Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Recent pieces

They might not be much, but these are some the pieces I've made over the last year ... when I've gotten around to doing some beading :)

This piece was started while I was on a short weekend trip to Brisbane last year for my 30 year School Reunion. At the time I was staying with my mum, who by the way is my greatest fan, and she expressed a love of the colours and the design. Then and there I thought that when I got home and finished it, it would become my xmas present to my mum. Needless to say, she adores it. :) Made with iridescent leaf cabochons by Kinga Nichols, seedies, Swarovski's, and beautiful peacock coloured satin cord.

Beautiful agate slice with a graduated colour from dark dark grey to almost white. To soften the edges I added some small fringing around the piece.

This piece of gorgeousness was a commission piece by a repeat customer, who just happens to love blue as much as I do. This pendant features a lovely green and blue dichroic by Silvermoonlyn, and has been surrounded by seed beads and Swarovski Crystals. 


 The centrepiece to this beautiful cuff is the dyed agate druzy. The colours are just so beautiful. To carry on the ripple effect in the druzy, I used Shibori Ribbon by Glenis Dolce and soft beading to accentuate the rippling. The pretty little lilac polyclay flowers are by Etsy seller "tooaquarius"

 Featuring a 'lil birdie clay cabochon by Aussie clay artist Nat from Peruzi, and surrounded by seed beads, Swarovski Pearls, and Swarovski Marguerite Crystals, with just a hint of fringing.

Another pendant featuring the beautiful dichroic glass work of Lyn from Silvermoonlyn. The seed beads and Swarovski Crystals carry on the dark and light of the glass.

I must have this thing about using Lyn's glass, because these next two pair of earrings also feature her dichroic glass. Both gorgeous and sparkly!!!


Monday, 18 May 2015

Way too long between posts

OMG ... I just realised that its been a year since my last post ... I have been very lax in keeping up to date on here.

The last year has been interesting to say the least. Personally, our family has had some ups and downs, mostly downs, but we've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully we'll make it out soon. LOL cryptic enough for you? :)

On the beading front ... well I ended up pulling out of last year's Battle of the Beadsmith. Between my knee, and life in general, I just couldn't get it done. It was a sad time as I felt that I let down the Aussie contingent, but I am back on board this year and determined to finish. This will be the first major piece I've done since the 2013 Battle, so its been a long time between beading sessions.

My little business has progressed a little bit further as well. I have alot of Wedding work now, especially the bouquets which have just about taken over our house LOL. Not only do I service our local area here, but I have done quite a bit of work for Queensland and interstate Brides as well. I love the feedback that I get from Brides, and I love receiving photos of their wedding day with my flowers or headpieces included. Thank you to all those Brides who over the last year have chosen me to create their bouquets, or bead up something special for them.

Oh and Maryniky Designs has made the transition over to Instagram. So you can always keep up with what I'm up to on there :) .... you can find me by searching maryniky_designs :)

Below are some pics of bouquets, headpieces etc that I've been kept busy with over the last year. I promise to try and do some regular posting ... especially with the Battle piece, which will be revealed in a few weeks, so you won't have long to wait. :)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Has it been that long?

Wow, its been such a long time since I've written anything here ... My apologies.

Well in case any of you wondering, from my last post .. Yes I did bow out in that round. Edgars work was just too beautiful to be up against. All good, I was just proud to have made it to the final 24. :)

So where am I now? Well besides waiting for my knee operation ... Yes I hurt myself, it is that BOTB time of the year again ... And yes I've been silly enough to enter myself for another gruelling competition. With three weeks design time left, has Maryanne started or finished her work? NO I haven't. I haven't even started yet. My brain, for some reason, hasn't been on task. Maybe its the pain from my knee thats stopping the creative juices to flow ... Maybe my heart just isn't in it ... But I do know that I need to pull my finger out and start this piece. My design has changed several times in my head, so it will be interesting to see which one I will go with when I do start. Its not going to be spectacular this year, so I'm not holding much hope of getting past the 1st round this year.

Other than BOTB, I've taken my little business into the Bridal market by including artificial bouquets into the equation. The good thing? They've proved quite popular, and I'm so grateful for those few orders that I have had, and have got even into next year.

