I hope everyone has been enjoying a break over the Christmas and New Year holidays. I spent a much needed 2 weeks back in Essex with my family over Christmas, before getting the train up to Scotland to stay with my boyfriend and his family for another week over New Year. Soon it'll be time to get on the train once more and return to Cambridge (and start really cracking on with writing up my PhD thesis!).
I've seen quite a few review posts on other crafters' blogs and I think it's a great idea to look back over what has happened creatively and the things that you have made in the past year as sometimes it's easy to forget how far you've come in 12 months. Here's my review of Hollybird Beads' 2011...
In January it seems I was in to bracelets with lots of fringing and embellishment. I created two pieces, 'Amethyst Dawn' and 'Twilight' which showcased this technique, dripping with faceted glass, Swarovski crystals, pearls and semi-precious gemstones. 'Amethyst Dawn' has since found a new home, but 'Twilight' is still available on Folksy.
Love was clearly in the air in February, when I created this dusky lilac bracelet embellished with tiny glass heart beads and finished with a beautiful lampwork glass heart focal bead created by lampwork artist Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork.
My Heart's Desire bracelet
This was the month in which I fulfilled a beady ambition of mine by taking a trip down to the wonderful Stitchncraft bead shop in Dorset (how I wish I lived nearer so I could visit all the time!) to take a beadweaving masterclass with one of my beady heroines Laura McCabe (who is as lovely as she is talented). Here's a photo of what I finished during the class - a fully-functioning locket complete with Swarovski crystal rivoli lid.
In April I was asked to do some commissioned work to create bracelets for a friend to give as a gift to her bridesmaids on her wedding day. We settled on my 'Ice Queen' design, which I love with it's frosty silver/white and purple colour scheme. Each one is slightly different as I embellish at random.
The month of May saw the emergence of the first incarnation of my popular 'Halo' necklaces. I wanted to create some beadwoven jewellery that was both statement, but not too over the top to cater for those who prefer a more simple style of jewellery. I've made lots of these necklaces in all sorts of colours but I still love them as much as I did when I first started beading them. Here's the one which I kept for myself!
In June I was still beading lots of 'Halo' necklaces, but I also created this design, which I named 'Azul' after the gorgeous aquamarine bead colours I used. This design has in recent months lead to a custom order in which I created a full set of jewellery to match this necklace. The original has since found a new home and I had a lovely email to let me know how happy the person who placed a custom order was with my work - it's always so nice to hear that people like what I have made.
In July I was busy beading a competition entry piece to meet the entry deadline - so busy in fact that I even ended up taking my beading on the train on my daily commute in order to get it finished on time! This took up most of my beading time in July, but I did also start work on this bracelet 'Serafina' using some beautiful metallic pewter-grey seed beads. This piece has found a new home, but I will definitely be making another in 2012 - I think I want to use my rose-gold seed beads for that one!
August was an exciting month for me when I found out my 'Flora Metallica' necklace had been selected as a finalist in the London Jewellery School's annual student jewellery competition. After the final judging, Flora was awarded 2nd place, which won me a gift voucher towards a class at the jewellery school (I chose to do beginner's wax carving and had a fantastic time). I am very proud of this necklace as it was my first 'big' piece of beadwork - taking over 20 hrs to design, test and make. The original has a permanent home with me (sentimental value!) but I would always be happy to create another (or a similar one in another colourway) as a custom order.
Flora Metallica necklace
September saw the second incarnation of my 'Halo' necklace, with the addition of some dangling tassels of chain for extra movement. This design has also been very popular and sold out at the end of 2011 - fortunately I have already started beading more of them in new colours for 2012!
'Halo' in the 'Metallica' colourway
October was another exciting month for Hollybird Beads as I found out that my 'Flora Argenta' necklace had been selected as a finalist for the British Bead Awards in the 'Crystals' category. Although in the final judging I didn't come away with a prize, I still got to see my necklace on display at Bead magazine's 'Big Bead Show' at Sandown racecourse. I will have to start thinking soon about my entry for 2012s competition!
Novemeber was an extremely busy month - I had a stall booked at a craft fair, the Made-It Market, for the 26th of November, so every bit of spare time I had was spend beading furiously in order to build up stock. I created several new designs during this month, including my favourite, the 'Pearl Starflower' series. The fair was a great success - I sold lots of my work and got to hear customers and browsers alike compliment me on my designs in person. I've already booked to do the same craft fair again next year as it was so well organised.
The last month of 2011 was spent mostly working on custom orders - bridesmaid jewellery, Christmas gifts etc. I hope that all those who received a piece of Hollybird Beads jewellery as a gift this Christmas are happy with what they received and perhaps they will become new customers in 2012. I've been starting to re-stock my shops and hope to have lots of new designs in the next 12 months. I've also started work on creating a tutorial for one of my designs which I hope to release in the not too distant future.
I hope you've enjoyed my review of the Hollybird Beads year and wish you a wonderful 2012!