Posts Tagged ‘beads’

I mean look at that! That is stunning! (photo from KQ Designs)

As someone who is interested in history, and more specifically historical aspects of beading and other ‘women’s work’ I am always fascinated to learn about different culture’s practices with regards to beads and embelishments.  One of the cultures who have had a huge impact on beading and bead embroidery, is the Native Americans.  They have made some of the most beautiful beaded pieces and continue to do so!  Their work with seed beads is intricate and colorful, and their applique process is intense!

The symbols they use are distinct to each tribe and their beadwork usually holds a spiritual significance which expertly flows through the entire piece.  I love it when artists work spiritual aspects into their pieces.  It’s something I try to do myself in many of my works.  Sometimes with more success than others.

The color on this handmade bracelet is beautiful(photo from LJ Greywolf)

Native beadwork began with natural materials such as seeds, wood and bone.  Their most intricate work was quillwork where they wove together quills from porcupines or bird feathers.  They didn’t start using seed beads until the Europeans brought them over for trade, but once they did glass beads quickly took over as a favorite method of embellishment over the much more labor intensive quill work.

The best part is that Native American beadwork is still going strong!  There are many artists out there today who are keeping their ancestral traditions alive.  KQ Designs is where I found the delightful picture of a beautiful crown decked out in some stunning beadwork, posted above.  You can find many more Native Artists on Etsy!  One of the ones I found that makes some really amazing pieces is LJ Greywolf.  Check out his shop on Etsy, you can tell he puts some love in each of his pieces.  Beaded Willow makes some great chokers and her barrettes are dripping with beads!  I love it!

Dripping with beads I tell ya! (photo from Beaded Willow)

My great grandfather was a rural doctor in Oklahoma that worked partially for a reservation.  Sometimes his patients couldn’t pay in cash, so they paid with some beautiful beadwork.  My grandfather’s beloved childhood moccasins are beyond repair, but still maintain some of their beaded beauty.  I am currently working on fixing a beaded basket that at some point during the years has begun to fall apart.  The basket itself is still very well kept, though the string holding the beadwork on is broken in several places.  It is beautiful, and well worth the effort.  I just wish I had someone with more experience with the Native American style of beadwork to fix it.  I feel like I’m throwing mud at a work of art!

For more information on Native American beadwork check out this article from Fire Mountain Gems. Reading it today is what started my brain processing this blog post. Totally worth it!

 

 

 

 

I wanted to create a list of beads currently available for beaders who do stitchwork.  So I sat down and started making the list, adding definitions and pondering taking pictures to link to each type of bead when I realized that this was a monumental task.  There are SO many beads out there that stitchworkers can use it would take ages to put them all in one spot.

So I have decided to create a list of beads that I have worked with, or that I would like to work with in the future.  That is still a huge list, but it is much more manageable than trying to get all the beads available.  Feel free to list beads in the comments that you think I might enjoy working with that I have missed off the list and I will do my best to research them.  If you would like to see what the beads look like, I have linked the company’s website I gathered the information off of.  These are not necessarily the best websites to ~buy~ these beads at however, so if you would like to purchase the beads, there are other websites that work best for that.  These websites are the company’s websites and usually only deal with other realtors who can afford to buy in bulk.  I make no money advertising for these folks, they are simply the companies that make the beads we know and love.

With all that out of the way, we can start with the good stuff! → Read more

I have been working on a rather large project for the past few weeks and haven’t been able to give as much time to my beads as I would like to.  I really need to make sure to set aside time each week to work on creating and designing jewelry, it really relaxes me and boy, oh boy, can I use some relaxation now.  Jewelry creation has been a passion of mine for years, and it keeps getting interrupted by all the other things I need to do in life!  Luckily, I am blessed by a supportive husband who loves me and wants to see me succeed, so that helps.  He helps me overcome my anxiety and frustration and for that I can’t thank him enough.

