Sunday, August 9, 2015

Diamond Weave - DW - is here!

Diamond Weave front cover
I have not enough words to express my excitement! The book Diamond Weave is now available on Amazon, worldwide. It is printed by CreateSpace, which means that when you order it from Amazon, it will be printed just for you, in your country, or nearby, which means that it doesn't need to travel far over the oceans to reach you. You can find the links to the various Amazon stores below.

What you are buying?

I could answer: two years of my life. And many more of Gerlinde's, who developed the weave and all the stitches on her own since approximately 10 years and who continues to develop them. She has found a new stitch in the meantime.
I could also mention the number of photos and illustrations made... but you are probably more interested in what this book will bring you. Well, brace yourself: You are going to be blown away.

When I tried this stitch for the first time, I was happy that I was sitting on a chair. My first reaction was "Why would I start the beadwork in such an odd manner..." but then........ oh my gaaaaaaawd!!! That was the first of a long list of oooohs and aaaaahs. Of course, I wouldn't have taken so much time out of my own life, sitting in front of a computer, if it hadn't been so.

Diamond Weave back cover
First of all: This is a book with plenty of very clear illustrations. And it is crammed with knowledge.
 There is not just one stitch, but many stitches, and even more in potential. Diamond Weave is so incredibly versatile, you won't believe it unless you see it: You will not only discover Basic DW and the variations built upon it which result in beautiful woven fabrics including various hexagon weaves, 3 different octagon weaves and 2 Chinese coin motif weaves, but also instructions how to get the best out of them with seed beads, resulting in beautiful patterns and awesome textured beadwoven fabrics.

In addition, there are instructions on how to tailor the beaded fabric with  increases and decreases, tapering or sculpting, at the edge or in the middle of the weave.

You will find a flurry of hints, tips and design options which can result in a thousand different pieces of jewelry. The projects are there only to walk you through one of the countless possibilities.

You will never bead the same.

We could have made 3 or 4 books. One about the basic stitch, one for the variations, one for the seed beads, one for the increases and decreases (which are the basis for Dimensional DW). But we prefer to give it to you all in one and watch you fly with it. This is the Table of Contents:

Gerlinde says that this book is a miracle of friendship and it sure is. But it is even more. It is a victory. A victory over my fibromyalgy and on my light intolerance. I haven't felt this accomplished and proud in a very, very long time.

Basic Diamond Weave

Available from:

Happy Beading!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I need 2 other me

The last months, I didn't write anything here. I thought that I would write one post per month, but couldn't find time/energy/material to write something. Not that life is boring. I'm just too busy with the book Diamond Weave. The thing I regretted not blogging about was my Etsy shop's B-day, but the special sale had a great success. I'd like to say that I am deeply grateful that there are so many of you out there liking what I create, and even taking time to tell me that you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I wish that I had 2 other me. I'd bead, my second me would work, my 3rd me would be with husbest taking a holiday. But even with that math, there are so many beautiful beads, so many designs crossing my head, so many lovely things I would like to make, I don't have enough of a life to do it all. This is why I like to put things out to the world and see what others come up with.

Today I am happy to share something new with you. But first an update about the book about Diamond Weave.

Seduction, necklace and collar
with the crystals on the outside
Everything is in place. 200 delightful pages of photos, illos, texts and graphs. We are nearly done with the corrections and more corrections and more corrections (it seems to have no end). I'm fortunate to have wonderful proofreaders who come up with great suggestions and encouragement. I'm deeply grateful.

The last steps are the hardest. I learned and re-learned a lot. For example: I have been doing and undoing a necklace a gazillion times just to find out that, as the French say "better is the ennemi of good". Read: you cannot always obtain the result you envisioned with this or that material in this or that design and forcing it won't solve the problem. Right. I hate that. I generally succeed in making what I envision, lol. In my latest neklace, 'Seduction', the embroidered part also reminded me to not overdo things. Read more about this necklace farther in this post. 

It's been a struggle translating my best knowledge in the clearest possible way to enable the future readers to make all the projects in the book. There is something for everyone. For all levels. My friend Darcy Rosner says that all the beaders will be beginners with this stitch. That sounds surreal. It means that everything I write, each word or expression about the weave and its variations will have double impact. It makes me feel responsible, and vulnerable too. In fact, publishing something, a photo of a creation, or a text, is somehow quite frightening. I rethink everything a million times and still doubt "couldn't I say this better" or "wouldn't there be a more accurate word for that". For example, with DW, cylinder beads wedge into one another, mutually stabilizing each other by ... imbrication? overlapping? capturing the corners? What's best? This has taken a lot of time and work from both Gerlinde and myself trying to find the best description, explanation, and simple and precise words. And then suddenly I rewrite whole pages because we found better. Dang. Writing in English is not natural for me as French or Dutch. It takes a lot of concentration and time. But it's nearly finished!

