Beading artists

You all know I love to bead.  Here are some of my favorite bead artists to share with you:

Larkin Jean Van Horn– A friend of my friend, Linda T Minton, I have long admired Larkin’s work.   I love her book, which was given to me as a birthday present:


David  K. Chatt– he takes beading into the fine art range.  Be sure to check out his gallery of beaded sculptures, vessels, jewelry and cast glass.

Robin Atkins– She does bead embroidery improvisationally.  One of my all time favorite bead works is her “Rosie, the Uncaged Hen.

Jeanette Cook–  aka Beady Eyed Woman.  I have a copy of her first book from way back when.  I love her work and how she combines beads and color.

Myra Wood– I enjoy all that Myra does- freeform beading, embroidery, crochet.

Linda T Minton– Linda expresses herself using a variety of mediums, beads being just one.  One day, I hope to hang out with her in Texas and just create.

I hope you had a chance to see some exceptional artists that may be new to you.  They are all inspiring in their own way.

Regards, Carla

Beading Class

I’m taking a cabochon beading class tomorrow at my local bead store. I first signed up about a month ago after seeing the class sample made by beading instructor Emi, shown here:

The picture above is a bit blurry, but it gives you a general idea.    It is very similar to a book I own by talented beader Laura McCabe:

Check out this beautiful beaded piece by Laura from her book:

Anyhow, while I would LOVE to take a class from Laura herself, I am instead taking a class from the local store.  If my pendant turns out nicely, I will show it to you.  If it looks horrible, hmmm…. I’ll show it to you anyway.  LOL!

As you can tell, I love to learn new things and try out new projects.  I’m really getting into my metal class… I do have some works to share with you.   Keep watching… I engaged in some shopping therapy while I was down with strep, mainly metal art supplies.  Cough cough….   from a few online stores.  OK, maybe 3 stores and an ebay bid.  Let’s just say that the retail therapy, along with the antibiotics, are helping me to feel better!  Here is what I purchased off of ebay- a vintage drop in a pretty aqua color:

What are you working on???  If you feel like it, share what you are doing creativity wise.    Carla

Bead Therapy, etc.

Went for a little shopping therapy at my favorite Bead store- you know, the one with the HUGE bin? You can run your fingers through this large bin of beads, and fill bags of plastic for $3 per bag. It was a 4 bag kind of day. I also went a little crazy buying other supplies:

Then, on my way home, I stopped at the thrift store and found lots of good finds. My favorite were there 3 costume jewelry pieces that I can de-construct and reuse:

What I am reading:

In preparation for my metal arts class, I purchased Susan Lenart Kazmer’s new book Making Connections:

I’ve admired her work for at least a decade or more! This is a lovely book and can be found on her website.

Enjoy your day!! Remember, only 3 more days (until Sunday Aug. 17, 2008) until the end of my FREE blog giveaway!

Take time in your day to do something creative!! Hugs, Carla

Inchies and Other Mailings

(Carla Note: blog contest details are here.)

How are you today! Thought I would mention all the goodies which have arrived to my studio recently.

Inchies, Inchies and More Inchies!!– I am running an inchie exchange over on MQResource, a quilting site. What are inchies, you ask?? Just see my inchie tutorial to learn more! Anyway, the inchies are trickling in, here are the ones which have arrived so far:

Don’t they look lovely?? Terrific job by all the artists above!


Beaded Workspace– Next up relates to the freeform beaded necklace that I shared in my post yesterday. Quilter Karen A. asked me how do I keep the beads from going in all directions as I work with them? Here is a photo of my workspace that shows the piece of fleece/felt, the ceramic dish and other items:

You might be wondering why I have an antique key in the picture? I found it recently, so I’m planning to use it somehow. It is just sitting there for inspiration.


Another Mailbox Goodie– My sister, Yvette, sent me an adorable Life is Good t-shirt from the New England East Coast region:

I love that Lobster!! Thanks, Sis!


