Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great Things Come In Small Packages!

A while ago, I received an email from Artbeads asking if I'd be interested in sampling and reviewing some of their products in exchange for blogging about them. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate! When I was asked, it was Swarovski month. I was able to choose some CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements that I wanted to include in my beading. Who among us can resist the sparkle and beauty of Swarovski crystals? Not me, I love using them!

I knew I would choose some beads that I normally use with bead embroidery, however, I chose some different sizes that I haven't used before. I chose some 2.5mm and 3mm Swarovski Bicones and some 3mm Swarovski Pearls. I was most excited to try some 14mm Swarovski Rivoli Crystals. I have always been inspired by beautiful beaded-bezel cabochon work and know how to peyote stitch using backing material. However, I have wanted to learn open-back bezeling for point-back and irregular-back rivoli crystals or stones. So when I received my package on Labor Day weekend, I pulled out some of my books and magazines for inspiration and taught myself how. You can see how I used these Swarovski Elements in my pieces below.

The first technique I wanted to learn was to make some earrings I admired in the August/September 2009, Beadwork Magazine, by May Brisebois. She used double-needle right-angle weave to encase the rivoli. So I began my journey learning this technique first. I made two pairs of earrings with the 14mm Jet Rivoli Crystals, 3mm Jet Faceted Bicone Crystals, 15/0 sterling silver-plated charlottes with sterling earwires. This technique was fun to learn and the earrings turned out really pretty. They sparkle!

The next pair of earrings I made using the same technique. This time I used 14mm Vitrail Medium Rivoli Crystals, 3mm Vitrail Medium Faceted Bicone Crystals, 15/0 24K gold lined crystal seed beads with gold-filled lever backs. The vitrail medium rivoli is stunning! Depending on how they catch the light, they flash in colors of green, blue, gold, fushia and purple. You really have to admire this crystal in person because it is really hard to capture all the flashes of color in a photo. Including the earwire, these earrings are 1-1/2".

Then I began learning how to encase another vitrail medium rivioli with seed beads. I have really wanted to learn this technique and am thrilled that it is easier than I imagined. Pardon my threads, but I haven't finished these yet. I just wanted to share that I'm on my way bezeling rivolis! I used 11/0 and 15/0 24K gold plated Delica seed beads with 15/0 purple iris charlottes. I will embellish the bezel further with bead picots or more crystals. This is so fun to do and I am so excited that I took the time to learn how. There are so many possibilities...earrings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches and even stitched to fabric. Here is the front...

and this is the back...

I kept moving forward to use some of the Swarovski faceted bicone crystals that I received. The first piece was an unfinished brooch/pendant that was set aside because of other projects. It is a bone carved sun and moon face that we picked up on a memorable trip to the coast. I used one of my most favorite vintage nailheads and beads that are a golden bronze iris color. I completed it with Toho 8/0 black seed beads, 2mm Jet Faceted Round Crystals and 2.5mm Amethyst Faceted Bicone Crystals. I have used many round 2mm crystals, but I love these beautiful and delicate 2.5 mm bicones! They added a nice sparkle of amethyst around the edge. It measures 2-1/2". This is one brooch/pendant that will be staying with me, as it holds fond memories and Mark really likes this one. I'm glad that it is now complete and can go on my black wall of fame bulletin board where I keep and admire small works of art by friends.

I chose a topaz Czech glass dragonfly button for my next brooch/pendant. I used 12/0 and 15/0 3-cut seed beads in gold bronze, 11/0 and 6/0 olive gold luster seed beads and 3mm Copper Faceted Bicone Crystals. I love these and the size. It measures 2-1/2". This brooch is going to the Harvest of Hope's Silent Auction, which is a benefit for Candlelighters For Children With Cancer.

I then chose a beautiful red Czech glass heart button for this brooch/pendant. I used 11/0 seed beads, 13/0 24K gold-plated charlottes, 15/0 seed beads and 9/0 3-cut seed beads in ruby. I used 4mm Siam Round Crystals with 2.5mm Light Siam Faceted Bicone Crystals. It is very rich and really sparkles!

