Today I took part in the launch show for metal seed beads on Jewellery Maker and these photos are some of the designs I made. It was tremendous fun and went really well. Thank you to everyone who sent encouraging messages to the show, they really are appreciated.
Seed beads are extremely effective and versatile in kumihimo and glass beads in sizes 6 and 8 are probably the most commonly used beads for beaded kumihimo. However, using metal seed beads takes common techniques in a new direction, giving designs a high end, contemporary look. The exciting part of the process for me was working with an amazing bundle of gemstones and finding ways of using the seed beads to compliment the natural stones. My bundle included emeralds, pyrite, agate, shell pearls and carved rose quartz flowers. The seedies can be used to frame and provide structure to a design, their consistent size helps to balance the natural irregularity of gemstones and they can make the more expensive stones go further in a piece of jewellery. Pairing stones with different metals can produce all sorts of interesting effects.
Now that the fun of the show is over I need to work hard to get instructions for the designs shown onto this site. I am conscious that many people bought lots of seedies and gemstones and they will want to get going as soon as their parcels arrive. I will load the instructions as quickly as I can and as soon as each set of instructions is ready they will appear under the ‘Gemstone Kumihimo’ tab. Please return to the site regularly if you are waiting for a particular design. These instructions will be in a brief bullet point format and are designed for people with some experience of kumihimo. For those who are completely new to kumihimo there are clear instructions for different braid patterns, as well as details of how to braid with beads, under the Resources tab. It is worth practising simple braids before embarking on something more complex.
The tutorials in the shop are extremely detailed. They are full of step-by-step photos and explain the design from beginning to end, including one or two ways to finish off the braid, precise materials required and suggestions of how to take the design further. They run to many pages and are very good value at £4 (approx US$6.80).