Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lorelei and Shannon's Lima Beads Challenge

I'm not an artist. I am comfortable with that fact. I relish the arrival of my beading magazines and I love seeing what true artists create. I enjoy recreating or reimagining a favorite piece. I rarely branch out on my own and attempt to design something new. When I do try, the process goes something like this:
  1. Dream up an idea
  2. Get excited about the idea
  3. Buy beads
  4. Realize the idea won't work exactly how I imagined
  5. Rework the idea
  6. Buy more beads
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until my husband starts to question the bead related expenses on our bank statement
I get frustrated a bit easily and tend to feel guilty about abandoning all those innocent beads. I apologize to those beautiful crystals or focal beads for not using them and usually scrap the entire project.

When I saw the LimaBeads challenge on Lorelei's blog, I thought it could be a chance to redeem myself.

I gave myself two rules:
  • I could not buy any beads for this challenge, not even extras of those in the kit
  • I had to finish
When I received the kit (very quickly, i might add), I was in heaven.

Everything was gorgeous. I love abalone and pearls and the 4mm cubes were to die for! I lost myself in the colors of the flower beads and the rondelles. Then reality began to sink in: I love stick pearls, but have never been able to use them. The abalone cylinder was one of my favorites, but I had no clue what to do with it.

So, I added another two rules:
  • Use the stick pearls
  • Use the abalone cylinder

I followed the first two rules with this necklace:

True to form, the necklace went through about four or five versions. At one point, I had copper washers and was determined to use a wire wrapped jasper nugget as a toggle. Something just seemed "off" in those incarnations.

The final version is a double strand necklace.  I used the Vintaj pendant to frame one of the purple teardrops.  I then created a small jumpring chain and used the cube beads as an accent.  I wirewrapped the green czech beads and wove the ribbon through.  I was happy to use the lemon ovals as another sort of focal on the sides of the necklace.

I like the final version.  I was hesitant to use the lemon ovals because they looked so white at first, but I think they really add something.  And, as you will see in a bit, I even found a use of the last one.

Still, I needed to use the stick pearls. My first inclination was to use them in a "flower" motif similar to this one by Melissa Meman on the cover of the April/May 2011 issue of Step by Step Wire. I then did the same to five of the amethyst teardrops. With the teardrop flower on top, the stick pearls resembled leaves. Ultimately, the wire pendant was too big to use in a necklace and I wasn't sure if I liked is as a bracelet focal. (I wish I had taken a picture before I made amends with the beads and disassembled my work).

At one point, I was going to do a spiral rope in my necklace. I still had all the seed beads scattered about. And then it came to me. I had been wanting to try a sculptural peyote bracelet for some time, but never had the nerve. I looked at the seed beads, the cube beads in the kit and these great orange delica beads I've had forever.

I spent the next several nights working on this:

I pulled the colors from the ribbon and just went at it. I had wanted to use the stick pearls to embellish the peyote, but i thought the potato pearls and the lavender flowers worked better.

While working on the bracelet, I thought the abalone cylinder would work well as a toggle for a clasp, but it seemed too heavy for the piece.  I then pulled out the last lime oval.  It was just the right size.  I created a bezel using the seed beads and hid a hook and eye clasp beneath it.

All in all, I am loving free form peyote.  I may have to try something more "halloweeny" with the rest of those orange delicas.  I've had my eye on some kitty or skelly beads from Earthenwood Studio that would be fun to use.

As for my goals, I'm proud to say that I did finish and I didn't buy any extra beads. I'm sorry not to have included the stick pearls, but I have an earring idea in mind.  They will not be forgotten!  The abalone cylinder is just so very pretty (and, much like Malcolm Reynolds, too pretty to let die in my bead box), so I will be using it soon.

A very big "thank you" to Lorelei and Shannon and Limabeads for the challenge!  If you want to see what the other participants did, hop over to Lorelei's blog.


  1. Hi, I really enjoyed reading your post. And I generelly don't like to read a lot of text. You started off perfectly for me ... with a list. :-) Drags me right in. I sat there with a big smile on my face, very curious to scroll down and see the result of your struggles.

    And I really like the result. What are you talking about ... not being an artist? Am I rude to say the word b*llsh*t?! Don't you ever dare to say such things again. I have checked your previous posts. You do pretty things! Full stop.

    I like how you have used your beads and components in both your pieces and also the whole composition on both of them. I would love to see more pictures of the bracelet. I'm intrigued.

    I find that tight restraints is most often very beneficial for the creativity. I think your journey has proven that. And I have gotten very inspired by it, and your pieces, in a way that I really like. Thank you very much!

    All my best,

    P.S. Here's something for your British sense of humour. My husband is English. Or is that just my own sense of humour?! Btw, I am Swedish myself. No humour in that ... or

  2. Both pieces are beautiful! The necklace is delicate and not over-done. The ribbon looks great strung through the wire-wrapped links. And I love how you used the lemon bead in the fabulous beaded bracelet!

    Like you, I go through four or five do-overs before I end up with something that feels right. Sometimes I never get to that point and that's when I give up. But when it does work, I am more proud of my accomplishment than when it comes together easily.

  3. I just noticed you are from Kansas!!!! Me tooooooo!!!!!!! I'm about 35 miles south of Topek, in the little town of Osage City.

    I had to laugh at Malin's comments...

  4. Malin, you are too sweet. I've always had a hard time with the creative process. I've never thought about giving myself more restraint. You're right. I think it does help.

    I'll try to take a few extra pictures of the bracelet.

    I have to say I loved how you used the challenge beads. Of all, though, the pearl/flower necklace was my favorite. It is so simple and elegant. Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. Alice, thank you. We're just a little south of Kansas City. My in-laws are in Topeka, so I know your area. Nice to see a fellow Kansan. :)

    I loved how you used the stick pearls in your first necklace. Your second necklace is breathtaking also. :)

  6. I was laughing at your process whilst reading your post...that kind of sums it up for me sometimes too, minus the husband to question my spending lol. Gorgeous designs, just love your bracelet such beautiful rich colours.

  7. Just beautiful! Great work and rule following :-)

  8. Looks like you had fun!
    I love your bracelet and that you re-did your beautiful necklace almost as many times as I did mine!
    Thanks for playing along.

  9. You rocked it girl! Love both of your pieces. The necklace, where you added the cube seed beads into the chain- that looks SO AWESOME! and That bracelet, man. You nailed it. That's all I gotta say, you NAILED IT!
    I hope you join us for the next one. Clearly challenges like these are so very good for you!

  10. You did an amazing job! The bracelet is fantastic! I really understood how you felt about the beads, I am going to rework mine to death too and hope that i get something half as nice as yours!

  11. These are so pretty! I love how you brought out the colors of the ribbon in the beaded piece and using the lemon oval for the focal was a brilliant idea! :)

  12. Gorgeous - both desgins are stunning! And yes, you are an artist - at least in my eyes! (other's too, I'm sure!)

    The first necklace is so elegant - simply beautiful!

  13. Beadwork is not my thing - but it really is yours! Both your pieces are stunning!

  14. You did a fantastic job on both of your pieces. I agree with the others you are an artist! I think the necklace and the bracelet are gorgeous. I have not tried the free form peyote yet, but I will one day. LOL

  15. That freeform is fantastic!! I really love how the colors came together in such a fun, funky way!