Pick flower beads for a garden of designs
By Bethany Waldrop Keiper"I know not which I love the most, Nor which the comeliest shows, The timid, bashful violet, Or the royal-hearted rose: The pansy in purple dress, The pink with cheek of red, Or the faint, fair heliotrope, who hangs, Like a bashful maid, her head." -- Phoebe Cary
Flowers have been compared to souls blossoming in Nature, to the Earth laughing, and to words which even the smallest child can understand. Is it any wonder that these colorful marvels of the outdoors find their way into so many of our designs?In the beading world, flowers are well-represented in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors and styles. Last month I explored the different styles of flower beads available; this month we get to the fun part -- designing with the flowers themselves.
The various styles of flower beads lend themselves to different designs, since the way the holes in these beads are drilled dictates the way they will behave in a design.The disk or tablet flower, with its two flat or etched faces, and its hole through the middle of the bead, allows the flower face to show as the bead rests flat. Because of this, it can easily be used as is in a bracelet, or "charmed" into a delicate dangle with a headpin.
Creamy white disk flowers are reminiscent of magnolias and gardenias, and are perfect for elegant spring weddings and linen summer suits.
Pair them with deep opal green leaves, with tiny veins etched into the glass, to add a dramatic contrast to the pearly white. Or try combining mint opal green leaves with matte or aurora borealis pastel flower tablets.Another flower bead which is perfect for wedding jewelry is the floating flower bead. A floating flower is one of the most delicate ways to include a flower in your designs.
Each of these beads features a tiny painted flower encased in a clear bubble on either side of the bead. It is almost like finding a tiny rose or blooming pink inside a snow globe or under a layer of ice. To capture and enhance the delicate beauty of these beads, try combining a pink and white round floating flower beads with softly shimmering pearls and sparkling transparent bicones of palest pink.A more challenging bead to incorporate into designs is the button flower, with its flat or etched flower face and loop-like hole drilled through its back. It will dangle from a loop, and twirl all around on a headpin (usually staying in the direction you don't wish for it to go), so you might need some jewelry glue or adhesive to make it stay in place.
Once you realize that you can make this bead behave, it can be a great addition to your designs.
Picking another selection from your bead garden is easy -- reach for trumpet or bell flowers. A cap or trumpet flower has a hole drilled through its center, so it is a perfect choice for a dangle or charm.
For more information on flower bead styles, check out April's design column. Enjoy your spring, and stay open to all of the design ideas nature is showing you during this most beautiful time of year. By the way, in case flowers are not your bailiwick, "pinks" is an old-fashioned name for the flowers of the dianthus or sweet William plants, and "heliotropes" are deep violet-blue flowers which turn their heads to follow the sun.
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