Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heart Beads inspired by Donna Kato

I got Donna Kato's new book, The Art Of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques and have spent some time making heart beads inspired by her instruction. I decided on a tropical color scheme, which is a bit out of the norm for me but nevertheless I stuck with it and made several canes using these colors before applying them to the heart beads.

Every cane I made for these heart beads were in Donna's book. The canes I made were bullseye, ikat, component flower cane, klimt, and tile.

Donna's canes are simple, the key is to decide on a color scheme and create several different canes using your chosen colors so they all go together when you apply the thin slices to your project. The exception is the translucent and white bullseye cane. Translucent and white can compliment any color scheme.

The time spent making Donna's canes will springboard me into new directions and ideas. I also want to do more heart beads, it's a universal shape with a meaning that knows no language barriers.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Polymer and Tornados Combined

So here is a necklace with my last two blog entries combined. I made a batch of Winter Solstice beads on December 21st, and then made some tornado beads. I originally strung them together on a cord but didn't like it, so I hung them from a chain with one Winter Solstice bead as a focal. I'm not sure what my next project will be, but I'm almost certain that I'm through with cool winter colors. I can feel the days getting longer already. The bunny charm at the end of the focal bead hints at spring.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Tornado Bead Tutorial

On the first day of 2009 I thought I'd post a tutorial on making a tornado bead. This is a non-polymer posting but I needed these to go with some polymer beads I made recently.

I have been unable to find a tornado bead tutorial online so I figured this one out myself. Hopefully if you are looking for the same thing I was, this will serve as a starting point to making your own tornado beads.

For a one inch bead, you will need:

18" of 20-gauge wire
16" of 22 gauge wire
Various sized seed beads- 11, 8, 6.
A couple of 4mm beads
A mandrel

Beginning in the middle of the 20 gauge wire, wrap wire around a mandrel (I used a small wooden skewer) in both directions until the wrap is one inch long and there is 5"-6" of excess wire on each end. The wraps don't have to be perfectly lined up against each other.

Take the right end of the excess wire and working right to left, wrap it loosely around the base in a somewhat random and disorganized fashion. This isn't about perfection, it's about a tornado!

Take the left end of the excess wire and wrap it around the base from left to right, again in a loose fashion and make the bead slightly fatter in the middle.

Now you are ready to add beads with the 22 gauge wire.

Take 16" of the 22 gauge wire and start a wrap at one end, tucking the end under so it doesn't stick out. Add a few size 11 seed beads in the first revolution.

Start wrapping and adding larger beads to the 22 gauge wire in the gaps between the 20 gauge wire. They will stick out a little at first but become integrated when you continue with the 22 gauge wire.

Continue to wrap and add beads into the gaps, alternating sizes and colors. Take an occasional wire wrap without any beads.

When you reach the other end of the tornado bead, you should have the 22 gauge wire used up. Tuck the end into the bead to conceal the wire end.

Here is the finished bead!