Archive | March 2016

Spring Flowers Bookmark

BookmarkSpringFling2Earlier this year, I won the bead jar raffle at our Bead Society meeting.  At every meeting, members donate a nice bead or two, or some beading supplies, which all go into a huge jar and is raffled off at the start of the new year.  That’s a full year of supplies for a bead addict’s delight!

As I wrote in “Bead Jar Bonanza,” I won that jar this year.  And what I decided to do was make some things from its contents and donate them each month for our Society’s raffle.

For the month of March, I donated my Spring Flowers Bookmark.  I took a metal bookmark, some glass faceted roundels, glass pearls, and Lucite flowers from the bead jar.  I added a singular diminutive clay butterfly bead from my own supply, and the final project is this sweet springtime bookmark.  Each bead was hand wire wrapped on a length of chain.  It’s surprisingly lightweight and is balanced well, too.

The member who won this was thrilled!

I am already working on another creation that I’ll donate at next month’s meeting.  Stay tuned.

©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique

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The Knotted Pearl Necklace

We hold monthly classes at our Bead Society, and at our March meeting, one of our members taught the technique of knotting leather cord with pearls.

Learning how to knot on cord was a long-time objective for me.  As Program Director for our Bead Society, I was excited when our member-instructor suggested this class.  That evening, many of our members gladly sat at the tables, eager to learn, too.  Here’s my necklace, as I was working on it:

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What was most surprising for me was the ease of knotting.  Granted, it does require some dexterity, and using an awl and long nosed pliers are actually very helpful to get the knots lined up “just so” against the pearls.  It took a little adjusting, and in the end, the finished piece has, as one fellow member stated, “  . . . [a connection] with some primal early human desire for adornment.”

My finished piece:

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Yes, it has a beautiful, rustic look in its simplicity.  And it wears beautifully!

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©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

Crochet Beadwork

We took my class offerings to a new medium last week – beadwork a la crochet.

Crochet beadwork is a technique with which I busied myself several years ago, during a time when I couldn’t get enough of crocheting.  Wanting a little uniqueness to some of my doilies, I strategically placed tiny seed beads within the stitches as I worked them.  Adding beads to my work added the texture and visual interest for which I was looking. They turned out beautifully.

It came across my thoughts again several weeks ago when I was developing and scheduling my classes.  Why not offer this, a little “something different”?

This time, during my class, my friends and I decided to make some summertime beach-worthy bracelets.  My pattern is simple and basic enough for the beginning crocheter, and incorporates single and half-double crochet stitches with size 10 crochet thread in ecru and inexpensive glass or wooden beads.  It does work up fairly quickly, but still, it takes about two hours to complete, depending on how fast or slow you are as a crocheter.

Three of my students chose to create their pieces using glass beads; one chose colorful round wooden beads.  My friend who chose the wooden beads took my pattern in a little different direction.  She added a few extra rows, sans beads, to one of the edges:

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The others completed their bracelets with glass beads, and they also turned out pretty.  (I think my photograph of them turned out pretty nifty, too!)  I think they would look good with black thread, too, don’t you?

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Notice that a matching bead does its work as a “clasp” that blends in nicely.  They are ready for the pool or beach!

I plan on writing out the tutorial for my pattern that is public-worthy, and will announce its availability here when I get it written.

Enjoy your creativity!

©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

Designer Showcase: Deb Roberti

My version of Deb Roberti's "Maya Band" bracelet.

My version of Deb Roberti’s “Maya Band” bracelet.

One of the beading designers whose tutorials I enjoy is Deb Roberti from Around the Beading Table.

What I like is her uncomplicated page layouts, clear directions, and detailed drawings of each step. You don’t have any questions where you are or where you are going in completing your piece.

One of my all-time favorite patterns of hers is “Maya Band” bracelet. I made a few, and they proved to be a popular gift, too. With each bracelet, I added 4mm crystal rose montees in the center of each “flower.” Not only does it add a touch of sparkle, it will hide that a-little-too-much-space-in-the-center-of-each-flower problem, if your beading goes that way.

