Thursday, November 17, 2016

Shard Art

When my friend the stained-glass artist cut some cabs out of stained glass for me, there were these leftover shards of beautiful dichroic glass. I certainly was not going to let those go to waste so Beth polished them too. Their shapes attracted me right away and they proved an excellent fit with some oval 18 x 24mm Lunasoft cabochons.

It was like beading candy – I couldn’t get enough of them.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dichro Delights

One of the pleasures of working with stained glass cabs is that you can find dichroic versions. Dichroic glass (ahem, tuning up the ubiquitous but useful Wikipedia music here) is made with two different colors, which shift in the light as it moves. It’s done with metals, so those colors really blaze, which satisfies my bling-y urges. I have lots of dichroic fused glass art beads but imagine my delight when I encountered scrap bags of dichroic stained glass at the local shop in Frederick, MD.

My friend Beth, the stained glass artist, took me there and we both lit on one large piece of dichroic glass. But she got to it first and bought it, so I made a deal with her. I’d make her a necklace with the cut cab shape of her choice if she gave me a cab of the stuff to make something for myself.

Here is Beth’s necklace:

Well, it will be a necklace. No wait, it is now a necklace. I forgot to photograph the final result.

This was also a fun design challenge – beading around sharply-pointed corners.  I knew I wanted to create a frame of beaded tubes with a pattern that riffed on the cab’s colors and effects but what the heck should go around those acute angles? Cubic Right Angle Weave to the rescue again!  I beaded two “V’s” in bronze seed beads and they fit perfectly. For the third angle, I got the idea of letting some fringe spill out of the two tubes, and made sure they were dripping lots of Swarovski crystals.

So what did I do with my cab?

Ta-DAH!!  This was a design that grew out of my summer exploring some Contemporary Geometric Beadwork stitches (a post for another day). These photos, alas, do not do that dichroic glass justice.

And there was an added dividend, which I will show you in my next post.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Finding Your Beading Thing

That's a rather clunky title but given that I bead all over the place - trying new stitches, patterns, etc., I realize I have an addiction to variety.  But mastery, and artistry, comes to those who do find a (beading) voice and stick to it.

My thing has become designing with stained glass. It all started with my friend Beth, who is a stained-glass artist. We did a trade or two. She made me a gorgeous stained-glass panel in teal and orange that hangs in the front window of my house to go with the colors in that room.

Here's what I made her, a split-loom necklace with a phoenix pattern I found in one of my cross-stitch pattern books:

One time I showed her a beaded cabochon I had done with a large crystal that had no foil on the back. She immediately imagined building a stained glass window around it and our first collaboration began.

 Not the best photo, but my beaded cab has been stitched to three metal rings soldered to the inner circle of this stained glass window.

I made another large pendant in turquoise and amethyst and Beth made a wonderful window to frame it, soldering two metal rings for attaching it. It took me probably 6 or 8 months of looking at it to finally decide how I wanted to do that. I used an expanding herringbone stitch to create a band to cover the metal loops, with crystal rondels stitched through it and the metal ring like a sandwich to keep the beadwork in place and add another embellishment.

I wish the photos were better – it turns out there's something more difficult to photograph than beadwork.

I'll be posting a lot more on working with stained glass. This turned out to be the beginning of an absorbing exploration of a new beading medium.