Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fruit Salad Necklace

Distant Cousins Fruit by Jameson Best
Distant Cousins
Photo Credit: Jameson Best.

Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are a great example of nature’s best offerings coming together in one place. Our favorite produce is often the most colorful, which is no coincidence. Not only are these foods delicious, but they are exceptionally good for us, too. Nature always manages to draw us in with her vibrant reds, greens and yellows.

The Inspiration:

I remember reading about Tagua when I first became interested in beadwork. I was instantly drawn to the material, not only because of its good environmental reputation, but because of its unique beauty as well. It was months before I finally got around to buying a few slices, and once I had them sorted and stashed, I completely forgot about them.

While looking for materials for another project, I came across my little collection of Tagua pendants, and decided it was time to finally put one to use. So I picked a nice pear-shaped piece in lime green, and set it on my workspace as a reminder to make something exotic as soon as the opportunity arose.

The Beads:

The shape and color of the pendant I chose reminded me so much of a piece of ripe fruit, that I decided to run with the idea, and chose beads to suit. I picked transparent orange and yellow 11/0 seed beads, with silver lined chartreuse 8/0’s for accents.

Tropical Fruit Bead Palette

The Beadwork:

Since the pendant was drilled front to back, I went with V-shaped St. Petersburg chain, and anchored the pendant to the beadwork with a pink roundelle. With the beads all together, the fruity theme comes right through. I think it looks like a bowl of sliced papaya, kiwi and pineapple. I like the way the Tagua pairs with the tropical colors. This necklace has me yearning for summer!

Tropical Fruit Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inspired Beaders: Nancy and John Chlpka

Beaded Gourd Bowl by Wet Dog Studios

Beads and nature always go together. The world’s first beads were inspired by nature, and by early humanity’s need to make use of everything at hand. Leftover shells, animal feathers, quills, bones and interesting stones were all used to make primitive and wonderful beads. Today, not all beads are natural, but even man-made ones can be used to channel our affection for Mother Earth.

One style of bead art that captures nature’s charm is the beaded gourd. Made from dried and hollowed vegetables, these charming works of art can remind us of how beautiful nature is. We often keep the natural world at arm’s reach, but artists like Nancy and John Chlpka give us the opportunity to embrace it again. The beautiful gourd bowls, birdhouses and jewelry from their shop, Wet Dog Studios, can inspire the Earth-lover in us all.

Beaded Gourd Bowl with Antlers by Wet Dog Studios

Inspirational Beading: How did you become interested in working with gourds?

Nancy: John gave me one as a gift. I got to wondering "Could I?" and for the last ten years the answer has been YES! Initially John hung around for the heavy lifting but about three years ago the gourd bug bit him, too. He has primarily stuck to pyrography and carving, but just last month added selections to my bead order!

Inspirational Beading: What kinds of beads do you usually use to embellish your work?

Nancy: On a gourd, bone beads are my absolute favorite. I'll often color them with a natural dye such as coffee or beets. Also, combining them with glass or shell beads can really make a design pop.

Beaded Gourd Basket by Wet Dog Studios

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite color or finish to use?

Nancy: I've used every color in one project or another but usually find myself in the brown family. My designs use mostly a matte bead accented by intricately carved or flashy glass beads.

Inspirational Beading: If you could master any new technique, what would it be?

Nancy: I've finished a lot of gourds with rims of woven natural materials, and I'm experimenting with stringing beads to give gourd bowls a "necklace" finish.

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

Nancy: Anyone with an interest. I think people become so busy they ignore their own creativity. John and I spend hours at Art Festivals answering questions for up and coming artists - it's wonderful!

Beaded Gourd Bowl by Wet Dog Studios

Nancy and John Chlpka live in rural Western Pennsylvania with their two dogs. The dogs play an important role in the business. Spike is Director of Human Resources, and Vegas is Director of Special Events. Both helped coin the motto for the business: "There's Nothing Friendlier Than A Wet Dog!" All are big supporters of the Animal Rescue group.

Nancy and John are frequent speakers at Art Guilds and Garden Clubs in their area, spreading the word about gourds. Both have won awards for their artwork and in addition to their Etsy site they are featured at The Blue Heron Art Gallery in Volant, Pennsylvania. Nancy and John are members of both the American and Kentucky Gourd Societies. They source their art-quality gourds from nearby suppliers, such as Front Porch Crafts of Kentucky.

To see even more of their designs and wares, including wood carvings and antique glass, visit Wet Dog Studios on Etsy.com.

