Saturday, February 23, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure Freeform Peyote Challenge

Cupid's Folly

I recently joined the Facebook group Freeform Peyote Beading. It was a spur of the moment decision because, truth be told, I've completed only one (1) Freeform Peyote design. Ever. What possessed me to join the group? Several things piqued my interest. First, I didn't know much about the technique and what better way to learn than to dive in, gain knowledge from seasoned beaders and be inspired by the vast talent pool? Second, I like to push myself in new directions. Jewelry design encompasses many techniques ranging from bead stringing to metal smithing and all points in between. More than one technique may be combined to fabricate a design and the more techniques that a jewelry artist commands, the broader the horizons for creating innovative works of art. Third, I love the supportive and generous nature of the beading community! It really helps me to know that someone else tried and succeeded at something where I might have tried and failed. Back to the drawing board I go to figure out what I did wrong, correct it and improve my skill set. Last, my poor, neglected Blog is in serious need of resuscitation! Joining an active group of beaders is the perfect way to breathe new life into the dormant chronicles of my beading adventures.

I had barely introduced myself to the group, proudly displayed my one (1) Freeform Peyote design and been overwhelmed by the level of craftsmanship in other member's designs when 'The Challenge' was announced by Adventure Guides Mandi Ainsworth and Karen Williams. It sounded fun! But it sounded challenging. But exciting!! But there was that nagging feeling that it was going to be hard...I mean challenging. Nevertheless, I volunteered, nervously harboring self-doubts about the wisdom of my choice.

Understandably, I needed a spark of inspiration to jump start my project. To get my Freeform Peyote creative juices flowing, I took a shower. All my most brilliantest ideas occur to me while I'm sudsing up. Also, I sing better than Taylor Swift while I'm showering. So, my brilliant idea was to create a Freeform Open Heart Pendant Using Freeform Peyote. Valentine's Day was approaching so that seemed like the perfect plan. Now for the tricky part: How do I create the heart-shaped pendant? I took pencil to paper and sketched out my design.

I know what you're thinking, "Wow! She chose beading over a career as an illustrator? What was she thinking?!" Yes, it was a tough decision, but I can assure you, ultimately everything worked out for the best. I might add, Taylor Swift should count her lucky stars (and millions!) that I never cut a demo.

I began to string my beads and my little heart began to take shape and grow. Kinda like the Grinch's (it grew three sizes that day!) There was even a background chorus of Whos singing in Whoville...

After the heart was fully embellished (and the Who's singing had simmered down), the next embellishment that needed to be worked into the design was the bezeled Swarovski Crystal Rivoli. At first, it appeared that attaching the rivoli might pose a logistical challenge, but I managed to attach it to the heart in a semi-circle fashion. It nestled into the heart lobe perfectly! The operation was a spectacular success and the patient made a complete and speedy recovery.

In the next-to-final phase of the design process, I tackled the Freeform, embellished chain. I worked the chain in 6" sections and linked them together after all were complete. I attached the chain to the heart between the two lobes and completed the toggle loop closure with a string of peyote stitching.

The last motif and the hardest part conceptually for me, was the arrow toggle. I decided to make it using Tubular Peyote and make notches in one end for the arrow tip to fit. The arrow tip was quickly constructed using brick stitch and attached to the Peyote tube shaft. I added cute feathers using bugle beads and voila! A heart-piercing arrow toggle clasp. Finally, I couldn't resist a little macabre blood squirting out of the tip of the heart, so I added a bit of fringe with Miyuki drop beads.

And there you have it! Cupid's Folly is complete.

This Freeform Peyote Beading Challenge was a blast for me from beginning to end. I managed to escape my 'comfort zone' and venture into new territories. That is what a challenge should be, a challenge to the individual to break out of the box, risk getting a little crazy and  create something a little edgy.

Here is a list of the Choose Your Own Adventure bloggers:

Adventure Guides:


Now back to your regularly scheduled beading program.