Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Art Bead Scene: February 2017

A new month has begun and that means a new challenge from the Art Bead Scene!  I'm absolutely in love with the rich colors of this month's inspiration, The Two Crowns by Sir Frank Dicksee.  You can read more about the painting and the artist on the ABS blog HERE.  I was immediately struck by the opulence... the golden armor, the lush flowers, the gowns... and that handsome horse!  So much to be inspired by here!

The Two Crowns
Sir Frank Dicksee
Oil On Canvas
As I looked through my art beads, the first thing that jumped out at me was a pendant that the very talented Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati made for a previous Art Bead Scene challenge (September 2014 to be exact).  The pendant, filled with tons of tiny polymer clay roses, is set in a antiqued brass bezel with the type of bail that I think works best when strung.  I decided to start by looking at my collection of seed beads to see if I could pull off a multi-strand necklace (despite knowing how frustrating I find the process of getting all the strands to the right length... I guess I'm a glutton for punishment!).  I started with a nice seed bead mix from Glass Garden Beads (I love their mixes but wish they did them in larger sizes and not just the size 11s) in shades of cream and rose.  As perfect as the colors of this mix was for the challenge and the pendant, I knew the necklace needed more to give it visual interest and oomph.  My next selection was a tube of berry colored luster peanut beads.  I chose the third strand, a hex cut metallic bead, to even things out and keep the berry strand from being overwhelming.  There's some subtle but nice iridescence to that strand that I think pulls it all together.

Now, my plan clearly called for a LOT of stringing of seed beads.  In the past I've always accomplished this by stringing the beads by hand one at a time.  For this project I decided it was time to experiment with my new bead spinner.  (I had bought it to make the projects from Heather Powers' Festive Forest Workshop that I bought in December and never got around to trying... this year I'll make it happen!!)  Getting the hang of using the spinner with beading wire was a little tricky, but I do think it saved me a decent amount of time even with the steep learning curve.  If nothing else, it helped cure me of my obsessive desire to string things "just right" with the perfect mix of colors.  I just let it go and see what jumped onto my wire!  I finished off the strands with some ornate brass cones from Vintaj that echo the details in the painting.  I used a brass lobster claw clasp and a little bit of textured chain to give the wearer some adjustability in length.  

I also had a tiny little rose charm from Erin in my stash... this one in a silver colored bezel.  I thought that this would be the perfect time to try making some new memory wire bracelets since I already had my bead spinner out.  The last time I made a bracelet like this I did it by hand, bead by bead.  Oh my goodness... the bead spinner was so much better and faster!!  (Want to get a little video tutorial in doing this?  Heather Powers posted one to her Facebook page for Humblebeads and you can find it HERE.  It's called "Bead Table Wednesday" and is 30:06 minutes long.)

I ended up combining a bead mix from Funky Hannah's with the leftovers from a mixed tube of size 6 seed beads in turquoise and teal that I had sitting around.  (I wanted to pull in the colors of the lady's gown from the bottom center of the painting.)  I was pretty happy with the resulting mix of colors, shapes, and textures.  While I had everything out, I made two bracelets with the mix... one with Erin' rose charm and some other little pink glass and crystal dangles and one with a silver plated flower charm and two Czech glass flowers.  These could easily be worn together or separately.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to lately.  I'm so excited by my new bead spinner that I want to see what other things I can make with it!  I'll be sure to share whatever I end up making.


  1. Oh! How perfect! I love to see the things that I made all grown up! ;-) I just made a few more of those pendants in the elongated heart shape for an order. And my beads for the Simple Truths Sampler Club should be going out shortly. Hopefully you can be inspired with them! I love what you did. Thank you for my 'something good' today! Enjoy the day! Erin

  2. Your necklace and earrings are beautiful! I'm glad to hear you had good luck with the bead spinner.

  3. These are absolutely fantastic, Sarajo! Great designs and making!

  4. Wow! I think your bead selections to go with the polymer rose pendant are just spot on! And the memory wire bangles are charming!

  5. Love the colours, love the flowers, love the end products