A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Beading

First let me thank Beth for her fabulous hosting of the Fire Blog this month.  WOW!

Okay now to my thoughts on beading.  I am not a much of a beader and this month has allowed me the opportunity to think about that.  Why have I ended up here?  As I have thought about it I have gone back to some of the things that Beata has said about beading as embellishment.  I think that a piece of art work needs to have a focus. When I have beaded I have started out with the plan to bead and I tend to bead a lot. When I have not beaded, my focus was on other design elements or techniques.  Generally I feel my voice is more into intricate piecing.   And when I have a failed design and have tried to cover that with the glitter of beads--well, lets just say that you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse no matter how many beads you add.

I do want to share two of my pieces that include beads. The first is a underwater coral scene that I made after taking a class with Judith Montano.  From the very beginning I planned to use lots of embroidery and beads.

My second piece was created after listening to my daughter complain that her husband thinks he is the center of the universe and everything should revolve around him.  What I kept hearing was that SHE should be the center of the universe and everything should revolve around her.  LOL  I suggested that they take turns but she will not thrilled at that suggestion.  At any rate, the quilt represents the universe with her face at the center.  Please do notice the string theory I have incorporated in the quilt. This is a work in progress.  While I do display it, I keep taking it down and adding more beads and embroidery to it.  When it is finished, I expect it to be encrusted, especially around the center of the universe. (Please ignore the other stuff behind it on the design wall.  I got lazy and did not crop it.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Winner of Nancy Eha's Book Is...

Jeanne! You are the winner of Nancy Eha's book "Bead Creative Art Quilts." Contact me (Beth Schnellenberger) with your mailing information.

Jeanne Aird said...
I really enjoy reading and looking at all your posts. They are filled with inspiration and great techniques. I even have a link to your site from my site. http://jeanneairdartfabricandquilts.blogspot.com/
I'd love to be the winner of Nancy's book.

Congratulations Jeanne. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this month a success on the Fire blog--followers of the blog, readers who commented, those kind artists who donated items for the giveaways, and the resident artists who shared their work with you.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beading with Karen

 I enjoy using beads to highlight fabrics or other kinds of embellishments.  Used ColorCatchers that I painted and cut out in leaf shapes were tacked to this little bag with beads.

I was going for a fall/grape kind of feel with this, although the beads are way too small to look like grapes.

This was a piece of fabric from my very first foray into marbling.  I call this little piece "Heart Like a Wheel" and it's a work in progress.  I get it out and add more beads every so often.

I particularly like the look of beads "marching" across the fabric.

"Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod Set Sail" was created for a nursery rhyme challenge.  I beaded the entire sky inside the first border with tiny sparkly seed beads.

And I hunted for weeks for tiny silver fish for the net, but couldn't find any.  I wound up using wee silver bugle beads to fasten the net (painted cheesecloth) -- I think it's probably fortuitous that I couldn't find any fish because I think the beads look better anyway.

And The Prize Goes To...

Gill! You have won Larkin Jean Van Horn's book "Beading on Fabric."
Gill said...
I like french knots! but I definitely need more practice to get them more uniform!
Please send me your full name, email address, and street address. Click on my name (Beth Schnellenberger) under the "Resident Artists" section, go to my profile, and email me the information. I will pass your information on to Larkin so she can get the book mailed to you.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lyric Kinard DVD Winner and Redraw

The winner of Lyric Kinard's DVD is "thesewinggeek." Congratulations!!! Contact me so I can pass along your information to Lyric.

Here is sewinggeek's comment...
thesewinggeek said...
Oh I sew like to win this...sigh but I am Canadian...but I do have a US postal address. (Live near the border and that is how I get around high postal costs to Canada and things from places that won't ship to Canada or I send things to my sister and she brings it on her yearly visit to Canada or I pick it up on my yearly visit to the US)Sigh what a girl won't do to get her supplies!

Cindy never contacted me for the Red Panda Beads $25 shopping spree, so I'm drawing another winner today. ...and the winner is...Gill! Congratulations!
Gill said...
I haven't done any beading but I'd like to try some! Thanks for the tip about adding seed beads to either end of bugle beads!
Gill, contact me and send me your information. I'll pass it on to Betsy at Red Panda Beads. Stay tuned. I'll draw for the winner of Larkin's book tomorrow.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cindy...Where Are You?

