Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects

It is not every day you have the chance to get the inside scoop from a master, let alone one who shares your own passion. Diane Fitzgerald is such a worthy mentor for anyone who makes, wears, or simply appreciates the art of beadwork. I encourage you to enjoy her journey with her in her new book from Lark,  "Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects." 

The appealing variety of styles, techniques and materials on the cover are indicative of the lovely, feminine and colorful projects found inside. Diane's designs are lush with seed beads but she also uses beads in other shapes and materials. 

Variations of designs include these
juicy versions of the Hard Candy bracelet.

Diane has chosen 24 personal favorite projects to represent her journey (so far!) as a teacher, designer, historian, and ambassador of global bead arts.  The delightful introduction by another bead master, Jean Campbell, fills in the storyline about Diane and how she became who she is.

Diane can be such a romantic.
The soft fabric used in this
Apple Blossom Necklace proves it.

There is a range of skill levels but truly anyone familiar with beading can make everything in the book. The projects have wonderfully clear illustrations and well written, step by step instructions. The photos are nice and large making it easy to see the beads, read the tutorials, and follow the illustrations.

Excellent details abound in close up photos.

There are also tips on using color, improving your technical craft, and inspiration from the four corners of the globe—which, by the way, Diane has visited. She has literally searched the world for inspiration and technique, and has gathered a history of beadwork along the way which is shared in comments scattered through her book.

Fortune Teller beads predict happy hours with bright colorss.

You all know I'm a seed bead devotee above most other materials. I have not been around the world  but I have been around as an artist, teacher, editor, and beady babe. I know a lot of beady peeps. So,  I have high expectations when it comes to inspirational and informative beading books. "Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects" will make your fingers itch to bead!

Diane's Zipper Bracelet is my personal favorite.
I  love the purple iris cube beads, too!

Monday, February 27, 2012

BEAD CAPS: Before, During, After

First I chose these Lucite beads from my stash
Then I made a glorious mess playing around with Beadalon bead caps, Swarovski crystals, Swarovski crystal pearls, more beads, lots of wire, headpins, and stuff. You know, STUFF.
Here are the finished bead components I made.

Want to see more? 
Tune in to Jewel School on Jewelry Television
March 18 and 19th 
10 AM to Noon EST.
See everything I made with 
Beadalon bead caps!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


The CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI experience in Tucson this year was beyond my expectations.
First, being together with the other ambassadors was as warm and fuzzy as it was sparkly! I heard this event brought more ambassadors together in one place than ever before.
We had a special showroom with tables to share our creationss, kits, books and more with everyone. Seeing the diversity of work and astounding innnovation in materials and techniques among us was simply cosmic.  For example, look at Diane Whiting's Crystal Balls necklace--and the issue of Step by Step Beads in which it appeared. (True story--I was the editor in chief of that magazine and brought that project in from Diane before we even really knew each other!)
Crystal Balls necklace and published pages from Diane Whiting
Kristal Wick's collection of finished jewelry and kits featured some of the most lush combinations of crystals and her original fabric beads, plus more yummy luxe materials. if you haven't made one of her necklaces, check out her kits and her fabulous books online--because you are missing out on making something extraordinary that will have people oohing and aaahing.

The vunderbar folks from Austria presented the new shapes, colors, materials, tools, effects and trends for the next year.  Everyone was so eager to see the presentation and listen to Chris, Raphaela and Katrin "romancing the stones!" (But we missed Nicole and Marlena, who could not attend.) Here are ambassadors Debi Simon, Brenda Schweder, Kelli DeFries and Stephanie Dixon.meeting
Among other new tools and web enhancements, we'll all be able to add a fabulous color wheel tool to our own web pages, showing how to mix and match all the Swarovski elements styles and colors.I love getting our little "candy box" of samples of many new elements.

candy box of new elements

Classes, workshops, and make and takes were a huge success--can you tell from my student that she was happy with her Chessboard earring project?
make and take happy student
The newest part of the event was a showroom for Ambassadors to display (and sell) our finished work, kits, tutorials, books and DVDs, and demonstrate our favorite techniques.It was so incredible to meet people face to face! The best part for us was being together with the other Ambassadors. I am sure our camaraderie was tangible. We just love being part of this group! (And we really missed those who coud not be with us.) Personally I can't eait to do this again next year. Thank you Swarovski for making this possible (and for the nightly Happy Hours). Huge hugs to our Ambassadors who helped put it all together (Tammy, Diane, Debi). Thanks to the local bead society folks who were just as nice as could be on helping us in any way we needed.
And thanks to everyone who came to see us!
Leslie at her table

Make the world beautiful!