“Meditation on Spring” Beaded Cuff

Spring colors are blooming on my very first bracelet cuff creation!

Forsythia yellow, willow green, azalea pink, rhododendron rose, cream and baby pink magnolia. Colors so fresh and light, rebirthing the world in their embrace. Ah, I just love this time of year!

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I wrote this post about stitching a 2-drop peyote band from a bead soup mix that was left over from this freeform bracelet. That band has sat, well, for 2 years now, on a bead mat in my studio, patiently waiting for me to transform it into a piece of jewelry.

I created the face cabochon from polymer clay using the same glazing technique I used for these faces, rubbing on mica powder and mixing alcohol ink with liquid polymer clay.

After I beaded around the face cabochon, I attached her to my peyote band. As I held it in my hand, I felt that the weight of the cabochon was just too heavy for the lightness of the band so I pondered and pondered on what I could do next. Hmmmm…

Aha! What if I sewed the peyote stitched band to a piece of ultrasuede and then glued that to a brass cuff? That would give it the weight and counterbalance it needed! So, I did just that and then glued another piece of ultrasuede to the back of the cuff. I stitched a beaded edge, thus joining the 2 pieces of ultrasuede together at their edges, giving the cuff a finished look.

I found a great resource on the web for ultrasuede. Field’s Fabrics is located in Michigan, has over 160 colors of ultrasuede in stock and charges only a flat rate $6.00 for shipping. You can buy scrap variety packs or as little as 1/8 yard per color. I used a pale spring green called limade for this project.

Even though it took me several years to figure out how to bring all of the components together in harmony, I’m so happy with my new creation. Now that’s it’s complete, I’m thinking of another bead embroidered bracelet, this one softer without the brass cuff, possibly beaded on a piece of batik fabric in yummy colors.

Ah, the possibilities…

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” 

~Albert Einstein

Unless otherwise noted, all text and photos are the property of Karen Park Art and Tea, copyright 2007-2011. Please do not “lift” any of my photographs or blog posts for use on your blog or website. Thank you so much for your respect and kind attention.

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Live, Laugh, Love

I recently finished 2 bracelets that were commissioned as a gift for a couple to celebrate their recent marriage.

I found it a great challenge to create something for someone whom I’ve never met and don’t know at all. That said, I was given some great info and background on the couple, including one of their favorite phrases.

I stamped the phrase onto 2 copper charms I cut out, to create a link between the 2 bracelets. As you can see, I also used similar beads to further link the two.

Can you tell which one is for her and which one is for him?

Studio Wednesday

Today I worked on and finished the beadwork on my faux jade charms fringy bracelet. I’ve ordered some brass and silver Chinese coin charms from Fire Mountain Gems and they should be arriving sometime this week. I want to make a clasp with one of the coins.

The fabric is a painted and stamped piece from an Art Day with friends in June. I really enjoyed transforming a white piece of muslin into colorful fabric.

Using Aleene’s Jewel-it, I glued some polymer clay pieces onto Pellon Peltex 70, an extra firm stabilizer I purchased at Joann Fabric’s. I’m hoping it’s not too stiff for the beadwork I’ll be adding around the pieces. I’ll also probably tone down the white color with some fabric paint. Has anyone ever used this for beadwork?

This first piece was created from a cane I made a long time ago at one of my guild meetings. My friend, Judy, showed us how to make this cane. I think it’s a variation of this scrap feather cane. I didn’t reduce the cane and stretched a slice over some scrap clay to make what looks to me like a cocoon. When I bead around it, I want to enhance its organic feel. It will probably turn into a pendant.

This polymer clay cabochon was created from the mokume gane stack I used to make these earrings. Another pendant, perhaps for a free-form necklace.

More pieces from that mokume gane stack. These will be made into earrings.

Studio Wednesday

Every Wednesday I work at home in my studio. As I only have one day a week in my studio, one of my goals is to be more disciplined with my time so I can get the most amount of work done in the time I have. The first step towards this goal is to create a task list for myself on what I’d like to accomplish in the studio that day. I’ll make my task list up every Tuesday night. Another step in my goal process is to establish a weekly blog post entitled “Studio Wednesday” where I will share what I’ve been creating in my studio lately. A big thank you to my friend Amy who has been a big inspiration to me in setting this goal for myself.

The photos are of some of the jewelry I created with the faux jade polymer clay I found in my studio when I was cleaning. The pendant above contains the Kanji character for “Beauty”. This was the word I chose for 2008.

Today I worked on my fringy bracelet and completed the first pass. On the second pass, I might add a couple more beads here and there but it will mainly be about reinforcing all of the heavier beads in the bracelet.

I also discovered that the sterling silver wires that I had super glued in the mokume gane polymer clay earring components weren’t staying put. When I opened the loop to add the earwires on some of them, the wire started to move. So, after some internet research to find out what type of glue would work better, I went up to Lowe’s and found an epoxy that works well on plastic which is basically what polymer clay is, namely polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Fine particles of PVC are suspended in a liquid plasticizer to create polymer clay. The epoxy has 2 separate tubes that are set side by side with a plunger that dispenses equal amounts of material for mixing. It is the mixing of these 2 materials that creates the strong bond. You can read more about how it works here. It will be fully cured in 24 hours so, hopefully, this will work to keep the wire in place in the polymer clay.