I drew Cindy as the winner of the $25 shopping spree from Red Panda Beads on January 21; however I have still not heard from her. If I don't hear from her by the 26th, I will be drawing a different winner for the spree that day. That is the same day I'll be drawing the winner of Lyric Kinard's DVD, so be sure to check back to see if you are the winner!

Once again, here is Cindy's comment. Cindy, if you're out there, contact me (Beth Schnellenberger) before the 26th.

Blogger Ciindy said...

Love beads...can never have too many

January 2, 2013 at 8:43 PM


I need your full name and email address. Click on my name under the "Resident Artist" section, go to my profile (where you will find my email address), and email me the information. I will pass your information on to Betsy at Red Panda Beads and let you know when she is ready for your order.

And ´my first beads´ too...

Thank you Beth for giving us so much information, bringing on new ideas on beading etc.
I tried beading on my most recent mini-piece(s) for the first time in my life. Never too old to learn ;-):

They are made to be framed, I think the sparkle of the beads really adds interest for this type of mini-quilt.
Thanks Beth for sharing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My first "beads" piece - EVER!

And it made me so aware that I need to keep all the posts this month so I can go back and learn even more! Sorry I don't have a bunch of samples but I had to get this piece done for the photo shoot yesterday and I was buried in it! That plus I really don't have all that many beads! (I DO see trips to bead stores in my future though!)

A few years ago, I was working with a group on an art journal doing a study series on any subject we wanted.  I started with figs and have several pieces on my website which resulted from that journal. Then I started on lemons.  Got a couple of pages done and life being what it is....got derailed.  BUT....I always remembered one of the challenges from this journal experience.  The challenge was to do a piece that interacted with more than just the sense of sight.  hmmmmm...... interested me very much.  I thought and thought and decided I wanted to do a lemon piece that also appealed to the sense of taste!! Now...how to do that.  At that time I purchased  lots of various shades and textures of yellow fabric.....and it sat and sat.....waiting for inspiration.  Knew what I wanted it to look like, just wasn't sure how to get from here to there.

One day just recently it all came together.  I had always envisioned a large tear drop crystal at the tip (big drop of lemon juice). THEN there were these wonderful blog posts on beading and I saw the final piece in  my mind!! Found the crystal opalescent beads in various sizes that were perfect. Then the problem was the big tear drop.  None were big enough.  Then.....there is was....hanging on a hook.  Not a tear drop at all...but a more organic shape and I LOVED it....and bought it, of course.

Using some of the guidelines offered by Beth in this fascinating stroll through all things beads, I started out.  Got some great suggestions along the way, and here is the final result.  My goal was to get those little taste buds that register sour to start watering.  Don't know if I accomplished just that, but I have to admit....I had a ball giving it a go!!

A lemon yellow satin makes up the "meat" of the wedge, white mulberry bark for the pith and a darker yellow satin that has small dots in it for the peel.  I stitched the lemon yellow satin to muslin, manipulating it to get the puckers I wanted. Added the peel and then the mulberry bark. The next step was to add all the beads to the lemon wedge for the droplets of juice. The whole lemon wedge was then stitched to a 18" X 24" stretched and painted canvas. Finally, I stitched on crystal beads to the canvas itself.  I hope it makes your mouth water!!!

When Life Hands You Lemons

Here is a detail shot

And so begins my new addiction probably.  In fact, I just started a piece that will most likely have some beads on it as well. Oh wait!  I just thought of another one........

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shopping Spree from Red Panda Beads--A Winner

...and the winner of the $25 shopping spree from Red Panda Beads is Cindy.

Blogger Ciindy said...
Love beads...can never have too many

January 2, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Please send me your full name and email address. Click on my name under the "Resident Artists" section, go to my profile, and email me the information. I will pass your information on to Betsy at Red Panda Beads and let you know when she is ready for your order.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stitches as Structural Elements

As Beth #3, I’m a new member on the Fire Blog and i’ll try to share my thoughts and some samples I have done in connection with Beth’s excellent embellishment tutorials.