Even with life exploding all over my creative time, I have been able to create a new piece for stock and wanted to share them with you lovely folks.  In the next few days I am hoping to have this bracelet and all the other new pieces in the store so folks can purchase them if they like them.

The first piece is a lovely bracelet that would be perfect for someone with slightly smaller wrists.  I can fit it on my wrists but it’s a wee bit tight.  Swarovski crystal makes this bracelet sparkle!  It was created by me, the pattern is by Ellad2.

 

I have a bracelet on the workbench now too!  I should have it finished in the next few days.  Here is a sneak peek.  I’m working it in purples as that is my second favorite color!

 

I have so many ideas for my own patterns, and I am thinking of uploading a few of my own patterns for download here on the blog, what do you think?  Would you like some simple patterns to download?  I have a few I made for several classes I taught last year.  Might be fun to see what you guys can make out of them!

Last but not least, something totally not bead related!

For years I have wanted to add a bit of color to my hair.  I used to dye it bright red.  But I’m already a bit red in the face so it wasn’t exactly flattering.  I wanted something that would take the rosy cheeks and tone them down a bit.  So I found a lovely hair stylist and she gave me a few streaks of blue!  It’s such a great color of blue too, I absolutely love it.  She also added a lighter patch in front, where all my grey is because I love the stripe of white!  If it wasn’t such a pain to grow out I would leave that part natural and wear it with pride!  Since I have no patience to let the color grow out, I figured this was the next best thing.

Take a look!

How has winter been for you?  We have had a massive amount of snow here and I for one will be glad when it gets warm enough that I can open up the windows and air out the house.  Not to mention seeing the grass again!  I am so used to spending at least one weekend a month out in nature, camping or hiking.  Something where we can get out and stretch our legs a bit.  Sadly we have been so sick the last two months that we have had to skip our nature weekends!  I miss it terribly!  I would love to get back out into the wilds and breathe deep.  It’s so relaxing.

Despite the wave of illness that has kept me from heading outside, I have been able to work on several crafty things lately. If I can’t get outside, I might as well make the most of the time I spend inside!  I figured I would share a few of the projects with you to let you know I am still alive and kicking.  Life has been super busy here at The Jeweled Heron and once the sun returns I will take pictures of my new creations and post them in the store!  As always if you see something you like, let me know.

Seeing as how I love lists, (Big shock coming from the girl who likes to organize her beads eh?) I am going to organize my thoughts into a nice list for you all.

I finished organizing my beads!  It was great!  Then I found another hidden stash of beads that has yet to be organized by the new organizational system I am using.  I’m not sad about this.  I’m actually looking forward to trying to fit them in.  Does that make me weird? I have finished another pendant.  When I was working on this one I was certain I wouldn’t like it.  However, now that it is done, I’m actually liking it quite a bit.  I am going to do it in another color to see if I _actually_ like it or if it was just a fluke.  Till then, here is a picture of it. I tried my hands at another pendant pattern and realized I actually DO hate it.  I won’t be posting a picture of that one.  Seriously, it’s terrible.  I’m trying to figure out how to save it.  The more I think about it, the more I want to tear it apart and use the beads for something else.  Ugh. I finished a necklace and matching earrings!  They were super fun, and made up for the last pendant’s disappointment.  Every failure deserves a win.  This duo is my win.  I found a fun blog post about jewelry inspired by books.  It was cute!  You should check it out too. This blog is just one aspect of the Jeweled Heron’s public face.  Don’t forget you can find me on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too!  They are a great way to keep up to date with what I am working on as I am working on them!  You don’t have to wait for me to write up a formal blog post like you do here.  Likes and comments remind me that I am not alone with my beady obsessions.  *laughs* Just in case you missed it on the Facebook page.  I love skulls.  My little jewelry loving heart loves gemstones.  You put the two together and I can’t help but want them all!  Check out these amazing gemstone skulls!  So realistic and so beautiful!  I need to start a collection.  *drools*

 

Welp!  That is everything for now!  I hope you folks have a great and crafty weekend!

