Monday, August 15, 2011

Favorite Techniques: Beaded Washers

Pastel Twilight focal

Sometimes, the beading techniques that we favor most are inspired by the use of a favorite material. Delica lovers are masters of peyote stitch. Chainmaille and jump rings go hand in hand. Today my guest, Tamara of Vanishing Pearl Jewelry, shares an insight into her favorite combination of technique and material - beaded washers.

Inspirational Beading: What is your all time favorite beading or jewelry technique?

Tamara: I don't necessarily have a favorite beading or jewelry technique. I believe that most designs will dictate the techniques used as you go along. However, I have recently been designing jewelry pieces that incorporate beaded washers! They are made using circular brick stitch with various embellishments. This is my current favorite line of jewelry.

Inspirational Beading: How did you decide to make this combination?

Tamara: I first came across washers as a design element while bored at Wal-Mart in the middle of the night. You can see the entire story behind beaded washers on my blog. Ever since then, I've had nothing but washers on my mind. I had learned circular brick stitch years ago, but it had never occurred to me to use something with a large hole in the middle rather than wrapping thread around a bead and going from there. This was a revelation for me and is still an experimental process.

Fire Powered Plumbing

Inspirational Beading: Of all the creations you’ve made with this technique, which one is your favorite?

Tamara: I'd have to say that Fire Powered Plumbing is still my favorite. This was my very first beaded washer piece and the most challenging to make. It was a finalist in the 2009 Fire Mountain Gems beading contest. This piece opened up a whole new set of possibilities for me, which I am constantly expanding upon.

Inspirational Beading: Can you share any tips for getting started with this method?

Tamara: Actually, I recently uploaded a free photo tutorial on my blog! It includes a material list and step by step instructions for one of many beaded washer designs. You can embellish them in any way you like or look out for more tutorials from me in the future.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material to use it with?

Tamara: There is no need to just stop at washers! I have used rubber washers and rubber O rings. Go one step further and venture into your bead stash. There is a piece that I made using mother of pearl shell disks. I call it Jasmine Fancy. I plan on using stone donuts, glass donuts, lampwork discs, rondelle beads, and anything else I can get my hands on.

Inspirational Beading: If someone had to choose to learn only one technique, would you recommend this one?

Jasmine Fancy Headband

Tamara: I would definitely recommend this as a beginning technique. Although the stitch is very easy, the uses are limited only by your imagination. The amount of variety is endless. I have even changed the color of the thread according to what looks best at the time. I'm sure that patinas and paints could be applied to washers to give them different effects. Plus, washers are lightweight and fairly inexpensive. That's always a bonus in my book!

You can see more unique beaded washer designs and inspirations at Vanishing Pearl on Etsy and Facebook. For more fun beading ideas and to see what’s new, visit Tamara’s blog, Vanishing Pearl.

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading and Vanishing Pearl
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  1. Everything looks great! Thank you so much for the feature, Mortira. I had fun.

  2. Great interview!! I love the infinite possibilities using these parts and bead weaving techniques!

  3. Fascinating! Her pieces are really unique.

  4. Thanks for your wonderful comments ladies!


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