I regard stitches as surface design elements. They can be  primary ones, entirely responsible for the visual impact or they can be used as secondary structures, to emphasize and underline the primary design which is in the art quilts the top, made by pieceing or by various surface design techniques.
I usually use them as secondary elements, so this month turned out as a challenge for me.
Last year I made a lampshade out of layered, handmade paper. Nothing pretentious, just playing around a bit, as an example for my pupils. I attached the two layers of paper together, with big, bold stitches. It’s O.K, though I think I could have performed the  stitches with more care ...

I have combined graphical and structural stitches  on this quilt, African Beauty. I „drew“ the main lines of the face with thick embroidery thread and used thinner quilting thread for the shadowed places as a simple structural element.


On this little  piece I used embroidery to give more details of the cityscape and again as a structure fort he sky. This is still in progress, but you can get a first impression already.

This piece of cityscape I started in Dorothy Caldwell’s Human Marks class, last November, along wit the idea of using small books for different mark-types. Here is my STITCHED one, made out of cotton-rag paper, which permits you dense embroidery without falling apart. And a few pages out of the book - just playing around, trying out combinations:

Beading is something, which i hardly ever do, so it took time to decide how to use the instructions Beth made. It took me quite long to finish even this small sample. If beading, i think i like the effect of using them compact – i just run out of the black beads before I could finish it.

 The fine lines at the back, led me to an another try - I loved the fragile, graphical quality of this experiment:

And because we wouldn’t want to forget the fire – here is burned organza, which reminds me of a landmap and this work is also still in progress. I would like to emphasize  the burned out signs by outlining them, and also the edges with rather dense stitches. The red dots are French knots.

Thank you for reading, and i’m happy to hear your opinions.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Hello.  I’m a new member of the fire blog.  (Yes, the third Beth, and thus Beth #3.)

I don’t have any finished embellished work to show you, but I wanted to share some thoughts and some of the playing around I am doing.  Maybe it will give you some jumping off ideas.

I really enjoyed Quilter Beth’s series of detailed tutorials this month.  As a jewelry crafter, and bead hoarder, my initial thoughts were along the lines of: piece of cake, and I’ve got this one nailed.  Pride goeth... well, you know.  I did blithely stitch beads onto a fabric project that was underway (above).  I went to bed happy, looked at it the next day.  Ugh!  And ripped every bead off.  My first lesson learned--you can’t just DO this.  It has to be called for.  It has to enhance without overpowering.  It has to be the perfect touch.  A little goes a long way.  

So I am very happy to have the bead embellishment techniques to add to my bag of tricks.  And sometime it will be just what is called for.  One of my main hang-ups was a quality of texture.  Adding touches to cloth with embroidery thread feels very intuitive to me.  Glass or stone beads added to a fabric piece are hard on soft.  They reflect light very differently.  On some project that is going to be just the touch needed.  Where I was trying to add beads was not that place.

Below is the piece I tried to add the beads to.  What I loved about this piece was the movement of the lines.  Somehow that got lost with the distraction of the beads.  I’m trying French knots instead (as seen below.)  I’m still not sure about it, but at least it is moving along the lines again.

I’ve also been doing some stitching on pieces of denim from old discarded jeans and playing with a round form, moon-like.  Below, I used the circle in a negative space and added white matte seed beads.  I thought this had potential as an effective way to use beads.

Below is a close-up section of the piece I was doing as I was exploring extreme texture.  I sort of couched (or attached) a length of scrunched up, hand-dyed, twill tape with French knots (also, some other couching appears beneath that.) 

More couching

Below are two beaded brooches I made a long time ago.  The centerpieces are buttons.  A string of beads has been couched around each button.  Once the string of beads has been couched in place, you can go back through the strand of beads with your needle and beading thread several more times to secure it.  From there more beads can be added that are not stitched to the ground cloth.  The brooches were stitched onto ultra-suede, but a similar technique could be used on fabric.

Below is an idea I was trying of adding stitches to a commercially patterned fabric.  (Couching, running stitch and fly stitch.) 

I also wanted to share some couching stitch I did on a learning sampler.  I love how this looks and can definitely see using something like this somewhere.  Here the couched thread is a glossy rayon yarn held in place by yellow embroidery floss.

I love seeing how others have used these techniques successfully.  And when that perfect project presents itself--I do have a bead or two to add to it!