Beaded Gourd Bowl with Cowries by Wet Dog Studios

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Wet Dog Studios

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poster Sketch: Spring Flowers

As artists, it’s very important that we occasionally look up from our work and smell the flowers. This isn’t just because it’s good to take a break once in awhile, or take some time to embrace the little things in life. The beauty of nature is such a wonderful source of inspiration, and if we’re always at the workbench, we might miss it. This week’s Poster Sketch is dedicated to one of Spring’s most precious treasures - the flower. These creations could not be possible without the help of a little muse called Nature.

Etsy Picks: Spring Flowers

Row 1:

Wool Felt Flower Pin by murdockdesign
Blue Holiday Statement Necklace by pulpandpaisley
Woodland Black Gemstone Bracelet by joanniel
Margaret Necklace from madebymoe

Row 2:

Ladybug on Flower Game Tile Pendant by SimpleSundries
Sunflower Garden Wide Peyote Cuff by time2cre8
Yellow Sunflower Cuff by jodihorgan
Mardi Gras Flowers Necklace by VanBeads

Row 3:

Crape Jasmine Necklace by MaryTDesigns
Sunny Days Clip On Earrings by enchantedbeads
Spring Garden Lavender and Yellow Bracelet by PacificJewelryDesign
Vintage Inspired Lavender and Green Drop Earrings by LeanneDesigns

Row 4:

Sparkly Crystal Flower Pendant by MadeByKatarina
Daisy Bead Crochet Lariat by LevyMarina
Arden Necklace by RachelleD
Poppy Pin by cordavalera

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Etsy.com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Introducing The Empanda Blog Award

The Empanda Blog Award by Inspirational Beading

Receiving recognition, or a thumbs up from our peers is a wonderful feeling. When a fellow blogger receives a meme award, and chooses to pass it on to you, it’s a great compliment - a sign that you’ve been noticed and that your blog is pretty darn good.

Recently, I was inspired by some of my fellow blog artists to create an award of my own. The Empanda Award is named for the Roman goddess of kindness and generosity. Also referred to as Panda, her temples were true sanctuaries, and often distributed food to the needy instead of hoarding it.

The Empanda Blog Award is for bloggers who inspire us with their kindness and generosity. It is for bloggers who do good deeds, such as sharing their knowledge freely, or promoting the work of others.

I am giving the first official Empanda Blog Award to three very special bloggers, who have given me much reason to smile over the past few weeks. Their hard work and friendly nature are great examples to anyone who is trying to stand out in the realm of blogging. They are:

Marsha L. Wiest-Hines of Haute Ice Beadwork. Marsha is an amazing artist, with a flair for color and interesting techniques. You can see her work on Etsy, and among the Etsy BeadWeavers.

Haute Ice Beadwork Blog

Christine Wilson of Christine’s Beadworks. Her designs are beautiful, and her blog is always filled with the work of artists she admires. You can see her work on Etsy, Artfire and Facebook.

Christine's Beadworks Blog

Janet Trieschman, creator of The Craft Map. I can’t imagine how this lady ever gets any sleep - she’s always finding new ways to promote handmade artists and crafters. The Craft Map features links to some of the best handmade blogs, categorized lists for Twitter and Facebook, Artfire and Etsy groups, and a helpful Craft Forum.

The Craft Map

The Empanda Award Rules:

The Empanda Blog Award is not a traditional meme, but a greeting card of sorts, for very special bloggers. There is absolutely no obligation to accept or pass on the award. Recipients are encouraged to display the Empanda badge on their blog, and link to the person who sent it, if desired.

The Empanda Blog Award

To share the Empanda Award with others:

1. Write a blog post and ‘nominate’ one or more bloggers who have inspired you with kindness and generosity, and link to them.

2. Contact the bloggers via convo, email or blog comment, to let them know that they have received the award.

3. Include the Empanda Blog Award logo and rules in your post.

4. You do not have to be tagged or nominated to pass on the Empanda Blog Award - feel free to use it any time you want to recognize a great blogger!

I would like to thank Marsha, Christine and Janet for inspiring this award, for all of their hard work, and for their wonderful blogs!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Inspired Beader: Fen Li

Sweetheart Red Rose by Bead Flora Jewels

Every now and then, a beader will come across another artist’s work and think “Why don’t I do that?”. Even the most experienced jewelry designer can be mesmerized by what others can do with beads. We look at beautifully sculpted peyote stitch vessels, or embroidered masks, and wish that we had the time to learn how to do it. What we may not realize is that by putting off that desire to learn, we could be missing out on our true calling.

