Thursday, August 27, 2009

Inspired Beader: Una Tia Especial!

Carnelian Copper Hammer Rings - Una Tia Especial

Elaine Silveira is an exceptional jewelry designer, working with some of the most beautiful materials in the world of beading. Her combinations of crystals, glass, wire and chain are gorgeous examples of what handmade can be. A proud aunt, her Etsy shop Una Tia Especial was named in honor of her nieces and nephew, who call her “Tia” - Spanish for aunt. One look at her designs is all it takes to see what makes them special.

Inspirational Beading: How did you first discover the art of jewelry making?

Padparadscha Squared Bracelet - Una Tia Especial

Elaine: I was sent a rear view mirror charm for my birthday last year. It looked easy enough to make, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I wanted to make meaningful Christmas presents, so I went to Joann Fabrics and bought my first jewelry starter kit. The art of jewelry making really became evident to me when I found out that there were actual BEAD stores. Stores dedicated solely to beading! I couldn’t believe it. And then to find out they offered jewelry classes?!? I was hooked.

Inspirational Beading: Where do you find the most inspiration?

Elaine: I find the most inspiration just by looking at the beads or crystals that I’m using. I see a particular color or bead and I imagine a design surrounding it.

Grapes Vine Bliss Necklace - Una Tia Especial

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material or technique?

Elaine: Swarovski crystals are my favorite material to work with. They sparkle like nothing else. It is just amazing how a little piece of crystal can totally change how a piece looks. I’m obsessed with beadweaving lately. I took a class and that was it. A simple spiral weave is my absolute favorite to weave because it’s so easy. The Cellini spiral is my all time favorite. I just wish it was easier to weave. I usually have to start over at least twice and I’ve pulled beads out because of a mistake I noticed after I weaved several rows! But, the finished product is just marvelous!

Crystal Copper Cosmic RIng - Una Tia Especial

Inspirational Beading: Of all the amazing Swarovski colors available, which one do you like most?

Elaine: Crystal Copper and Padparadscha are my go to colors lately.

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Elaine: I never gave much thought to inspiring others. But then again, I never thought I was crafty. Jewelry making has opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing color and design. If the fact that I turned a thought on a whim to a full blown business inspires others to give their whims a try, then I will say it was a good day.

Elaine Silveira works as an attorney, representing a public safety union on Ohio. When she’s not helping to improve the working conditions and lives of her members, she’s creating! You can check in with her on her blog, Una Tia Especial, and on Facebook.

Red Rounds Necklace - Una Tia Especial

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading - Elaine Silveira

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Golden Swan Necklace

Sheath Dress Topped with Ostrich Feathers by California Designer

The world of fashion - high and otherwise - is a wonderful resource for anyone who creates jewelry. The beader who knows what the season's hottest colors will be before the rest of the pack may find their designs becoming a must have. This is a goal for many of us, and keeping up to date on fashion trends can be an important tool.

The Inspiration:

While watching an episode of FashionTelevision earlier this year, I was totally blown away by the amazing designs in the Julien MacDonald Spring 2009 collection. The entire show was filled with totally wearable pieces in trendy neutral tones. The garments that really caught my attention were those with gorgeous soft textures - some using light and delicate feathers.

I immediately picked up my sketch book and scribbled down some ideas that captured the same whispy textures and edgy lines. The colors were also an important factor. Some ideas used a lot of black, and others plenty of cool creams. It was the beiges and taupes that I liked best, so I contemplated some neutral necklaces until the perfect idea clicked.

Swarovski Crystal Golden Shadow Beads

The Beads:

I started with some Swarovski beads in Crystal Golden Shadow. The color was just right for my Julien MacDonald inspired piece. I gathered up and assortment of crystals, including 3 and 4mm faceted rounds, and some tiny cosmic triangles. I’ve always wanted to use Swarovski components like these, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

For the body of the beadwork, I added cream-lined black diamond Toho triangles, olive gold-lined clear 11/o seed beads, and gold lined black diamond 15/o's. Although each shade is slightly different, they all seem to compliment the Golden Shadow crystals perfectly.

Gold and Cream Beads

The Beadwork:

One of my initial sketches was a beaded pendant with bugle beads done in brick stitch. I had envisioned several layers of beadwork suspended from a delicate beaded chain. After some contemplation with the beads I had selected, I decided to go with a single layer of St. Petersburg chain, stitched together into a wing-like pendant.

Golden Swan Necklace

I connected the pendant to a smaller St. Petersburg chain using the Swarovski triangles. I really love the colors of the piece, and I think it really captures the feather inspiration, although it’s a little more eclectic looking than the clothing that sparked the idea.

