If, like me you love beading I think you will enjoy these few pieces I made recently from a fabulous bag of beads I was sent by Fiona Fewer of Dink Design. Fiona is a jewellery designer herself and had her own very successful jewellery business. She is now selling beads and jewellery making components and is one of a few Irish craft suppliers nailing it with her eclectic and interesting selection of beads and findings. For anyone who is interested in beading Fiona also runs beading workshops which are proving very popular and if I didn’t know a bit about the subject myself I think I would be going along!
This is not a beading tutorial but more just a look at what can be done with some unusual beads and a spool of tiger tail! There is nothing new here in terms of techniques. I have kept it simple in the hope that I can entice you into a bit of beading over the summer months! It is such an enjoyable way to pass a few hours and a very productive few hours when you consider you could make a whole set of beaded jewellery which can be given to friends and family as gifts or you can make exactly that type of jewellery you would like for yourself.
Here is some of what Fiona sent me …. I set them into this pattern (purely accidental) as I pondered what I was going to do with them! To be honest I am in heaven! Imagine being sent such a beautiful concoction of colour and shape and all in various types of glass! I particularly loved the long oval shaped ‘shards’. I really fell in love with these. They come in three different colours and I would highly recommend giving them a go!
At first glance I was a bit scared at the array of beads! The beads were ALL beautiful so it wasn’t the beads themselves but more what I was going to do with them that had me worried! Its not like when you buy beads yourself…. you know when they arrive and you go ‘Oh! they look different!!’ and you place them to the back of your beading stash (vowing to use them tomorrow!!). With this challenge myself and Fiona had decided she would send me a selection of beads (her choosing) and I would come up with a few designs! Sounds easy? Well I have discovered that its really worth doing! Using shapes and sizes that you wouldn’t normally use is good to get the creative juices flowing. In other words get outside your comfort zone and try something a little different! This is the part of the whole challenge that I enjoyed most. I wouldn’t normally buy the long ovals but once I got over the ‘fear of the oval’ they turned out to be my favourite bead. They were a pure delight to work with and they are on Fiona’s website in various colours. I was very excited with the painted shell rectangles because they were beautiful but I had no clue what I could do with them. Instead of just adding them to an earring hook I decided to go all out and make a statement necklace! I placed a rectangle onto a head pin and then added 3 or 4 of the tiny pink electroplated glass rondels. I made 5 of these dangles and placed them straight onto the tiger tail between the frosty blue rondels. It works really well! I added a few of the shards to either side of the main front piece which totally transformed the piece into a real statement!!
This is such a fun piece of jewellery. It is a short length (almost choker) so can be worn over a top or against the skin. I added an extension chain so there is a choice of length. Then I made a chain bracelet. First I made a ‘connector’ by placing one of the yellow shards on an eye pin with a sparkly rondel either end. To this I added some silver plated rolo chain with three of the frosty blue rondels on either side. This is a very easy bracelet to make. I find using chain for bracelets gives the piece more movement. You can check out my chain bracelet tutorial here.
Next up in the bag of goodies were the beautiful burnt orange glass pearls……mmm I loved these. I immediately wanted to do a rosary style chain as pearls always look and feel so good with plenty of movement but instead I decided on a two layer bracelet using the painted glass rice beads for the second layer. I threaded the beads onto tiger tail and then added some chain to a bronze connector. I went bronze with this colour scheme because it goes so well with the burnt orange. I have used my own vintage etched bronze chain and toggle clasp. I wire wrapped both the glass pearls and the orange shards and set them into a 4mm bronze link chain and then added one of my own mosaic pendants. For the earrings again I wire wrapped the beads to create a drop style. (earrings pic at end of post).
Next up are these really pretty moonscape pearls. I love these beads. They do look like pearls but they have a moonscape surface! So they are quite tactile as you can feel the uneven surface. Fiona stocks these in about 10 different colours. I thought the pastel pink would work well with the tiny little pink electroplated glass rondels. They are so tiny and sparkly so I used them in between the pearls. For the drops I used the pearls again but this time added in the hematite hexagons which are in a lovely champagne gold colour which goes so well with the pastel pink.
There is no end to the earrings that you can make with any selection of beads! They are the most enjoyable pieces to make. You could quite easily have a pair for every day of the year! Well maybe every week! 52 pairs wouldn’t take you long. All you need is plenty of beads! So heres a few I made with some of the acrylic lantern beads that Fiona stocks. I loved these beads. They are quite big but very light and they have a lovely gold inlay giving them an oriental feel.. Love them! I added a pop of green with these large lime green crackle glass rounds.
You can use lots of different colours with these lantern beads. Fiona stocks every colour bead! The teal glass squares are divine. And such amazing value. They measure 12x12mm and cost just €3 for 25! I used them here with the electroplated glass rondels and hammered bronze bead caps from TierraCast.
I got very into these long ovals! The colour is divine. I added the electroplated frosted blue rondels as a drop. These rondels are very unusual. They measure 9mm and you will get 50 for €3! Great value!
And finally, sometimes when using a very distinctive bead just like this frosty blue shimmery bead, it is enough to have it on its own. I placed a silver plated bead cap top and bottom and placed on kidney wires. This earring will take you 5 mins to make!