Sunday, August 9, 2009

Team Fundraising Project

A few months ago, Artisan Beaders Street Team decided to create a charm bracelet which we planned to take bids on in order to raise money for a worthy cause. We chose a charity that assists women who have been victims of rape, abuse and incest.

The theme of our bracelet is "The Ocean". Each participating member interpreted that in her own way. I have received some lovely ocean themed charms and am preparing to construct the actual bracelet. Here are some photos of the charms and the lovely clasp made by one of our team members. Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

This photo shows some more detail of the clasp and some pretty lampwork beads.

Here are some sterling silver charms and special gemstone beads.

This photo shows a polymer clay bead, more lampwork and freshwater pearls.

Here's a gorgeous lampwork shell charm and more pearls.

Stay tuned to see the progress of the bracelet and find out how you can make a bid -- all for a very worthy cause.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Technique Tuesday - Using Large Hole Beads

I purchased these gorgeous lampworked beads from my teammate Deronda. While making a pair of earrings with them (for myself!) , I realized that my method would make a good Technique Tuesday post.

Lampwork beads most often have large holes, rendering them quite wobbly on a regular sized headpin or wire. This technique offers a solution to this problem.

Starting with flat end headpins, I add a small flat-ish glass spacer bead in a coordinating color. Without this, the bead would slide off the headpin because of the size of the hole.

Look at the spot where the headpin exits the top of the bead in the photo below and you can see that it is off center.

String some seed beads (I find that size 11 work well in most cases) onto the headpin to fill the hole in the lampwork bead. Fill to as close to the top as you can. Choose a color that matches the main bead. The quantity of seed beads required will vary depending on the size of the lampwork bead.

Look again at the spot where the headpin exits the bead. Now, with the seed beads in place, the headpin is centered and stable.

I finish by adding another spacer on top of the bead, followed by a butter colored amber bead.

Contributed by Vicki of Orion Designs, using beads from Deronda Designs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Technique Tuesday - Make a Perfect Spiral

The spiral has plenty of applications in jewelry design. Here, I will show you how I make a spiral. Take these basic instructions and add your own twist -- make it your own! The technique will be the same regardless of gauge or material.

Using round nose pliers and a piece of wire, make the smallest eye/loop you can. I won't go into details as to how I do that exactly -- I'm sure you have your own method.

Make sure the loop is as round as possible, as that will help make your final spiral round.

Place the spiral directly up against the box joint of a pair of flat nose pliers. For this task I choose my bent nose pliers, coated with Tool Magic. Place it so that the "tail" of the wire is pointing straight to the side.

Using your thumb, gently bend the wire upward, directly against the edge of the starting loop.

Reposition the wire so that the tail continues to point straight out and directly to the side. Using your thumb, continue to push the wire upward. Repeat these two steps until the spiral has the number of revolutions that you want. Most of my applications use 2 1/2 revolutions.

A completed spiral with 3 revolutions. This process may take a bit of practice. Use scrap wire to perfect the procedure and keep all of your attempts. They will help you see how far you've progressed.

Here are some earrings where I use the spiral as an integral part of the earring:

This pair of earrings uses a spiral as a purely decorative element:

Contributed by Vicki of Orion Designs.