited toll on Mother Earth, which is a subject dear to my heart, as you may know. However, Amazon is admittedly very expensive when a book exceeds a certain number of pages, so if you have been waiting for the book to be published electronically, you might be happy to learn that it is available in my new shop as a PDF, an even more ecological solution! The reviews about the book are very positive, which makes my heart sing. I hope that you will enjoy it too. It is a 200-page bundle of bead bliss and knowledge with great projects, beautiful photos and clear illustrations.


Writing about all this, I felt the sudden need to found the group of Indie Beadweavers, which I immediately did. I nearly started working on the blog, but I really need a good rest now, and many things need my attention: my plants are nearly dead and my apartment needs a good clean.

I'd love to have your feedback about all the above!

Thank you very much for your support!
Happy Beading!


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Friday, May 5, 2017

Time has wings - TOHO Beads Challenge 2017- I put my soul in every bead

I'm so happy that I could participate in the 2017 TOHO beads challenge! There is something really exciting about getting the same beads as fellow artists and to see what others will come up with. And to have my piece exposed in Milwaukee and then in Japan is truly an honor.

Today I heard that my piece was featured in an ad in the Bead & Button magazine, and got the ok from the organizers to show you my work. I wrote this blog post back in March, when I sent the beadwork to them, for wanted to tell everything when the beadmat was still hot from beading. It is a bit long, I hope that you don't mind. I had so much fun!!!

The Swiss customs blocked the package with the beads because "free samples" was not enough for them, they wanted to know the worth of the beads, etc. They're so punctilious. *Sigh.* But beginning of January I received the beads. yay!

My tendons had been bad during more than 3 months, but I rested them well, and I fortunately could bead again. It is the computer I had to stay away from, and so I enjoyed 2 months of wonderful creative time with this beautiful challenge assortment.

Time has Wings
I loved the colors and beads I received. The beautiful purple, gold and cream selection immediately invited me to create something steampunk, but the capri blue beads didn't charm me as much as the other beads, because it was ice-cold outside and I prefer to use this color in the summer. Nontheless, even if used scarcely (and mostly in size 15/0) they play an important role in the composition, without taking the lead.

We had the right to use all sorts of materials, like silk and other materials, but only one "focal" bead or cabochon. My focal is an explosed watch. I used chain as if it was fabric. I beaded the wheels/gears/fans  to avoid using more metallic findings or parts and am very, very happy with the result.

The whole piece is called Time has Wings. Below you will learn more about the 3 parts and their symbolism, the inspiration and the making of the piece.

The necklace is composed of 3 parts, which all have a meaning. There are several possibilities to wear the jewelry. On the left are the ways I recommend, on the right the other options:

1. A Colimaçon spiral

Colimaçon with clasp at the back
Colimaçon with clasp at the front

I called this new spiral a colimaçon, which means spiral in French, specifically to describe a spiral staircase. The bugle beads draw a railing typical of those staircases in castle towers and lighthouses, where the railing is in the centre. A beautiful example can be seen on this page. Spirals are representative of time in all cultures, etc. This spiral is made with a mix of tubular Diamond Weave variations.

2. Wings

Wings at the back
Wings at the front

The meandering lace-inspired bib-style collar should be worn in the back with an open-back dress. "Time has Wings" means that time flies, fast, but those who know how to meander - wandering with no particular aim - reduce the pace and enjoy the present moment more intensely. The wings are primarely made with Herringbone stitch with extension beads, split at some point, and brick stitch.

3. Paradox (Pendulum)

Paradox with watch clasp
Paradox without watch clasp
"A pendulum is a body suspended from a fixed point so as to swing freely to and fro under the action of gravity and commonly used to regulate movements (as of clockwork)."(Merriam Webster).

This pendulum is a folded All-wing made with dimensional peyote (CGB language), including a double Cellini spiral at its top. It makes me think of a miniature time machine... It hides a miniature hourglass.
Unfolded, it would be quite large. Time sometimes feels as if it was stretcheable, like an accordeon.

The DW flat rope is reversible

To connect the pendulum to the spiral I made a separate DW flat rope, which is reversible. It has no name yet. I had a track of a railway in mind when making it. But I am not sure that track rope or rail rope sounds good for a beaded rope. Suggestions for a name are welcome!

