Saturday, January 27, 2018

Vikings, anyone?

Raise your hand if you like vikings? Both culture, and the movie? Well, I do.

This is one of the perks of living in Sweden: either you want it or not, you are immersed into Norse culture and folklore. For instance, we have old viking graves close to my in law's farm. One day, I will show the pictures.

The story of this necklace dates a couple of years ago. An old good colleague of mine wanted to give a necklace to his wife to celebrate 20 years of their happy marriage. His wife is very interested in ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings). I do not have any pictures of my own and do not want to infringe any copyrights, but to get an idea you could type the Swedish word for it, "hällristningar" into your internet browser and have a look for yourself.

The custom order was to embroider a replica of petroglyphs and incorporate her birth constellation into it, which is Leo. So, I did that.

One of the most common motifs in the Swedish petroglyphs are boats and the Sun. I went for it and made an embroidery on a piece of salmon skin (what can be more viking than salmon?).

The Swarovski chatons represent the Leo, the crossed circle is the Sun, and the jeweler's metal mesh under the boat represents the Baltic sea (with some blood in it; blame HBO and Ragnar Lothbrok for that. By the way, their Swedish "accent" was ridiculous and Uppsala is NOT BUILT ON THE ROCK!! I know because I live in Uppsala. But I still like the series!).

And to add even more viking flair, I incorporated a viking knit rope of sterling silver. It killed my fingers just a bit, despite of the wire being dead soft, but I went for a 22 Ga one, so it was quite tough to weave with. And I had to invent beadwoven end caps to finish off the ropes. My beading (viking) BFF Anna Lindell has taught me the art of viking knit a couple of years ago. 

As far as I heard, my colleague's wife was glad to get it, and my colleague seemed to be happy, so I call it "mission accomplished".

That is today's story!
By the way, I got Neil Gaiman's "Norse Mythology" in a Christmas present from my viking husband. Highly recommended!!

Have a nice day, folks!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Re-building from scratch

I have started beading almost exactly 10 years ago. Nine years ago I have opened my Etsy shop. Shortly after that I became a membership moderator of Etsy Beadweavers team and did that task for a bit more than a year. Blogged a lot. Won Fashion Colorworks contest once and became a finalist the year after that. And took home countless Swedish beading contests. Life was good.

Entered international beading teacher community and taught in bead fairs in Germany and Italy. Participated in Battle of Beadsmith for two years and both years lost to the contest winners in one of the earlier rounds.

My tutorials on Etsy were selling like butter and I did my best to stay atop of the game.
Taught beadweaving in Sweden. Really, a lot.

Had five personal exhibitions in art galleries.

And then cancer.

No contests for three years. No teaching. No new tutorials.
New beadweavers in Sweden do not recognize my name anymore. From thousands of views in my blog I am now down to a dozen.

Before the "Big C" I had some mild depressive episodes and anxiety issues. After getting diagnosed I became a mental wreck and all underlying mental issues bloomed up like a meadow in the spring.

Cudos to the Swedish medical care, though: the surgery was radical, my stage was early, and I was proclaimed cancer-free after the three years since my surgery.

Mental bit, though, is still a daily struggle, but I have an excellent doctor.

So, why do I write all this?
I am trying to re-build my beading life again, starting by reviving this blog.

Enough ranting, here come some pictures.
It took me three years to finish this piece.

I got those gorgeous ceramic cabs from a family company in Bulgaria, Skenderovy art. I met this lovely couple and their sweet daughter during my last fair in Hamburg, just a month before I got diagnosed. But the necklace has now been finished. It has no name. I like it and consider keeping for myself.

Let the pictures speak for themselves.

Nave a nice day, folks, and stay tuned - there will be more posts to come and more beadweaving and embroidery to see!

Big Hug,

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Something new-ish

I have not been participating in any contests for a while. But this year, I entered a couple of small ones here in Sweden. Thought I'd share some of the pieces with the world.

This is a kit challenge, Purple Brain ;)
Got me a 3rd place.

It went better for my Game of Thrones contest entrance, Cercei. That Lannister bi... um, sorry, evil lady got me the first place.

Brass stampings and tons of Swarovski in Lannister colors. And while embroidering, I was singing the Rains of Castamere, the Lannister song. Yep, I am a nerd and a big Game of Thrones fan. And I  
love Lena Headey!  

And Swarovski. I looooove Swarovski!

Cercei is notoriously difficult to take pictures of! It took me a while to embroider open spaces with 2.5 mm red siam Swarovski beads and bullion wire, but it is barely visible on the picture (look between the cab and the stamping). But it sparkles like crazy, so I am satisfied.

Finally, one more 1st prize in contest themed Heroes. I picked Marie Curie: two Nobel prizes, East European girl who moved abroad to study, you know the story. I made steampunk goggles. Swarovski Ultra Green rivoli for Radium and a blood drop for her dedication and sacrifice to science.

Enough for now. Have a nice day, folks!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

Rest does miracles.

The necklace is now finished. It has no name, and I am not sure if I should continue naming my designs.

I finished the overall shape.

But it still felt kind of dull and needed something to make it more alive. So, I added contrasting color, shapes and sparkles: Swarovski fire opal bicones.

What do you think? Better now?

Finally, I took my time and gave this necklace a proper photo-session.

A couple of close-ups of those gorgeous Russian fluorite stones:

And here are some close-ups of different elements and some of those Japanese-Czech hybrid seed beads. I am in love with them. 

The clasp is made by a very talented Russian artist Anna Chernykh:

So, to sum it up.

Happy New Year, everyone!
Stay warm :)