Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry


Still at it…replenishing more beading kits. Now it’s time to assemble the“Geometric Warped Square Arrow Drop Earrings and Variations” kit.What you see above  are the Blue and Yellow Opal Variation kits.
I love all three warped square designs equally and wear them often.  Made with size 15 seed beads, they are light in weight and of comfortable lengths and widths. Dangling from sterling silver ear wires, a bead-bezeled Swarovski crystal rival adds subtle sparkle. I receive compliments every time I wear them! Kits and tutorials are available in my Etsy shop.

All Fun…All The Time?

I’ve been having fun exploring different geometric shapes this past week, but it’s time to put beads, needle and thread aside and get down to the business of replenishing beading kits.  I’ve run low and am now busy weighing, measuring, and spooning beads into labeled bags and tucking them into my brightly colored handmade envelopes. The assemblage you see above is my Geometric “Parrot Fish” Cuff beading kit. I was inspired by Kate McKinnon’s book, Contemporary Geometric Beadwork ( several of my designs are included in CGB Volume II).  I love working with color and named this design after the brilliantly colored Parrot Fish I’ve viewed closeup while vacationing in the Caribbean!  This kit takes quite a while to put together as the design is comprised of panels of different Delica bead color mixes totaling twenty-eight colors! It’s been a popular design, one geared to the advanced beginner (one who has an understanding of Peyote stitch and rudimentary geometric beadwork), as well as the intermediate, and advanced beader. The step-by-step tutorialis easy to follow and contains large color photos and charts. If you love pattern work and color, you might like this project!

Movin’ On!

For several months, I’ve been beading geometric triangles, flat squares, warped squares, and pentagons. Now I’m eager to explore other shapes…diamonds, ovals, hexagons, and more! Exploration is vital for discovery and growth. Be it is color, shape, pattern, size, etc., I want to learn more!  I consider every failed attempt as a learning experience and have no problem with tearing out beadwork that didn’t turn out as I had planned. Sometimes a mistake becomes a wonderful discovery! The photo above shows an interesting 3-D component. I had intended to create an oval with a large center opening, but as the work progressed I wanted to see what would happen if I just kept going! What I ended up with is a shape that would have become an elongated diamond had I not stopped to create a small opening at each side. I now have a 20mm x 40mm spinner bead that can be strung as a vertical pendant or suspended horizontally on a long ear wire! 

Itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny…

Size 15/0 beads are so very small and those are what are on my beading mat today. It’s one of those fabulous end-of-summer days filled with sunshine and pleasant temperatures ranging in the low 70’s. Birds are chirping and a Pileated Woodpecker is nearby drilling into a tree drumming rat-tat-tat-tat sounds. The prairie is awash in a sea of yellow now that the goldenrod is in full bloom. I simply couldn’t stay indoors on a day like this! So I’m playing with pentagons and although I have used round seed beads in several of my geometric beadwoven earrings designs, I have decided that I much prefer cylinder beads for geometric beadwoven works. Whereas round seed beads lend an organic look and feel that I find very pleasing, the precision of cylinder beads seems a better fit for the angular geometry of work that juts out at 45 and 90 degree angles. And I love the fit as Delica and Aiko beads “snap” into the orderly brick-like appearance of Peyote stitch. How many of you feel the same way?

Can’t Get Enough Orange!

Vitamin C?  I’m fine on that front. But, I’m craving the color orange of late.  I have no idea why.  I’ve never been a fan of orange…even during the swinging 1960’s when neon orange, pink, and green were the rage against a backdrop of white and black.  What I’m loving about it is the vibrancy of this color.  It’s happy and so alive it almost dances!  So after finishing the “Quadra Play” Geometric Triangle Drop Earrings (which by the way, are not at all color shy!), I decided that I needed a second pair featuring a brilliant rich shade of orange.  Using the same design patterns as those used in the first pair of earrings, I just added Delica beads in Opaque Orange to the four triangles that comprise the pair of earrings.  Shown at left is one side and the other photo shows the reverse side. I’m always amazed at the way color changes the appearance of a design!

Are You Ready To Play?