When I get tired from Diamond Weave and writing and illustrating, I bead something with a different stich. This is Klapukin, with a cab from Kinga Nichols, and kheops beads from Puca, and the idea for the setting from Klazine de Bas-Verdonschot. Klapukin sounds like the name of a game, which it actually is. Playing with beads. I hope to write a tutorial for this soon.

Complex Bail

I also made a complex, jeweled bail with dimensional peyote and would like to develop it further, make it easy enough to explain in a tutorial too. It initially was supposed to be a bezel for the pendant (from Nikia Angel's Etsy Shop) but it is the small size. If I had the big size, it would look more harmonious, I think, but... I would perhaps succeed in making the bezel and wouldn't have made this bail. It's a beautiful mistake. I hope to make more mistakes like that in the future.

It may sound silly, but playing with other stitches is an antidote these days. Not that DW is poison. Not at all. I love it, it is marvelous. You will love it too! The poison is when work, work and more work puts the fun in the shade. Kinga Nichols describes that very well in her blog post of a few days back.

I made my latest necklace when I needed a break. It is a nice beady adventure. A combo of Diamond weave and Peyote, MRAW and bead embroidery.

DW embellished flask
Top of perfume bottle
It started as a gift to myself - a lovely little perfume bottle - and as a challenge to myself - the colors Custard, Tangerine and Marsala are not my comfort zone. I regret not having a photo of the 'nude' flask, its body is light topaz with lovely cream speckles, and the top is opaque in exactly the color of the brick red pearls I used. Now I adore the colors and also what I made. I thank Nancy Dale for sending this lovely flask made by Tan Grey to me. I embellished it with Diamond Weave in the Round.

Positioning of artwork

I also created a collar with 'collapsable' links to make a beaded curb chain. Something I hadn't seen before. I bought beautiful 25mm red magma Swarovski asymmetric flat back squares, matching perfectly the curve of the links with their 'wonky' aspect, and a huge pile of firepolished beads. I hesitated between using the crystal stones or beautiful artwork and suddenly though 'hey, use both - to protect the back of the crystals and for a reversible collar.

I made a short video to better show the MRAW links the collar is made with. I appologize for the quality, I am really not at ease in videos. Also, I thought that cable chain was the right word for this, but voilà, now I know better.

I had another hesitation. I loved both the perfume bottle alone and the curb chain alone... Here again, I decided to use both together, but freely. They still can be worn separately. Design-wise it was quite a challenge to put together the two parts; in short, I went through all stages of creation to find the best middle part offering balance and transition of color and use of beads. I'm very happy with the result.

Bottom part alone
I started the bead embroidery over and over. The griffin's and the dragon were more beautiful on their own than surrounded by beads so I finally ripped off the bead embrodery. The result is lighter, better balanced if worn without the collar.

The 'bezeling' method of the image is made as in Diane Hyde's book, Break the Rules. It is a very nifty way to embellish and frame an image. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. The fan-shaped brass blank is from Diane Hyde's shop. I printed and sealed the images myself. Plenty of images. It took some time to find the right subjects.
The closure was a real adventure. This collar needs to be hold firmly, otherwise it could unfold. An ordinary clasp would not have helped. I though of using a shunky magnetic bracelet clasp, but it would not have been reversible, and I would not have been able to add the second part of the piece.

Here you can see a photo of the open link I made using two Elegant Guide Rounds on the inside of the link, to pass memory wire through the extra beads. The memory wire forces the link to remain closed even when both the necklace and the collar are hung from it. The collar is kept well in place. It still is a bit prototypy. In fact, it was very difficult to make due to the angles in the wire. I would like to improve the concept but I don't have enough time now. As said, I need 2 other me.

Closure with both the collar and the necklace attached.
It can be used for the necklace alone too.
Closure in the make

I wish that I could go to Boston in October to meet with those of you who are going to the the seed bead summit organized by Kate McKinnon, to show you how gorgeous it looks when worn in real life. But, as you probably know, I have to stay away from lights, sun, neons  or spots... If you can go, do yourself the favor! I will be present in spirit.

See below the photo for the names of the masters and their work shown in the images.

Seduction, shown with the artwork on the outside.

Squares from left to right:
Frank B. Dicksee, The Mirror 1896
François Boucher, Jupiter in the Guise of Diana, and the Nymph Callisto, 1759
Leopold Schmutzler, Young Girl with Jug 1864–1941

Fan shaped image:
Dicksee, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, about 1890

Thank you for reading this far. Now I'm going back to work. :-)


Friday, February 13, 2015

To learn to train the mind to be still

I'm wondering if you also have a wandering mind, tentacular... thoughts popping up in your brain when you look at a film, or clicking on links to learn more about this and that subject and in the end, you don't even remember what you were looking for or how you got there? I tracked my 'brainy wanderings', one day, back in October 2014 I think.