You can find her tutorials at Around the Beading Table. Her prices are reasonable, and from time to time, she will offer free ones, too.

I recommend you add her designs to your beading table.

I obtain my beads for this and many other Deb Roberti tutorials from Poppy and Gene’s Beadery.

©2016 Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, The Rosary Shoppe, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

What’s in a Name

Here we are at the beginning of a new week, and noticing last week went by fast. It definitely was a busy one at my studio.

I held another class. It was a basic needle weaving session using the gourd, or peyote, stitch. This was a new stitch for a few of my six students, and a nice refresher for others. We used one of my own earring designs as a starting point.

This stitch has been around for millennia, and goes as far back as ancient Egypt. I grew up knowing it as the gourd stitch; at some point beaders today more commonly use the term “peyote stitch” instead. What is interesting is that the term “gourd stitch” derives its name from American Indians decorating gourd containers, and “peyote stitch” is derived from American Indians decorating decorative objects used in their peyote ceremonies. Nonetheless, it is the same basic stitch.

I like it for its simplicity and versatility. When I create something using only Delica seed beads, the piece turns out smooth, flat, and slinky. I have modified patterns by using various sizes of seed beads, the most well-known of these is the Cellini stitch. It’s peyote gone ‘round and ‘round with a lot of interesting bumpiness!

We had fun at my class, and we learn from one another. I hold the belief that not only can experienced beaders share their knowledge and talents, but novice beaders bring a lot to the table, too. They see things with fresh, new eyes. And sharing and discussing some background history about the art of beading keeps our conversations between us beaders delightful and positive – and it makes it so much more enjoyable to want to learn more, and to return to my studio to learn and share even more.

©2016 Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, The Rosary Shoppe, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

The Importance of Culling

This morning, I am working on a large wire work/beading order.  Part of this includes using fire polished beads.   

When I begin any project of this type, I first go through the beads that I’ll be using, looking for broken ones, misshapen ones, odd sized ones, et cetera. 

This morning I found one of the fire polished beads didn’t quite make it to being a true fire polished bead.  As you can see in my photograph, the one on the right is what a fire polished bead should look like, facets and all.  On the left, well, that’s just a smooth round bead.FirePolishedExamplesI cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure that all of your beads for your project meet your approval before you begin.  It’s awful when you’re deep into a project and discover a bead or two aren’t up to par and you don’t have enough beads to replace them right away.

The extra few minutes culling your supplies will save a lot of time, aggravation, and money.  Luckily for me, this was the only “wrong” bead in my supply.

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.

Sharing and Expanding

This was an exciting weekend.  I (finally) expanded my business to teaching various art forms, including wire work, beading, crochet, embroidery, et cetera.

I held my first class in my shop, and we had it to full capacity, too!  Gene had to sit this one out; he was busy working in our bead shop, which is important to stay on top with. 

This weekend, the project was a simple one – a delicate bracelet comprised of tiny bicone Austrian crystals with Czech glass seed beads to complement them.  I put kits together with my pattern, so it was easy for my students to choose what they wanted when they arrived. 

Two students finished their projects that morning, and here are a few pictures of their bracelets:

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Which do you like best?  I cannot decide which one I like better – the peach or the pale green.  They both are delightful to look at, and so feminine.  Just in time for spring! 

What makes this project so effective is that the artist doesn’t need to have a precise wrist measurement to complete it.  I introduced the technique of adding an extra length of high quality chain on one end.  This way, the wearer can adjust the size accordingly.   It’s practical. 

I believe it’s important for artists to share their knowledge and experiences among each other, and to introduce others to various art forms.  I have classes scheduled for the next several months where just this sort of thing will go on.  As time allows, I’ll share what my students and I are doing, and I invite you to share your thoughts.   

I am also giving private classes during the week and on weekends, so if you live in the Pensacola area, contact me and we’ll make arrangements. Remember – I do a lot more than beadwork, so don’t hesitate to ask what you would like to learn. 

Stay tuned; it’s going to be a fun and enterprising ride.

 ©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.