Well, I hope you're all well. I will endeavour to post up some pics of my BOTB14 piece when things are underway, and keep you updated with all the gorgeousness that will undoubtedly be entered by all the talented beaders we have around the world.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Round 4 - BOTB 13

Round 4 pairings have been announced and I think this is my swan song round :). My opponent this round is Edgar Lopez Disenos with his insanely gorgeous and sexy "Diva" neckpiece. Edgar's "Diva" has been one of my favourites through this whole Battle, and I am so honoured to be up against him ... LOL mmm that didn't sound right, but you get what I mean.
Edgar, you have my vote :)

I didn't enter this competition thinking I was going to win, I would never kid myself with that notion. I put my hand up for this so I could push myself, to do something that I wouldn't normally do ... to make a piece I could be proud of. If I managed to get past round 1 then its just the cherry on top of what has been an amazing ride ... to get to round 4 and down to the final 24, well its surpassed everything that I ever hoped for. Like last year, I'm at peace with bowing out in any of the rounds ... and this one is a pretty good one to bow out on.

Good luck everyone

Below are the photos of the Round 4 finalists in their pairings

Round 4 - Group A

Ann Braginsky vs Irina Slobodyanik
Betty Stephan vs Anna Hatvani
Miriam Shimon vs Tatiana Labutina
Olga Shumilova vs Irina Oleinik
Round 4 - Group B
Regina Krawets vs Tereza Drabkova
Maryanne Villalba vs Edgar Lopez Disenos
Kris Empting Obenland vs Irina Chikineva
Natalia Savelieva vs Marsha Wiest Hines
Round 4 - Group C
Cath Thomas vs Eva Dobos
Tamuna Lezhava vs Linda Roberts
Svetlana Sametis vs Cleopatra Cosulet
Catherine Chinoy vs Edit Peng

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

BOTB 2013 update

I can't believe how hard it is getting to vote. Kudos to Steven and Maja for doing an amazing job with the voting forms. I have agonised over each and every Battle in all the rounds so far. In some cases, its literally been a case of einey meany meiny mo and choosing that way. Sometimes its come down to wearability and technique. But each and every one has been really hard to vote on. But then, it saddens me when I see pieces that have absolutely blown my mind NOT make it through the rounds.

My personal BOTB journey for this year has been wonderful to say the least. My lace neckpiece - "Floral Decadence" - has, as of today, made it through to round 4. I'm very surprised that I've made it this far as my opponents pieces have been gorgeous, and up there as my favourite pieces.

We're down to the nitty gritty end of it now. Only 24 participants remain (8 in each round) ... and blow me down, my piece is still in there!!! The calibre and sheer beauty of the remaining pieces is amazing, and as much as I'd like to make it through to Round 4, methinks I may be kidding myself. :)

There's only two Aussies remaining in this great Battle ... Regina Krawets, and myself. We're flying the flag for you Australia!!

I've enjoyed this ride so much, and I wish each and every one of the remaining participants all the best of luck. To those that have fallen - oh wow, your pieces are amazing ... be proud, be very proud.

Bring on Round 4 :)

Round 1 Battle opponent - Marilyn Norman (UK) - "Dove of Peace"

Round 2 Battle opponent - Apollinariya Koprivnik (Slovenia) - "The Darkest Hour"

Round 3 Battle opponent - Irina Matusihis (Estonia) - "Gelios"

These are the shots of my piece which I've added with each round.

Round 4 photo is still to be revealed, so I won't put that one up just yet :)

Monday, 10 June 2013

The big reveal ....

This afternoon (Monday), Steven posted more reveals for Group B, and Marilyn's and my Battle was revealed.

First up, Marilyn's ... Dove of Peace

I love the detail in the wings ... and anything that's white is always a big fav :)

and now mine .... now I can see things that I'm going to have to change once this Battle is finished. Hate it when I can see things I should have done differently :)

Floral Decadence

Inspired by the late Victorian era ... think William Morris, and the decadent brocades and fabrics of the time.

Bead embroidery on lace ... The seed beads are 15s except for the flowers which are 11s. Also incorporates a smattering of Swarovski Crystals and that gorgeous enamel brooch


Battle of the Beadsmith 2013

Well that time of the year has come around again. The greatest battle in the world has begun. Two months ago, 192 bead artists from around the world were paired and started their Battle pieces. With a June 1 deadline many late nights, early mornings, all nighters, and all dayers were plaguing many artists. All but a few got their entries in on time.

