Wednesday, 27 June 2012


While catching you up a little on what I've done so far, I've been working on my first ever bead embroidered collar, and boy was there some work in it! It's finished now, but it won't be going up on Etsy or Folksy just yet, as I have been invited to share a little shelf space in a brand new shop here in Norwich.

Anya Designs is run by Hannah Oxberry, who some will know from the Jewellery Makers channel on satellite TV, as she has made a few guest appearaces there as a designer, and has been featured in the morning programmes this weekend. Hannah is a jewellery designer and tutor, as well as a qualified silversmith, and while she has been teaching many aspects of jewellery-making has now gone full time in her new venture. Having met Hannah at a local meet a few weeks back, I took some of my bead embroidery pieces to show, and this resulted in Hannah offering me some shelf space in her new shop, with mine being the ONLY bead embroidery in there.

I had been planning this necklace for a long time, and had just plucked up the courage to actually start making it. I've had the central Unakite cabochon for more than a year, and have built my design around it. Finally I bit the bullet, after spending months collecting the right beads to fit in with the design, and made it. Now, because of Hannah's offer, I've decided to make it exclusive to her for as long as I have the space, or until it sells.

To see Anya Design's website, click here, and be sure to look in the news section..

Meanwhile, here is the necklace. Centred by a large unakite cab, it has Swarovsky rivolis, leaves  and freshwater pearls, bead woven Russian leaves and fringes with glass daggers and unakite beads. The side arms are joined to the front with more unakite beads, and feature three more unakite cabochons and freshwater pearls. The back is a double closure, with two large bronze tone leaf toggles, with a swarovsky rivoli in the centre.

I wanted to achieve an ancient British feel with this necklace, and I think I may have done it. I've called it 'Iceni'.

Monday, 25 June 2012

More of my Work

Just to complete the background to this blog, so we can begin to move forward, I'm just going to show you a few more pieces, some using different techniques and materials, some more familiar with those I've shown you so far. I'm learning all the time, and there's lots more to learn yet, but I'm loving my bead embroidery, it not only gives me freedom of creativity, as many of them are pretty much freeform, but it keeps me sane. I realise that I'm fortunate in one way to be able to spend as much time as I do working on these, simply because I'm not working at the moment, but being full time carer to Chris, my partner, who had a leg amputated six months ago due to diabetes.

So first of all, a few more cuffs...

Then I began with the necklaces. First these pendant necklaces, with beaded lace around the central cabochons..

Then, with one of the Picasso Jasper Cabochons I purchased from Singapore (postal, I hadn't been there sadly), Bronzed Earth was born.

Finally, I decided to make some earrings too. The blue ones went well, but when I tried to make a pair with some purple rivolis, they turned out far bigger than expected, so I made them into a necklace instead. What a happy accident!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Let's Talk About Colour.

Celtic Knotwork Cuff

How do we decide which colours to use in our crafting? What's the inspiration? Well for me much of my inspiration comes from nature and history. It's as simple as that really.

Southern Marsh Orchid
How do we decide which colours to use in our crafting? What's the inspiration? Well for me much of my inspiration comes from nature and history. It's as simple as that really.I hear a saying 'Pink and Green should never be seen' or another version, 'Blue and Green should never be seen'. Good thing Nature didn't listen to that, what a dull world we'd live in. No leafy green treetops against a clear blue sky, no beautiful wild orchids standing among the thick blades of green grass, no blue butterflies fluttering around my laurel hedge, no bluebells in the woods in spring.

Snettisham Gold, courtesy of
My other inspiration is history, mainly ancient bronze age tribal history. Little is recorded of this time, except from the Roman point of view, which describes our ancient tribes as brutal and barbaric. Stories of Boudica, the Iceni Queen and Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes who made her Kingdom a client Kingdom to accommodate the Romans, finds of gold jewellery in and around Norfolk, archaeological finds, all give us clues to the real identity of these ancient peoples, and inspire me in my work.

What happens when I still can't find inspiration from these? I browse through a book I bought a couple of years ago, The Beader's Colour Palette by Margie Deeb. What a treasure this book is, and need not apply to beaders alone, I'm certain that this can also be used for other crafts too. In it Margie Deeb shows us how to build a colour palette from various sources of inspiration, and how to apply those palettes to various styles of jewellery, but it is a must for anyone who uses colour.

If I'm ever lacking in inspiration, and we all get days where nothing quite springs to mind, this book has never failed to bring it back again.

What inspires your colour choices?