Inspiration: the colors of the 2017 Toho Beads challenge also made me think of films: Alice through the looking glass (2016), Hugo Cabret (2011), and a little bit of Wild wild west (1999)

The beautiful steampunk decors, the clocks, mechanics, trains and time machines and lacy corsets all inspired this piece.

Alice through the looking glass (Sacha Baron Cohen as Time in the heart of his realm)

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield as Hugo, rewinding a clock mechanism)

Wild Wild West (Salma Hayek as Rita Escobar, in lovely lace)

WIP of Time has Wings.

First I made the pendulum, then I made the colimaçon spiral, and then the crescent buttons and the herringbone lace. I had real lace in my stash awaiting inspiration and time to make a beautiful necklace à la Marsha Wiest Hines. Visit her blog to see her Persephone's Return, it is absolutely stunning. In addition, she also received her Toho challenge and got published in ?

Reading about Marsha's creative process made me realize that the lace would not be strong enough for my project. I decided to bead my own lace and started by making the little wheels and then the meandres.

If the colimaçon spiral ate up the thread, the lace needed the most time, in particular "thinking time", even for the chain.

Then I embellished the pendulum and created the flat rope and the watch clasp.

Second the spiral
First I made the pendulum

Third the lace

I cut out the central herringbone
v-shape and started it over

Decisions, decisions...

Study how to attach chain. The center part
of the collar is still not complete.

Once done, the piece looked much better without the pendulum.So the pendulum got its own rope.

The very last bead added to this piece was a tiny melon bead right above the watch face on the collar - I had lost it, and it was my last melon bead! I was happy when I found it back (yay!) It hink that it is crazy how one bead can alter the look of a piece. Then I made the watch clasp, and suddenly everything was perfect.

I hope that you think so too.

Thank you for reading me! Know that if you go to visit the exposition of all the Toho Challenge participants in Milwaukee at the Bead & Button Show, you can get your very own mini challenge kit from at the Toho booth.

Friday, March 31, 2017

What can a visitor, waves, flames and a skull have in common?

Embers - curled-up all wing

I don't think that I ever blogged about my Embers Cuff, which I made in 2015. It is a curled-up Jalisco Bangle made with twisted peyote (also called Cellini method) or, as in Contemporary Geometric Beadwork talk, an All wing. Admittedly it doesn't look like an all-wing, but that's because it is partially zipped. It could also be seen as a partially zipped 18-point (9 on each side) Yukka flower, which was actually the first 'All wing' that I made back in 2010, and where my collection of zig zag shaped creations all come from. Because they are zipped, my Yukka flowers look like puffy flowers. I like to fold and zip and curl peyote beadwork. It's so much fun.

Embers was a crazy thing to make. I called it gymnastics for the hands. It's impossible to tutify and quite impossible to teach, because it breaks needles if not beads. Artistic madness, but still a wonderful experiment. I'm very proud of it.

Pepper, Fork and YukkaFlower
Why do I write about it now? Because I had the visit of a really lovely lady, Esra. After having seen my beadwork in the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork books by Kate McKinnon, she contacted me a bit timidly via my Etsy shop to ask if I did workshops in Eastern Switzerland, or maybe elsewhere. I explained that my light-sensitivity doesn't let me do this, so she asked if she could come to my place and if, perhaps, we could make an Rick Rack start with an MRAW band together. I liked how she wrote to me and accepted with pleasure, although wondering why she wanted to do an MRAW band, seen that it is pretty well explained in the book. You can also learn a lot from various free tutorials.

To make a Rick Rack for the occasion, I looked back at Embers and thought 'why not try a Flaming Cuff on a Rick Rack start', to offer a simpler method, teachable, and maybe easier to adapt in size. It resulted in this lovely soft pink and silver "Unfinished Wave & Flames" cuff. One side is different than the other, because I made a "happy" mistake. You know, one that you decide to stick with and it results in something unexpectedly cool. I like it a lot and will take the idea further. It looks different from every angle, so I made many photos to show that.

Notice how the points and flaps twist off-center when the 'legs' of the Rick Rack are standing up, which is how it sits on the arm. These points and flaps can be twisted in various directions. It makes me think of air, of wind and of bouncing water. It is very playful.

I could take the MRAW band off, to make two separate cuffs and re-use the MRAW band. I could add pearls which would freeze the form (I love pearls). But somehow I like it as it is. Unfinished, not frozen, still modifyable. 