One artist who did take the plunge is Fen Li of Bead Flora. Just one look at her amazing French style beaded flowers, and you’ll wonder why she ever did anything else!

Inspirational Beading: When did you first begin working with beads?

Fen: I first became acquainted with beads when I was a little kid… I was probably 6 or 7. I was over at my cousin’s house and they had a strand of pearls on the wall, and I took it down and ran my fingers over the pearls. I looked forward to going to their house… but the next time I went, it was no longer there.

I began with seed bead jewelry in high school. I invented my own designs for chokers and bracelets. It was finally in 2002 when I discovered French beaded flowers and found my calling.

Inspirational Beading: How did you discover the art of beaded flowers?

Fen: I had just gone to my first Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. I had new beads and books on making seed bead jewelry. I decided to search the internet for inspiration. I came across French Beaded flowers and was hooked since. I stayed up at all hours of the night looking at the beautiful flower creations.

May Flowers Calla Lily Bridal Bouquet by Bead Flora Jewels

Inspirational Beading: Is there a type of flower design that you're still eager to try?

Fen: Ideas are always brimming over in my head. I want to create a peacock-inspired flower bridal bouquet. I’m debating if I want to do that with roses or calla lilies.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have an all time favorite bead color?

Fen: Silver.

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

Fen: I hope to inspire fellow artisans to embrace the value of their work and time.

It's Snowing Cherry Blossoms by Bead Floral Jewels

Fen considers herself to be “a stickler for quality beads and fine craftsmanship”. You can stay up to date with her latest designs by following her on Twitter and on Facebook. To see even more of her beaded flower creations - from wedding bouquets to hair accessories - visit her Bead Flower Jewels shop.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Bead Flora

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Poster Sketch: Natural Fibers

When it comes to beading with natural materials, the options don’t end with the beads. There are many wonderful ways to use nature’s gifts to create beautiful beaded artwork and accessories. The designs chosen for this week’s Poster Sketch include both cotton and hemp fibers and cords. From crocheted beads to macramé jewelry, these natural beauties can inspire the dryad in anyone.

Etsy Picks: Hemp, Cotton and Beads

Row 1:

All Natural Raspberry Crocheted Beads by ThreeBlueBee
Yellow Hemp Choker with Tie Dye Pendant by TotallyHemp
Turquoise Macramé Bracelet by My Way To Say
Purple and Green Crocheted Earrings by TomBjornDesigns

Row 2:

Hemp and Wood Crisscross Bracelet by STUFFandTHINGS
Felted Beads with Crochet Caps by StemellinaSupplies
Rainbow and Shell Hemp Keychain Duo by SilverNebelJewelry
Aqua Hemp Bracelet by babblingbrookes

Row 3:

Cotton Lace Necklace by jolay
Multistrand Crochet Necklace by jenniferscraftstore
Rainbow Crocheted Bead Set by MariaKonstantin
Carved Soapstone and Natural Twist Bracelet by goldenstateofmind

Row 4:

Tribal Bead and Crochet Jewelry Set by NaturalAccessories
Burgundy and Pink Skeleton Leaf Candle Holders by EllieBells
Right Now Hemp Flowers for Your Hair by ButterflyMoon
Yellow and Green Upcycled Gift Tags by janedean

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Etsy.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pussy Willow Bracelet

Pretty In Pink Panther

As adults, we often take the beauty of nature for granted. A blue sky with big white clouds, wild flowers along the side of the road, and birds singing in the trees are so much a part of our lives that we don’t always notice them.

Once in awhile, nature gives us something that is so wonderful, we can’t help but think of it fondly. Tropical fish and brightly colored butterflies are some things that come to mind. Because we don’t see them every day, their charm does not wear off over time.

Some of nature’s gifts can only be enjoyed at certain times of year, and because of this, we treasure them even more. They are often most valuable to us as children, which is the case with pussy willows. To a young heart, there are few things more wonderful than the fuzzy little buds that pop up in the spring.

The Inspiration:

I recently took the opportunity to try out the new peanut seed beads. I remembered seeing an announcement for them awhile back, so when I was shopping for new needles I scooped some up. I had no idea what I was going to do with them at the time, so I grabbed some in pink, hoping that a fun color would spark some inspiration.

Pussy Willow Bead Palette

The Beads:

After much pondering, I decided to play it safe and use the peanut beads as accents. I paired them with some pretty gray seed beads at first. The gray-lined black color has been one of my favorites ever since I first learned about the existence of seed beads. I have used them several times to imitate pussy willows, because the two-tone color is perfect for the task. To complete the look, I made a mixture of assorted brown 11/0 seed beads.

