Kate McKinnon and the team at Contemporary Geometric Beadwork has inspired me to bead along with them as they share their techniques for creating exciting shapes made primarily with Miyuki Delica beads. Here’s the backstory behind how these pieces were created:
Starting from what CGB has dubbed a “podcast bead” made with 20 size 8/0 seed beads, I beaded along with Kate’s videos to make a “rickrack starter bangle” that has 20 zigzag points. My starter bangle is the turquoise zig zag bangle set around the tiny podcast bead that it grew from shown in the adjoining photo.
I then chose some fall colors – gold, two shades of raspberry and two shades of green, with the intention of using all of these for my bangle. As I began to bead the raspberry and gold zigzag, I reached a point where I felt I was very unhappy with the colors and I didn’t think the piece was worth finishing. I didn’t think that adding the greens I had selected would help it. So I put the beadwork aside for a few days and worked on another design.
One of the great things about beading with a community of creative friends is that they can help you see past your beading design blocks. My friend Ilene always tells me to keep working through the “ugly” and it will get better. I have a deeply ingrained need to not let anything go to waste – especially long hours of beadwork made with expensive beads. So when my friend Shari came over to knit one day while I beaded, I asked her advice about the zigzag bracelet. She said that she loved the raspberry and gold but agreed I should lose the green. We then played around with various ideas to improve the piece. These are some experiments we looked at:
The design in the center was exciting to me. I decided that a mirrored zigzag would work well, especially if I added some more rows of gold in the center. I also loved that the mirrored zigzag formed a shape that was a perfect fit for GemDuo beads! I had recently seen some gorgeous 24k gold plated GemDuo bead substitutes that would fit perfectly in the little windows in my zigzag!
I was now faced with a new dilemma- if I added the gold GemDuos in the windows, the bangle would tighten and would no longer fit me. In order to get a wearable bracelet with the gold inserts, I would need to cut the bangle. This would scare many people as they know that the beadwork could easily come apart, but I had cut a peyote bangle once before so I felt brave.
Before cutting, I carefully wove in the beadwork on each side of my cut line. The surgery went very smoothly and I now had a flat bracelet! I found a perfect clasp for the bracelet- the 29mm Beadslide Cross Hatch clasp by Elegant Elements slid right onto my end row of Delicas. But now the bracelet was too big for me. The added width of the clasp combined with the fact that this didn’t need to slip over my wrist anymore, created the need for one more cut. I reinforced and cut one zigzag section off of my bracelet and the fit was perfect.
Now, you know, I couldn’t let that one extra section of cut off zigzag go to waste. I left it on my beading table for a few days and pondered about making it into a pendant. I could have left it as is and just added a chain, but I really felt it wanted more dimension and wanted to be diamond – shaped. I figured out how to continue the rows of peyote that had been cut, added a bail and a simple 2 bead twisted herringbone rope, and I had a necklace to match my bracelet!
I hope you enjoy reading about my design process and inspiration!
If you’d like to purchase the supplies to make this, contact your local bead store or check out these links:
- 10mm x 29mm Elegant Elements Beadslide Clasp Crosshatch Antique Gold available at Potomac Beads or Red Panda Beads
- ADAMAS-GemDuo Bead Substitute 24K Gold Plate available at Red Panda Beads
- Dark Raspberry Delica Beads DB-312 at Potomac Beads or Dark Copper DB-312 at Red Panda Beads
- 24K Gold Plated Iris Delica Beads DB-501 at Red Panda Beads
- Berry Gold Delica Beads DB-1016 at Red Panda Beads
- Matt 24K Gold Plated Declica Beads DB -331 at Red Panda Beads