The finishing time for my piece went down to the wire. Why I do these things to myself is beyond me. I knew when the deadline was ... I knew I had heaps to do ... But life seriously got in the way. But I persevered and got it finished.

Participants were broken into three groups - group A, B, and C. Reveals for Group C were last week, and Group B reveals have started. OMG the sheer talent and calibre of the participants has certainly stepped up. I have seen so much beauty over the last week ... And I'm sure to be wowed with the rest of Group B and the Group A reveals. My piece is Battle number 7 in Group B ... Hopefully revealed sometime today or tomorrow. My most able opponent in this great Battle is Marilyn Norman from the UK ... I can't wait to see what she has done :)

I can honestly say that I'm happy I finished it. However there are certain aspects I wish I had more time on. Perhaps when this mighty battle is finished I'll do some unpicking and redo the bits I'm not happy with. Will I get through to the next round? Well my stock answer is always a big NO just because I can clearly see the flaws in my piece. But I am proud that I finished such a big piece, and for me its a big statement piece, the size of which I have no desire to tackle for a long while LOL

Stay tuned for a full reveal of my piece :)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The handmade artists lament

I love beading ... have I ever told you that? No? Well I do LOL :) What I don't love is being told my work is not good enough, or that in certain sectors of my local community - told my stuff is too expensive. Do you seriously not realise how much work goes into handmade?

Now I have never been one to "blow my own trumpet", don't feel the need for it and will never do it. Over the years I have had doubts about my ability to do this craft that I love so much ... thought that I wasn't good enough. My sales record (which is low by the way) probably reflects that, but I do this for the love of the craft, not that I think I will make heaps of money from it. I'm forever thankful that I have so many beady friends who believe in me and encourage me to continue.

But what really gets my goat is when people judge my work sitting on a table or on my website, and then saying they can find better in such and such a shop for cheaper. Well whoopie doo for you, because you know something - its your loss!!!

I proudly source my beads from around the world - and where I can, I buy handmade ... direct from the maker. I'm a great believer in supporting other talented artists - not only here in Australia, but overseas as well. You will NOT find these beads being "mass produced". You will NOT find these beads in any $2 cheap shop that you may want to go to instead. These beads have been lovingly handmade by some of the best artisans our craft can give you. Another thing, when it comes to "mass produced" beads, the only ones you will find in my bead collection are the very gorgeous Swarovski Crystals - the BEST on the market, and the multitude of seed beads that I have in my collection. That's it!! That's what you get with my pieces - the best of handmade, and the best of the best when it comes to crystals.

I pride myself on my work, and I think the quality of my work reflects that. The reason it takes me hours to do say a beaded lace necklace, is because I meticulously sit there and sew on every bead. Then I sew through them again to make sure that none of those little suckers are going to go anywhere ... and you know what, for crystals, well I sew through them three times. That's what I do. That's why something that might look simple to you as just beads on a piece of lace, culminates in hours and hours of work for me. So forgive me if I add a little bit of that time into the price of my piece ... and believe me I don't have a huge hourly rate - in fact I'm sure my 13 year old son makes more of an hourly rate umpiring AFL than what I do when I'm beading.

Please, stop and think about what you are saying about a handmade artists work. We sit there for hours producing work that we are insanely proud of, and then to hear that its cheaper to go to a "mass produced" shop and get something ... well it breaks our heart. If you ask me - I would prefer a handmade article, whatever it may be, over anything "mass produced" any day. Why? Because I know the work, the pain, the sweat and tears that go into making handmade.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith - My Journey

You know, when I put my hand up for this challenge, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get past the first round. The calibre of the bead artists I was up against was amazing ... these girls, and yes guys, are my absolute idols. They rock my world as far as beading goes. :) These are people I aspire to be as good as one day ... they are my inspiration.

The Beginning ...

It wasn't until a couple of weeks into the "production" time, that I actually sat down and tried to figure out what I was going to do. Lucky my trusty sketchbook is always at hand, because as an idea came into my head I would sketch it down. I ended up with five designs in the end ... mmmm which one do I go for? Finally after another couple of weeks I settled on one design, got out the cabs and beads I was going to use and there it sat for another couple of weeks. Then realisation set in ... I only had about another week or so till reveal. OMG get beading Maryanne!!!! LOL I pulled a couple of late and all-nighters to get it done, but it got done.

