Saturday, March 15, 2014

"A Moment In Time"

Pompeii, the Roman town buried under the fiery ashes from a volcano eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD is a story that will forever shock and fascinate us.  The terrified residents ran for their lives, but couldn't out-race the sudden and fatal combination of heat, smoke, ash, and burning debris raining down on them.  A few grabbed their most precious jewelry at the last moment.  It would be years later before some of these ancient pieces were unearthed and miraculously preserved.  The amazing fact is that due to certain atmospheric conditions occuring that day, much of Pompeii was captured for us to later recreate and see for ourselves . .   "A Moment In Time."

In my books on Pompeii, the colors from the ruins are my personal favorites : gold, amber, turquoise, red-orange, and copper.  These colors decorated the walls and homes of many citizens of Pompeii, mostly in painted frescoes or in colorful tiles.

Above: Photo from Pompeii wall that survived the volcano's eruption.

Click on any photo for a larger view

"A Moment In Time" is an off-loom beaded bracelet that I made using copper-colored glass Luster cube beads for the majority of the bracelet. These are sewn together using only thread - it is the peyote or gourd stitch that holds them together.  These beads have a very slight pink-orange tone to them and are highly reflective.  Working with them under any source of light was a bit of a challenge - as they almost blinded me, they were so shiny.  It was my first time to work with cube beads, as I generally use round beads. The cube beads lock together in a very satisfying way. 

The central focal part of the bracelet consists of a rectangular Red Creek Jasper pendant, a turquoise Magnesite oval cabochon, and a red-orange Carnelian faceted cabochon.  These three stones were embroidered by hand onto Nicole's BeadBacking in the Hawk Wing color.  After sewing down these cabs and bezeling them with cut-crystal bicones and tiny seed beads, I added amber-colored matte size 15 Delica seed beads around each stone to highlight them.

Although it's difficult to see clearly, I've attached a tiny copper bumble bee that was a gift from my daughter-in-law in the lower right corner of the Jasper gemstone - it is attached with a loop of seed beads so that it can move, as it is anatomically correct both on the front and back of the bee.

The very edge of the bracelet is finished off in a picot edge that features turquoise Hematite cube beads given to me by my dear friend, Linda.  The central picot beads are a Luster magatama or tear- drop bead.  Underneath the middle part of the bracelet, I have sewn a soft, burnt sienna-colored square of UltraSuede.

Although you cannot see it in the photo, the Luster beads that make up the majority of the bracelet are very flexible and drape almost the way fabric does - the movement of this bracelet is fluid as it encircles the wrist.  The closure is comprised of three decorated beaded toggles with three loops on the opposite side which blend in with the rest of the bracelet.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Stepping Stones" ~ Necklace Featuring Red Creek Jasper

The gemstone Jasper is playing a starring role again in my beaded creations.  This particular Jasper stone is called Red Creek Jasper, and the colorations of the stones range from a light creamy yellow, to a soft orange, on to a deep red, a gray-green, an olive green, and finally a brown.  Often the stones have most of these colors embedded in them in swirly patterns. 

click on photo for larger image

This necklace incorporates large Red Creek Jasper free-form beads (the long, narrow shapes), as well as a triangular piece in the middle, and several oval-shaped beads besides the round 4 mm, 6 mm, and 8 mm beads.  I've added Yellow Jasper in places to play off the yellow coloration.  In addition, there are a few Agates, and lots of Japanese Toho glass seed beads in olive green, dark taupe, and a creamy yellow - these are in sizes 6, 8, 11, and 15. 

The entire piece was hand sewn and embroidered bead by bead on Nicole Campanella's NBB foundation in the color Hawk Wing.  The backing is a soft tan-colored UltraSuede.  Around the edges of the piece I have added very delicate picot edging with tiny size 15 beads. 

The toggle bar and loop closure is made with seed beads, and I got a little ambitious and made a beaded bead as well.  I'm still working on improving that technique . . .

Here is a closer look at the various colorations in Red Creek Jasper beads. 

"Forest Floor" featuring a yellow-green Jasper focal cabochon on a bead embroidered cuff bracelet.

"Forest Floor" 

click on any photo for a larger image

My attraction for the stone Jasper continues ~ my hand automatically reaches for them whenever I visit my local bead store.  Jasper comes in so many different colors, and combinations of colors, I can't imagine every tiring of it.  This particular Jasper stone with it's bright yellow-greens, dark emerald green "spider webbings", and gray-green organic patches won me over, and I knew I had to make a bracelet with these colors.  It reminded me of the colors one might find on a forest floor.  While I don't have access to an actual forest, I do walk in the woods quite often . . . 

Around the time that I was working on this bracelet, I walked outside on a cold, winter afternoon and noticed on the ground bright green patches of new grass peeking up and growing alongside gray-green pieces of lichen.  It made me think of spring trying to push winter aside.  I was struck by the beauty of the two greens together, and wanted to incorporate them in this piece.

As I have done in the past, the first photo of the bracelet (above) shows the bead embroidered foundation flat for photographing ~ once it's placed on the brass blank cuff to become a bracelet, it's harder to see the entire design together.  

Besides the oval focal Jasper cabochon in the middle, I have added smaller Jasper beads in various greens and gray-greens, glass pearls in both green and gray, cut crystals in several colors including a very bright yellow-green, and Japanese seed beads in a number of colors, sizes, and finishes. Some of the smaller Jasper beads are called "Landscape Jasper."  Also included is a small, round, gray-green Agate that is faceted on the top of the stone. 

This bead embroidered cuff bracelet is sewn onto Nicole's BeadBacking in the Chartreuse Shine color ~ a yummy yellow-green color that allows the transparent and translucent beads as well as the cut crystals to show their best.

Above is the finished bead embroidered cuff bracelet.
Around the entire bracelet edge I have sewn a double row of picot edging using Japanese glass drops called Magatamas.  This is the first time I've tried a double row edging, and I really like the way it turned out.

Inside the bracelet is a soft, olive green UltraSuede lining.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"Promise Of Spring"

Because I love this bright, apple-green Jasper stone so much, I made a second bead embroidered cuff bracelet with it as a focal center stone when I discovered another one at my local bead shop, "Beads and More."  I just couldn't resist! (The first one I made to give as a gift.)

The Jasper stone is actually a bead meant to be worn as a pendant - there is a hole on each end lengthwise.  Both sides were equally beautiful - it was difficult to decide which one to show.  

I am calling this bracelet "Promise Of Spring" because I incorporated bright, yellow-green glass beads, as I was out of the "lichen-colored" gray-green stones.  In addition to the Jasper stone beads, I have also included faceted green Jade beads and faceted multi-toned Agate beads.  With spring always on my mind, and in anticipation of it after a long, cold winter, I think of this beautiful yellow-green color as a *harbinger of spring.*  

This image (above) shows the bead embroidered piece on the foundation after it has been cut away from the Nicole's NBB in the Chartreuse Shine color.  These bracelets photograph better flat, as the whole design can be seen at once.  After the beaded foundation is wrapped around a brass blank cuff, [which is sandwiched between the beading and the UltraSuede backing], it's more difficult to see the design - as only parts of it can be photographed at one time.

Here is the finished cuff (below) :

I have embellished the outer edges of the cuff with Japanese TOHO #11 glass seed beads, 
and added a picot edging with green crystal bi-cones. 

The next photo shows the ends of the cuff in an angle that features 
the inner UltraSuede material in a peacock pattern.

For information on the fantastic bead embroidery foundation that I use and highly recommend, please visit:
and discover Nicole's BeadBacking, which comes in 14 colors.  Treat yourself to the best!