You may like or not like reading my wanderings. If not, which I can sure understand, scroll down for the rest of this blogpost (search for a little *).

My wandering started when I listened to a beautiful mantra, sung in sanskrit. It is a beautiful melody, the kind you don't need to understand what's said to feel good. I added it here so you can listen while reading, if you want.

I was curious to learn more about the bottisatva of compassion Avalokiteshvara and Googled a bit. I found out that his appearance was graceful and feminine, and that 'he could adopt 4 different apparences among which the apparence of a woman'. A few centuries later he is a she. In China she is the Goddess of mercy and compassion Kuan Yin. She's often shown with many arms. The first sentence of Avalokiteshvara's mantra, "Om Mani Padme Um" is the most pronounced mantra worldwide and best known even by non-buddhitsts.

This deity fascinated me already, because I saw a beautiful statue on Etsy made by artist Rose Youngsam and wanted to know more about her and stumbled on a picture of this marvelous head, shot by Hubert Steed, and I fell for the soft and gentle lines of her beautiful heart-shaped face. I would like to make a pendant with such a lovely face one day. In China, there are immense statues built nowadays. I am wondering why humans want to build huge statues, huge buildings.

YouTube always shows suggestions at the right of my screen, one of them lead me to a Chinese film called Avalokiteshvara. I loved the costumes, photography... some of the 'magical' aspects a bit less, but overall, I liked it a lot. It's in Chinese, but you can see it in its entirety with English subtitles, from the start, that is, when a Japanese queen sends a monk to China to get a statue and bring it back to Japan. She is convinced that the statue will make peace return amongst the populations tearing each other apart. I immediately thought: "what makes you believe that you can go to a country, take a statue -sacred for the people there-, and bring it back to your own country?" but that question got actually dealt with, beautifully.

Clic to enlarge and maybe you will also
see the "dragon" with Hawai
forming its wings
"Formose", seems to have had more temples dedicated to Avalokiteshvara than to the local great goddess Mazu. 'Where was 'Formose' already?' asks my brain.  

Formose was an old, colonial name for Taiwan, and still is the name of a famous Oolong tea. I love Oolong tea, and also the name Formose. I don't know why. The map wich I thought would show me Formose shows lines in the Ocean which reminded me of a dragon. That made me curious of its topography. Checking the map below shows so very clearly where Africa and America where attached to one another millions of years ago that on the screen of my mind I could see the earth opening up in the middle of the Atlantic; lava pooring, widening the cracks, modifying the structure of our natural amazing spaceship. I could also see the crust collapsing in the center of the Pacific and the continents come closer on that part of the globe... This is just my imagination, helped by documentary films seen on TV. But it makes me think that one day there will be nothing left from our countries and borders. The earth will have a completely different face. Will humans still be there?

I hope that there will be vegetation and animals and wise humans by that time... 
In that order.

Topographic image of Terra courtesy Service Cartographie
And then, I wonder if we couldn't do better and stumbled upon Amara Tia Ann's blog quoting a 12-year old considered to be a "Crystal child" whose incredible insight brought me back to where I am, here in my chair, in the middle of the room in my flat, town, world I'm part of. Insane too, yes, trying to make my life meaningful according to human standards while it is already meaningful in itself for the Universe. Who knows what still has to come, who knows if I have already done 'my share'... My hope was to be on the 'right path' and I suddenly realize that there is no path, only life. 

Then, even if I wanted to stop my wanderings, I stumbled upon Tina Turner's albums made in collaboration with singers from other cultures, for the benefit of the organization "Beyond". I love their message. It really touched me and reminded me that we all are beautiful if we want to.

And I ended up makin my own musical Mandala. This is the result. I might come back to make other mandalas. It seems like they're not erased. 


Voilà. This is just one of my busy brainy days and it could continue like this endlessly... But even though it was interesting to browse, play with music, learn more... it is NOT what I really want to do. A planned day dedicated to wandering, searching, browsing etc. might be cool, but not every day, not because my mind does what it wants instead of what I want. I realized that I needed to learn to be more in the present, to engage more with myself, to control my mind better, to get my time back for me. Because I don't want to waste time. In a world of so much information and funnies, I feel like I'm loosing myself.

More than one year ago, I subscribed for a series of 10 free guided medications  meditations online - they are guided by a man called Andy Puddicombe, founder of Headspace. I stopped medications due to irregular heartbeat and needed to find something to help me. These free short sessions made me feel much better and so I promised to myself to sell enough patterns to pay for a full registration and have access to everything on their website.