I have wanted to stitch a cuff for awhile now. It must be a natural progression in learning bead embroidery. Did I learn anything? Absolutely! One, again, we do not *whip things up*...*sigh*...I thought I had already learned this lesson! Two, there is a slight radius on the top of a brass cuff blank. After bezeling a large button, I layed it on top of the blank to see how it would look and realized it wasn't going to lay smooth on the cuff. That was okay, I just set it aside for making a flat embroidered cuff later. I didn't get the chance to use the Swarovski Pearls like I hoped, but I will use them in the flat cuff. It will actually be good to make a cuff both ways and see which I like best.

So I changed direction and picked a smaller focal point and cut another piece of Easy Felt. I chose a vintage glass black and bronze cabochon. I used four vintage Swarovski jet flatback rhinestones, vintage bronze faceted seed beads, vintage Czech diamond cut seed beads and bronze bugle beads. I then embellished the cabochon with 2mm Jet Round Crystals with 4mm Jet Faceted Bicone Crystals. Adding the crystals really added texture and brought the cabochon to life and it shines! I edged the cuff in brick stitch with 11/0 Toho black seed beads and it measures 1-1/4" wide.

I thought it would be fun to share both sets of earrings above. Say hi and leave a comment and I'll put your name in a hat. The first name will win the jet rivoli earrings and the second name will win the vitrail medium rivoli earrings. I'll share who won on my next post, Thursday, October 8th.

Thank you Artbeads for your gift and including me! If you haven't signed up for Artbeads newsletter, you really should! Sign up here at the top right of their website. You'll receive special offers, new product information and exclusive coupons. They have the *BEST* sales!!! I love shopping at Artbeads, and I honestly couldn't say enough great things about their company. And, if you didn't know, brand new styles and colors from Swarovski should be arriving any day!

Now to catch up with missed, but not forgotten friends!! See you on Thursday! ~Lisa


Carol said...

Man, you have been busy! I think your earrings are stunnin! Then your post just kept getting better.
Your cuff is an eye-popper. Its neat that you got to select items and then used them to create pieces while learning new techniques. I loved them all.
XX, Carol

Clevelandgirlie said...

It is so befitting that they should choose you to bestowe those lovely beads upon - knowing of course that you would come up with such unbelievably beautiful creations. All I can say is WOW! Your imagination and exquisite attention to detail is so inspiring to me, Lisa.
I love the tiny drop earrings, but the piece that makes my jaw drop is that black bracelet. You are an incredible artist.

Elizabeth said...


You have been not just busy, you went way beyond. So many beautiful items, can't pick a favorite one. Each of them has it's own beauty and charm. You challenged yourself and it worked out outrageously perfect.

Thank you for sharing all this beauty.

Have a great weekend.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Lovely, lovely work. The cuff is dark and dramatic and the brooches unusual and striking. Best wishes. Lesley

Dot said...

Hi sweetheart
I LOVE everything you have created! What gorgeous colors and beads. The Swarovski crystals look gorgeous in your designs. Love that striking cuff too.
You have done an incredible job! I think it's fantastic that Artbeads approached you. And you deserve it too. Lovely to have more beads for your stash too :) (yipee).
I was showing a friend of mine the lovely creations you made for e yesterday and she was in awe of your beading. Loved the Dotee doll you made me, adored the orange doll, and fell in love with Hoover! She commented on the beautiful brooches you made for me (and loved the Swarovski crystals around the sunflower button).
Your art get's better and better my friend.
Lots of love
Dot xxs

Dot said...

Just popping back in to drool over yout photo's Lisa. You are a beautiful photographer as well as being a beautiful beader. My heart sings when I look at your art!
Dot xx

Micki said...

The Harvest of Hope pin is just lovely! What an incredible job!
All of it is stunning!

Jacky said...

Oh my goodness !!! I am just blown away by your talent...both with beading ad I love the way you put colours and textures together. Just love the jet earrings and that awesome must open an etsy shop Lisa!
PLEASE put me in your draw for a pair of your stunning earrings.
Thanks so much for sharing all of these beautiful pieces you have made...I'm so please you were approached to use all of these beautiful beads and show us how to incoporate them in our art.

Jacky xox

Lynn said...

Simply amazing! You have been very productive - and these pieces are just incredible! Everytime I got to a pic, my jaw dropped further and further. Fab Fab Fab!!!!

Holly Loves Art said...

Your work is ahhhhhh-mazing! I am so impressed by the detail and the eye you have to make the perfect piece! Brilliant!

I have been ordering from Artbeads for years. I love them!

Have a wonderful day.