Pussy Willow Bracelet by The Sage's Cupboard

The Beadwork:

Instead of trying to make actual buds, I simply used the colors I had chosen to mimic a pussy willow tree. The brown beads make up the base of the spiral rope, with the peanut beads adding texture within the rows. To make it a little more interesting, I increased and decreased the number of beads every five rows.

I really like the way the bracelet turned out, but I’m still not satisfied. I’m anxious to really put the peanut beads to work. I still have them sitting out on my work space, waiting for just the right project. I’m afraid to put them away until inspiration strikes!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beading Tutorial: Circular Brick Stitch

Sand Storm Ring by The Sage's Cupboard

Basic brick stitch isn’t a technique that is often used for jewelry. The flat beadwork looks almost identical to flat peyote or gourd stitch, but it isn’t quite as versatile, unless it is done free form. These pieces always look amazing - they are all at once structured and organic. The circular variation is often used to create a base for free form brick stitch, and makes it easy to incorporate large focals into the design. For a great example of circular and free form brick stitch at work, have a look at Ann Burke's Lapis Cuff.

How to Embellish with Circular Brick Stitch:

Any round bead is a great for trying out circular brick stitch, where seed beads will be added in rings. You can work from left to right, or right to left -whichever is more comfortable for you. These instructions move from right to left.

Circular Brick Stitch Tutorial

Begin by threading a needle with a comfortable length of your favorite thread, and stitch up through your round focal. Hold the bead in place on the thread, and stitch up in the same direction again. When you pull the thread snug, a tight loop will form on one side.

Stitch up through the bead again, and allow the new loop to rest on the opposite side of the bead as the first. Repeat once for each side, so that you have a pair of ‘bridge’ threads all the way around. If your focal has a design that you want to show through, make sure that these threads do not overlap it.

Circular Brick Stitch Tutorial

Pick up two seed beads. Bring the needle under the base or bridge threads, moving towards yourself. Pull the thread snug, and nudge the beads so that they are sitting neatly, side-by-side.

Stitch up through the second bead added, taking care to make sure that the working thread does not pass behind any of the threads in the last stitch. Keep the needle as close to you as possible as you stitch.

Circular Brick Stitch Tutorial

Pick up one bead, and bring the needle under the base thread again. Pull the thread snug until the new bead falls into place on the row, and stitch up through it again. Repeat this step, adding beads all the way around the focal. Connect the first and last bead with ladder stitch so that there is a bridge thread between them on the top and bottom. Exit from the top of the first row.

Adding a Second Row to Circular Brick Stitch

To begin another row, pick up two beads, and bring the needle under the nearest bridge thread in the previous row. Continue stitching as before, adding one bead at a time with brick stitch. As you work, the number of beads needed for each row will vary. Unlike in flat brick stitch, some bridge threads will need to be used twice, so that there are no large gaps between stitches.

Circular Brick Stitch for Large Hole Beads

Tip: If you are using a bead with holes that are larger than your seed beads, you can fill in the gap by adding beads with ladder stitch until the bridge threads can be reached again.

When using circular brick stitch to create beaded beads or components, you can use a variety of stitches to hide the bridge threads of the final row. Simple picots or fringe look very nice. For a smooth finish, I like to use square stitch.

This technique has endless possibilities for all kinds of projects, and is a fun way to use up leftover round beads. Have fun!

Totem Pendant Embellished with Circular Brick Stitch

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poster Sketch: The Tree of Life

The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree... As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.

- Charles Darwin, 1859

The term “Tree of Life” means different things to many people. It is a common concept in many cultures, similar to the Gaia Theory, in which all living things are connected and together make up a single entity or organism. Images of this great tree are breathtakingly beautiful, and artists from all mediums often try to convey their unique interpretation of it.

This week’s Poster Sketch is dedicated to the Tree of Life, which is a popular muse for many jewelry artists. Featured in this collection are a few examples of how the tree can be recreated in jewelry, as well as a few inspiring and colorful images by our fellow artists.

