Bead Metamorphosis: Exquisite Beaded Jewelry Designs
Dress to Impress with Beaded Jewelry Designs
With the Oscars ceremony merely weeks away, get set to gawk at all of the incredible designer gowns, hairstyles, and of course jewelry that will undoubtedly grace the red carpet. Former colleagues of mine have been known to host an Oscar party or two, beginning early enough in the day to tune in to all of the gossip channels’ behind-the-scenes coverage and countdown to the red carpet entrances. And while there’s no need to go to extremes, it might be fun to dress up like the stars, whether you’re in to the whole Oscar party thing, or want to dress up for a special occasion.
I’ve long been a fan of Lisa Kan, and her design aesthetic is perfectly suited to the sophisticated, stylish designs one might see on the best-dressed celebrities at the awards ceremonies. Her elegant beaded jewelry designs are so stunning it’s no wonder her first book with Interweave, Bead Romantique, was so popular that it sold out! (Bead Romantique is now available in an eBook form.) Lisa’s long-awaited sequel, Bead Metamorphosis, provides more of the exquisite designs she’s known for, and with a twist—projects in the book are reversible, convertible, interchangeable, or somehow transformable.
Convert, Transform, Interchange Beaded Jewelry Designs
One such example is the Encanto necklace, which can be reconfigured by unscrewing and reattaching the hidden barrel clasps, cleverly disguised by a layer of beadwork, so that one, two, or all three of the medallions are worn. To further enhance the versatility of the design, the medallions are also reversible!
A quote from Lisa herself, “Multi-purpose jewelry expands your design options!” And another prime example of a “convertible” design is the Bella Fiore project, which can be worn as a lariat, a pendant, or a wrap bracelet. I just love the flexibility of being able to wear this playful piece as a ribbon necklace one day and a wrap bracelet the next. Isn’t it lovely? I’m completely smitten!
Beautiful Embroidered Flowers
“Hanami” is Japanese for “beautiful flower,” and what could be lovelier than wearing this beaded jewelry design as a brooch or pendant? What draws me to this piece is the ruching in the petals, and then my eye fixates on the gorgeous embroidered center. Stunning!
Many of Lisa’s beaded jewelry designs in the book feature hidden or cleverly disguised findings and connections. For example, the hidden snap closure in the Deco Lace bracelet mimics the quatrefoil motif carried throughout the bracelet. I haven’t yet designed a piece with an embellished clasp such as this, but am anxious to try with Lisa’s expert instruction and the clear illustrations provided in the book.
Being a bit of an art historian myself, another thing about Lisa’s beaded jewelry designs that captivates me is the fact that her design style is often inspired by various historical periods. Take the Sundara necklace or the Catherine bracelet and necklace, all inspired by the costumes and jewelry from the periods represented by The Tudors and Game of Thrones.
Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the Roaring Twenties
Lisa’s fondness for art deco, art nouveau, and the Roaring Twenties is evidenced by a number of projects throughout the book. For example, the Deco Chandelier earrings highlight the design aesthetic of the art deco period of the 1930s to 1940s, which symbolized sophistication with simple, clean shapes, and geometric or stylized design. As an added bonus, the chain on these flirty beaded earrings allows for motion as the wearer moves about.
The sensational Audrey Fringe bracelet was inspired by the flapper-style dress embellishments during the Roaring Twenties, as were the stylized Isadora earrings.
Mother Nature Inspired
My favorite project from the book by far is the Chrysanthemum brooch, with its dimensional design aided by the Rizos. Lisa’s choice of colors is fabulous. She offers up her secrets to choosing color combinations and creating your own artistic voice in a special chapter titled Color and Inspiration. Lisa also includes tons of helpful ideas for where to find inspiration for your own designs—tips from gardening, looking at textiles, and even browsing through furniture catalogs!
My second favorite project is the Kayla lariat with the leaves created using St. Petersburg stitch and the beautifully embellished slider component on the herringbone strap. The purple and bronze are such a stunning color combination.
And There’s More
In addition to Lisa’s insight into designing with color and finding inspiration, Lisa also provides a thorough introduction to the types, shapes, sizes, and finishes of beads. She then discusses thread types and findings, plus needles and other tools. As you work through the projects from the book, think about modular and component designing and how you may be able to incorporate these elements into your own designs.
And I’ve already mentioned specific ways that some of the projects can be transformed, but many projects also include various additional colorways so you can create the design to suit your own taste. I’m certain that the projects in the book will delight your style and are guaranteed to dazzle anyone you come into contact with, regardless of your decision to wear on a special occasion, with an everyday outfit, or to a friend’s Oscar party!
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