Finally finished! I decided to use a matte steel grey for the background to complement the purples of the iris without distracting from it. I also decided to try using a hook and eye closure as the back fastening instead of my usual ribbon or jewellery clasp. I’m really really pleased with how it turned out!

First, a close up. I love the contrast of the black lines outlining the iris vs the soft detailing inside – I was inspired for this by the Art Nouveau posters of Mucha.
And a view of the whole. I’m considering adding a small fringe of purple crystals, but I think I’ll leave it for now, wear it a few times and then decide.

Edit: Here is a much better photo, and a hair decoration I made to match:

Voila, nice lighting!

Iris (work in progress)

I really liked the design concept of my Tigerlily necklace that I made a few years ago,  with a flower curving around my neck. However, at the time I made it, my finishing techniques weren’t quite up to scratch, so it’s a bit rough. I decided to have another go at this idea, but this time using an iris. I was partly inspired by an art nouveau style tattoo I have, and its deep but muted colours. I used a number of different reference pictures for the iris, choosing the colours and shapes that I liked best. I have been typically slow working on this project due to moving house, changing jobs, and all the other little interruptions life throws at us… But here are some photos of the journey so far.

In one of my trips to the local bead shop, I found these large flat purple glass beads, which I hoped to incorporate into the design. I sewed them on without any particular design in mind, in the hope that inspiration would come to me eventually.





Art Deco Rose

This necklace was nearly consigned to the scrap heap! I was experimenting with different shaped bases, and I thought a rose design would fit quite nicely on a semi-circular background. I intended to give it a geometric, art deco look but I (as always) tried to avoid buying new beads for the project, and just use the ones I already had. As I was sewing the rose in shades of pearly white and mauve, however, I grew more and more dissatisfied with how it was looking – there wasn’t nearly enough contrast happening. So, with the rose 75% completed, and the leaves glued onto a plain white base, I put it away for more than a year.

Finally in 2012 I pulled it out again, and had the idea of adding a black background to make a dramatic monochrome style. I added some contrasting lines to emphasise the geometric shape of the base, and a stepped fringe. Now I quite like it! I gave it to my gorgeous mother for xmas that year.

As you can see, I created a woven beaded strap in a complementary style. The leaves are mother of pearl – just cheap things from the local craft shop.
Best with a simple black outfit, I think.

Mermaid Collar

This is my personal favourite, and certainly the piece that I wear the most often. I was inspired by a gorgeous collar by Sherry Serafini in The Art of Bead Embroidery called “A Mermaid’s Attire”, shown below.

Here it is as it appears in the book.

My necklace, you will see, looks absolutely nothing like this! But I like her idea, so I made my own interpretation of what I thought I mermaid might wear. I didn’t have the patience for extensive fringing, so mine looks less exuberant and more structured. I also chose different colours, thinking of the ocean and seaweed here in NZ.

I didn’t do a lot of planning before I started, instead going by feel of where the design should change, and what texture was needed. I took ages at the start arranging the rocks at the bottom, then sewed around them like water swirling in eddies.
It was a bit challenging to make both side match!
To be fair, some of my colour choices were dictated by the beads I already had in my collection. Anything to avoid having to go out and buy more…
Perhaps I should have done more fringing, but I quite how it looks, and it sits well on my chest. Note I attached ribbons instead of a clasp, for a change.


Wolf and Moon

This was my third bead embroidery project. I made it while I was in my 3rd year at university, flatting with a heavily dysfunctional father and son in the suburbs. In the sanctuary of my room I studied, watched movies on my laptop and sewed away.

I chose a fairly classic scene – a wolf howling at the moon, a dark forest in the background. I experimented with a different shape for the necklace – rather than a collar, I made a beaded centrepiece, and threaded beads for necklace straps.

This was my first try at making my own cabochon. I’ve always thought that it’s cheating how a lot of bead embroiderers base their whole pieces around fabulous cabochons created by other people. In effect, they are creating the frame, not the artwork. But then, that’s just my opinion. Anyway, I used air-drying modelling clay to shape the wolf’s head, and painted it black. I glued it to the backing, and stitched over it a couple of times to be on the safe side. I used a mother-of-pearl disc for the moon.

The background took quite some time!

1914767_380015678688_1965672_n 1914767_380015688688_7626124_n

Apologies for the ancient web-cam photos, one day I will get around to taking nice photographs of my work!

Tattoo Butterflies

In my second experimentation with tattoo-style jewellery, I decided to do butterflies flying through a cloud, which seems to be a pretty common theme. I made this necklace mostly while I was away from home for work, staying down in Southland to commission a coal processing plant (glamorous, I know). I came back to our accommodation every evening, scrubbed the coal dust from my pores and ears, and sat down with my beading.

Getting the first one done was the hardest.
A nice close-up for us there.
Oh look, there’s more! It was fun choosing which colour I’d make the next one.
Now the whole family.
All finished, cut out, backed and edged.
Fun to make, fun to wear.


Tattoo Heart

One xmas holidays at my grandmother’s house, I decided to do a small-scale project for once. I’m a big fan of tattoos, so I though I would try and do a tattoo-style necklace. I don’t wear it often these days, but I still think it’s pretty cute!

Voila. I attached it to a metal hoop with a built-in clasp. It was nice not to have to embroider all the way around the neck for once! I also like that that makes it a lighter piece, less dramatic.


I had a terrible dye-job at the time, but at least the necklace looks good.