My Beadwork Blog and Gallery

Beading is a bit of an obsession. My beadwork blog is home to my thoughts on pieces I am working on, techniques I am learning, and my beading inspirations. I live in Bournemouth, Dorset and am mum to two gorgeous young children. I volunteer at both school and toddler group, and work part-time in online ad production. I try to fit in as much beading here and there as I can, for both relaxation, and to stretch and expand my creative side. I've learnt a variety of textile crafts over the years, but have always loved jewellery-making. I enjoy wirework, but beadweaving and bead embroidery have proved to be my favourite mediums, and it is these types of beadwork that I always seem to come back to. I love the colour and feel of beads, planning new projects, learning new techniques and of course, bead shopping! I read a wide variety of beading magazines and books, and apart from the occasional workshop, am primarily self-taught.

Beadweaving Gallery

New pieces are added to the top of the gallery on completion

'Cilla' Lampwork Spiral Rope Necklace

I've been stitching this on and off since October, with a break after finishing the rope to work out the best way to attach the focal bead. I am very pleased with how this turned out!  I started with the rope being completely freeform, but decided to reorder the bead sizes so the spiral was more pronounced, and the rope less heavy. I've entered 'Bead' magazine's 'Glorious Glass' Readers' Challenge (issue 30) and hopefully it will make it to print.

Dutch Spiral Necklace and Earring Set

These go with the bracelet below. The earrings are easy to wear and the necklace is comfortable to wear, if a bit heavy. I am not always confident selecting bead colours without a focal bead or cabachon to guide me, and these kits are a great way of finding and inspiring combinations of colours. You have to look closely to see that this a mix of dark and bright pinks, purples and berry colours, and this combination goes with a surprising variety of clothing.

'Piecework' by Melissa Van Dijk (Bead and Button, Aug 2009)

I absolutely love using delicas, the way they click together is very satisfying!  I bought the magazine and kept going back to this design again and again before I had the confidence to start. This is constructed by stitching small squares of peyote and herringbone stitch which twist, which are then sewn together in the correct order. This took me months to stitch, and taught me that whilst I love stitching the components, putting them together to complete a project can be really daunting. It's also hard not to over-reinforce your beadwork as you want it to last,  but you can inadvertently take the flexibility out of the work. I have small wrists so had a few squares left over, so attempted some 3D star earrings, which were a complete disaster. I am luckily (and excitingly) attending Jean Power's 'Geometric Stars' workshop in April, so will hopefully get to grips with this sort of geometric beadwork then! If you would like to see more of Melissa's work please visit her website here and if you would like to order the 'Piecework' pattern, please visit here. I would like to thank Melissa for including this entry on her site.
Dutch Spiral Bracelet

This is a kit from The Bead Merchant. The instructions were clear and the bracelet was quick to make, so bitten by the bug I bought more beads and made earrings. I've nearly finished the necklace to go with it, which is gorgeous, but actually quite heavy. The colour selection has helped me with my own colour choices too so I would definitely recommend a kit when you aren't quite sure where to start! This stitch looks amazing, although I personally found keeping the tension constant difficult throughout, so reinforced the beadwork at regular intervals for strength.

Purple and Silver Brick Stitch Fringed Earrings

These were inspired by a design in 'Make Jewellery' magazine, but without the more expensive elements! These were great for learning increasing brick stitch and were my first foray into long fringing. I wear these all the time and they move and reflect the light beautifully.

Red and Gold Brick Stitch Earrings and Pendant Set

I was asked to make the earrings as a Christmas present after I wore my purple version, and then the pendant to follow for a birthday. It was an interesting exercise in colour - I prefer the red and black of this set and was quite reluctant to part with them!

Diamond Brick Stitch Earrings

These were an inspired by several designs I'd seen in books, and  I tried to select delicas with a mixture of finishes to prevent the pattern being too 'flat'. These shapes were made using decreasing brick stitch; I started with a ladder stitch row in the centre, worked to the point, then turned the beadwork upside down and repeated at the other end. Three are then positioned and stitched into place, with a loop added to the top one.

Square Stitch Lariat

This was a design in 'Bead' magazine, and was extremely addictive to make! The mixed pack of delicas in gold, silver and copper is great as it goes with everything. It built up really quickly and it beautifully slinky, although I got a bit carried away and if I made another, it would be considerably shorter!

Basic Spiral Rope Bracelet

This was the introductory kit I received when I joined the Beadworkers Guild. Spiral Rope is a joy to work on, and I've made a necklace in blue and gold as a present, and am working on a bead soup rope to match a stunning lampwork focal bead.

Netting Earrings

These sort of earrings are amongst the first I made after buying the earring, bracelet and necklace books from the best of 'Beadwork'. I've made these in several colours and they are quick to make, and look casual or dressy depending on the beads and bead finish chosen. These are finished with pressed glass flowers and 4mm swarovski crystals.