Don’t Forget! Before I go, I must remind you of my blog contest I am currently running until Sunday, August 17th, 2008 at noon:

The winner gets their choice of a lovely freeform crochet scarf, handmade by me! This is at least a $150.00 value (or was it $175?). I arrived at that price because that is how much that my friend and wearable artist Susan Italo sold it for when I let her wear one of my scarves at a quilt show. A merchant vendor saw Susan wearing it and decided she must own it!! Thanks, Susan, for your negotiating skills!

That’s all for today. Hope your day is creative! Hugs, Carla

Freeform Beaded Necklace- WIP

This necklace is a work-in-progress (WIP):

and a close-up image:

This is a project that is evolving. The base piece, in case you are curious, is a herringbone bead weaving pattern.

I like this so far. Beading like this is very therapeutic, very relaxing. Hmmm… perhaps I’ll start a second one using different colors.


This is a reminder that I have a blog contest going on right now (until August 17, 2008). The winner has their choice between two freeform crochet scarves, which are shown at the link above. See details there.


The neighbor’s herd was visiting again when I woke up this morning. Here is what I saw out my bedroom french door:

Yes, it was the main big bull, along with some of his women and children. My weird dog, Rex, was excited to have his friends visit, so he decided to graze with them. In case you are curious, they come in through a gate so they may eat down our summer grasses and provide more of a fire break. It’s a win-win!

Enjoy your day!! Hugs, Carla

It’s Christmas in June!!

Since I’m “into” packing light these days, I’m trying to figure out which arts/craft I do is light enough to take along. Yarn is light, but when I do freeform work, I requires at least 20 yarns or more- which takes up way too much room. I could bring along some hand quilting work, or even beadwork. Hmmm… Beadwork! That’s it!

I remember I used to have a sizable number of beading books and magazines, but where did I pack them to? So I go out in to my garage storage, and dig around. About 10 boxes into my search, I find the motherlode hiding under some watercolor supplies, circa 2001. Yes!!! It’s Christmas!! Here’s a picture of just the books with one or two magazines- including Bead & Button Issue 1:

Note the Bottom right hand magazine titled “Jewelry Crafts.” The artist featured is Thomas Mann. Last October, I purchased one of his jewelry pieces while waiting for my plane in Sea-Tac airport. I went to link to that particular blog post, but discovered I didn’t even write about it!

I will look for my Thomas Mann jewelry art piece and share with you then. Anyhow, I love his work, I find it very inspiring!

So today I am excited to find all these beading, beadweaving books to read!! The nice thing about getting older is that your memory can’t soak it all in, so if you stumble upon them 7 years later, they are all new again!!

So now to pack a beading kit and only enough beads to stick with my new and improved “pack light” philosophy. Of course, I do know of at least 2 bead stores where I’m headed. Hahahhaha! Life is good…..

Happy Birthday shout out to my older sister, Yvette! Her birthday present is another sock monkey purse for when her current one wears out. Last Christmas, I gave her a full sock monkey ensemble, including the flannel bag I made for her. She says she wears it everywhere and at least once a day, someone will ask her where she bought it.

Yvette is currently traveling onboard the Wombat, but I was able to reach her by cell phone. I was planning to crew on this trip with her and Captain Dave, but it conflicted with our family vacation. The first part of October I will have another chance to crew on this beautiful craftsman yacht… but that is a future blog post. I do miss the sea….

Regards, Carla

Upcoming Classes

I love to take classes to expand my horizon on a particular technique. I do have about 4 classes coming up in the next month or so I wanted to share with you all.

Paulette Insall is an artist whose work I stumbled across one day and instantly loved! Here, see for yourself in this series of painting/mixed media videos:

Part One: The Background:

Part Two: Mixed Media Elements added

Part Three: The Face is added:

I want to learn how Paulette paints her backgrounds and her faces, so I am taking both her classes to learn these techniques from her.

Also, I am signed up for a class with the Pixeladies, whose work I also admire and LOVE! I love visiting their work studio, Deb and Kris are kindred spirits! Go check out their website, they do fabulous work and I especially love their purse patterns. Anyway, they are teaching a crazy piecing class. Shhh…. I already know how to piece this, but I am taking the class to just have fun, laugh, and soak up their creativity!! LOL!

The last class I am taking is another beading class- a crochet beaded rope. Check out the class picture:

I never would have guessed the rope pictured was not beaded with a peyote or other stitch… instead it was crocheted using a technique that hides the thread you are using. Anyway, I am looking forward to learning how to make the rope.