I finally could start their upgraded programme last month and I am thrilled. Not only is my brain clearer, less wandering, but I have more sense of humor, I see things more clearly, and, above all, have less and less mood shifts. Things still matter, but "I don't mind" so much anymore. I worry less. Exactly what I hoped. In fact, it works even better than what I expected. It has a positive impact on my relationship too. I'm more patient.

I recommend this to any person who would like to give meditation a try but got bored or discouraged. Visit their website. You might be surprised how simple it is. I think that they have the best approach and explain things so well that they really succeed to help anyone to become one's own friend and feel happy again.

Tomorrow will be Valentine's Day and because I love you, and am grateful that you read my post, and even more grateful for your support allowing me to do things like these guided meditations, you can have a 30% discount on all patterns listed. Only valid on Valentine's Day (February 14).

use code HEADSPACE30

Thank you for reading me! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Time to play

I'm having a break from writing - well, I try to not work too much on the book. I say I try because I always have more ideas popping up and then I can't resist the temptation to bead more to show this or that design option. I also learn more and more everyday. But I needed a little break. To make a few other things. To share with you. I like to show what I make.

I finished this Small Sea Serpent which was waiting since months for a solution for a mobile head. I don't know why the solution didn't come up in my  head earlier. It was like a wall stopping me. The solution was there since the beginning but sometimes it is simply a question of putting things down and come back to them later. It is a 'Cute Creepy Creature' and the shape of its head, just like the little angler fish, based on my Tiny Tulip pattern. I blogged about that back in April 2014. Time goes by so fast. The whole album of the Cute Creepy Creatures can be seen in my Facebook Albums.
Blue Beard
I finished two Fairy Figurines. I started making those to test my arms when I had problems with my shoulders and wrists, using Charles Perrault's fairy characters as a pretext. The purpose of this beadwork is not to be perfect. The purpose is to make something fast and fun, focusing more on the 'feeling' than making first-class beadwork. That said, these 2 figurines took much longer to make than the two initial ones. The tiny crow (about 1.2x1.2cm) on Maleficents stick is an intricate 3d peyote miniature, a modified warped square, which took an entire afternoon to create. Blue Beard has a hart of pyrite below his beard. It says in the tale that he had a heart harder than stone. Isn't he frightening? The whole album of the Fairy Figurines can be seen in my Facebook Albums.

I'm now playing with a fang made by Mikki Ferrugiaro. I started a 5-pointed Yukka flower with a wider inner diameter. I think that Kate would call it a 10-wing with curves, I'd say a 10-wing with 'curls'. It is not finished but I like it already.

I am also having fun with mixed media, and in particular with watch parts. I made two necklaces for my sisters in Law and cuff links for the men in the family. They liked these gifts a lot. I think that people don't realize how much time it takes to work with metal, findings. Or maybe it's just me, but I think that it is not as easy as might seem.  The metal on watch parts is extremly hard and often need filing to smoothen surfaces. Other parts do simply not come off whereas we want to, or it all comes off, whilst we wanted to keep this or that gear in that place. Ha!

There are also many details to be kept in mind when working with chain, components and findings. Security (protection of the eyes), length, counting chain links (over and over) to use the right number, use the right tools correctly. Prevent twists. Find the right place to attach embellishments (front, back, in the middle) for reasons of balance - find which chain has the right drape. Make beautiful loops while not breaking what is on the headpin, etc. One has to get ones hands on it and experience it by trial and error. It gives me easily back pain. Bead embroidery might be a better option. I am trying that too. It's great fun.

This big box arrived today
Christmas and New Year were very quiet and peaceful here. This is what hubby and I like most. We made a lot of delicious dishes during the holidays, and now I'm glad to come back to simpler things. Soup is my favorite these days. With lots of veggies. This evening we will make rösti - a typical Swiss preparation with potatoes.

This year will be my 10th year as a beader. I nearly can't believe it! Marsha Wiest-Hines of Haute Ice Beadwork, whose beautiful work I admire a lot and who shares many tips and information about her creation process, posted a picture of her pinnable mannequin and that day I said to myself that it was about time that I offered myself something similar. Not long before that I had made the Tristan and Iseult-inspired necklace, I promised myself that I would buy a mannequin to at least be able to make decent pictures.

So... Tadam! I bought two busts! one for the show and one for the work. Because the price in that shop was very reasonable and they shipped combined, well-packed and very fast, from Germany to Switzerland. They arrived today so that was  very fast!

Maybe I will make more long necklaces in the future? What is sure is that now I can place (pin) components easily to study a piece better, and find the right drape for chain. It will surely save me time to play some more.