Deborah Wyscarver Jewelry Design Blog

Inspiration 1

I often get asked, "How do you decide what to make?" For me, the answer is, "It depends!" Often, I start with a focal bead from my collection. From there, I browse my bead boxes for beads that either go with the color/style of the focal, or that complement it in some way. I pull a few of this bead and that, until I have quite a melange selected. One of the things that often happens to me is that I don't end up with enough contrast in my first bead selection. At that point, I pick a color or two that provides good contrast with the focal bead and the color way I've pulled, and add some contrasting beads. Another element to consider at that point is metal bead additions, or not! What color and type of metal beads are harmonious with the palette I've pulled (and, how expensive do I want this piece to be, if i'm wanting to use sterling silver, for instance). Then I look over the set of beads I've pulled and see if it satisfies me or not. All of these little decisions are part of the artistic process, and result in a collection of materials that is unique to me.

In the piece below, I began with the lovely glass pillow bead as the focal for the piece. I wanted to bring out the green as a predominant color, as well as the light purple and tangerine from the bead' flower design. I added the soft green dagger beads to continue with the botanical motif- using them as "leaves." This piece was purchased at my last show!
Necklace with pillow floral bead focal
I'll be writing about other sources of inspiration along the way. Stay tuned!
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Beading with a Friend

This week I've had the rare pleasure of spending quality time in the studio with a close friend who is also a jewelry artist, Francie.

Normally, studio work is a solitary pursuit. Working alone enables a deep level of focus and concentration, and can lead to creative breakthroughs and accomplishment. But what a treat it was to create along side a friend and colleague. Asking questions, getting instant feedback, seeing my friend's "ah ha" moments, sharing in the delight of the process-- all that was magical. It reminded me how wonderful it is to work with someone who understands and appreciates what i'm doing. We designed a pair of earrings together to match a drop-dead-gorgeous necklace she had just completed, and that was a lot of fun.

I like the freedom of working alone in the studio, but I have had some of my most inspirational moments when working in the presence of other artists. I am blessed to have another jewelry artist friend, Jan, and I love those rare times when we can work together in the studio too.

One of my greatest pleasures is to spend an entire week in a big studio space with other artists, working on similar projects in a similar medium. The vibe in the room can be at the same time private and public, inward and outward, joyful and frustrating. We're not necessarily collaborating on a piece, but we are all in the explore-experiment-create mode, and are 100% supporting one another in the endeavors. Experiencing that much creative energy in one setting is truly extraordinary, and I thank all those who organize and teach such workshops for me and my fellow artists.

So, thank you Francie! I had a great time, and miss you already!!!!! Safe travels until we can get together again and get up to creative mischief together!

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Designing and Publishing a Website for the First Time

I've been making and selling jewelry for a long time, and have had to apologize every time someone asked me, "what's your URL?", or, "you have a website, don't you?" I had a lot of resistance to doing this because I didn't know how. With the continued prodding of a couple good friends, I finally just made up my mind that it was going to happen. I tend to be a do-it-myself kind of person, so I hunted around for some web design software that would not break the bank, and would not require me to know/learn any html. The very thought of typing pages of html sent me quaking- too many details!!!!! Anyway, I finally stumbled on RapidWeaver, a tool for Mac users, which I happen to be. And a few weeks later, there's a new Deborah Wyscarver Designs website that has been published as a result. What a fun learning adventure it turned out to be! I haven't had this much fun in years, and I couldn't be more surprised!

There's this little international RapidWeaver community out there, doing all kinds of things to help people of various skill levels either build their own websites, or learn to build them for others. They make plugins and add-ons for the RapidWeaver software, that help you do all kinds of spiffy things. And they are there to help when you get stuck.

I also had to improve my photo editing skills, and am still improving on those- again, a very experienced photographer buddy has been a big help with that part of the process.

I found out that it's not that hard to tweak and edit one's website after it's up, so please send me your thoughts and feedback on what could be better. It's early days for me and the web, but I feel like I've given birth to something! Oh, and my new business cards have "http://www.deborahwyscarver.com" on them!

Pretty fun……..dwdesigns
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A Little About Bead Crochet

Crocheting with beads is a very old craft form. One of the most interesting historical uses of bead crochet was during World War I by Turkish prisoners in prisoner of war camps. For something to do, many prisoners created intricately patterned bead crocheted ropes in the shape and colors of snakes. These crocheted snakes became valued gifts and were sought after as collectibles.

Bead crochet can be done in many different ways, but each way involves pre-stringing the beads onto crochet thread before the crocheting begins. If beads are strung in particular order, the result will be a pattern of beads. While this sounds simple at first, it can get quite complex as the pattern gets more complex. And in many designs, the artist must envision how the pattern will look in 3D, and then turn the 3D design into a 2D flat patterned bead order for pre stringing.
Black Crocheted Lariat, Ellen Black Focal Beads


In the black necklace shown above, it was no trouble at all to pre-string hundreds of black beads on my crochet thread, because there was no pattern involved. However, in the brown necklace below, notice how the bronze and black beads form a diagonal pattern. I had to plan out how to pre string the beads in this situation. And this example is very simple compared to some work by others.

Brown Crochet Lariat Karen Ovington Focal Beads

Check out the work of Judith Bertoglio-Griffin-- you’ll be amazed! Judith has several books, lots of patterns, and a great blog. Also, a book entitled, Bead Crochet Snakes, History and Technique by Adele Rogers Recklies will give you more information on the work done in the prisoner of war camps. I've got several bead crochet links on my bead crochet info page here.
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