One of the things I struggle with in my life is my need to help people.  I have seen people suffer, I have felt suffering myself, and knowing how destructive it is, I have always strived to help people move beyond that suffering.

 I had begun to work with beads very early in my life, my family is very artistic and my counselors encouraged me to seek emotional outlets in safe and healthy ways.  Beads allowed me to work through my depressions and sort out my frustrations.  The repetitive nature helped me to focus and calm down when things got too intense.   I had worked my way through drawing comics to crochet and painting, but when it all comes down to it, it is the precision and color of beads that drew me to bead work.  It allowed me to satisfy my need for ‘perfection’ by being perfect for me.  You can count on the shapes of the beads and plan your pattern around them.  All it takes is some thread and time and eventually you will have a thing of beauty.

The problem quickly became a question of how did creating jewelry help others?  Let’s be honest it’s an expensive hobby and not nearly as important as food or shelter when it comes down to basic human needs.  Many of the people I found myself surrounded by early in my life were struggling to make ends meet. They couldn’t buy jewelry and it was selfish to want something pretty when you had to save up just to pay rent.  Believing I could make a living by creating jewelry was a dream that I couldn’t afford to strive for. So believing beads held no value for anyone but myself I pursued a career in the medical field. It fulfilled my need to help people, but at the expense of my own sanity.  The hours were long, the work thankless and dirty.  While I enjoyed helping people, I burnt out quickly.

I make jewelry because I have walked through darkness.  I have felt despair like ice beneath my skin. Whether it be negative criticism about the quality of my work, or complaints about who I am ‘supposed’ to be or even the isolation of being in an abusive relationship.  I have felt the deep depression of one who has spent way to much time staring into the abyss. I believed the lies that because I enjoyed girlie things I was lesser in some ways. I believed that by wanting beauty in my life I was selfish and greedy.

The thing about the abyss is once you are in ensconced in the darkness, it’s easy to remain there.  It’s misery can be deceptively comfortable.  The idea of hope suddenly becomes foolish because the bullies tell you it is.  The darkness becomes your new accepted reality.

“Creating beauty isn’t helping people.”

I believed that for a very long time.

But for me making beautiful things allows me to drive away the sorrow and pain of daily life so that I can see that the world isn’t a horrible place.  There is beauty still out there, there is still a reason to hope for the best, even if it is just for today, even if it is for just one, more, day.

If my jewelry can do that for me, then perhaps it can do that for others.  If it gives even one other person the ability to hope for a better day, then surely that person sees it as helpful.  Surely it can be their talisman for hope in a better life.

Through all my careers, through a failed marriage, through the ups and downs in life, beads have helped carry me over the troubled waters.  They have become an armor I wear against the darkness, who’s hateful lies tell me that suffering is the only thing I can do in this life.  It drives away the thought that being called ‘girly’ means you are weaker, dumber, or of less value, that seeking out positive things means you aren’t focused on ‘the reality of the world’ when, in fact, reality includes those positive things too.  Creating jewelry, for me, drives away the thought that I am not good enough to be loved for who I am simply because I don’t meet some ephemeral set of societal ‘standards’.  I wear jewelry because it makes me feel pretty in a world that says I am not pretty enough.

For me, life has gotten so much better. I have beauty I can wear on the outside that reminds me that it is the light that we have on the inside that makes us truly beautiful.  I have someone who loves me to remind me that I had to love myself first.  I have compassion for those who suffer because I have suffered and seek to ease their pain in the best way I can.

To you who read this I want you to know: It is not foolish to hope.  No matter what society says, you don’t have to focus on the negativity in the world.  Bad things happen, but they aren’t the ONLY things happening.  Good works are going on all around you, they are just quieter and usually more humble.  I want you to know that you are beautiful and it is okay to think yourself as such.  Even if your hair isn’t the right color or your teeth don’t line up or your ‘too fat’ or you don’t make enough money.  If you are constantly working on who you are as a person, your light will shine through.

