Monday, December 11, 2017

Truncated Icosidodecahedron in Beads

The American Mathematical Society recently posted a photo of an amazing structure on their Facebook page with no comment of who made. 
They called it a  rhombicosidodecahedron, but actually, it's a truncated icosadodecahedron, and that's just the name of the outside polyhedron.  Really, this compound is much more complicated than that.
With help from Susan Goldstine, we figured out how to weave it with seed beads and thread. I used an edge-and-cover weave with 3 mm beads for the edge beads and size 11° seed beads for the cover beads. (There's one exception, where I used 11° seed beads for the short edge beads under the squares.) In other words, every n-gon has n edge beads alternated with n cover beads, all sewn in a loop.
Here you can see how I started to weave the inside layer, showing the edge-and-cover weave for (, also known as the rhombicosadodecahedron.
This shows the second layer. (The aqua seed beads in the center of the Xs are the one place I used seed beads for edge beads.)
It took two more layers to finish the piece.
Here you can see how big it is, just 1.75 inches across or 45 mm.
 If you would like to have it, you can find it in my Etsy shop here: Thanks for looking.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Octahedral Space Grid Sructure Beaded with Bugle Beads

This large beaded bead is composted of 48 tetrahedron and 36 octahedrons, all arranged into a large octahedral form. It has 8 large triangular holes and is very hollow. The design is based upon the work of J. Francois Gabriel, who wrote about the use of polyhedra in the architecture of high rise buildings.
This beaded object is composed of somewhere between 1300 and 1400 beads.
The beads include sparkling dark bronze bugle beads, and a variety of smaller beads. This beaded art object is very light and a bit fragile, but not so fragile that you can't hold it and play with it. If you drop it on carpet, it should survive the fall unscathed. All of the beads are made from glass. So don't step on it.
It measures about 3 inches across, making it too large for jewelry, but it would make a nice hanging ornament or a piece of jewelry for your computer for you to gaze at while you consider the state of the universe and everything in it.
I started weaving this piece a long while ago, longer than I'd like to admit. It sat half done in a box, for years. Recently, I picked it up, washed it off, and finally finished it. As much as I'm pleased it done, I doubt I will ever make another one without a good reason.
If you would like to have it, you can find it in my Etsy shop. Thanks for looking.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cellini Asterisk Pendant in Czech Etched Seed Beads
This Cellini Asterisk is a beaded pendant, woven from hundreds of glass seed beads in the colors silver, burgundy, and metallic pink. Many of the beads are the new Czech etched beads that shimmer and twinkle in the light. This ornate cluster is composed somewhere between 1200 and 1500 beads, too many to count. The beadwork is hollow, making it light for its size.
This pendant is 6 cm (2 and 3/8 inches) from point to point and 16 mm thick, suitable for a focal bead on a necklace. The hole is the center is 7 mm wide. It looks a bit like a five-legged spider from the back side.
If you would like to learn how to make your own Cellini Asterisk, I have a tutorial available here:

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Cellini Flower made with peyote stitch

Here is the newest piece off of my beading needles, a Cellini Flower made with several different metallic seed beads including the new Czech etched ones that shimmer and twinkle in the light. If you haven't tried the new etched beads, I really recommend them.  I have them in a few colors, and I'm totally in love.

Find this flower here:
Find the tutorial here:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Beaded 4D Archemedean Polytope Omnitruncated 120-Cell

I beaded a four-dimensional thing that I don't understand very well.
What I do know is that it's a beaded version of a 4-D Archimedean polytope that goes by many names.
It's made of different polyhedra, in the same kind of way that a polyhedron is made up of different polygons. 
I learned about this structure from a book called, "The Symmetry of Things" by Conway, Burgiel, and Goodman-Strauss. You can see the various names it goes by in this photo, which is a page out of that book. This page is the direct inspiration for this beadwork. More so, it's a recipe for how all of the loops fit together.
As a mathematician, I simply beaded this recipe using beaded angle weave. Each n-gon is a loop of n beads. The arrangement of the loops is the same and the arrangement of the polygons in Conway's illustration.  (However, I left out the thread to stitch the 10-gons because by the time I got to them, the beadwork didn't need or want it.)