Etsy Picks: The Tree of Life

Row 1:

Sparkly Green Tree of Life Resin Pendant by Nixcreations
Tree of Life and Love Necklace by mysticorb
Auburn Sunset Fused Dichroic Glass Pendant by ccvalenzo
Harvest Moon Art Print by blendastudio

Row 2:

Hand-Etched Swirling Tree of Life Pendant by uniquedichroic
Sterling and Ammonite Tree of Life Pendant by shellamie
Tree of Life Circle Wall Art by heartworks
Tree of Life Engraved Stone Paperweight by sjengraving

Row 3:

Reversible Leafy Copper Pendant by BethMillner
Goddess Art Print by EtherealArt
The Four Seasons Tree of Life Pendant by Ethora
Tree of Life Charm Locket by SparklePeach

Row 4:

Tree of Life Creamy Shea Soap by bubbletub
Tree of Life Silver Botanical Necklace by GloriousGirlJewelry
Tree of Life Earrings by BelladonnasJoy
Agate Slice Tree of Life Necklace by WireGirl

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Etsy.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dandelion Bangle

Dandelion Field by miki3d

We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and as artists, we are often confronted with this fact when offering up our work for critique. Sometimes a design that we are really proud of gets shot down, and other times something that we aren’t sure of is applauded by our judges and peers. Often when our work is criticized in an official setting, we find that it is actually loved in the real world. A great example of this can be found in Margie Deeb’s discussion of blue and orange fashions on Color for Bead Artists. A contestant on Project Runway was scolded for pairing orange with blue, but many fans likely disagree with the judges.

The Inspiration:

Another great example of differing views of beauty is the poor misunderstood dandelion. It is considered a weed, most likely because of it’s resilience and rapid reproduction. Anyone wanting to maintain a pristine lawn frowns upon the little flowers. On the other hand, anyone who grew up picking and playing with dandelions finds them beautiful. Who can resists that crisp green and vibrant yellow?

I am not a fan of manicured lawns - I believe that irrigating and mowing grass for the sake of vanity is a horrible waste of resources. So naturally, I have no quarrel with dandelions, and I look forward to seeing their sunny faces every spring. After seeing the wonderful dandelion inspired brooch project in Lisa Crone’s A Bead in Time, I wanted to do a little ‘weeding’ of my own. Now that warm weather and flowers are on the way, my craving for yellow is impossible to ignore.

Dandelion Bead Palette

The Beads:

Dandelions are pretty simple things, so I kept my bead selections simple as well. For the green stem and leaves, I chose 11/0 seed beads in a frosted transparent green, and emerald AB hex cuts for a hint of texture. All that was needed was a bit of yellow, and I found it in opaque 8/0 Miyuki seed beads.

Dandelion Bangle

The Beadwork:

Since I was looking for a simple design, I decided to have another go at a hollow right angle weave bangle, this time using only one bead size for the outer face. I am really happy with the way that it turned out. The bangle is soft and slinky, and the hex cuts add a subtle sparkle along the edge. I can’t wait to make another! I must thank Lisa for helping me out with this inspiration. If you’re not familiar with her blog, A Bead a Day, I highly recommend stopping by to see what’s new.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bead Spotlight: Beads of Wood

Beautiful Wooden Bead Assortment

Anyone who loves bead weaving will tell you that seed beads are a blank canvas, just waiting to be transformed into art. Though this is certainly true, the metaphor is even more apt when talking about wooden beads.

Take a bit of wood, drill it and sand it into a pretty shape, and you have a wonderful, natural bead that can be used in macramé, jewelry and hundreds of other craft projects. But that is just where the fun begins. Wooden beads are so wonderfully versatile, and can be used many ways that glass beads can’t.

Wooden beads can be painted, dyed or stained in any color, with any design or pattern. They can be covered with other materials to add color or texture. They can even become the base for beaded beads. And because wood beads are so light, they can be used in large quantities to make big, chunky jewelry that just couldn’t be created with glass, metal, or even plastic.

If you’re looking for a fun new way to make your own unique focals, try embellishing some wooden beads! A few great projects to try are:

Shredded Junk Mail Necklace with wooden beads and felt, by Jennifer Perkins

Decoupage Wooden Beads with rubber stamping techniques by Carolyn Hasenfratz

Fabric Covered Bead Necklace by Twirling Betty

Have fun!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poster Sketch - Earth Meets Fire

When designing jewelry with a touch of nature, some obvious bead choices would be natural ones like wood, tagua, or shell. These materials make for beautiful accents, and certainly give an organic quality to jewelry. One material that is too often overlooked is ceramics or earthenware. Not only do they have an earthy quality to them, but the artists that make them also infuse them with gorgeous shapes, colors and textures. This week’s Poster Sketch offers up some wonderful examples of fired earth beads, pendants and cabochons.