In this world, hope is not a luxury we can take for granted.

And that, my friends, is why I create jewelry.

 

Cat W. is the lucky winner of the Seed Bead Giveaway! Congrats Cat! I am certain you will make lots of fun and funky jewelry with these fun beads!

Once I get in contact with Cat to get her address I will ship these beauties off to their new home!

Yay!

We have reached 150 likes on our Facebook page! To thank all of our fans The Jeweled Heron is giving away a huge stash of seed beads! What can YOU do with these beauties?

The giveaway starts tomorrow, January 31st and runs until February 7th when the winner will be announced.

Seedbead Giveaway!

We moved into this lovely new condo several months ago, and as we get settled in I find myself trying out different work spaces for when I work on my beading.

I have found a set of bead organizers that I absolutely LOVE and I am slowly moving all my beads over to this new system.  Sadly, this system is a bit more expensive than I would like, which means I can’t move them all over all at once.  Still, while slow, this process has me rethinking how I organize my beads.

Mainly I work with seed beads, delicas and Swarovski crystals/pearls.  Smaller beads that fit perfectly into the organizer’s tiny boxes.  I haven’t even started on the larger beads I use for stringing.  Though I have to figure out a better way to store my chains.  They are one of the odd ball things I don’t have a really good way to store.  I’m pondering using old spools to wind them on, but don’t actually have any old spools to try it out.  So winding the chain on cardboard seems the next logical step.  Hm.

I digress.

The organizer that works wonderfully with these smaller beads would be the ones from Bead Storage Solutions.  I get mine from Fire Mountain Gems and have had no problems with them at all!  They have several options with regards to size, so you can definitely work with the larger beads, but for my purposes I stick with the smallest and have been quite happy with that choice.  They even come with their own little labels that you can affix to each container so you can keep track of color, size, price, whatever you need to keep track of.  These are my only complaint as the glue they use doesn’t stick well to… anything really, so you are going to have to make sure it stays put.  A minor inconvenience to be sure, but one you should be aware of.

They even have a larger tray that holds all your tools and spools of thread and one that is supposed to hold your work in progress.  I don’t use the last one because I have something else that works better for me, but as you can see, it’s a really great system.

I am currently working through each of the trays, putting like beads with like, and then sorting them by color.  This will take a while, but it will be really helpful when I am looking for that one specific bead that I need for a project.

Another thing I am planning on doing with the seed beads and the delicas is creating a color rope that I can take with me when I go shopping so I don’t purchase the same color twice. (or if I need more of the same color I can match it to the new beads because sometimes the dye lots just don’t match up.)  This will take some time, but will be totally worth it in the long run.  Buying duplicates is always frustrating and while I will ultimately use the beads, it is rather wasteful.

I am going to use Herringbone I think, it works up fast and makes a wonderfully flexible rope I can keep with me pretty much at all times.  Granted, I will have to see how long the sucker gets, but I’m certain I won’t mind keeping it on me even if it is a little longer than I expect.  It’s beads, not much can go wrong with that.  It’s a project I’m looking forward to for the mindless enjoyment as well as the organizing aspects.

How do you keep your beads organized?  I’d love to see it!

Because I make everything by hand you can order any of the pendants in my store in any color combination you choose! If you have a particular outfit that needs that perfect embellishment I can make sure that the colors are perfect!  Feel free to drop me a line if you are interesting in discussing one to match your wardrobe!

 

Also, because I love you guys, here is a sneak peek at the new pendant style that is coming soon!

Life has been crazy here!  Between settling into a new job, getting ready for the wedding and getting ready to move life has been busy, busy, busy!  Still,  I am still finding time to make beautiful things! I need to take pictures of all my earrings for sale but the storms recently have kept the sun out of sight which makes for very dark and uninspired pictures.  Hopefully in the next few days I’ll be able to get some good photos and upload them to the webpage.

Until then, here is a teaser of what is coming!  I loved making these guys.  Fun, lightweight and super sparkly!