Now that it's done, I'm pretty sure what I beaded is called an omnitruncated 120-cell on Wikipedia. Fritz Obermeyer created and gifted this image into the public domain. Isn't it pretty?
This beautiful blue thing has 2640 total polyhedra:
       120 4.6.10 Great rhombicosidodecahedron.png
       720 4.4.10 Decagonal prism.png
     1200 4.4.6 Hexagonal prism.png
       600 4.6.6 Truncated octahedron.png

I didn't bead anywhere near that entire mathematical object, but I did bead a little chunk of it. In fact, I only finished one of the 120 of the (4.6.10). The weird thing about beading this object is you can just keep adding more and more loops and more and more polygons. It feels a lot like beading the infinite skew polyhedron faujasite because they share many of the same shapes connected in the same ways. However, faujasite is an infinite 3D structure, and this is a finite 4D structure. And in this thing, the angles don't work correctly in 3D. To see what I mean, look at all of the distortion in that blue image above. Everything in the center is squished, and everything near the outside is all stretched out. So you couldn't bead the whole thing the way I beaded mine here. But we can bead lots of different chunks of it. I definitely could have kept going. The challenge as an artist is to decide where to stop.
I made this beaded sculpture by weaving glass beads together with a needle and thread. It contains nearly 25 grams of chocolate bronze size 11° seed beads, which is more than a full tube. There are usually around 100 size 11° seed beads per gram; so that's about 2500 beads. I'm pretty sure it's the only one like it. This piece is very tactile and fun to turn in your hands to see all of the different views.
Largest diameter is 6 cm (2 and 3/8 inches). You could put a piece of cord through it and wear it as a large pendant, if you were so inclined. If you would like to have it, you can find it here in my Etsy shop.  Thanks for looking.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fairy Chrysalis Tutorial and Bead Soup Sale

Fairy Chrysalis Beaded Pendants
I recently updated an old tutorial on free form beaded pendants.  Ten years ago, I wrote instructions to show how to stitch a Fairy Chrysalis, a pendant designed to look organic and constructed from a wide variety of beads. You can read all about the tutorial here:

If you would like a kit to make a Fairy Chrysalis, then you should visit my Etsy shop this Wednesday July 19, 2017at 5 PM Pacific time. I will be having a big sale of kits of bead soup.  I hand selected each lot, and each lot of beads is unique. You can go to Facebook to tons of photos of all of the lots before they go up for sale, with sizes and prices.

Lot #1 has a crazy lace agate with crazy cool banding.  Red and earthy.

 Lot #3 has an amazing piece of orange bumblebee jasper. 

Lot #4 includes a very flashy labradorite.
Which looks really different under different lights.
There are lots more lots. To see the rest of the lots that I will have for sale on Wednesday, see this gallery on the Bead Infinitum fan page on Facebook:

Thanks for looking!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Free Pattern for Puffy Heart SRAW and LOVE Letters

So, there's a blog called Bead Love...

It's a blog of inspirations on love and beads, and a group of about 50 of us bead designers are writing it, one post per week for over a year, until we have all had a turn.  
This week, it was my turn to contribute.  So, here.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Prismatic RAW Pendant with Etched Seed Beads

I'm absolutely obsessed with the new etched seed beads.  I can't stop looking at them, which is good, because it makes me want to bead things. Like my previous post, this piece is stitched with prismatic right angle weave and square stitch.  I also added picots so I could see the etched beads "end up" which, as you can see, is where most of their color is. When you hold this in the sunlight, those little ends shimmer with orange fire.
When I weave beads, I typically think about how I would explain what I'm doing, so that I can eventually write up a tutorial.  Unfortunately, that kind of thinking can really hold me back creatively because I don't want to try things that are too hard to document. The frustrating part is that I haven't beaded anything I like very much lately, at least not any new designs.  So, in the last pendant and this one, I've been slowly letting go of the idea of documenting my process. Instead, I'm just enjoying making and watching the design emerge in my hands. It's liberating, and even exhilarating, but it also makes a piece like this difficult to reproduce exactly. 

