Sunday, 30 December 2012

Day Two

So here is day two of building my blue freeform necklace. I find this part of the process exciting but also frustrating because I always think it is quite ugly at first. I now know that it is when I am 100% happy with every inch of the piece that I need to stop working on it.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A Work in Progress

Here it is, my new blue freeform necklace on the beading board. So I thought I would share the process. However, it is important to note that freeform has no real set "rules", if it did it would be a pattern. 

  • As you can see I have three containers of bead soups. One was a container already filled with "scrap beads". As such, it is not quite the right blend but I don't mind picking through beads to get the look I want. I find bead picking therapeutic. I have up the top, right of the screen my main colour. I have a dark blend and a light blend. I want to transition from dark to bright to light blue in this piece. I have used a black base. I am aiming for a nice shadow with this piece and will add to the black base as necessary. I can subtract from the harsh black by adding more peyote over the top. I have also kept the silver lined beads separate as this is a colour that I will use to draw it all together and blend it along with the real bright blues that can be seen in the main colour.
  • First, I peyote a long strip of the base colour. This is the most annoying step. working with one colour is boring! I try to make it two to three inches longer than I want as it pulls up and the extra inches give me space to make a clasp. It is easy with freeform to add and takeaway rows but I like to drape the piece as I go to get a balanced shape. 
  • I then work the soups into sections and build with bridges and fringing (I rarely use fringing though) until I am happy with the shape, size, and thickness of the piece. A lot of people use thicker bases but I find them limiting. I'd much rather add as necessary than have to zip up sections.
  • Once all the soups are blocked in sections, I blend in the colours so that they do not appear....well...blocky!
  • That is all there really is. I prefer a simple clasp as I find anything too fancy takes away from the piece. I like a button or a bigger bead that can pull through a peyote toggle.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


I almost had forgotten how much fun freeform beadwork is. This was a challenge from my husband to go outside my colour comfort zone and to use up some old beads. I love the result and I am now hanging our for a new colour challenge!

I read something really disappointing on another blog about freeform beading the other day, the suggestion was to grab a heap of different size and colour beads and start beading. Colour placement, design, shape and wearability are just as important in freeform as in patterned work. The wrong colour can ruin a whole piece, the wrong shape can not only make a piece look ugly but render it unwearable. You need to be able to let go of pattern in freeform (to an extent) but not having design knowledge will result in pieces that won't work and make it impossible to create a signature style.