Esra came by train yesterday, from beautiful canton Appenzell, in other words the other side of Switzerland, which took her 4.5 hours to come, and 4.5 hours to go back (it's a small country but this still is a long journey for approximately 4 hours beading together, which passed by way too fast). I was a bit nervous that she'd be incommodated by the many birds in the same room even though she told me that she wasn't allergic to birds. She loved it. She loves nature as much as I do. And the beading area offered enough space for the two of us. The works in this room aren't finished (repainting, etc), but I arranged it a bit to make it a nice beading area.

Beading area. The birds are on the left (opposite wall).
We had a wonderful time. We enjoyed a good home-made chocolate-peanut butter pie with coffee. We fondled beadwork, talked a lot, about beading, about birds, fishes, nature and art. Esra is an artist. She artfully paints skulls, primarely with dots, and also on skulls. Not exactly what is called pointillism, which was a style born from impressionism, but rather the aborigenal type of painting. I like her work.

Postcard of a painting by Esra.
At first sight I thought that she covered skulls with beads, à la Jan Huling. I asked her if she would sell me a skull so that I can cover it with beads - she graciously offered me one and I am looking forward to playing with it. Watch this space!

"Symbols" - skull painted by Esra - Acrylic on synthetic replica
Photo courtesy www.esraskulls.com
Isn't this replica amazing?
Thank you, Esra!
Esra's husband, Mick is also an artist. He is called a "Legendary Tattoo Artist". Google "Mick of Zurich" or have a look at a few images of this book dedicated to his incredible works of art. When I saw his work, I was very impressed - I have never seen something like this before. This man has amazing skills and is truly a precursor. His work makes you forget that the canvas is a body. I love to see the splashing fish, the bouncing water, the flowers, the Japanese deities. And his fire-breathing dragons are so beautiful too. Interestingly, it seems that somehow my love for Japanese art introduced Esra to my work - for she noticed my Kanagawa bangle in the book CGB vol no. 2.

Esra started beading completely spontaneously many years ago. She wanted to cover bags with beads and didn't know how to bead but just went for it, without instructions or so. No internet back then. Her silk bag not only looks lovely, but is also very pleasant to touch. The way she made them is also interesting. Not RAW or DW or so. She just followed her instinct. Over the years, her love for beads only grew, and she collected many beading books including the CGB and the Diamond Weave books.

Beaded bag by Esra.
Beaded silk bag by Esra.
Esra didn't need any help with the MRAW band at all - she showed me a gorgeous double red and black horned bangle and a beautiful green Rick Rack with perfect starts (so sorry, no pictures, we were totally absorbed in beading at this point).

What she seemed to wonder was why an MRAW band was necessary and if hers was well done. Hers was beautiful*. To explain this subject better, I proposed to make an ordinary peyote start in the round with increases, for her to experience how fast it becomes stiff due to thread tension. My Trapezino appears to be a cool project for this, because it is not too big, and also shows the magic of folding beadwork. I also showed Esra the clever method proposed by Diane Fitzgerald to better control thread tension in long peyote starts (as explained for her Celtic Trefoil design published in a beading magazine). This way, Esra would have all the elements in hands to better understand why the MRAW band is so practical, but also why Kate is so busy developing news ideas, that is to cast beadwork off of triangles or squares (which offers starts for multiples of 3 or of 4).

One of the two trapezinos made together

Once a beader knows which size suits her wrist best, these forms (triangles or squares) become a permanent tool in the beader's box. And with squares you can make warped bails, beautiful earrings (like Dusting Wedekind's awesome hypar earrings) or some of Mikki Ferrugiaro's fantastic designs like Time Fold or Krismekate, but nevertheless, the MRAW band remains extremely helpful, because the band has to be very long** and the square or triangle you need to bead up for it needs to be very big...

Esra left happy, and so I felt happy.

And now I am going back to my beading trays and see if I can make more flames and waves and flowers... and transform that skull!

*Esra included round beads in her MRAW band which made them softer and discreter than if they had been made with cylinder beads only. The result was very beautiful. 

**the zig zag shape of a Rick Rack only appears after a certain number of peyote rows added to the MRAW base. Due to the angle of the peaks (which is approx. 62° depending on the type of beads used, generally Delica or Aiko cylinder beads), the circumference of the beadwork will be more than twice as narrow than it initially was. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Something twinastic: Pinwheel cuff.

