This is another cuff bracelet I made using one of Lisa Peters' gorgeous stoneware cabochons. I am absolutely in love with Lisa's work - her colors, textures, shapes and glazes just enthrall me and they really set off my creative spark!
You can see the listing in my Etsy shop by clicking on the picture!
I've decided to make a photo journal of how I create these pieces. Each one is created one at a time, is a one of a kind piece of art jewelry, and takes between several hours and several days to create. For now, though, here's how I make each of these bracelets:
The basic process I use to create these bracelets is the same as for all of my bead embroidered jewelry. It starts with a cabochon and a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff. I glue the cabochon to a small piece of Stiff Stuff and then stitch a peyote stitch bezel using Delica beads and size 15 seed beads to tighten it up. The glue is basically a temporary hold - the beaded bezel is the thing that will keep that cabochon in place over the life of the piece.
After the bezel is finished, I add one or more rows of accent beads around the cabochon. These can be anything from a size 8 or a size 6 seed bead to vintage glass beads or maybe some glass Druks. I look for beads that will accentuate the cabochon and will also create a smooth line around the cabochon and it's bezel.
Once the accent beads are attached, I end the thread and carefully snip the excess Stiff Stuff away from around the cabochon. Then I pick through my stash of Ultrasuede and Sensuede fabrics and find a color that I like to match or contrast with the cabochon. I glue the cabochon to a small piece of fabric, trim the excess away, and then start the edging around the cabochon with size 11 seed beads.
This whole process of attaching the cab, stitching the bezel, and backing and edging the cabochon can take anywhere from two to six hours, depending on how much embellishment I add to the cabochon.
The next step is to measure and cut matching pieces of fabric for the bracelet form. I usually cut the fabric about 1/4" larger than the cuff form to give myself a little bit of wiggle room when I edge the cuff, and also to prevent my thread from running against the metal cuff form. If the thread rubs against the bracelet form with every edging stitch, it can weaken the thread and the overall integrity of the bracelet.
The top piece of fabric is usually cut a little bit longer than the back piece - this is to accommodate the beaded cabochon, which I attach to the fabric by stitching it. I usually make two or three rounds of stitches down through the Stiff Stuff, the backing and then the fabric for the cuff to make sure that the cabochon will be held securely in place.
Gluing the fabric to the cuff is a little tricky - it is necessary to keep the fabric from sliding around too much while I'm edging it, but if I don't get it centered just right before the glue dries, then there's a chance that my edges won't line up and the whole thing will be a mess. Practice makes perfect!
After the glue has dried, I use a variation of brick stitch to edge the entire cuff. It's the same stitch that I use to edge the cabochon, and I usually use the same color seed beads for a more uniform color scheme.
I have two types of cuff bracelet forms that I like to use. The first type of form that I ever used was a lightweight aluminum cuff form that I got from Dick Blick Art Supplies years ago. They have since stopped carrying them, so if I want to continue using them, my husband and I are going to have to start making them ourselves!
The other type that I started using in the last two years or so are the wonderful brass embroidery blanks from Diane Hyde of Designer's Findings. Diane has an incredible line of brass embroidery blanks that include cuff bracelets, neckpieces and pendant shapes that can be used for both pendants and necklace and bracelet links. They are inexpensive, sturdy and give the bead embroidered work a substantial feel. I'm totally addicted to them!
So, I hope I haven't lost you with all the writing here! I'll do this again, but with pictures sometime later this month.