One of the beading groups I belong to online is an Aussie group called Beadingforum.com.au. It’s been around for quite a few years and has recently taken the decision to close its forum and move to Facebook. Sadly, along with the move, Beading Forum is planning to end its twice yearly Designer Quest challenges. These challenges are a lot of fun—a kit is put together by one of the Australian online bead shops, usually with a couple of colour choices. After purchasing the kit, you have a few weeks to come up with a design using as much of the kit as you can. And there are prizes for the best designs as picked by the judges and also by Beading Forum members.
This time around, the Designer Quest kit came from Kays Artycles. I chose the blue colourway, as I particularly liked the copper elements (the alternative was pink and silver). The key focal in the kit was a large white resin floral bead that we were encouraged to play around with and “colour in”. Along with that little challenge was a strand of lampwork beads in swirly blues and coppers, a generous baggie of cube-shaped seed beads in translucent blue with an AB finish, and a variety of copper rings, cones and cornflake beads. I added a few more of the middle-sized copper rings from my own stash.
I used Vintaj patinas to paint my focal. On the back side I used Earth, and on the front, I decorated the flowers with patinas in Cobalt and Garnet with Ochre for the centres. And over the top I dabbed the Victorian Gold patina. In retrospect, I realized I had some copper Gilders Paste which might have matched the findings a bit better than the gold, but I was pretty happy with how it looked in the end. It was a bit of a challenge to incorporate into the design too, as it is a top heavy piece. I found I needed to dangle it from the main necklace, rather than, as I originally planned, string it in the middle.
I added a small dangly tassel to the focal using waxed linen and some of the cube beads and cornflakes, then wired the rings and the lampwork beads together to make a necklace. The blue ribbon is sari silk.
In the end I didn’t use the coiled cones (but I have some earrings in progress), and I didn’t use many of the tiny cube beads. I have a few of the lampwork beads left over too, that will probably find their way into earrings and bracelets. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. It was a fun kit to work with and definitely a challenge.
If you’d like to see some of the other entries, visit the BeadingForum website here.