About Me

My photo
Self Taught Bead Artist

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The biggest seed beads you'll ever find!

Say HELLO to the two largest seed beads. Currently, at 6:22PM Australian (in Victoria) time on the 12th of April 2012, the two above beads are the biggest seed beads you'll find anywhere (well, according to google)!

This month at the Etsy Bead Weavers Team, the challenge was "Seed Beads Only." Participants were challenged to create a piece of work using only seed bead (ie, round or delicas mainly).

I thought long and hard about this challenge theme about what I could make, and I couldn't think of anything! I thought I wouldn't be entering, until I had a dream a couple of weeks ago about giant seed beads. And I thought, what the heck? Nothing speaks "seed beads only" better than giant seed beads!

If you remove the beadwork over the seed beads you'll find blue polymer clay rings underneath. They look quite basic but they actually took a LOT of work. I wanted the colour to match the beads I was going to use (blue iris), so I spent an entire afternoon trying to make the perfect colour blend. They mainly consist of light blue perle, but I also incorporated black (make it darker), royal blue, sky blue, a blue in between the previous two shades listed, and just the faintest hint of purple. I think I did quite a good job to be honest! They had to match the beads properly so they couldn't be seen at all through the gaps in the bead work, as this wouldn't have had just eed beads showing, and that would have been against the rules (can you imagine if I'd used bright yellow?). There was also the issue of trying to make strips of this colour the same width and height, and then joining the strips into rings with them all having the same circumference, and not having the join thicker than the rest of the ring.

I had originally intended to make 6 beaded seed beads (I made 6 rings! The looked like blue cheezles when I took them out of the oven!), but after taking almost 2 weeks to bead just two, I was fast running out of time. So I left it with two.

In my head I had imagined beading around the PMC rings long ways in tubular peyote stitch using 11os. But after beading several rows I found that the beading that was going around the inside of the ring was ending up further along than that on the outside, and so the nice neat rows were suddenly out of wack. So I changed to using 15os when I got to the inside, and kept the 11os on the outside, and cut out the original rows I'd done. Yet after several round of that (more than just using 11os) I found the same thing to be happening. So finally I stopped doing that section, and started another section a third of the way around the ring, and beaded this section until the frustrating wacky-ness began to start again and the 15os inside the ring joined up, and then did another segment. Finally, when the inside was all zipped up, I filled in the gaps on the outside until I could zip up the outside beadwork. Whew! A LOT of work!

The next drama I had was trying to work out how I could separate the beads on the rope, as I wanted them to be the focal point, so I needed something to space them out a bit. Space... Hmmm, spacers!! A friend of mine had once shown me a picture of some beaded spacers she'd found somewhere, so I tried to create something that looked like what I could remember of it. I had recently found instructions to increasing within the herringbone stitch, and after a bit of thought and trial and error and bit of excess thread and sicssors, the above pictured beaded spacers were born! I'm quite happy with them, so hopefully I can remember how to do them for future works!

The rope was also interesting (and time consuming, and trial and error!). I used right angle weave (RAW), but I wanted to have a silver pattern running through it. So I drew out a few rows of RAW and coloured in a diagonal line of where the silver (these "few rows" turned into a whole page lol) and began beading. I've never beaded RAW off a chart before... But I have only done it twice :P This massive long strip of RAW I then sewed into a massive long tube around a black leather cord. The clasp is simply peyote stitched. I ended up using three stitches in this necklace: peyote, herringbone and RAW.

Making these beads (actually, this whole necklace) was very much trial and error. I'm not generally very good at designing my own beadwoven (ie, specifically beadwoven, bead embroidery is easier) creations without a pattern of some sort. I don't know how to manipulate stitches to do certain things, or to fit with certain beads, or to work in some special way, very well, so trying to create what was in my brain was an extra challenge for me. But I have found this to be getting easier to do (althought I have such a long way to go!) with the more bead embroidery I do, as it allows me to explore the concept of design and I can actually create what's in my head!

I hope you like Size 0.005, the largest seed beads you'll ever find. It was definately an experience!

Voting for the "Seed Beads only" EBWC is currently happening on the blog, so feel free to head on over and vote for your favourite between now and April 15th (mine is number 36, if your favourite happens to be mine)! :)

Happy Beading!!