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Emerald Collar Necklace

The netted collar necklace is one of those coveted beadwork styles that many beaders are eager to attempt and master. There's something wonderful about the way the beads curve into a perfect circle, and the necklace itself is always a work of art. Perhaps it's because of the ancient feel of netted collars that we are so drawn to them - they are reminiscent of Pharaohs and other fantastic jewelry lovers gone.

The Inspiration:

Netted Beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald

I recently purchased a copy of Diane Fitzgerald's Netted Beadwork, which is full of amazing netting projects and ideas. I was instantly drawn to the book because of the netted collar pictured on the cover - something I had always wanted to try. Although I probably could have found a pattern anywhere, I wanted some advice from a trusted expert - and the 17 other projects in the book where a great bonus, too.

After reading the directions for a netted collar, and studying the pictures and diagrams, I felt ready to tackle a version of my own. I sketched out a few pattern ideas using some of the beads I had on hand, then went straight to stitching.

The Beads:

As is my habit, I chose a black and green palette for this yet to be discovered beadwork. I started with some basic opaque black 11/o and 6/o's, with gunmetal seed beads for some extra shine. These would make up the base of the necklace.

Emerald and Black Beads

For embellishment, I chose some gorgeous emerald Swarovski bicones from, and matched them with emerald Miyuki seed beads. I also added some jet AB crystals, and turquoise Picasso teardrops for the ends of the netting.

The Beadwork:

After working on the necklace for awhile, I started to regret all of the years that I had put off attempting this technique. It's marvelously simple, once a pattern is established. The completed piece is a pretty reminder of why I love beads so much. The simple design really allows the Swarovski crystals to stand out and shine.

Emerald Netted Collar

My favorite thing about the netted collar technique is how adaptable it is. No matter how you string the first row, the pattern it creates will look amazing, and is so much easier to follow than geometric patterns like flat peyote stitch. I'm really excited about the endless possibilities that the netted collar opens up for future beadwork.

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Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading

Friday, August 14, 2009

Forever June Necklace


The Big Reveal is finally here, and all of the fabulous USE THE MUSE II entries are now on display. The wide range of beadwork styles and imaginative pieces is amazing - a treasure trove of inspiration and delight!

It was such a thrill to spot my entry, “Forever June” in the N-Z gallery, among all of the amazing artwork submitted by my fellow beaders. Scarlett Lanson deserves a big round of applause for all of her hard work, and for bringing us all together around the Muse.

The Inspiration:

As soon as I had ordered my kit for the USE THE MUSE contest, I set to work on possible designs, eagerly awaiting the mystery component. Because it was already revealed that the Muse was a LillyPilly pendant, I was able to come up with some metal-free ideas.

I tried to think of ways to incorporate many of the other kit materials, including the silk ribbon, but in the end my most satisfying idea was to somehow stitch the pendant onto flat beadwork. I surveyed my mental inventory of techniques, sketched out some designs, and waited for the kit to arrive and complete the inspiration.

Blue Muse Seed Beads

The Beads:

I wanted to use as many of the kit’s beads as possible, without overwhelming the gorgeous shell pendant, or looking too “busy“. I was able to incorporate all of the wonderful Swarovski crystals and pearls, and the 15/o seed beads. To this I added a few selections from my own stash, including some delicious abalone-lined crystal seed beads from

Forever June Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard

The Beadwork:

With the idea of stitching the pendant directly to my beadwork, I decided to build a necklace using St. Petersburg chain. The V-shaped version of the stitch creates a small platform at the center of the necklace, perfect for embellishing.

Rather than simply pin the pendant down with a bead or two, I decided to enhance the floral motif with a brick-stitch beaded flower. Another flower at the back of the necklace makes up one half of the clasp. For a little whimsy, I added some fringe at the V, with a platinum pearl peeking through the Muse.

I named the necklace “Forever June”, because although the pendant and flowers have a summery feel, the Swarovski crystals and St. Petersburg chain give the necklace an icy winter vibe. I like the idea that it’s something cool to wear in summer, and warm to wear in winter.

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Inspired Beader: Samantha Hutchinson-Cloud

Green Chainmaille Necklace - SilverLinedDesigns

Seed beaders are so fortunate to have so many millions of possible bead and technique combinations available for designing amazing jewelry. But the realm of beading and jewelry design holds so much more than just thread and beads. One of the most versatile art jewelry techniques is chainmaille. By combining tiny rings with other materials such as glass, leather and stone, one can create interesting and beautiful works of art.

