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Beautiful Beadwork From Nature

16 Stunning Jewelry Projects Inspired by the Natural World

My second full-length beading book is here!  Keep reading to get a preview of the projects included in the book. Full-color illustrations and photos accompany step-by-step instructions on how to create these 16 bead weaving projects inspired by different facets of nature’s glory.

 

Support your local bead shop! Check your local bead shop first for the book, or your local Barnes & Noble. If you can’t find it either of those places, you can purchase it on Amazon.

 

Bead packs will be available shortly for some of these projects in the Shop! Please read details for each project below.

MGS Designs Beautiful Beadwork from Nature - 16 Stunning Jewelry Projects Inspired by the Natural World

Because it can be hard to find beads to re-create book projects in the exact color pictured, I’ve created a list of the bead colors I’ve used in every single project in my book, which you can view here.

Project 1 - Bluet Earrings

Some of the first flowers to come out in the spring are amazingly tiny, precious bluets scattered through the lawn in impressive numbers. The four-petaled flower is surprisingly small, 1/2″ at most, and has a yellow center that changes to vivid, almost purple-blue at the petal tips. It is easy to overlook these tiny blossoms in the grass, but also easy to become enamored with their perfect symmetry and delicate coloring if you take the time to get low and close to them. These earrings capture their dainty beauty and sweet simplicity. If you like the look of shorter earrings, you can choose to only include two or three flowers per earring instead of the four shown.

Project 2 - Jellyfish Tassel Earrings

Jellyfish have always fascinated me, from the first time I saw one as a child in an aquarium, watching its translucent, paper-thin body undulate magically through the water. These incredible creatures do not have brains, other sophisticated organs, or muscles, but still manage to detect light and propel themselves through the water in search of food. Because their bodies are so frail and prone to predation, they have developed cells containing poison in their tentacles which can fire into prey or predators. The smallest jellyfish can be just a few millimeters in size, and the largest several meters. These earrings pay homage to some of the smaller members of this group of animals.

Project 3 - Leaf Hair Ornament

There are many native bushes where I live that produce berries. A cluster of berries within an array of leaves is a naturally pleasing sight as the berries are often food for birds, humans, and other wildlife. This hair accessory is inspired by the welcome sight of berries gathered within a small cluster of leaves and would make a sweet, elegant accent to either a a casual cascade of curls or a formal up-do. The right angle weave base for the leaves and berries is adaptable to fit around different sizes of hair attachments.

Project 4 - Little Lilies Ring

There are many examples of wild lilies in nature in various parts of the world, but their hardiness and the ease in which they can be cultivated has led to the development of a vast array of cultivars available for planting in all different hardiness zones. They are now a huge family of blossoms that come in so many different shapes and sizes, with a full spectrum of colors and markings as well. This fanciful ring is a playful interpretation of a small bunch of lily flowers gathered into a mini bouquet.

Project 5 - Dahlia Brooch

There are few things more stunning than beholding the innumerable array of tiny sculpted petals that make up the inflorescence of a dahlia flower, each petal a perfect display of color blending and smooth, curved shape. Within the dahlia genus, there is a huge amount of diversity in the size of blossoms, the shape of individual petals, and the number of petals per flower because they have so many extra genes that can combine in a seemingly infinite number of combinations. This dahlia brooch combines my favorite qualities of this group of flowers: tiny, sculpted petals that gradually decrease in size, and a dramatic color gradient in each petal.

 

Full bead packs (kits without patterns) will be available for sale in the Shop.

Project 6 - Raindrop Anklet

Rain is an essential part of the water cycle, which recycles water from the soil to the atmosphere and back again. Water is arguably the most important compound for supporting life on Earth, used by almost every single organism as a necessary part of the biochemical reactions that sustain their lives. The shape of raindrops and the color of water reflecting the sky is what inspired this sparkling anklet. An extra chain can be added to the ends to turn the anklet into a necklace!

Project 7 - Ocean Waves Bracelet

It is deeply embedded in our nature to be instinctually drawn to the ocean: its vastness, its danger, and its beauty. The sound of the ocean waves lapping up on a beach is soothing for many people, myself included and the feeling of floating in the water incredibly comforting and relaxing. This bracelet captures the imagery of waves crashing onto a sandy beach.

Project 8 - Vine Wrap Bracelet

In wild areas of the world with abundant rainfall, one can almost always find some variety type of leafy vine winding along the ground, creeping up neighboring bushes or spiraling up trees toward the sky. Where I live there are native wild grapevines that grow and age for years into thick curling ropes hanging from trees, invasive bittersweet vines that overrun and take down small trees, and petite vines with sweet little flowers that grow along the ground. There are few things as beautiful to behold as a lush, verdant forest adorned with vines twisting around themselves and other trees. The spiraling patterns they make and their leafy growth were the inspiration for this wrap bracelet. It shares with its inspiration the fractal quality of spirals wrapped around spirals and uses only seed beads to achieve an incredibly lush yet wearable look. You can make a single-wrap version of the bracelet or wear the thrice-wrapped version as a necklace!

Project 9 - High Tide Bracelet

Many creatures can be found on the beach when the tides are going in and out, but few are as exciting to find as starfish. With their five-fold symmetry and spiky texture, they are a fascinating example of beautiful sea life. This bracelet showcases an array of different sized and colored starfish, with sparkling crystal flat backs adding spots of bright blue that resemble the clear ocean water of the Carribbean, where these amazing creatures can be easily found. Try arranging the starfish in different patterns or changing up the placement of the variations with crystals for different looks!