For their "Spin the World" March design contest, Preciosa Ornela sent me a selection of their Twin™ beads. Two types: transparent matted crystal and transparent matted grey Twin™ Seed beads and a green satin and opaque black Twin™ Pressed beads. Yep. Seed beads and pressed Twin beads. And the pressed one is actually not brand new, but I now understand better why some Twin beads seemed to suit a project better than another. Read on (and click on the images to see big photos).

Screenshot of Preciosa's presentation of the Twin beads

The first Twin beads we discovered several years back are what they call seed beads. They are, as far as I know, the first two-hole seed bead to hit the market and ever since, manufacturers rival with new ideas to make more multi-pierced beads. The seed bead Twin is oval, not always very consistent in shape, so a bit of culling is necessary. Overall, a very nice bead that offers plenty of design possibilities.
Clever new package

The pressed version has a horse-eye shape, thinner at the pierced ends and so offers more room for other beads between them. They are very consistent in size, resulting in a very even, flexible beaded fabric, at least in the samples I made with them. Beading with them is truly delightful. Twinastic!

The package these new Twin beads came in also deserve a thumbs up, because it is extremely practical and clever: a little plastic box with a cardboard back acting as a lid. The cardboard has to be slid open and can be reclosed. Much better than little bags to tear open.

Initially I planned to make Butterfly Ropes and Sera alla Scala necklaces, because these designs ask for them and I needed a cord for my reading glasses, and something for everyday. I started with the black pressed Twin beads, with pinch beads instead of firepolished beads. The cute Lady Bug look came as a nice surprise. I promise myself to make more of these, a green one for myself, and more for friends who fell in love with it too.

Lady Bug Butterfly Rope

Then, before I even got a chance to start a Sera alla Scala, my muse interfered and said no, no, no, make something new, something like "this". With "this", Eddie meant a small piece of dense beadwork with firepolished beads and tiny pearls - a test I made using Variation no. 9 of Diamond Weave in which I had substituted a number of parallel beads by Twin beads.

I listened to my muse, because he is a clever guy, and also because I wanted to see what it looks like to use only two-hole beads in place of all two parallel beads, so I replaced all the firepolished beads and pearls by Twin beads too. I used the satin green pressed Twin beads and tried a perfectly matching yellow gold metallic size 11/0 seed bead, also from Preciosa, but the size 11/0 did not cover the thread enough. I then tried with tiny white 2mm pearls. and they worked beautifully! However, I wanted a more subtle accent color, so I grabbed a tube of size 8 charlottes and that was exactly the look I hoped for.

Academy Pinwheel Cuff with Twin Pressed Beads - DW var 9

I am very happy with the result. The charlottes are a delight when worn. With their 'only one facet', not all showing to the front, it blings beautifully here and there when moving the wrist, as by surprise. Believe me, not one photo does these subtle tiny treasures justice, you need to experience them in real life. Slightly domed yet supple, the bracelet has a lovely repetitive motif that reminded me of little pinwheels and of the clothes of the honorable members of the Académie Française, hence the name Academy Pinwheel Cuff. Honni soit qui mal y pense.

Academy Pinwheel Cuff with Twin Pressed Beads - DW var 9

To better show the pretty pinwheel aspect and see if I could incorporate true 2mm firepolished beads, I made a second cuff with the Twin seed beads. I chose to make it a continuous band, with elastic at the edges. Stiff, yet extremely comfy to wear, I love it!

Pinwheel Cuff with Twin Seed Beads - DW var 9

Pinwheel Cuff with Twin Seed Beads - DW var 9

Because the result was so encouraging with the Twin seed beads, I had to try with other two-hole beads. Here again, I was happily surprised by the result when using Ios® beads by Puca. I used true 2mm firepolished as accent beads in the ivory version and 2mm matte hematite rounded cubes in the satin copper version and both worked very well. I find it so pretty that I decided to write a tutorial as soon as I have a moment (I am still working on the Farfalle stitch tutorial - soon finished).

Pinwheel Cuff with Ios® Beads - DW var 9

Pinwheel Cuff with Ios® Beads - DW var 9
I also tried this stitch with Rulla beads, which didn't work at all, and then my attention got back to the Sera alla Scala necklace I initially planned to make. 

Sera alla Scala in gold, red and black

And I made another Sera alla Scala rope with magic topaz and black pearls. 

Sera alla Scala ropes
I'm having fun, and I sing to myself. "so many beads, so little time"...

Thank you for visiting.