Samantha Hutchinson-Cloud of Silver Lined Designs uses her passion for chainmaille to create a wide variety of necklaces and bracelets to appeal to the medieval princess in all of us. Hailing from Austin, Texas, she channels her natural creativity into amazing jewelry.

Gold Chainmaille Necklace - SilverLinedDesigns

Inspirational Beading: How did you first discover chainmaille?

Samantha: I first discovered chainmaille a while ago. In fact, I'm not sure I even remember a specific incident. I have always been fascinated by metal, circles, and jewelry, and one of my friends was really into doing chainmaille. It all just clicked! I also enjoy other forms of jewelry making, such as leather work, wire work, and even simple bead work. But chainmaille is really my passion.

Inspirational Beading: What are your favorite sources for inspiration?

Samantha: I am inspired by many things. Nature is full of patterns, and finding these patterns to incorporate into my work is very important. When I think of nature inspirations though, I guess I mainly think of trees. Trees have so many shapes, and they all come together to form a beautiful, natural piece of art. It is these shapes and what they can do when they are combined that really inspires me. Trees incorporate shapes from circles, ovals, triangles, squares, etc, and they all fit together perfectly. In my pieces, I try to emulate those combinations in order to create a complicated and visually interesting jewelry piece.

I am also inspired by other people's artwork. I love looking at other chainmaille pieces and learning how to create the patterns in other works of art. The more you know, the better your own art gets!

Brown Chainmaille Cuff - SilverLinedDesigns

Inspirational Beading: What's your favorite material to combine with chainmaille?

Samantha: I love working with leather, and chainmaille and leather create a particularly bad-ass combination. I also enjoy beads, stone and glass. Stones are always interesting, and I find that natural elements such as stones and leather help ground the piece and make it more earthy. I am not as much into really modern all metal pieces. Plus, since nature is such a big part of my inspiration, I find it important to add an element of nature to my pieces.

Inspirational Beading: Is jewelry design your main passion?

Samantha: Definitely. My goal in life is actually to own a combination vintage\jewelry shop where I can create my pieces and sell beautiful vintage garments to go with them!

Whenever I am sad or bored, chainmaille always cheers me up. When I'm happy, it makes me happier, and when I'm feeling crazy it calms me down. I am planning on majoring in art in college, and I'm hoping that taking art and sculpture classes will improve my work and add new skills that I can use to create all different kinds of jewelry. I would really love to learn how to do glass work!

Loops Chainmaille Necklace - SilverLinedDesigns

I also love photography. I have a wonderful camera, and macro photography is my favorite! I just need a good macro lens.

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Samantha: I hope to inspire the people who wear my work. My goal is to make the people who purchase my pieces happy. I want them to feel like they have bought something they can show off and enjoy wearing! I would love for people to see that chainmaille doesn't just have to be huge and clunky like vests and armor, it can be delicate and beautiful. There is always an occasion for chainmaille, you just have to find the right piece. I want people to realize that something as simple as a small metal ring can be made into something intricate and exciting!

Blue Chainmaille Necklace - SilverLinedDesigns

Samantha will be majoring in art and Chinese at Hendrix College in 2009. You can see her designs in her Etsy shop, SilverLinedDesigns, or catch up with her on Facebook.

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading, SilverLinedDesigns

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blue Rivoli Pendant

After creating my entry for the USE THE MUSE II contest, I still had quite a few beads left over. With a great starting palette of deep blues to work with, I’ve been looking for ways to put the beads to good use.

Swarovski Pointed Back Rhinestones

The Inspiration:

I wanted to do something with Swarovskis, but since I had used up most of the crystals in the kit, I had to start from scratch. The pointed back rivoli rhinestone has made quite a few appearances in beading magazines recently, so I thought it would be fun to try them out and see what I could create.

The Beads:

I started with four different rivolis in shades like sapphire, Montana blue, and jet. I absolutely adore the elegant sparkle of the crystals. To match the rivolis, I chose 15/o’s in transparent gray and navy iris, and 11/o’s in Dichroic-lined blue and denim blue.

Blue Seed Beads

The Beadwork:

I started by creating a peyote stitch bezel around each rivoli, then connected them together at different angles with seed beads and Swarovski faceted round beads. Once the body of the pendant was complete, I created a bail using square stitch.

Blue Rivoli Pendant Necklace

I just happened to have a matching seed bead chain left over from another project, which was easily added with a simple lark’s head knot. I’m so pleased with the way this beading experiment turned out, that I’ve decided to keep it for myself. Next on my to do list is finding a fun way to use up my leftover silk ribbon.

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading

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