I wrote a book!

And it’s about time I blogged about it. I tend to forget about the blog in between all the other social media accounts I seem to have acquired…

Anyway yes, I wrote a book. It’s called ‘Learn to Make Bead Jewellery’ and it’s published by Search Press in the UK and by Kalmbach (with the appropriate spelling modifications) in the US.

The UK cover of my book

There are 35 projects starting with easy earrings and finishing with elaborate collars, all made with simple stringing and wirework techniques that are explained with photographs – LOTS of photographs – so as to be (I hope) easy to follow. The idea is that a beginner could pick up this book, drool over the lovely pictures and learn a useful set of skills, and that an experienced beader could pick up this book, drool over the lovely pictures and get loads of inspiration for things to make.

So far this seems to have gone down very well. My favourite review is this one by the lovely Jean Baldridge Yates, whose work I’ve admired for years so I’m ridiculously pleased that she likes my book!

It took over a year of planning, meetings, photography (LOTS of photography, shout out to Phil Wilkins for being the most patient man in the world as well as a stunningly good photographer) and kicking ideas around (shout out to Karin Skanberg, my designer at Quarto Publishing, for creative genius and very very good chocolate brownies) and there were a few technical problems along the way… but finally I had the finished book in my hands and was doing the happy dance round my kitchen!

Here are a couple of my favourites from the book. You can see my snapshots of the other projects on my Pinterest board along with reviews, in-progress shots and other #lynnsbeadybook related things.

Autumn Leaves necklace with French beaded pendants

Rustic Romance bracelet - the cover project for the US edition

True Blue Heart necklace with lampwork by Sally Carver

If you’ve got this book, do let me know which of the projects you liked – or even better, show me pictures of ones you’ve made!

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Free tutorial: Partridge Pendant

It’s been ages since I last posted a free tutorial anywhere and I’m not sure I’ve ever done it on this blog, so seeing as the Festive Season is coming up fast, here is a little gift for all my readers.

Cute eh? I just love these little lampwork birdies, they are by the lovely Sandy aka Flowerjasper. I managed to win an auction the last time she had a show on Facebook (there will be another one next week so do keep an eye on her FB page!) and I thought they’d make fun pendants. There were a few Czech glass pear beads left over from a project in my book, so they became partridge-in-a-pear-tree pendants, all ready for someone’s true love on the first day of Christmas!

To make a pendant you will need these partridge parts:

Parts for Partridge Pendant

  • 1 lampwork bird bead
  • 1 headpin (2″ or longer)
  • 2 flower spacer beads
  • 1 crystal 4mm bicone
  • 1 silver 2mm round bead
  • 1 glass pear bead
  • 1 glass leaf bead
  • 1 star or snowflake charm
  • 1 pendant bail with hanging loop
  • 2 triangle bails (8mm and 5mm)
  • 5 jump rings

You also need round-nosed pliers, flat-nosed pliers (preferably 2 pairs), wire cutters, and crimping pliers if you’ve got them (the sort with the two rounded notches). And a chain or ribbon to put your pendant on when you’ve finished it.

1. String the following on the headpin: spacer, bird, crystal, spacer, 2mm round.

2. Make a wrapped loop at the top of the headpin. If you don’t know how to do this, follow this link and learn!

4. Oops, looks as though partridge has drunk too much of the festive spirit. Anyway – use your flat-nosed pliers to attach a jump ring to the wrapped loop. Then attach a second jump ring to the first one.


5. Pull apart the ends of the smaller triangle bail and insert the glass leaf. Squeeze the bail shut with pliers.

6. Do the same with the larger triangle bail and the pear bead.

7. Open another jump ring and attach it to the second jump ring above the wrapped loop. Add the glass leaf on its bail. Close the jump ring.

8. Open another jump ring and add the glass pear on its bail, the jump ring from the previous step, and the loop of the pendant bail. Close the jump ring.

9. Use the final jump ring to attach the charm to the same jump ring as the leaf (or wherever you like; tinker with things until they hang nicely).

10. Thread your chosen necklace through the pendant bail. Now wear and enjoy! Or give as a gift.

I’ll be bringing a flock of partridge pendants to the Dorset Team Christmas Craft Fair at the Allendale, Wimborne, on 5 December. Unless they’ve all flown away first!

Oh, and if you want to make the matching ‘Pear Tree’ bracelet you’ll have to wait a week or two for the book to be published… meantime here is a sneak peek!

Pear Tree Bracelet

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Lynn’s beady book!

smiley me with copy of lynnsbeadybook

The first copy of my book!

At last all the waiting and tinkering and discussion and correction is over, and my book is complete! Here is a very happy yours truly with the first preview copy from the publishers – I was literally dancing around the kitchen with excitement. It’s one thing to have pdfs and printouts with lots of sticky notes and red ink scribbles on them… it’s quite another to have the actual book with the full-sized, high-resolution images!

Talking of which… here, have a sneak preview of a couple of projects.

