What inspires you?
At a recent event, a customer asked me if I had a particular colour kit. "Ah, you mean Susan". Naturally the customer looked at me a little strangely, after all, who calls the colour blue 'Susan'?
"Oh", I explained, "I name everything after the people and things I love. Susan is my sister-in-law and she loves blue. Some of my other bracelets are named after the flowers in my garden."
Some like my red, white and blue Hip, Hip Hooray bracelet are inspired by a word or phrase.
Other times, an entire colour way may come from just a single bead. This bracelet was inspired by the peridot azure rizo beads. From having bought those, I ordered the hand dyed rayon from Oliver Twists then matched the other beads to the colours in the rayon and the rizo beads.
Mixing classic glass with frosted, half gilded and AB finishes add texture and depth to a piece. Here you can see that I've used both clear and frosted teal beads in different sizes to join the picot rizo beads.
I like to think that my designs have movement even when they are static and that comes from the different beads and cords that I source for my kits.
Sometimes I'm very conservative in my choice of colour pallets and finishes. To be honest, I own two frocks - one is silver grey and the other is blue, so guess what, I made two bracelets; one silver grey and one blue. That's because there are occasions when you don't need your jewelry to take away from your dress.
Then there are the times when my imagination goes wild and I use all the paints in the paintbox. Because I try to keep the cost of my kits even, I balance premium or hard to source beads with every day ones.
This piece is made with blue / purple pearls. 'Potato' pearls down the sides and small round ones down the centre.
I used pure purple silk through the pearls and a wonderful grey / lavender rattail for the main cord.
Remember I said I had a grey frock, well this was made to go with it. My husband had bought me the real pearls at a wholesaler and they had cost just a little under £75.
As he said, he bought me a pearl necklace for Christmas one year and that had cost over £200 so he saw these as a bargain.
I had it on show at a suppliers fair and a woman was taken with it.
She kept going on about the bracelet to her friend. Finally she turned to me and asked how much it was. I replied that it was actually a sample of what I taught and wasn't for sale. 'Of course it's for sale,' she said, 'for the right price!'. 'I'm sorry, no it's not,' I replied. Actually, the pearls were a birthday present from my husband so there was no price that I was going to sell them for. The lady hurmphed and then offered me £15 for it. 'Sorry,' I said, 'but you are way out on the cost of the pearls, they were £75 on their own, let alone the cost of making it.'
I could see her friend laughing behind her. She had obviously worked out that these were real pearls and didn't come cheap.
'Well,' she said, 'if you insist, I will go to £25.'
Needless to say, I still own my bracelet and the lady was a little disappointed.
Every now and then I go wild and mix silk with Swarovski crystals and pearls.
This piece was made for my sister.
It was created using the 7 strand braid technique. For each of the strands I used a single type of bead but mixed up the sizes and the finishes.
There are Swarovski glass pearls of different colours and sizes along with top drilled lentils and bicones. It was such fun to choose the pallet and then let my imagination go wild with the textures, colours and finishes.