I was happy with my piece, the kids loved it - but then again, they are my biggest fans ... mmm my husband, well that was a different matter. Unfortunately he is in no way Arty, so to him I ruined it by putting the knotting on the side. That's his opinion and he's welcome to it, but it did rock my confidence when he said that. All these doubts came into my head, but I resisted the urge to rip the knotting off and do something else.

Reveal day ... Oh my bloody god (excuse my language) ... the pieces that were slowly being revealed were absolutely amazing. I drooled endlessly over all the gorgeous pieces appearing on my computer screen - so many gasps, whistles, oohs and aahhs were heard through the day/night. Surely there was no way in hell I was ever going to make it through the first round!!! First round pairings were posted, and I was up against English beader Jill Thomas and her beautiful piece "Lydia Of Thyatira". First round judging was hard - having to go through forty albums of pairings and pick just one out of each was agonising - seriously it was a case of einey meiney miney mo for some of them. Round one results popped up and I was shocked to learn that I'd made it through. In some strange way I was content to make it that far, and if I got voted out for round two it wouldn't matter ... I'd already surpassed my expectations.

As the pairings for round two were announced, my heart sank, I was up against a fellow Aussie Noel Wyres and her piece "Chaos". It didn't matter which one of us won - we both knew that an Aussie was going to be out of the runnings after this round .. and I hoped it would be me. Voting for round two was even harder than round one - I ummed and aahhed with so many of those pairings - it was heartbreaking to think that one of those pieces would not be returning. Round two results came out, not only did some of my favs not return, but alas Noel was the one to go in our battle :( *big sad face*. Sorry Noel :(

Now at this stage I hadn't told anyone in the household how far I'd gotten .. don't know why, just kept it to myself .. call it a defence mechanism if you will :). Anyway, the kids twigged one morning when I was on the BOTB page and one of them happened to be reading over my shoulder (which I hate by the way LOL). Soon all three knew, and then hubby. Geez a woman can't keep anything to herself!!! *rolling eyes*. Kids were happy, hubby well I think he was just stunned ... hehe slightly satisfying that was :)

When Steven announced the pairings for Round three, I knew in my heart that this was it .. my time was up ... and you know something, I was actually happy about it .. go figure!!. I was up against one of my favs in the competition, "Bright Summer" by Irina Chikineva ... and I'm happy to say that her piece was voted through. Well done Irina!!

Now this competition is by no means over ... there are still two or three rounds left. We are definately down the business end of things. There's just ten .. yes TEN pieces left ... all well deserving pieces .. the creme de la creme of the pieces. Personally, I feel very priveleged to have played with all of you these last couple of months. It's been an immense honour to have my piece amongst your works of art. You ARE my beading idols and you all ROCK!! Good luck to all finalists - you so deserve this!!

Thankyou Steven for the best joy ride ever ... I'm sooo looking forward to doing all this again next year. :)


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Round 3 - BOTB

WOW this is getting so much harder to vote on. The pairings for Round 3 were announced last week, and you could almost hear a collective gasp when we all saw who we were up against. This Challenge is down to the "prickly" end now, and its getting harder and harder to choose which one you like best in the pairings ... especially if you like both of them equally. I uummed and aahhed over every battle - and I'm sure I changed my mind a dozen times when making the decision.

My worthy opponent for this round is the very accomplished bead artist from Russia, Irina Chikineva and her piece "Bright Summer". Both of us have used similar inspirations, feelings, and colours behind our pieces. Two green pieces up against eachother :).  This round is the only time I have chosen to vote in my own Battle. I abstained from doing that in the last two Battles. However this time I couldn't let this one pass ... Irina's piece is sooooo gorgeous, that I just had to give it that extra boost to get through .. and I hope I have. I bow down gracefully to her piece .. it is gorgeous, and I'm sure you will agree.

Good luck Irina :)

Irina Chikineva
Bright Summer

Friday, 10 August 2012

Round 2 results - Battle of the Beadsmith

Well BOTB leader Steven Weiss definately did it this time!! Round 2 saw me pitted against fellow Aussie Noel Wyres, and her gorgeous piece "Chaos" (pictured below). How could he do that? LOL

The results are out today, and happily or sadly, I don't know which one yet, "Evergreen" made it through to Round 3. It means there's one less Aussie in the mix now, sorry Noel ... but two other Aussies have survived the cut - Melissa Ingram with her piece "Arabesque Armour", and Lauren Macgregor with her piece "Belisama".

