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The Mysterious World of Seed Beads

Seed beads are wonderful little companion in any beading or jewellery making projects. If you are an amateur or a season jewellery maker, you already have a complete seeds beads collection.  Australia beads offer a vast selection of seed beads already packed in small packs at very affordable prices. Seed beads can be categorised into further sub-categories but in essence these are those little beads which can be used in a stunning array of strings or as filler beads to enhance the theme and effect of any jewellery.

You would have heard many names in the trade and I’ll try to explain basically what they are and how to roughly use them but I leave their use to your creative designs, and to your individual flairs.

Rocailes Beads: Also known by its more technical or brand name of Preciosa Ornela. Since these beads are very small they are machine cut and are consistent in its size and are usually associated with high quality. Their origins are from Italty but since 18th century have been mass produced in Bohemia with latest innovation in technology, most are no precision cut achieved with a laser gun giving the consistency often demanded by embroidery makers and jewellery makers alike. These are often confused with Czech seed beads which are similar in some ways but are not quite the same.

By |2017-12-06T05:11:02+00:00November 30th, 2015|Design, Promotions, Style|0 Comments

Metal Beads Have Been Around For Years

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etal beads are as old as first metal/iron ore was discovered and carved into objects – before gold and other precious metals were used for making jewellery and jewellery making supplies, plain iron was used to make symbolic, cultural and later fashion jewellery. Most common metal beads in used today are ferrous based, aluminium, brass and copper to just name a few.

Metal beads are an essential when designing jewellery, whether it is metal based, a combo set, mixed with gemstones or other glass beads etc. Latest metal beads, like sterling silver beads or nickle based beads are exquisite and offer a variety of new designs, shapes and ideas. Gone are the days when metal beads used to be dense or bulky and weigh a ton – latest metals beads are lightweight (aluminium beads), can be made hollow and mixed with other light weight metals to make an alloy which can easily be bend and worked with.

In this article I’ll try to go over the different metal beads and what they are, what all the terms like alloy, gold plated, bali beads, hill tribe silver, tibetan, Napalese silver, real silver, gold beads, copper, pewter, aluminium beads mean? How best to choose your metal beads and what tarnish quickly over time and how to take care of your metal beads.

Stay tuned as I’ll go over each type of metal bead, its composition, metal make up, its characteristic etc.

By |2017-12-07T00:02:11+00:00November 30th, 2015|Design, Promotions, Style|0 Comments

A Beginner’s Guide to Making Jewellery Tools

Jewellery projects may seem a bit daunting and intimidating or time consuming and may put off many people from getting into creating & designing their own jewellery. There are a number of advantages in creating your own jewellery as oppose to buying them off – first and foremost is the satisfaction you get by designing and completing a jewellery piece and satisfy your artistic inclinations. You get to custom design and chop & change what feels right or suit your personality, dress or occasion. You have the added satisfaction of using the choice findings & components to suit your taste and budget. Who knows you may hit the piece that other people would like to own and ask you to design a similar one for them.

The alternative is you by pass the designing stage and sourcing of the jewellery making components, tools and findings and buy something which looks appealing and catches your attention straight away. However, the purpose of this article is to invest in the necessary tools and findings to be able to create your own jewellery for a long time to come.

So lets dig in straight to the nitty & gritty of jewellery and see what’s a must to start your own project.The obvious immediate requirement & a necessity staring you in your face is “Tools” – a must have before you can even spell  jewellery.
There are many tools specialised and generic tools that depending on your budget you can invest in but let’s keep this thread for the beginner to intermediate level and introduce more advance tools later on. You’ll hear many terms in the article but don’t let it intimidate you – what’s more important is that you know what each tools does which will be explained later on.
Ok here it goes you’ll need:

  • Bent Nose Pliers
  • A Crimping Pliers
  • A Flat Nose Pliers
  • A Long Nose Pliers
  • A Round Nose Pliers
  • A Side Wire Cutter Pliers
  • A Split Ring Opener Pliers
By |2018-11-21T04:28:50+00:00November 30th, 2015|Design, Promotions, Style|0 Comments

A great source of Sterling Silver beads & findings

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ustralia Beads has got one of the most extensive collection of sterling silver beads in Australia – this collection is not just limited to beads but also includes sterling silver findings, parts, jewellery making items and those hard to find little bits & pieces. All the sterling silver items have been imported from Indonesia and are famously knows as Bali silver beads. What is amazing about these beads is that they truly represent the most intricate artwork, reflecting the skills of the artisans who take hours to create these elegant and most exquisite beads. Carving these sterling silver beads and findings is an arduous and tedious process and once you see the detail in these beads, you come to appreciate the skills and the craftmanship of these artists.

Unfortunately the prices of sterling silver has sky rocketed in the last couple of years – I think it has tripled in last year alone. Our older stuff which we got at cheap prices is still being sold at prices from 2010 but all the new stuff bought in the last few months and all future sterling silver products will be a bit more expensive – very unfortunate but hopefully the price of silver will drop in the near future.

Buy Sterling Silver Beads
Buy Sterling Silver Findings
By |2017-12-07T05:15:12+00:00November 30th, 2015|Design, Style|0 Comments

Novice Beaders Go the Extra Mile

Two weeks ago I taught my half day workshop Beaded Spider with Beaded Web for The River Valley Quilters in Woodbury, MN. The entire class had no or very little beading experience. Last night I presented my lecture Beyond Bling: Using Beads as Vocal Points on Quilts.  I was thrilled and delighted that half of the students brought their finished spider and web to the lecture for Show and Tell. Each spider, like it’s maker, had a distinct personality

Mary Ellen Sax created a luscious mini crazy quilt around the block. Noticed she added lace, embroidery stitches, ribbon embroidery, and fringe. She even has it on a hanger that can sit on a shelf.  What a great idea!

By |2017-12-14T05:29:42+00:00November 30th, 2015|Design, Style|0 Comments

New! 3D Bead Embroidery

Beads are 3D, so bead embroidery should be 3D too!

You know the saying: If you have lemons make lemonade?  Well in this case it was: Have bead embroidery UFOs, make a new quilt! I removed the beading from two completed silk quilts which I was never happy with, made a new silk backdrop and added the beading.

Turn Up the Speakers, 2012    The beading is too concentrated in one tight area, to fit a piece of hand painted silk I had purchased for the project. The speakers need space!

This second art quilt with bead embroidery, I eventually added a multi color swirled silk piece as a back drop, which made it way too busy. I was so unhappy, I did not take a photo!

Here is my newest bead embroidery piece Recurring Dream, the latest addition to my mandala series.  Measuring 33-inches wide by 44-inches long it weights 4lbs and has been three years in the making.

Now take a closer look. Jenny Wilder photographed Recurring Dreams to emphasize that bead embroidery is 3D!  Isn’t it beautiful?

By |2017-12-14T05:36:57+00:00November 30th, 2015|Promotions, Style|0 Comments