Friday, July 11, 2014

The Heart of the Adventurer

This is my latest creation!  The Heart of the Explorer combines a handmade raku pottery heart cabochon (created by MAKUstudio or her Etsy store), a vintage button with a compass rose on it, Tim Holtz game spinner hands embellishments,  hand dyed Lucite flowers from Vintage Meadow Artworks, screw-in metal spike embellishments and California Gold Rush (color) seed beads in sizes 11, 15, and teardrops from Bead & Glass Boutique, vintage Swarovski crystals (reclaimed from a necklace purchased at an antique show), and a variety of Czech glass beads (pyramids, peanuts, half Tila, O beads, matte fire polish, and other seed beads) from Julie's Xpressions in Hastings, Nebraska.  Talk about exploration!  Look at all the styles of beads from all over the United States!  Too bad I haven't actually traveled to all the places I buy beads from!

My "philosphy" for bead embroidery:  Start with the focal and go for it!  I rarely start a piece with a design in mind!  This piece actually is one of the few that I have made that has NO Swarovski crystal cupchain!  (Gasp, how did I let that happen!)  Mostly, that happened because I had nothing that worked with the other colors of the piece.  Note to self, buy more cupchain to match everything!  Instead, I used some beautiful smoked topaz AB finish vintage Swarovski crystals reclaimed from an antique necklace I purchased and cut apart.  I know, that seems like sacrilege.  But, rather than that necklace lying unworn, it now has a new life!  Plus I reclaimed almost three vials of crystals to be used in many pieces! 

Other embellishments, the vintage button, Chris & Mina found for me on a visit to an antique store in Lincoln, while I was in a beading class.  The Tim Holtz game spinner hands can be used in SO many different ways!  I love when one craft medium can be merged with another!  You just never know what will add interest to a design.  The screw-in spikes were an item I had never used, but were very intriguing!  They come in different antique finishes, I used two antique brass and one antique copper on the upper left hand edge of the heart.  These were actually added to balance the design with the bead pyramids on the other side of the heart.
When I added the spikes, I wondered how to edge them.  I used size 15 seed beads to encircle them.  When I had completed those three, I liked the lacy look the rounded bead work added to the piece, so I continued it by adding the vintage crystals and the Lucite flowers.  At this point, I figured I had better stop before I added too much and complicated but didn't enhance the piece.  So the finishing edge was done with size 8 seeds topped with size 15 seeds and the tear drop beads.  It is brick stitch with the 15s and drops added as embellishment. 

The next challenge came when Chris tried to help me figure out how the piece should hang.  My first idea was to leave the shank on the button and attach the necklace with a lobster to each side of the piece.  This idea didn't work because of the weight of the piece.  So I did a square stitch bail and attached it when I was edging the piece.  The necklace design is of my own creating.  I used half Tila, O beads, and peanut bead and used the double needle weaving technique to put it together.  I used the ENTIRE tube of O beads, right down to the very last bead in the very last stitch!  Even though I am not a snake fan, the weave pattern and matte finish on the beads, gives the chain a snake skin look.  Hope you love it as much as I do!

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