Hugs, Carla

Freeform Beading: Tutorial


Freeform beaded purse by Carla Barrett

Freeform beaded purse by Carla Barrett

Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett

Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett


Since I’m still in a beading mood, I decided to share with you one of my favorite tutorials- Freeform Beading, which features the freeform peyote stitch. It is very easy to do, and extremely versatile. You may combine it with quilting and fiber art- like I have shown in my iPhone purse, shown above.  You may also create  freeform beading as a focal jewelry piece.  Recently, I started the freeform beaded piece shown on the left, which will eventually be a necklace.  Please note it is still a work in progress.

Below is a bridal necklace I made a few years ago:

Here is another work-in-progress:

Here is the final necklace once the strap was added:

wavesffHow did I do this?  It was actually pretty easy, so I thought I would share the how-to with you.  I often will just start beading, then change and keep adding on and working the piece.  However, in working with beginning students, I have found the following method works as a good starting point to learn this technique.

Supply List:

Fireline, Beading needles, beads in various shapes, sizes, finishes and colors to match your palette.

To Begin: collect beads in various sizes and colors that blend well together.  Pick a focal piece or pieces as well to give your piece visual interest.  Below, I have created a bead soup palette that I used for the Waves of Color necklace, shown above:


To begin, take a 2 yard piece of FIRELINE (a braided beading thread by The Beadsmith) and string about a 5-6 inch base row of various beads, taking care to mix sizes and colors:

Next, build off of your first row using any stitch you have learned.  In the example below, I used peyote stitch and ladder stitch:

Here is a tutorial for how to do a Ladder Stitch (click to enlarge):

And here is a tutorial for how to do peyote stitch, even count:

Get creative!  Just keep building and beading until it starts to flow for you.  I still have a way to go, but here is another work-in-progress, followed by the finished piece:

freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett

freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett

As you can see by the bottom photo, I felt the first draft was rather boring and needed a bit of bling.  That is the beauty of freeform, if you do not like something, just keep going!  In this case, I added a tubular Right Angle Weave (RAW) strap and a beaded bezel for the crystal focal point.  The end result was much more successful.

Here is another small freeform quilted bag in a different colorway:

If anyone tries this mini tutorial, please send me a picture of your finished project. I would love to see your work!

Back to quilting now…   Hugs, Carla

Beadweaving: Russian Spiral Stitch

This weekend, I visited my favorite local bead store to learn a new beadweaving stitch from my beading mentor, a very nice gal named “Emi.”  Once you learn a new stitch, then creativity can take over.  Anyhow,  the stitch I learned is called a “Russian Spiral.”  Here is my practice piece:

As soon as I had the stitch down, I moved to my first actual piece of jewelry, a necklace.  Here it is so far:

This helix looking stitch is very tubular… it has dimension and feels interesting.  Once I have my proper length, then I use a decreasing peyote stitch to make an end cap, then attach the clasp.


Today, I’m back in my quilting studio quilting.  I need to finish my current quilt so I can get to my next one.

Keep Watching Alert: My good pal, Lori, over at the blog, “Art & Play,” sent me a special mailing I want to share with you all.  Good stuff!!

A Little Bead Therapy

The other day, Lynn and I visited my favorite Bead Store.  One of the favorite things to do at this store is dig through the bead box and then fill up little bags with the beads.  It is very soothing and therapeutic to do this.  I spent my time at the bead box, then purchased more items, and was ready to go.  I look around and Lynn was still at the Bead Box.  To my surprise, she was REALLY getting into this bead box!!  I think she spent an hour and a half at the box.  LOL!!

Anyhow, here are some of my  beads purchased during Lynn’s stay:


As you can see… I have a nice mish-mash of glass beads, ceramic beads, semi-precious strands, some charms, seed beads, hex beads, etc.

Lots happening here lately… I’ll play catch up after today- when I drive Lynn to the airport for her ride home!   Last night, Joe and I took Lynn to our favorite little Mexican Food place for dinner… the food and margaritas were lovely!

Cheers…   Carla