Thanks for looking.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Atomic Beaded Pendant

It's been a long time since I beaded a new design I like.  I hope you like it too. The technique here is primarily prismatic right angle weave (PRAW) with square stitch.
The mat beads are the new etched  beads that have been recently released on Planet Bead, and I absolutely love them! I want them all! You can't tell from the photos, but they shimmer and twinkle and throw off tiny flashes of aqua and purple. I'm having fantasies of selling off three quarters of my bead collection and stocking up on etched seed beads in every color. But in the mean time, I was able to squeeze a few new tubes into my bead box.  

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Atomic Shirt for a Man

I finally found something nice to make for my sweetie that he can use. This shirt is two layers of pure cotton jersey, stenciled with acrylic paint, and hand stitched with polyester thread. He requested an atomic symbol, like the one for the Springfield Isotopes baseball team on The Simpsons.
To make the shirt pattern, I cut up his old favorite t-shirt, traced it onto pattern paper, and added seam allowances. Then I made a rough draft t-shirt to test the pattern and used it to make a few small adjustments to the pattern. Then I cut this garment, which I consider a final copy. It should be a perfect fit. After trying to use other people's patterns and drafting my own, I have to say that starting with well loved garment is an excellent way to draft a perfect pattern that fits, and if you are willing to cut it up, you get to the right pattern easily without too many alterations.
Here is the rough draft shirt I made first to test the pattern before spending a lot of time on fancy embroidery.
The fabric had a flaw that I didn't catch until the shirt was sewn together.  So I added a star on the back to cover it up. 
Here is my sweetie's favorite cotton t-shirt (left), all worn out and sad. In blue on the right, you can see my new version. I changed the number because I cut a stencil and I didn't want to deal with the holes in the 8. Fortunately, he didn't care.
I learned the techniques for construction and embellishment from the books by Natalie Chanin. Her work is such an inspiration.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Victory Pod and Solstice Earrings

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you already know that I like earrings.  Here are my two newest pairs.  First, these are Victory Pods to go with my new shirt.

Second are a pair of Solstice Earrings in an analogous color scheme that goes from purple to blue, aqua, green and gold. That's more than half the rainbow. These colors make me happy.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Upcycled Freeform Cashmere and Wool Sweaters

I made a few sweaters last Winter and Spring, but somehow I forgot to blog about them, and now it's June. This post is totally seasonally inappropriate, unless you live in Australia. So, as you read this, pretend that you're Australian. I promise, it'll be worth it.

Sweater No. 13 Dusty Rose
This was a custom order for a friend who does a lot of needle crafts.  I wanted to make it especially detailed for her because I knew she would appreciate the effort.  So I covered the front of the hood with folded roses made from cashmere sweaters. 
Here's a close up of the roses before I added the buttons. To make the roses, I used classic "folded ribbon rose" techniques but with strips of sweaters instead of regular ribbon.

Sweater No. 14 Periwinkle
This was my first adventure in free-form sweater sewing. It's is all cashmere, mostly hand dyed.
I like the way the black seams make it look like stained glass.  It's available here:

Sweater No. 15 Black Berry
This was my second adventure into free-form sweater sewing.
I found that I could use the leftover scraps to make the hood.  I really love the way the lines and colors on this piece worked out.
This Black Berry Sweater is mostly cashmere, mostly hand dyed, and it's available here:

Here's a close up of the bobble at the end of the hood.

Sweater No. 16 Kelp Queen
I made this piece for myself... because... LIME GREEN!!!!
I had to dye almost all of the sweaters to get enough lime green.  Here's a photo of the hood before it was a hood.
When I first showed this photo, my friends said it looks like a landscape painting, like one by Wayne Thiebaud or this:

Sweater No. 17 Hot Pink, etc.
This was a custom piece for a good friend of mine, pure cashmere. She likes hot pink.  A lot. It's more purple than blue, as the photo suggests
Here's what the hood looked like before it was a hood.
Okay, that was way too much of a blacklog of projects.  I need to start blogging more.  Note to self.  Anyway, as always, thanks for looking.
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