Bead Style Magazine Contest Winner!

My winning design on the cover of Bead Style magazine!

My winning design on the cover of Bead Style magazine!

I am delighted that one of my chunky gemstone necklaces won the Bead Style magazine cover contest in a field of over 600 entries! It was featured in the July 2014 issue.

2016 update: Unfortunately, Bead Style magazine and the website have gone out of business and so no links to the article or video are available any longer. 🙁

About My Design Inspiration

Transitioning color seamlessly within a beaded design is a fun challenge for me. My challenge for this piece was how to shift colors in a graceful manner in a medium as linear and rigid as a line of chunky beads.

Using seed beads (or any other small beads for that matter) and creating “bead soups”—as with bead stitching or weaving—eases the color transitions because they can be made in smaller incremental units.

But how do designers who love to use chunky beads move color across their designs gracefully (as opposed to color blocking) using the larger incremental unit of big beads? Whether you’re using beading wire or chain, it’s still a one-dimensional sequence.

My approach was to use chain instead of beading wire and to layer two strands, both of which gave me more options of where to place bead units. Gathering up almost 50 gemstone beads from my on-hand supplies, I attached the larger stones first and then filled in with the smaller ones. Working on a bust enabled me to see how it was draping and mingling, to aid in moving the color across the piece.

At Joanns craft store

Cover Photo ©2014 James Forbes for Bead Style magazine