I looooove freeform beadwork. Not just making it, but looking at it, seeing what other artists have done with it, and feeling it in my hands. Freeform is just so playful, and inherently unconscious, and ...well...freeing. I love the No Rules approach, and the fact that you canNOT make mistakes... there aren't any!
I've been playing with it for ages (and it does feel like playing - no work here!) and experimenting with combining it with other stitches and techniques; this is where Reflections and Mistress were born. I started out this time with a huge pile of bead soup that I threw together when I was feeling uninspired. I wanted to just mix up some beads to see if it could lift me out of my funk, and it did. Once I had mixed them happily in a pile, I found that I had stashed away some lovely focal bits that would go with it... and Atlantis happened. As I began my first row of freeform peyote, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen a tutorial in awhile about freeform, or freeform combined with other techniques, and that it would be fun to make one geared toward helping others find their own joy in freeform while also showing how I did my thing.
Last night, I finally finished the cuff, and the tutorial at the same time. It's a very different tutorial than my usual; it isn't step by step at all, but more of a guide on how to combine the different stitches, and how I went about making this one cuff in particular. It's more chatty than my usual professional tone, and I think that makes it more accessible. The premise is to inspire and to help someone make the combinations themselves in ways that please them, rather than simply making my cuff themselves.
It starts out with a little basic freeform tutorial that combines peyote and right angle weave, proceeds through the cuff planning and process of embroidering focals, bezeling stones and weaving it all together, and then ends with a gallery of pieces I have made with notes on how I combined different things in their creation.
If you're interested in it, you can find a copy of it here in my Etsy shop, and a few of my favorite freeform artists (Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, Linda Roberts and Laura Zeiner) have given some tips in there, too - which I am very grateful for.
And, because they're included in the gallery (among others), here's a picture of Reflections....
and one of Mistress...
both of which were created using the same techniques as those I outlined in the tutorial. Happy beading, everyone - and peace during this seasonal rush, too.