Thursday, 21 June 2012


This bracelet, named after another Ancient Celtic Goddess, is the second of my bead embroidery pieces, and one I'm particularly proud of. Here I have recorded progress as I went along. Now I've made much more since, I realise that designing on paper and sticking exactly to that design is just not going to happen. I have a rough idea of what I want, draw it out on paper but while making it up, it takes on a will of it's own, and never turns out quite how I originally intended.

That's not a bad thing though, as the results turn out better than I first envisaged! Here's what I mean. First the rough design, drawn in my notebook, along with the finished cuff.

As you can see, similar, but not quite the original design. So here's how the progress was made.

From the design, the pattern was marked out on the base, and the blue lace agate cabochon glued on, and once dry, I began beading aroud it.

Once the cabochon was fully bezelled with beads, I then began adding more elements, like these dyed rivershell peardrop beads, which were just the job for this project.

Now this is where the design began to go it's own way and ignore my paper draft. There wasn't room for the pearls above and below the cabochon, so these were left out, and blue firepolish crystals added instead. Also the original design had a rivoli at each end, but again, I'd miscalculated the measurements, so I added the pearls there instead.

One end complete, now to do the other end to match.

Progress being made at the other end...

Finally, to fix the backing felt, trim as close as I dare to the beads, being careful not to snip the threads, and bead the edges together to make a neat finish. Add a toggle closure and...

                                                  And here it is....tadahhh!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Crafting Area...or a cluttered corner!

You don't have to have a specially equipped room, full of perfect shelves, the desk, cabinets, work surfaces, a space you can completely call your own, where nobody disturbs you, where there is enough light all day for you to craft for as long as you want, and a hubby to bring you tea every hour, cook dinner, clean house....Oh I'm dreaming again, sorry about that.

Of course, we'd all love to have all of the above, but I bet few of us have it. My work area? Well, if we have guests it becomes a dining table.  I live in a very small flat with my partner. The layout of the furniture is now in a squashed-up-against-the-wall style to make way for his wheelchair. (It's what I call living on the edge) but my space in the kitchen is mine...all mine, sometimes, unless the weather is dull, then he needs light too, so it's shared. It's my little round kitchen/dining table. It sits in a big bay window, which I love. I can sit there beading in excellent light, watching the world (well, mainly double decker buses) go by, listen to the birds in the small patch of urban woods behind us, and actually NOT be in my partner's way. It's a small space, but it works for me.

In winter days, when daylight is short and nights are long, I do sit in the living room with my beading tray on my lap, struggling by the lamp, but I love the days when I can sit in the bay window and just allow my creations to take shape.

Here it is, between projects, as there's not a chance you'd see the actual table if I was working on becomes much more cluttered in a sort of organised chaos way.

Monday, 18 June 2012


Hello, I’m Teresa. This is about the third time I’ve tried writing a blog, but it never felt right, neither when I wrote about writing, nor when I wrote about jewellery-making…and especially not when I combined that with my fiance’s troubles following a leg amputation, and what it’s like being a carer.

I think I’ve found good ground now, that I can cover and record in my blog, and hopefully in time I’ll build an audience, just so I’m not talking to myself.

So, the purpose of this particular blog is to show off my hobby, which is bead embroidery. Yes it’s a step up from just stringing necklaces all right, this is much more time-consuming and has become a passion, almost an obsession. I just love doing it. Of course I still string necklaces and bracelets, I love using gemstones, the colours, the feel of them.

I also want to show some of the talent out there too, and there is much to show,  covering lots of crafts.

For now, suffice to say that although I’ve come across as a fairly confident person in life, I haven’t always been completely confident with what I do, it’s often been said to me that I undervalue my own abilities, and that is probably true. I have been crafting in one way or another all of my life, knitting, crochet, embroidery, dressmaking and so on, but I discovered bead embroidery, and this is something I am confident with, I know I’m good at it, I know my work stands well against some of the most accomplished bead embroiderers, though I won’t say I’m up to their standards just yet, I’m still learning, but I’ve already got a few pieces out there, which I’ll show you in here as time goes by, along with new pieces.

Enough for now, here’s my first ever completed cuff. I called it Ceridwen, after the ancient Welsh goddess. The reason for this is I wanted to put a British slant on my pieces, as many follow native American or Eastern European traditions, I wanted something that looks and feels British and reflects some of the wonderful and colourful history hidden over the centuries. I hope that makes sense.

So, introducing my work…and Ceridwen.

I hope you like her.