Saturday, 20 November 2010
You might already be familiar with the wonderful
You could also be aware of its owner, Mel Brooke
(aka Lili), freelance designer featured in several bead
magazines over the years ...
Then again, you could have seen her
free tutorials on You Tube for 'Beadclub'
... and maybe you've noticed her as the presenter
of BeadTV (check it out: www.beadtv.com!)
... BUT ... did you know, that Mel has just brought out
a new B O O K called:
'Lili's FUNKY BEADING BOOK' !!
(Above: Book Cover)
Well ... I've just had a chance to get my beady
paws on it and I have to admit, that I think it's
fantastic! Much like Mel herself: it's VIBRANT,
full of ENERGY, COLOUR and INSPIRATION!
Even though it's not specifically a wirework book
(it has wirework aspects) and is jam-packed
full with quick, simple, fashionable projects that
can be created in no time at all!
It would make the best Starter Book for anyone
wishing to have a go at jewellery making and
great for kids and teenagers wishing to bead
with their friends, mums, aunts and grannies!!
***(XMAS PRESENT IDEA:
Mel's book, plus a bag of mixed beads!!)***
What I specifically loved about it, was the range
and variety of projects, all with different techniques
and materials - a great source of inspiration and
I was also lucky enough to interview Mel, so
please read on to hear more ...
(Above: Mel Brooke)
HOW DID YOU GET INTO JEWELLERY MAKING?
I've always loved trying different crafts, so making jewellery was part of that natural desire to explore creative pursuits. I found it so enjoyable and addictive, that when I began getting more and more requests for my jewellery, I decided to start a small business making and selling via craft stalls and local shops. It was also a good flexible job to fit around family life.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL TRAINING?
No. I am self-taught, as there weren't many classes back then, so I had to rely on any books or magazines that I could find (which were mostly American). I think it's the sort of craft where you can go on learning and developing your own techniques.
WHAT MADE YOU OPEN YOUR ONLINE SHOP - www.BeadsbyLili.com?
After a couple of years making and selling jewellery, I found that I was having to go further and further afield to source interesting beads which I then had to buy in bulk. I started selling off the excess beads, which proved popular, as many people were having the same problem sourcing and eventually, I had to make a decision between the making of jewellery or selling of beads ... and the beads won!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN DESIGNING FOR MAGAZINES AND YOUR VIDEO TUTORIALS ON YOU TUBE FOR 'Beadclub'?
I started freelancing projects for magazines a couple of years ago - it was great to have an outlet for my creative side again! Around the same time, I felt there was still not enough availability of classes or demonstrations out there for new beaders and I was getting a lot of questions on how to make things via the bead website, so I started 'BEADCLUB' on You Tube to both demonstrate techniques and stimulate ideas.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE ON BEAD TV?
I am currently working with Bead TV as their
channel Editor to help bring in new presenters,
projects and ideas.
WHAT FUELS OR INSPIRES YOUR DESIGNS?
Anything and everything! It can be a mood, a colour,
a feeling, a picture, music ...
WHAT MADE YOU WRITE YOUR FIRST BOOK:
'Lili's Funky Beading Book'? AND DO YOU HAVE
PLANS FOR FUTURE TITLES?
There are plenty of beading books out now, but a lot of them still look quite daunting for those who may like to try, but who class themselves as 'not very crafty', so, I decided to write a book of bright and funky projects to inspire people to have a go. Hopefully, this book demonstrates that even the simplest techniques can have impact. It's early days, but I do already have several ideas for a second book, so I'll let you know if my plans for that come together ...
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE DESIGN FROM THE BOOK AND WHY?
I love the bright colours in the Mardi Gras Necklace, but
the one I have worn most, is the 'Sassy Cherry Lariat',
because I love the simplicity of the design and quirkiness
of the cherry charms!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE SETTING OUT IN THE JEWELLERY BUSINESS?
Running your own business sounds glamorous but can be hard work. First you need to test your market: perhaps throw a couple of jewellery parties to see whether people like your designs and what sells well. It pays to learn as much as you can about starting a business up front, from both a pratical and legal perspective too -
BUSINESS LINK are great for that.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS, ASPIRATIONS AND DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
Well, there's Book 2 to plan ... actually, right now I would love to spend 100% of my time split between writing projects, books and filming, but I'm not sure quite how that will come about? Occasionally, I think about opening a 'bricks and mortar' shop for the bead side of things, but in reality, I think it would eat up too much time. I also support the Prostate Cancer Charity and would like to do more to contribute towards that.
TO PURCHASE A COPY OF:
Lili's Funky Beading Book
and browse through the
shop for some stunning
new beads and findings!
Monday, 15 November 2010
C O M P E T I T I O N
Don't forget to send your entries
in for The WireWorkers Guild
Designer Challenge ...
* The inspiration and name of your
piece must have relevance to the
title: 'Flowing Streams'
* Deadline for entries is:
1 st December 2010
* Maximum of 2 JPEG images
to be submitted
* Wire has to be the MAIN material,
but other materials can be incorporated
within the piece
* Designs can be a piece of jewellery
or an accessory ...
* A description is encouraged,
with 100 words maximum
* Please email JPEG images to
BEFORE 1st December 2010
Come on guys, get cracking ... any swirly
whirly design will do! You don't have to
be a mastercraftsman: this is a FUN,
design challenge for beginners,
intermediates, as well as established
wireworkers alike. There
is NO judging - just the fun of
The only criteria is that you have to
be a member of The WireWorkers Guild!
So - JOIN NOW - if you wish to have
your design published!
It's coming up to that time again ... when
we all have to think about Christmas gifts.