Randomness is something I just can’t resist so there is quite a lot of it in my book. Ditto lime green. And labradorite. Also lampwork… this ‘Highland Heather’ bracelet trio combines all these favourite things! The pebble beads are by Julia at Pandanimal Lampwork Glass.

Highland Heather bracelet trio

The gorgeous photos (copyright Quarto plc) are by Phil Wilkins – aka the most patient and perfectionist photographer in the history of the world in space – and the book’s accessible, bright, visually appealing design (and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased, I’m saying that because it’s true!) is by Karin Skanberg. Hard to believe we did most of the photography shoots right here on my kitchen table!

Marigold bracelet

‘Marigold’ has a cheery spotty dotty lampwork glass clasp by Linda of Earthshine Beads, who very kindly wrote about me on her blog recently.

I managed to feature ‘lampies’ and handmade components by over 20 independent makers while ensuring that the designs incorporated lots of ‘standard’ bead types so they could easily be adapted or replicated. The introductory section has a gorgeous double page spread of just BEADS… I’m hoping the book will inspire not only those who love beautiful beads but those who have never beaded before. And I’m really hoping to see lots of new creations from lots of beaders once the book is finally published!

The UK edition (pictured above) is published by Search Press and should be available in early December. You can preorder it here.

The US edition has a very different cover and is published by Kalmbach – it should be available in your local bead store very soon!

The cover of the US edition

If you want a sneaky peek inside, click the ‘Look inside’ link here and you’ll see the introductory sections and the first couple of projects. Do let me know what you think!

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What happened to summer?

I think I blinked and missed it! Can’t believe it’s so long since my last update… anyway I’m still here, still beading, and there is more good news in that #lynnsbeadybook has been finished, approved, proofread, corrected and sent to press. That all took a lot longer to do than to describe, believe me, thirty-five projects is a lot of projects and the nomenclature of pliers is remarkably complicated when you actually try to make it all consistent!

My collection of pliers and cutters

I still can’t show you the projects from the book and I’m afraid it won’t be published until December, but you can see the cover of the UK edition (Search Press) here and the cover of the US one (Kalmbach) here – both very different but I am delighted with the quality of the photography and design. I danced around the office with excitement when I first saw the proofs with the high-resolution full-sized versions of the pictures rather than the low-res online ones I’d been looking at during the design stages!

Glowing Treasures Necklace - a few of the wirework elements

(That, just to be clear, is one of my in-progress photos. The publishers’ ones are MUCH better.)

I managed to feature beads and handmade components from two dozen UK makers and several of my favourite bead shops as well as of course having a ball with the awesome parcel of beady awesomeness kindly supplied by the book’s sponsors at Land of Odds. I think the book fits nicely with my stated beady mission of rescuing as many ‘lampies’ as possible from being stuffed into boring designs. I really hope you (and the beadmakers) will agree with me…

'Lilac Lariat' in progress, hearts by Sue Harris

'Pear Tree Bracelet' in progress, bird by Sandy Fulbrook

'Wave Pendant' in progress, bead by Kathryn Greer

A few projects from my book, plus some other bits of my work both strung and beadwoven, and a pearl knotting design, are also due to appear on the gallery pages of a forthcoming beading book by the beading genius that is Jean Power. I’ve been helping out with checking the proofs and this book is a cracker, can’t wait to see it in print!

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Good News everyone!

I’m writing a book!

It’s an introduction to stringing and wirework for the adventurous beginner, title to be announced, it’ll be published in January 2016 by Kalmbach in the US and Search Press in the UK.
I’m not allowed to share the actual projects yet but there will be 35 of them,covering a range of styles from simple earrings to complex multi-stranded collars. Techniques will include crimping, pearl knotting, wire wrapping and a tiny bit of bead stitching (because I can’t resist it!) and there will be a wealth of tips on choosing materials, designing, finishing off, and how to handle colour, randomness and asymmetry.
It’s going to be colourful – here are samples from some of the palettes I’m using! The beads may not be exactly the same but the colours will be similar, going through seven beady ‘ecosystems’: ocean, beach, meadow, woodland, forest, mountain and volcano.
The very lovely Land of Odds bead store is sponsoring the book and has supplied a wonderful range of beads for me to play with – sorry, design with – and I will of course be slipping in a few handmade ‘lampies’ alongside them.
The idea is to give you, the reader, a range of skills and a whole stack of ideas to launch you on your own designing pathway… I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Right, back to the bead board, I have three strands of pearls to string…
If you want to keep up with my latest updates, I tend to go to Twitter first, so look out for the tag #lynnsbeadybook – I am allowed to share a few teaser pictures from time to time ;)

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A contest with a difference

Once again I am delighted to be a semifinalist in the incomparable, the wacky, the wonderful, the one and only Ugly Necklace Contest.

More Is Most Definitely Not Always Better

This year my entry is titled ‘More Is Most Definitely Not Always Better’. The necklace had to have two strands as well as breaking as many of the rules of ‘good’ jewellery design as possible.