Etsy Picks: Ceramic and Porcelain Beads

Row 1:

Green Flower Raku Pendant by MAKUstudio
Ceramic Face Bead in Blue Capris by artrageousclay
Feelin’ Blue Ceramic Buttons by macarroll
Stoneware Clay and Fused Glass Cabochon by artisanclay

Row 2:

Designer Ceramic Flower Pendant by muddymuse
Cobalt Floral Starburst Pendant by seaurchin
Denim Blues Pottery Pendant by SweetpeaCottage
Luna Park Ceramic Bead Set by Jangles

Row 3 :

Grime Crackle Links by earthenwood
Turquoise Handpainted Porcelain Bead by NKPbeads
Sci-fi Cameo Robot Necklace by Rakumancy
Ball O’ Lizards Porcelain Focal Bead by JoanMillerPorcelain

Row 4:

Pea Pod Porcelain Donut by beadfreaky
Stoneware Ceramic Leaf Charm by EveryHeartCrafts
Textured Brown Stoneware Clay Medallions by midnightcoiler
Nature Necklace by teachertracey

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Etsy.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Magical Tree Bracelet

Anne Anderson's Fairy Tales and Pictures, Little One Eye, Little Two Eyes, Little Three Eyes, 1935
Anne Anderson's Little One Eye, Little Two Eyes, Little Three Eyes, 1935
Originally uploaded by Gatochy

Fairy tales, a popular sub-genre of folklore, have been passed down through the generations for hundreds of years. These dark and eerie stories are classic examples of good versus evil. The protagonist is often a beacon of goodness, though just as often the main character is as flawed as any average person, making mistakes and learning from them in the end. Over the years, the macabre nature of many fairy tales have been scrubbed away by countless revisions. Many of today’s readers would not recognize the stories that were told and performed by families before the Brothers Grimm published their famous collection.

When Disney released The Little Mermaid in 1989, I was incredibly disappointed with the happy ending. Although many fairy tales do end with the main characters finding good fortune, the villain usually meets a grisly end, and sometimes the hero or heroine does as well. This is the case with the orignal Little Mermaid, although the moral is just as clear as any “happily ever after”. It was then that I started to become more interested in obscure fairy tales, the ones that have not been much altered by modern values or censorship.

The Inspiration:

During a trip to Holland in the late 80’s, I received a wonderful collection of classic fairy tales. Some of them I recognized, like Snow White - although I was surprised to discover that the witch visited the dwarf’s cottage not once but three times with poisoned trinkets for the little princess. In addition to the few stories that I knew, there were many more that I had never heard before.

One of my favorite tales is called “One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three-Eyes“. It is very similar to the Cinderella story, except that the heroine is shunned because she is the only member of her family who is not deformed. Terrorized by the cruel jealousy of her two sisters, Two-Eyes goes hungry until she is visited by a kind spirit. When the sisters discover that Two-Eyes has been receiving food from an enchanted goat, they kill her pet and force her to starve once again. When Two-Eyes buries the little goat in the garden, a magical tree grows with silver leaves and golden fruit that only she can touch. The wonderful treasure attracts the attention of a handsome prince, who rescues the poor girl and takes her to be his bride. In the end, Two-Eyes takes in her downtrodden sisters and cares for them with kindness.

Golden Tree Bead Palette

The Beads:

For the Etsy BeadWeavers March challenge, Fairy Tales, I decided to recreate the magical tree that grew from Two-Eyes’ special goat. I started with some beautiful silver lined amber seed beads, which have a really great golden hue to them. I also selected some silver lined crystal seed beads, and brown and green 8/0 beads for accent.

Little Goat Tree Bangle - The Sage's Cupboard

The Beadwork:

When I was considering fairy tales to use for this challenge, I had almost decided on Jack and the Beanstalk. I had sketched out a spiral peyote bangle with coiling vines and leaf fringe. Although I liked the overall design, I wanted to highlight a lesser known tale from my favorite anthology. So, I decided to keep the technique, and change the colors to imitate the little goat tree from One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three Eyes.

The base of the bangle is a peyote stitch rope with two rows of 8/0 seed beads adding texture like an ancient and enchanted tree. I added a fringe of silver leaves around the outside, which flow in a continuous circle, enhancing the spiral effect.

Voting for the Fairy Tale challenge opens on March 9th. Visit the Etsy BeadWeavers team blog before March 15th to see all of the gorgeous entries and vote for your favorite. You can also see entries by searching for EBWC on Etsy.com.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

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Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

Inspiration Topics

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