This STAR design is a simple project
and can be incorporated as a:
* TREE DECORATION
* EARRING DESIGN
* NECKLACE PENDANT
* GREETING CARD EMBELLISHMENT
* CAKE DECORATION
* HAIR ACCESSORY
* HANDBAG CHARM
* KEY RING
... etc ... etc ... etc ...
All you need to get started are:
Round and flat nosed pliers, wire cutters
hammer & steel stake, 0.8mm silver-plated
wire & 0.4mm gold-plated wire.
1. Working from the end of a spool of 0.8mm
silver-plated wire, curl a small circle using your
round nosed pliers.
2. Place your round nosed pliers about 1.5cms
up from the circle you have just created and
bend the wire back down. Repeat to form a
'zig-zag' in the wire.
3. Continue forming 'zig-zags' in the wire,
keeping them the same height and making
them as even as possible.
4. Once you have created 6 'zig-zags', cut the wire from
the spool, just passed the initial length of the first circle.
5. Using your fingers, pull the top of the 'zig-zags'
around to form a circle, so that the cut end meets
the small circle.
6. Push the cut end through the circle and using your
round nosed pliers, curl the wire around the link
7. Spend a little time re-adjusting the
star frame and once you're happy with
the overall shape, use your flat nosed pliers
to squeeze the ends of the zig-zags to
create the points of the star.
8. Repeat - for all six points of the star frame.
9. To work-harden and toughen the structure, hammer
the ends of the star frame on a steel stake,
being careful to avoid the join.
10. Cut a long length of 0.4mm gold-plated wire and
begin wrapping it around the centre in a random
11. Wrap all the wire around the centre of
the star and secure around the side of the
12. Now, for the centre of the star:
Create a spiral ... at one end of
a length of 0.8mm silver-plated
13. Push the spiral through the centre
of the star frame and bend the projecting
end back down on the other side.
14. Turn the star frame around and begin
creating a small circle at the end of the
silver projecting wire.
15. Keep curling the projecting wire, spiralling
it up to towards the centre of the star.
16. Push the finished spiral against the centre
of the spiral - ensuring you have a decorative
spiral on each side of your star frame.
YOU ARE NOW READY TO USE THE STAR
TO EMBELLISH whatever you wish!
Just change the scale by using more or less
wire as required!
(Above) Create the frame and fill it with beads - this
one is a brooch, but it could be used as a Xmas table
centre-piece, popped on the top of a tree, an
embellishment for Xmas napkin rings, window
decoration ... need I go on .. !! And if you don't
wish it have a Christmassy feel, create it like a
... and finally, if you've already bought
my latest book: 'Making Beautiful Bead
& Wire Jewellery' you will have seen
this 'Shooting Star' project, which I
also demonstrate to make on
BEAD TV (www.beadtv.com).
This looks great on a jacket-lapel or
as a hat-pin!
HAPPY ***STAR*** MAKING!
Monday, 1 November 2010
This technique for creating
wire rings, is one of my
favourite units for linking.
I often demonstrate this unit
in my workshops or wherever
I am teaching, as it is a good
example of how a bundle
of randomly wrapped wires,
fuses into a solid mass.
Below, you can follow how to create
the 'O R B I T A L' unit
which can be used in a variety of
ways ... some of which are shown below.
However, I am sure you will also be
able to come up with your very own
unique examples too!
YOU WILL NEED: 0.8mm (20-gauge)
silver-plated or sterling silver wire
with copper first).
Round and flat nosed pliers,
wire cutters, hammer and a flat,
steel stake and cylindrical mandrel
(I have used a piece of wooden curtain pole!).
1. Working directly from a
spool of 0.8mm (20-gauge)
wire, wrap around the
cylindrical mandrel to create
at least 4 complete rings.
Cut the wire off the spool using your wire cutters, leaving
at least 6" (15cms) to 8" (20cms).
A smaller coil will need less,
whilst a larger diameter coil
will require more ... this
is totally personal to you.
2. Take the short cut-end of the wire and use
this to wrap around all the coils to secure
3. Use the long tail of wire to bind and wrap around
the diameter of the coils. You can do this very
randomly and you can also choose to leave a gap
between your wraps - which can later be used to
suspend a threaded bead, or chain.
Wrap all the wire and neaten the ends.
4. Place the wrapped wire circle onto your steel stake and
using your hammer, "stroke" hammer it until it is completely
flattened and work hardened.
Here are some different
examples of ORBITAL
frames:(from top to bottom)
*Large with diameter
*Wrapped with one loop
*Some loose wrapping with
'tail' for threading a bead
*You can also choose to
wrap a second coloured
wire on top, to create a
(Above) Here's an example of how you can use the
Orbital unit. Suspend with a tassel of chain and
beads and connect onto a cord, or chain for a
fashion statement necklace.
... here's another example of a simple pendant,
created with a bead suspended from the inside.
As Christmas approaches ... turn the unit into a 'Xmas
Wreath'. Bind it with small seed beads onto 0.4mm
(28-gauge) wire and suspend with a bead, or wire bow
on the inside!
This loopy frame, which had a tail of
wire, is threaded with a bead and
suspended on each side with matching
beads and a chain to complete into
a simple necklace.
Here's one of my favourite Necklace and Earring
sets. As you can see above and below, beads can
be wired within the circles or between them.
I've even created a belt, similar to this!
The variations are endless - just have a play with
... and earrings to match!
Try wrapping 'rays' of wire to create my 'Solar Plexus'
design with pearls.
Finally, here's my 'Summer Meadows' Brooch to
infuse a little sunshine into your lives now that
the season's are changing ...
I hope that's given you all
a little inspiration
to play with your
wires and pliers.
Have fun experimenting and going ORBITAL
and completely around the bend!