This isn’t as easy to do as you might think. Sure, you can make the clasp asymmetrically placed but it’s very difficult to force yourself to put the focal components off-centre and make the colours clash and make the whole piece really unbalanced. It’s perfectly possible to take individually ugly components and make quite a decent necklace out of them, but it’s much harder to take pretty beads and make them part of something hideous…

 

I did a bit of both. Some of the components are found, recycled, repurposed objects, aka ‘rubbish’; some are made from scratch with perfectly good beads; some are unfinished bits or samples from other projects. There is also a symbolic rubbish bin for good measure.

I have now entered this contest six times in all and been a semifinalist each time. Is this a record? If so, I am rather proud of it. I’ve only ever won once, which shows just how difficult it is to do world-class ugly design.

Do take the time to have a look at the other four semifinalists’ pages because there are some real gems of both ugly poetry (a poem is a required part of every entry) and ugly necklaces. Voting this year is very simple – one click of a button – I’m not asking you to vote for me, well, OK, I am asking you to vote for me but ONLY if you honestly, hand on heart, think mine is the ugliest necklace in the semifinal.

Did I succeed, or did I fail? Only time will tell. Although that isn’t really the important issue. What’s important is, did I have fun and learn something by making this piece? To which the answer is a resounding YES!!!

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Vintage Inspiration

Hello again reader, it’s been a long time since I blogged in earnest but it’s about time I started keeping this blog more up to date. With actual news from round about now, rather than just pictures of things I made months ago. So, with the northern hemisphere winter evenings drawing in, and with the minds of many people in both hemispheres starting to focus on Christmas, here is my most recent published project in the latest issue of Beadwork Magazine. I hope you’ll agree that this would make a beautiful festive ‘party piece’ for this season’s holiday parties!

Georgian Jewels, closeup

It’s called ‘Georgian Jewels’ and is an attempt to recreate the style of an 18th century foil-backed gold necklace set with garnets – a style that was very popular in Georgian times. Each stone was set into an individual bezel with gold foil backing, which changed the colour of the garnet from a dark red to a more vibrant one. The bezels were linked to form a supple chain that draped elegantly around the neck.

 

I didn’t have gold and garnets to play with, but I experimented with tiny gold seed beads and some bigger seed beads that are a gloriously rich shade of red, and after much unpicking and cursing I found a construction that gave me the appearance I wanted. After more unpicking and cursing I figured out a thread path that could be reliably repeated and, what is more important, explained in simple words!

Georgian Jewels necklace

Georgian Jewels, green and silver version

I submitted the design to Beadwork Magazine along with a batch of others – all of those were rejected, but this one caught the eye of the editor, who thought it would make an ideal ‘holiday project’ for their winter issue.

 

I had to wait over a year to see it in print… the hardest part of any published project is keeping it a secret, especially when it’s one you’re really pleased with!

Beadwork asked for an alternative colourway, so I picked emerald green and silver, another very traditional 18th century colour combination, and left out the extra picots between the units to give the piece a surprisingly clean and contemporary look.

 

I can’t wait to see what other beaders do with this. Maybe a multi-strand collar? An elegant bracelet? Dangly earrings? And I’d love to see it in gold and amethyst, or pale gold and aquamarine, or rainbow colours…

Georgian Jewels cross

I did an experiment myself and found that the bezels can easily be attached to one another to make a self-supporting strip. This cross pendant is still in the Georgian style and can be removed from the chain if not required. It didn’t make it into the published version but all the same I’m very pleased with it!

 

 

 

If you make this or any of my other published projects (see my ‘Brag Page’ for a complete list), I’d love to see pictures and hear your comments, so do track me down on one of my social media accounts and let me know. I even have a Pinterest board for other beaders’ versions of my designs – I’m building up quite a collection!

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A thing a day in December… so long ago I can barely remember…

Time flies when you’re having fun, and I’ve certainly been having fun, just not blogging about it. However, all that is about to change… but first, I am determined to complete the remnants of my thing-a-day challenge for 2013 even though it all went a bit pearshaped towards the end.

I loved the idea of making a thing a day and when I started, I wasn’t very well and a thing a day was about all I was capable of. By the end of the year, I was on the road to recovery, I was out and about more and there were days when nothing got made at all. Anyway here are the things that DID get made in December.

It may not be quite 365 things but it’s a good haul. Which are your favourites?

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A Thing Every Other Day in November… it’s getting hard to remember

Determined to post the remainder of my Thing-A-Day Challenge even though by this time it was evident that I was failing miserably! But I did make quite a lot of things in November and here are most of them.

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A Thing A Day in October… is easier when sober… or something

It’s been shamefully long since I updated this blog, but not to worry, all is well! The Thing-a-Day challenge was beginning to lapse by October as my life got back to normal and I was actually able to get out of the studio and go and visit people and do normal-person things like eating cream teas and walking on the beach… but here are the things that I know I made in October, there might not be quite one a day but there are still quite a lot of them! And a few nice views of beaches in Jersey as well. Because taking a photo totally counts as making a piece of art, right?

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