Beaded jewelry has a lot of meanings these days. When I first started on my jewelry journey, stringing was the fashion, especially with beautiful lampwork beads.
I had a blast with stringing, and it wasn’t too terribly long before I succumbed to the lure of actually making lampwork beads for myself. Then I got the idea to sell some on ebay, which I did for about 3 years or so. During that time, I wasn’t able to do a whole lot of other work because I spent so much time making beads!
Here is one of the sets of beads I made during my lampwork phase. Strung, of course, LOL.
Beadwork, Here I Come
Next was beadwork — beading patterns like peyote, herringbone, netting, and things of that nature. Going from working with the larger lampwork beads to the itsy-bitsy seed beads was a bit of a challenge at first. Gosh, those bead holes were small!
In all my work, I’ve been drawn to more organic designs. So while I did learn the beading patterns, I usually managed to go off and do my own thing. Freeform bead weaving intrigued me, and when I saw a freeform netting class at my local bead store, I jumped at it. And this is the result from the class.
I got to enjoying beadwork so much that I started my YouTube channel Beaded Jewelry Diva. I kind of was doing it for fun, but the first time I realized people really were watching was when I was in the hospital after surgery (strangely enough).
One of the hospital employees came into my hospital room and after confirming my name was indeed Gail Nettles, she asked, “Are you Beaded Jewelry Diva?” Wow! That sure did make my day!
I love Sherry Serifini’s work, and I never thought I would get a chance to meet her. But — my local bead shop had her come in for some classes, so I eagerly signed up. (BTW, Sherry is a sweetheart and a great teacher.) Well, now that I realized that I really could do bead embroidery, that gave me a new direction.
Beads! Beads! More beads! Talk about a license to buy beads in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Shibori silk was one of my favorite new supplies, and bought all kinds of colors and sizes.
I also realized that I could use buttons with my bead embroidery. The cuff photo actually does have a button — the big “cab” on the left. I just cut off the shank!
Beads and Wire
Wirework doesn’t seem to be a beading medium, but I am here to say that it can be. Here’s a bracelet I made, using sterling silver wire as the frame, and sterling silver wire for “stringing” the beads.
I did happen to buy a lot of sterling wire when it was really cheap, thus this was in sterling. These days I’d probably make this with copper, or perhaps silver-filled.
It’s a heavy bracelet, and has beads, gemstone chips, pearls, seed beads and who else knows what. 😀 It was fun to make, but it took a long time — I spaced it out over many months.
When people ask me what my favorite beading medium is, my only answer is whatever I am working on at the moment. I go back and forth with all kinds of beading, so I keep my hand in it all.