From 80, down to 40, and now we're left with 20. There is not one piece in this remaining 20 that I want to be up against ... the talent is amazing!!!

Congratulations to all those that made it through Round 2 ... commiserations to those that didn't ... and good luck to everyone for Round 3.

My beautiful opponents piece ~
"Chaos" by Noel Wyres

So who are the final 20?

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel - USA
Miriam Cielo Shimon - Israel
Christian Rodriguez - USA
Ann Braginsky - Israel
Melissa Ingram - Australia
Helena Tang - Singapore
Lauren Macgregor - Australia
Ekaterina Kalinina - Russia
Betty Stephan - USA
Sue Horine - USA
Marsha Wiest Hines - USA
Sandra Dokter van Esveld - Netherlands
Kinga Nichols - USA
Heather Kingsley Heath - United Kingdom
Ella Des - Serbia/Belgrade
Julia Turova - Russia
Alla Maslennikova - Russia
Irina Chikineva - Russia
Mikki Ferrugiaro - USA
Me :) - Australia

Friday, 27 July 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith ... update

Well I'm very surprised at the outcome, but I'm happy to say my humble little piece has made it through round one. There was no dancing on tabletops, or shouting it out loud. Besides the fact my back probably wouldn't let me get on said tabletop LOL, one has to remember that where one person made it through, another did not.

There was, as some of us expected, some backlash against those that made it through. Cries of foul play and favouritism were heard all over the BOTB group page. Now I've stayed out of the kerfuffle that was BOTB the last couple of days because I didn't like what I was seeing as far as the comments go. There was no need for any of that. We all came into this competition knowing that we had a 50/50 chance of making it through to the next round ... complaining about it doesn't do anyone any good!!

I had consigned myself from the beginning that I was not going to make it through .. and was at peace with it. Now I've made it through, but I look at the calibre of the remaining artists and know that I have no hope in hell of making it through round two ... and I'm at peace with that. I participated in this competition for one reason only ... to have fun!! Yep have fun ... and I did. I made a piece that I'm totally in love with, and I'm happy with that. I've met some AMAZING artists ... drooled over pieces that I'm still trying to figure out how they did it - my keyboard and desk will need replacing by the time all this is over I'm sure of it LOL ... but more importantly, I've found the inspiration to keep doing what I'm doing.

This competition has opened up a whole new world of beading and inspiration for me. I can only hope to one day be as good as all of you. You all rock my world!!!!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith

It started with a sketch ...

and then grew from there. My original sketch didn't incorporate the leaves and flowers - they were added in later when I changed what theme I was going to do. In my original design I was going to make it more water based, and have this beautiful cascading fringe and a multitude of bead strands to represent a waterfall. Somehow, at the time, part of me thought this was all too hard, so I changed it to the floral design you see above.

From a sketch to the gluing of cabs ... gorgeously scrumptious dichroic cabs by Glass Artist Lyn Owen of Silvermoonlyn ... the blue/green fern like colours coming from these cabs also lent themselves to a more "plant" based design than my original water design.

and then the fun began ... first the bezelling of the cabs, then the subtle placement of the flowers and leaves, and the freshwater pearls - in my original "water" design - stayed in. I love pearls, what can I say :)

then some bling with a Swarovski winding vine ...

and finally the teeny tiny beadies came out to play ...

and even more tiny beadies  ... lots of two bead fringes enveloping the floral display

till there was no more to do ... but to back it and do the edging.

It was then that I faced a dilemma ... what to do with the other side of the necklace? My original design was out the window, what do I do? I turned to my bookcase for inspiration. That inspiration was a book on Celtic and Asian knots that I've had sitting there in my bookcase for ages. I fell in love with the figure 8 knot, and I knew it would fit in with my piece ... and so the other side of my necklace came to life. To carry on the theme of the piece, flowers and leaves were added to the knotting.

My piece was finished!! The Battle within myself was complete - I had finished it .. with a couple of days to spare. The stress of not getting it done was finally lifted off my shoulders. aaaaahhhh that feels good :)

Now its time for the "good" photos :)

Hope you enjoyed my little journey.

If you want to see some jawdroppingly gorgeous beadwork, then you need to check out all the wonderful entries from all over the world on the Facebook "Battle of the Beadsmith" group page ... https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/274053372682035/ . Believe me, they are jawdropping!!!