Studio Musings

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer Snowflakes

my Snowflake tutorial - still available on Etsy
Back in 2011, I opened my Etsy store with exactly one item - my beaded Snowflakes and Stars PDF tutorial.  For some reason that I cannot now remember, I didn't list my first book on Freeform Peyote Beading until months later.   Needless to say, I have a soft spot for these little beauties.  They're rather the potato chips of my beading world.  I can never seem to make just one, and they're a quick and satisfying 'beading snack'.  When I don't know where I want to go with other projects, I find myself making snowflakes.

Most recently, I've been playing with Summer Mandalas, and sequins.  What happens to snowflakes when you use other colors?  Here are a couple of my discoveries.

First, I decided to work with Hot, summery colors in reds and oranges, with a pop of cool lime:

Summer beaded Snowflake Mandalas in red, orange, pink and lime green with sequins.  Pendant and necklace set by artist Karen Williams

This pendant and earring set makes me think of margaritas and summer flowers.  Not a hint of snow in the forecast!  After a little experimentation, I found I particularly liked the look of matte transparent and opaque beads best.  They created the most striking lines and the best foils for the sequin embellishments.

But what if I wanted a necklace to cool off in the summer heat?  To answer that question, I started playing with turquoisy blues and bright greens, with lime sneaking into the color palettes every time I looked away.

Summer beaded Snowflake Mandalas in turquoise, teal, black and lime green.  Pendant with sea glass ring by artist Karen Williams

The colors reminded me of a dress I purchased last summer.  Thinking it would be fun to make a necklace to match, I began playing with more stars.  The dress, by Desigual, has an asymmetric design across the front, which I hope to echo in my design as well.  Right now, all I have are component parts, which I thought I'd lost for most of the past month.  Luckily, they turned up this morning while looking for something else.  Yeah!  (Especially since I couldn't even find the pictures I'd taken before!)
Not completely sure where I'm going yet!
With the largest component, I'm going for a field of stars effect.  Not quite sure if I like the crystal interstitials or not.   They're supposed to take the place of the white polka-dots from the dress's design.  Adding white to the necklace seemed like simply too much.

 It's such fun swapping out the colors to see where things end up.  I first did this a few years back with my Halloween Snowflakes, complete with little lampworked bats to finish off the earrings.  Doing some inventory, I found I have exactly of those two kits still available, and have relisted them on Etsy. 

So there are my summer experiments!  How about you? Any crazy color experiments this season?


  1. Hi Karen,
    I am loving your summer snowflake collection. The first set with the fiery reds and oranges and the cool green is my favorite set. The blue and green set is just as beautiful as the red and orange set and I love where you are going with it. Myself I like the dark crystals in the interstitials.

    1. Thanks Therese! I think the reds are my favorite as well. They feel sooo summery.

      I'm really hoping to finish up the necklace in the next week or so. Otherwise it's likely to become a UFO until next summer. :)

  2. Karen - I love your snowflakes, especially the way they seem to be a springboard for delightfully unique versions like that bracelet. I always stand in awe of your creativity! Alas I have not done much with beads this summer, two boats being worked on and staying on one that is too small to hold much in the way of beading supplies. Hopefully this fall will bring the time to start playing with flaming leaf earrings and creative snowflakes :-)

    1. Thanks Vala! Beading has been hit or miss for me this summer as well. The good news with the snowflakes (as you know) is that they are small, quick and fit almost anywhere. :)