Project 10 - Butterfly Bracelet

Some of the most heart-warming sights of spring after a cold and gray winter are colorful butterfly wings flittering on a meandering path through the air or a pair of butterflies dancing around each other across the yard. The design of this bracelet is based on their strikingly vivid coloration and bold wing patterning.

 

Full bead packs (kits without patterns) will be available for sale in the Shop.

Project 11 - Metaphase Bracelet

Cells are the building blocks of living forms. Every kingdom and every phylum of life contains organisms that are made out of one or more of these building blocks, with the exception of viruses, which have only very recently been classified as “life;” and this is still a controversial subject. When cells divide, their genetic material needs to be copied and divided as well in order to preserve the nature of the original cell. 

 

I can remember the first time I saw diagrams and photos of mitosis, or the process of cell division, in high school biology class. DNA would clump into chromosomes lined up along the center of a cell, and spindle fibers connected to each side of the cell would pull the chromosomes apart to opposite ends of the cell in order to equally divide the genetic material so that when the cell divides each new cell is exactly the same. It was amazing that there was this whole system of tiny machinery set up to perform such a precise and important task, and that 99% of the time the process went perfectly.

 

This bracelet is inspired by those images of the spindle fibers stretching from one side of the cell to the other in a beautiful array of arcs. The lemon fancy crystal stones in this bracelet resemble the shape of those fibers and the circular components housing them, the cells that contain them.

 

Full bead packs (kits without patterns) will be available in the Shop for this project.

Project 12 - Seed Pod Lariat

Botany has always been one of my favorite subjects to study and the plant Kingdom is a rich source of interesting colors, shapes and textures. There is a flower that grows plentifully along trellises in New England called white campion (silene latifolia) that produces small, easily overlooked flowers. The truly beautiful part of the plant though, is the large ovary that forms behind the petals, which is a velvety striped pod with purple and green stripes. The bulbous shape of the fertilized is quite literally an evocative image of fertility and procreation; as beautiful in form as it is in function. This elegant lariat’s shapes, delicate structure, and textures are inspired by the unstated white campion flower.

 

The crystal pendants at the ends of the necklace will be available to purchase in the Shop.

Project 13 - Stalactite Necklace

Stalactites are a stunning display of the geological world. They are mineral formations most often found in caves, caused by either the slow deposit of minerals left by dripping water or lava flow. The stalactites build up very slowly over time by microscopic deposits of the minerals flowing through bedrock and making their way to the ceilings of the caves, where they drip off and leave a bit of solid rock behind. The fastest growing stalactites in the world only lengthen by about 3mm per year, so it is easy to imagine the ages of time necessary to create the longest ones ever found, which measure over twenty feet long. The colors and textures in this necklace are reminiscent of naturally-occurring minerals in rock formations and the fringe are inspired by growing stalactites.

 

Full bead packs (kits without patterns) will be available for sale shortly in the Shop.

Project 14 - Orchid Necklace

When one hears the word “orchid” one probably pictures a phalaenopsis, or moth orchid because we are lucky enough to live in a time of economic exchange where we can species of plants native to far away parts of the world for sale all over the country and they have therefore become a regular fixture in many homes. The orchids in this necklace are based on the shape of the blossom of several varieties of phalaenopsis, with their intricate center folds, bright, patterned coloring, and stunning mix of symmetry and asymmetry.

 

This type of orchid is native to hot, humid parts of the world, but many different varieties of orchids can be found in other climates. For example, in New England I grew up appreciating the fragile beauty of a native protected variety of orchid that prospered in the damp woods around my childhood home. Something about that large, precisely folded bladder of a blossom on a long, delicate stalk just growing wild in woods dominated by gigantic deciduous trees was almost magical.

 

This necklace captures the specialness and detailed form of orchid flowers.

Project 15 - Snail Shell Necklace

Snails are a member of the mollusk category of animals and are found in different areas throughout the world. In some places they are eaten as food, in others they are regarded as garden pests, and in others, like the place where I live, they are a rare treat to behold. Despite their various interactions with humans, the one thing they have in common is they create a beautiful spiral-shaped shell made of a calcium mixture that grows outward as the snail does. This necklace was inspired by that beautiful coiling shape that that I consider to be a miracle of chemistry and biology.

 

Full bead packs (kits without patterns) will be available for purchase in the Shop.

Proejct 16 - Moon Cycle Necklace

There are few things as beautiful to me as a full moon on a clear night. Having always lived in rural areas, I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors at night gazing at the moon, and the natural landscape that becomes fully lit with blue light bright enough to see clearly and even read by. If you haven’t been lucky enough to to find yourself in this particular scenario, it may be hard to believe, but the light is stunningly bright and the moon is almost too bright to look at directly. Even more fascinating than the quality of the moon’s light is the fact that many women’s fertility cycles seem to line up with the cycles of the moon. No one truly understands why or how this happens, but it is one of the facts of nature I find absolutely wonderous and amazing. It’s just another reminder of how connected to and immersed in the natural world around us.

 

Full bead packs (kits without patterns) will be available for the primary colorway (Golden Shadow), and crystal packs (large crystal stones only) will be available for the other two colorways (Blue and Bronze) in the Shop.