Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bezelled crystals

For weeks and months now, I just haven't had much inspiration or energy to bead. Then a few days before Christmas I just had to participate in Noora's colour challenge at Inspira. I got the combo midnight blue, wine and bronze to work with. Nothing I use very often, but still not too far out, which meant less of a chance that I'd give up and yet again feel like a failure. After rummaging through my stash, I also found beads in the right colours that would work together: custom coated Swarovski rivoli in rose sphinx, 4 mm fp in garnet topaz luster (that was the closest I had to wine, and much darker than in my photo) plus some medium bronze Delicas and a few 15/0 bronze seeds.

I've never tried to bead a bezel using beads as large and cylinder-shaped as the 10/0 Delicas, which explains why it's a bit uneven. It was my first try and in retrospect I can see several things I'd do different. But seeing how this piece was responsible to giving me back the yearning to bead, I don't want to redo it. Unfortunatley, both garnet topaz luster and rose sphinx are hopeless colours to photograph in this combination so I'm a bit disappointed at how crummy the pendant looks here...

Anyway, bezelling is addictive so when I'd finished this one I just had to make one more, trying different beads and bead counts as well as embellishments. And then one more and one more and...

'I don't use bugle beads that often because I'm afraid they'll cut my thread, but sometimes I just have to use them as the shape alters the look of a piece considerable compared to using multiple seeds to acheive the same lenght. This is Alchemy mk III and I'm afraid I never got any pics of the first two incarnations. At first I used just 3 mm bugles for the RAW strip, but it got too wide. For the second version I used two 11/0s as "spokes", but that was not much shorter than using bugles so for the final version I just used one 11/0 and suddenly it fit perfectly. I was soo pleased.

Pity I used my 16 mm Alchemy rivoli (by Preciosa) as the black bugles (the only 3 mm bugles I have) blend with the crystal. But you can see the structure of the bezel better on the flipside. I never planned on keeping this so I didn't bother too much about choosing colours. After being pleased about the result I actually got a bit annoyed at not choosing different colours as the bezel turned out so good I didn't want to rip it...

This bronze bezel capturing a 14 mm Preciosa rivoli in crystal Marea shows the structure of my basic RAW bezel very well. I don't do peyote bezels as many other do as I don't get along with that stitch, but I love RAW/cross-weaving and netting. I really like RAW bezels for two reasons: a) they are so easy to make and alter to fit the stone in question and b) they form a base that's perfect to embellish in different ways.

This one isn't embellished as I'm planning on using it stitched to a pendant and don't want it too "frilly". At least not before I've worked more on the details of the design. I've used 13/0 charlottes for this bezel.

For this little charm or pendant, I didn't use a rivoli but a pointed-back foiled crystal, I was given in a secret santa swap just before Christmas. I wanted to use drops, inspired by Beadsmania, and due to the size of the crystal (perhaps 14 mm across) I choose Miyuki's new 2,8 mm drops and 13/0 (blueish) hematite charlottes. Another pic I'm not pleased with: the shape of the bezel looks wonky, but it really isn't IRL...

Back to rivolis. Once again, I just wanted to test a design and had to make due with what I had so I ended up using a 16 mm crystal volcano rivoli and metallic purple 11/0 seeds (japanese). This is the same typ of embellishment I used in my first bezel, but this time only using seeds. I also added bows of seeds around the bezel.

For this one I did just as before, using 15/0 japanese seeds, but here it's a vintage Swarovski stone that's a bit different. It's oval and it has a totally flat, not pointy, front while still being pointedback. #2102 if you want to look them up. Here, I embellished the front just as bove, using three beads on each bow. A bit of a pesky shape, not because it's oval, but because the girth is thicker on the two sides than at the narrow ends. But not so much of a problem that it shows on the front.

The latest version of my RAW bezels is this one I made today. I used Toho 11/0 seeds in copper-lined topaz. A shiny warm, golden tones that looks strange in this photo and more transparent than IRL. I also added 10/0 Czech seeds in copper-lined light olivine to match the pretty olivine stone. This is the same type of pointedback crystal I used in the grey pendant before, from the same secret santa.

The strip is slightly too short so the beads cover much of the crown, but I choose not to redo it, fearing that it'd be too loose if I added another section of RAW. The gaps between the beads, which you can see in the pic, aren't really visible IRL. Once again, I embellished the front with row of three beads (1 topaz, 1 olivine, 1 topaz) and then, as in the purple pendant, I added two-coloured rows around the bezel. This time I wanted to use picots in some way. I like working with picots. So I combined picots and rows, alternating between the two, after figuring only picots wouldn't look as nice as when combined with bows of beads between them.

I've already shown my tila bezel here, but as it was part of my rivoli bezelling obsession, it has a place here as well. I've tried to arrange the bezels in the order they were made, but this one was probably made first or at least after finish my challenge piece. This isn't made in RAW as the once above. The method here is more like stringing. And I keep repeating myself: I just have one colour of tilas and had to make due with a shrinking stash of rivolis so there wasn't much room to choose colours that'd look fab together. Besides, I wasn't even sure it'd work and thought I'd just rip it and return the stone to the stash afterwards. But I think I'm keeping it...

Like with my tila beads, I'm soon running out of rivolis and crystals to bezel. It's just so addicitive! I even had to stop myself from making more basic bezels before I ran out of stone to try different embellishment designs on.

So there we have it: I'm beading again. That is, beading for real and thinking about designs. But I soon have to buy more beads and stones if I keep this up. Having flow can be oh so expensive (and not being able to buy much needed/wanted supplies can be frustrating and throw me back into the bead block). But right now I focus on the important part: I'm beading again!

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