Thursday, 2 February 2012

January Reflection ... February Forecast (Post 62)

So far 2012 is proving to be a very interesting New Year and I thought I'd reflect on what January has meant to me.  At the end of last year I joined Operation Tackle That Bead Stash (aka OTTBS) and unwittingly that 'jump started' me back into making jewellery - after a short interlude.  
Week 5 Earring Beadalong
Based on a Sherri Haab Design

Little did I realise just how quickly I would become involved with the Group.  Through it I have met some great Friends, Hobbyists and Jewellery Designers. Its a very informative, welcoming and friendly Group. 

January I committed myself to one of the beadalong challenges, which was to make 52 pairs of earrings over the coming year - supposedly one per week. 

Last weekend I was fortunate to be given tickets by Doris to Gem and Bead Show at Chepstow and met up with new friends from OTTBS - a first!  I'd been to bead shows previously, but to be able to go with people who shared the same passion for making jewellery was in itself bound to be an enjoyable day.  Doris was promoting her beautiful jewellery and I was able to meet this lovely benefactor of tickets in person ... thank you Doris, it was a great day.

'Swapsy' Stash
Many Thanks x
We held a 'swap' between the one's of us who had met up and shared views and general chit chat before launching into a spending spree.  I came back just buzzing with renewed energy and lots of new 'goodies' to add to my stash.

I am still not sure what pathway my jewellery making will take, and, for the minute I'm quite happy to take it at a steady pace.  

'Goodies I Bought
Calling out to be something?

I do tend to be drawn to small beadwork and begrudgingly accept that to produce the type of pieces that appeal to me I need to concentrate on learning new techniques. These are a few of the many artists, who have inspired me.
Rachel Nelson Smith
Kerrie Slade
Julie Pretl
Diane Fitzgerald

What I have come to understand is that all of their work has a 'starting' point and that is to learn the basics; only then can you create master pieces.  Unfortunately, that means potentially, producing simplistic items of jewellery because it is this that will underpin the learning and lead to your own designs.

Interestingly, OTTBS wealth of designers, puts all this into perspective and styles morph into the most outstanding results.  I said, 'begrudgingly' early as my weakness is that I want to run before I can walk and make these beautiful sculptured works of art without the toil of learning involved. 

I mean 'really' learning the basic stitches; the stitches that form the foundation of such work.  Peyote - Double, Even and Tubular, Brickstitch, Netting, Ladder Stitch, Square Stitch, Russian Stitches like St Petersburg Chain ++, Macrame techniques, Tubular Crochet - and probably a few I've missed.

No matter what specialist jewellery is made it is very often the above finishes that form the necklace to showcase the silver pendant or lamp worked bead.  So you can see that its not a case of being a 'jack of all trades' master of none because it is only if your able to vary your work that you can finish it professionally.

January Pursuits were ....

This month I have also learnt: Even and Odd Count Peyote and Sennit Knotting (macrame).

February Forecast

Already I am ahead of the Earring Beadalong, (due this Sat) and I will be entering this months OTBS Challenge. I have something in mind already ... you'll have to be patient!

I'm currently working on an odd-count peyote cuff ... work in progress.

I also want to learn tubular peyote this month!  There is a beautiful necklace in one of Rachel Nelson-Smith's book which is a sort of goal to head towards ...

A beady welcome to:

Jane Lock who creates beautiful jewellery and admits to be a fellow beadaholique! Her blog makes for interesting reading, if you'd like to take a look.

Well, not one for long posts, that your lot for now ... look forward to our next post.

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'



  1. I shall wait patiently to see your Feb challenge entry!
    Good luck with your basics learning. I could do with properly learning them too. Its soooo tempting to skip ahead though isn't it.
    You got some fab goodies at the fair. Wish I'd gone up now ;o)

  2. Awesome read, you such a buzzzzy bee, you go girl.

  3. OTTBS is a fun group, and has also got me creating again after a lull. I like that there are professionals and hobbyists, and we all share supplier info and swap stuff in an accepting environment! A beginners first earring is greeted with as much enthusiasm as a masterpiece

  4. Gem,
    I hope your taking part as well. It is easy to skip basics but I've a few books which without the basics I won't be able to do, so that's a good incentive!

    Thanks Debbie, it is quite addictive.

    I totally agree with you, everyone is so helpful. Its great that they willingly share their experience and suppliers - always prefer to have firsthand knowledge. BTW your moon shadow necklace is amazing.

  5. It was so lovely to meet you last week. Can't wait for October now! OTTBS is such a great group!

  6. Couldn't agree more, full marks to OTTBS! Must save up for Oct though - be prepared this time.


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