Many months ago I saw a post from Karen Williams over on her blog Baublicious. She was looking for beaders to work on freeform projects, including taking pictures through the process so she could featuring them in her new book Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading.
I am pretty new to freeform beading, having only created a handful of designs. I thought, "sure I could work on a bracelet." But then after talking to Karen she asked if I would be willing to create a necklace since so many people submit bracelets for freeform designs.
I had never done a necklace, and I was just so unsure of how I would design something with such a large canvas in a freeform style.
But then inspiration hit. I had been home visiting family in Oregon and stopped into a local glass blowing studio called Fern Hill Studio that I've mentioned a few times now on the blog. The pieces of glass I bought were cast offs from large glass pieces made at the studio like vases and bowls. But the little snips of glass I thought were perfect for cabochons. The owner let me buy a bag full of them!
What I wanted to do with my little pieces of glass was to create a piece inspired by the bubbles that form in the surf along the Oregon coast. The waves there are rough and crashing creates a bit of foam along the shore. I love how the water swirls in the surf around the bubbles floating right next to the water's edge.
I did share a lot of photos with Karen as this design was very organic to say the least. I had an entirely different final piece in my head. I thought I'd create a short collar necklace, but it just didn't hang the way I wanted and I ripped it out. I switched to beading around brass rings, which also overwhelmed the pattern. In the end I went with a simple braiding of sari silk in a fishtail pattern. It felt more like the sea to me.
There are lots of other artists in Karen's book, and full of ideas, designs and instruction on freeform beading. It is a beautiful book that does not disappoint; including some of Karen's signature beaded sculpture pieces that are truly stunning. Be sure to check it out!