Beadweaving designs by Justine Gage

Tumbling Beads Necklace in Amber

Amber wave small

I recently decided to make an Amber necklace in response to a request from the Beadworkers Guild to make a display for next year’s shows. When I first heard about this challenge it is fair to say that I wasn’t immediately inspired. I looked again and realized that ‘amber’ could mean ‘orange’ that I can do!

amber before sml


My bead-box rummage turned up a nice selection of orange and amber beads, I  especially liked the large agate ovals.

With such a diverse selection of beads, I was inspired to make a selection of beaded beads. This lead me to come up with a new design of beaded bead the X-Cube, using super duo’s, pearls and seed beads. The x-cube method has inspired lots of other things, but that is for another blog. Sometimes you come up with something and it happily leads down a path to so many new designs 🙂
X-cube sml

The next thing to consider was the agate oval, it measures 5x 2.5cm, which is really quite large! These can be hard to make sit flat in a conventional curved necklace.

My idea was to make it more interesting (and sit flat) by suspending it diagonally in the necklace, making the necklace asymmetric (another problem!).

For it to sit diagonally, it needed a wedge shaped beaded bead at either end, to create the curve. I made these, and found that the design looked just like a  Big Diamond Ring that was handy!

Big Diamond Sml

To create a fixed curve I made a wire armature from 0.8mm craft wire. After I had created all of the beaded beads, I arranged them on the wire, and gently bent it into a pleasing wave. Then I carefully removed the beads, and hammered the wire to set the curve.

Smber wave 2 sml

It is so much harder to balance an asymmetric design, than a symmetric one, I like to think of it as a challenge, and I am happy with the end result.  It is unusual! Also I have warmed to the charms of amber, the colour looks good against the skin, so it goes with most things 🙂

Square experiments sml

When I finished,  I remembered that it reminded me of the moment in October, when I was standing at the beadworker’s guild stall, with this year’s display of beaded beads on it, in a long string. At that moment they were inadvertently nudged so that they slowly fell off the table, one by one, in a wave. This necklace reminds me of exactly that moment! So now it has a name – “Tumbling Beads”!

I am already thinking of the next one, I have some lovely blue agate ovals, just the same size….



Too Tall To Bead

I am a bead designer who especially enjoys making beaded beads.

I teach beading classes. From ‘The Bead Shack’ in my pretty garden, and other venues.

Always available to hire for private workshops, just email me!

I publish regularly in bead magazines, and sell patterns on Etsy.

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