Tag Archive | Glass beads

Cleaning Your Art Medium

One of the most important tasks the bead artist does is to make sure beads are clean before using them.

I was preparing to create a new item the other day.  I gathered all of my strung peridot chips and started to take them off the strings to place them in a bowl.  By the time I was done, my fingers were grey and those bead chips needed cleaning!

The easiest method for me was to put them in a small jar, add a tiny drop of mild dish soap, add some water, tighten the lid, and shake, shake, shake. 

They then went into a mesh strainer and under running water to be rinsed well.

Placing the bead chips on a paper towel is the best way to lay them out to dry.

Leaving them to dry overnight ensures that all the moisture evaporates.

Now they are bone dry and ready to use — squeaky clean!  This cleaning method works well with all types of beads; just remember some only may need a damp rag wiped across them, some need deeper cleaning, and use your best judgement in getting the grime off.

(c)Miss Poppy’s Boutique and all works within.

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Peeking into Queen Twosret’s Jewel Box

QueenTwosretWrapBraceletTutorialI admit it: I am a fanatic for anything ancient Egyptian, and have been as far back as I can remember.

This week, I obtained some of the new 6mm pyramid beads. They are half the size of the similarly-shaped studs, and much more versatile for my type of creations. This summer I’ve been designing many new projects, and wrap bracelets are just one type.

I took the pyramid beads and combined them with other specialty beads in roughly the same sized category, added seed beads, and I came up with an easy to make wrap bracelet. I enjoy making my own beaded clasps, too, which is what I did for this project.

I used beads in traditional ancient Egyptian colors, and the piece feels like the Pharaohs had an extraordinary influence on this! The blue is like the prized lapis lazuli they used in their jewelry; the precious gold they prized for its flash; the reds of ochre and jasper; the black of the Nile’s rich silt; and the stripes on their headdresses when I created the clasp.

I named this piece “Queen Twosret’s Wrap” after the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Seti II’s wife. Two colors of seed beads are used to give a striped appearance between the larger beads. It adds a little something special, don’t you think?

The tutorial is available now in my shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique (click HERE to purchase).

Beads are from Poppy and Gene’s Beadery (click HERE for fabulous, high quality beads at affordable prices) .

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

Pièce de L’élégance

Here at my studio, this seems to be the season for patrons and customers commissioning me to create pieces for them. I’m creating bracelets and wall art, and all this is keeping me busy every day.

One commissioned work in particular stands out for this week.  I was asked by one of my longtime customers and art aficionada to create a purse charm based on a metal bookmark I recently designed. Looking through my supplies, I carefully handpicked Swarovski crystals, Czech glass beads, and a two-tone hand carved Czech glass melon bead. I arranged them in groups for their most aesthetic appearance, and hand wrapped them in delightful clusters with gold plated wire.

Beginning to gather pieces for the charm.

Beginning to gather pieces for the charm.

To make the chain, I fashioned my oval-shaped jump rings as the base for this piece. Then I added each cluster of beads to it, starting at the end with the largest, a cube-shaped peachy hued Swarovski crystal, end capped with crystal Swarovski caps and marguerite flower beads.

I continued adding each cluster to the chain, connecting them with smaller oval jump rings. At the opposite end, I attached a small lobster clasp and tiny wrapped bead cluster.

The finished charm on my vintage straw purse.

The finished charm on my vintage straw purse.

The purse charm in its final incarnation is pretty! It sparkles and shines, and adds just the right amount of interest and effervescence to make this a conversation starter. The lady who commissioned this purse charm recently bought a new purse, and this charm is just the ticket to add that pièce de l’élégance and je ne sais quoi to her ensemble.

The charm on my vintage gold mesh evening purse.

The charm on my vintage gold mesh evening purse.

Most of all, I hope the charm brings joy and that little something to my customer/patron.

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

Kon Tiki Earrings

In 1947, Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl organized an expedition via raft to sail across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia. He posited the idea that pre-Columbian South American peoples could have settled in the Polynesia islands. The raft was named for the Inca sun god “Viracochoa”, and “Kon-Tiki” was an old name for the god.