Hot off the press…my “Quadra Play” Geometric Triangle Drop Earrings beading kit and tutorial is ready and listed in my Etsy shop. Each color-coordinated earring is composed of two different patterns joined together to make one three dimensional puffy triangle. Four flat triangles in all are needed for one pair of earrings. Placed on 35mm hoop ear wires, they can be changed out for different looks to suit your whim! The easy to follow step-by-step tutorial is accompanied by large full-color photos and charts.  The kit contains Delica beads in nine colors, 15/0 seed beads, 4mm Druk beads, 35mm silver-plated stainless steel ear wires and the tutorial. If you’re seeking a quick project with a lot of fashion impact and versatility, look no further…these earrings are it!

What Do These Earrings Have In Common?

My “Quadra Play” Geometric Triangle Drop Earrings share many of the same colors and design patterns…all are geometric beadwoven triangles, and the silver hoops upon which they twirl, swing, and sway are all the same size.  Have you guessed what else they have in common?  They are all the same pair of earrings! On each earring one side of the triangle is attached to another triangle of a different pattern or color combination. In the top left photo you see a Blossom design at left and on the other earring you see somewhat of a Pinwheel design. Because the colors used are the same in both earrings, they look wonderful together!  In the next photo, the opposite side of the earring shows the quasi-Pinwheel design and its mate is worked in the Blossom design, but I’ve added yellow beads so they look like a totally different pair of earrings! Because the earrings are placed on thin hoops, they can easily be switched out by simply removing them from the hoop and reversing their positions..what fun! And what fashion mileage! A tutorial is in the works and will be ready in the next few days along with earring kits.  I’ll let you know when they are listed in my Etsy shop…stay tuned!





Would you like a sneak peek?

Several months ago while on vacation I devoted time to exploring color and pattern design while beading triangles. I had planned to make a CGB-inspired Kaleidocycle with these, but then stashed them in the UFO drawer while I worked on my “Carnival” Geometric Beaded Beads Bracelet design. Now once again, I’m working on these triangles and as much as I like the idea of making a whimsical little machine that folds in and onto itself, I’d really rather make wearable art jewelry.  I prefer something dangling on my wrist or ears opposed to a toy-like object.  And frankly, repetition bores me so the idea of working twenty-four triangles in four pattern repeats is not something I look forward to at this time. I’d much rather make triangles in which each varies in pattern and/or color. This week will be busy, but I hope to have this project finished by next week along with a tutorial and kits…stay tuned!

What a mess this was…

This is the table on which I work with metal clay, polymer clay, and resin and for months it has been covered with all manner of paraphernalia that goes into the making of art.  There was hardly an inch of free space and no work could be accomplished on this table while it was in such disarray!  A special order for metal clay components was the impetus for taking the time to clean this studio and I must say, it is indeed a pleasure to once again see it looking so neat.  If only it would stay that way!  My beading table on the other hand, which is located in another area of the same room is next in line for a cleanup and fortunately, it isn’t nearly at the level of “disaster area” that the other was.  It will require a minimal amount of tidying up.  Next week I will try to find time rearrange the mess on my jewelry bench in the metals studio. Making art is a messy business!


It’s Been Ages, But…

Now that I’ve finished my latest beading project and tutorial I finally have time to replenish my stash of bronze metal clay “Urchins” and “Ammonites” (a special order for these was the impetus). This photo shows the bronze metal clay components in the pre-firing stage being tidied up and having their holes filed smooth. After sanding and refining their edges and bottoms as well, they will be put in the kiln for firing. Post-firing, they will be put in the jewelry tumbler for several hours, emerging with a lovely gold patina. While hunting through my stash for a packet of bronze clay I also discovered several packs of copper metal clay, which I’ve never used and hope to start experimenting with soon!

There are so many things I want to create and so many materials that I want to play with at the moment! I really want to get back into the metals studio and make more rings…a poison ring with a hidden compartment is an intriguing project! I have an idea for a polymer clay and beaded beads project in mind…I want to experiment with beaded hexagons and cubes and other shapes. And playing with stamps and decoupaging boxes and tins with paper intrigues me. As always, so many ideas and never enough time!

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