Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

Form and Function…

Flowers in your hair, flowers everywhere…for all you flower children, here’s a sneak peek of a new project I’ve just begun!

I’ve just made dozens of polymer clay cut-outs.  In the above photo they remind me of flower motif wall paper that was very popular back in the 1960’s! How different they look after being heated and shaped into cupped forms as shown in the photo below! The added dimension makes such a difference! I’ll be working on this new project over the coming week…you’ll have to wait to see the final product! Let the fun begin!

Fashionista Eye Candy…

I’ll admit that I love fashion. Although my wardrobe is composed primarily of black and neutrals, I enjoy perusing the wildly avant-garde pieces in fashion magazines. I live in the country where blue jeans are “de rigueur” attire for most, but not for me…unless I’m gardening or doing very messy artwork! Although I love to declare the occasional PJ day, I enjoy carefully choosing my attire for the day and doing my makeup. It’s my adult version of being in Mommy’s closest and playing dress up! To this end, art jewelry and other accessories are important features. Enter the handbag…I couldn’t resist this book, The Art of the Handbag by Claire Anthony. The cover features a Kathleen Dustin one-of-a-kind amazing polymer clay handbag…a sculptural, yet functional work of art! Looking at this piece, I am once again inspired to get out my polymer clay and get to work!

The Tutorial and Beading Kit is Ready!

Snow may be on the way, but I’m ringing in Spring! After spending the past few months making several pairs of geometric earrings, I really wanted to get back to doing bead embroidery!  I missed the free-form techniques and how quickly pieces work up. I wanted to play with pearls and crystals and just needed some “bling and razzle-dazzle” to counter the winter blues! Designing my “Six Petal Bloom” Bead-Embroidered Brooch was such fun and wearing it certainly brightens up my winter wardrobe! Brooches are versatile adornments that can transform any wearable…shawl, lapel, hat or sweater from ordinary to haute fashion! I’ve just finished the step-by-step tutorial and listed it and the beading kit in my Etsy shop. The kit contains a one-of-a-kind multi-color handmade faux Fire Opal resin cabochon, pearls, Swarovski flat-backed crystals, Delica, seed, and vintage Czech Charlotte beads, E6000 adhesive, pinback, and beading foundation and leather backing cut into a flower shape. Everything is tucked into a handy travel tin with a see-through top!  Add your favorite beading needles and thread and you’re ready to go!

Everything’s Coming Up Roses!

My “Six Petal Bloom” Bead-Embroidered Brooch is finished and I love it! Measuring 3″ in diameter, it is quite the statement piece!  The focal cabochon used in this pearl and Swarovski crystal embellished brooch is one of my colorful handmade resin Faux Fire Opals.  At the moment I’m editing all the process photos I took while creating this piece and soon I’ll be starting work on the tutorial. I’ll let you know as soon as the tutorial and beading kits for this project are listed in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned…it won’t be long!

Dazzling…

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This is a sneak peek at several resin Faux Fire Opals that I made last week and the colors are mesmerizing…they are absolute “eye candy”! Each measures 25mm in diameter and one will be used as the focal accent cabochon in my new design, the “Six Petal Bloom” Bead-Embroidered Brooch that I’m currently working on. Placed on a black beading foundation, the dazzling colors really pop! I hope to have the new brooch tutorial and beading kit ready in a week or two. Each kit will contain a Faux Fire Opal cabochon, precut six-petal flower-shaped beading foundation and leather backing, pinback, Delicas, seed beads, and precious vintage Charlotte beads, pearls, and sparkling Swarovski flat-backed crystals! I’ll let you as soon as they are listed in my Etsy shop!

Let the Fun Begin!

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I love geometric beading! I love the preciseness, how the beads line up so perfectly, and how a project can sprout spikes and folds!  During the past few months, I’ve been exploring the Warped Square and creating several pairs of earrings in that technique as well as writing tutorials to go with them. But as much as I love geometric beadwork, I am equally enamored with bead embroidery…the carefree and often random placement of beads and embellishments that are so integral to the design of a bead-embroidered piece! So I’m taking time to play with a new project! Several days this past week were spent creating a collection of sparkling resin faux fire opal cabochons…a dazzling spectrum of red, orange, gold, green, blue, indigo, and violet rounds that will be the central focal accent of a new floral brooch design.  Each of the six  petals will be festooned with several types of pearls, Swarovski flat-backed crystals, Delicas and seed beads! In the above photo, I’m arranging various components that will grace each petal. I haven’t glued anything down at this point so I’m free to move, add, or subtract pearls and crystals until I’m completely satisfied with the composition. As yet, I haven’t decided on the various colors of beads I will use, although I am liking the metallic blue/green 15/0 Toho beads shown. Of course, I’ll be taking step-by-step process photos as I go along and I’ll be writing a tutorial and offering kits for this new design…it will be finished just in time to welcome the spring season!

As Promised…

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The tutorial and beading kit for my “Geometric Warped Square Mosaic Drop Earrings” (inspired by vintage patterned tile work and CGB) is finished and listed in my Etsy shop!  The step-by-step tutorial is accompanied by large full-color photos, a color chart and beading graph.  The kit includes seven colors of 15/0 Toho Japanese seed beads, teeny 15/0 vintage Czech Charlotte beads, petite Swarovski SS39 Rivolis, and sterling silver earwires…all tucked into a handy 3.5″x5″ travel tin plus a printed tutorial and a 4×6″ color photo! I love this blue/green/purple colourway, but you may request a custom colourway as well.

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Another Pair of Warped Square Earrings!

I’ve been busy this past week playing with Geometric Warped Squares once again! Aside from the  influence of several of my favorite beading books (Jean Power’s “Geometric Beadwork”, Diane Fitzgerald’s “Shaped Beadwork”, and Kate McKinnon’s “Contemporary Geometric Beadwork”), the inspiration for the colorful mosaic pattern came from memories of intricately laid tiles I’ve seen on walls and floors of vintage buildings. A particularly vivid memory lingers of a tiled bathroom floor in a house my family lived in during the early 1950’s. I was just knee-high to a grasshopper back then, but I remember being mesmerized by the geometric composition of the tiny hexagonal porcelain tiles that resembled honeycombs! These earrings make that memory even more intense! Feather-light and eye-catching, each earring is composed of 15/0 Japanese seed beads and suspended from a petite bead-bezeled Swarovski ss39 Rivoli.  I’m just finishing writing the step-by-step tutorial for this pair of earrings and I’ll have kits as well.  Look for them in my Etsy shop in a day or two!

Oooooh…


This shipment of pearls just arrived and they are beautiful. The colors are luscious and the variety of types include button, round, semi-round, peanut, large and small biwa, and potato. I love flat-backed pearls for bead embroidery projects and biwa pearls are such stunning accents…I think it’s time to get out some beading foundation and create another cuff and perhaps several more brooches. Incidentally, several of these types of pearls are included in my One-of-a-Kind “Sea Garden” bead-embroidered brooch kits!

Busy Work…

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I’m running low so it’s time to make more components for the “Tibetan Inspired Beaded Rope Necklace” Kit. This entails creating more polymer faux amber, coral, and turquoise beads and sterling silver heart charms. The photos show the final finishing process for both. I use my JoolTool™ with a buffing wheel to impart a subtle glow to the polymer beads. It does a superb job!

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A polishing square removes excess coloration from the antique-finished sterling silver heart charm and bestows high shine as well. I love the bright colors of the beaded embellishments used in this playful mixed-media rope necklace!

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