My friend, Deborah Wear-Finkle, designed a pair of beaded earrings that evoke olden days of the Incas and Polynesia, and she rightly named them “Kon Tiki.” They do have a South Sea isle look about them. I imagine a time long ago, and a Polynesian tribal princess wearing them for a casual cookout with the gang on a beach:

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These are easy earrings to construct. I made my version with silver and grey seed beads, pink crescent beads, black O-beads, black dime beads (in the picture, they’re the smaller beads towards the bottom), and large beads topside (I used black wood beads from Africa on mine).

You can get the tutorial for Deborah’s “Kon Tiki Earrings” at her Esty shop, Shosin Arts. Click on this link: Kon Tiki Earrings.

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

The Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet as Art

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Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet by Shoshin Arts

A couple of weeks ago, I finished a single peyote stitch bracelet, and immediately knew that since I enjoyed making it so much, this was going to be my “Summer of Peyote Stitching.”  Well, it appears so.

My friend, Deborah Wear-Finkle is a talented artist, an intelligent woman, and a lot of fun to be around.  She expanded her creativity recently by opening her own Etsy shop, Shoshin Arts, and offering some of her original peyote patterns, among other delightful items.  Her Japanese brushwork-inspired bracelet, “Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet,” was my second peyote stitch work I tackled this past week.

(As an aside, I like things Japanese:  I enjoy reading about their history, politics, culture, and art, and savoring the cuisine.  One of my cousins spent her childhood living in Japan, and in college one of my Bachelor of Arts degrees focused heavily on the Japanese political system, art, and history.  So, this bracelet was one of those excited “I want it!” things.)

Deborah’s pattern calls for 8O round seed beads, but I took my version in a different direction by using 11O Delicas (cylinder beads) instead.  I liked how theses beads make the plum branch very delicate-looking, and the overall look is smooth.  Seriously, I am delighted at how delicate the branch looks, with that almost-paint-brushed-look about it.  Yes, to me it looks like Sumi-e, or Oriental brush painting.

Additionally, it made for a much smaller (4” x 5/8”) piece, and stiffer, too.  I was pleased with my result, although since the piece was about half the length it should be for a bracelet, I was going to stitch more rows to add to the length.  Then I thought I’d add tassels and make it a bookmark.  Then my husband, Gene, suggested I add a beaded loop to one end and hang it as wall art.

Brilliant!

I did that.  I added a row of peyote stitches for the loop, and hung it.  It’s a simple, delicate, and an interesting piece of wall art that reminds me of my friend each time I see it on my foyer wall. 

Here it is on my foyer wall. The wall color maybe isnt' the best against the piece.

Here it is on my foyer wall. The wall color maybe isn’t’ the best against the piece.

You can purchase Deborah Wear-Finkle’s Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet tutorial/pattern at Shoshin Arts through Etsy.

I like it!

I like it!

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

A New Medium

To say I’ve been busy is an understatement, particularly over the past two months or so. I enjoy being busy, and it pays to stay organized. Yes, it does.

Last year, I purchased many pounds of locally made (Pensacola, Florida) glass beads. The artist considered them “seconds,” but I considered them a bonanza of hundreds of perfect and unique pieces of art.

At the time I purchased them, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. But it took a lot of sorting and selecting for this piece of art I had in mind. In fact, it took months of putting this bead in that pile and that bead in this pile.

Once I had the beads culled, it was time to count them out, for the art work I designed called for a specific number of beads. That done, it was – finally – time to create my piece.

Carefully aligning each bead in group, I capped and wire wrapped each one, paying specific attention to how each bead looked against its neighbor.

Months of work led to my final piece: A wall rosary. It’s substantial and hefty, and a little more than three feet long.

I am now in my studio creating another one, and will be offering it for sale when it’s completed. Of course, as with much of my art, this will be a one-of-a-kind work.

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“Splendors of God’s World” Wall Rosary, (c)Susan Marie Molloy Designs

 
©Susan Marie Molloy Designs and 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.