Friday, August 31, 2012

Hard Work But Worth It!

I stayed up far too late last night preparing the documents for release today of my Double Coneflower Ring to the book pre-order people.  Have you popped over to check out the blog on Contemporary Geometric Beadwork yet?  Or stopped at the Facebook page for it?

I simply cannot WAIT to see what other people choose to do with the pattern.  Hopefully they'll share pics with me, then I can share them with YOU.

Happy Beadsday!


I am so excited - the book I'm working on is pre-releasing little special tidbits to the pre-order folks and my second special project is going out into the great big world tonight!  Super tired but oh! So elated!

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Inspiration comes from so many place - I can look at the sky, graffiti or the texture of a building and see possibilities in it.  Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by unexpected beauty in a place you surely didn't expect any?  Today I was simply cataloging some photographs taken last spring and all at once I saw a quick little pic I took of a bunch of lillies of the valley.  I love lily of the valley - it's one of my favourite flowers - and am blessed with a lovely large patch in our back 40 that is kept in check only by mowing over the margins of the spreading bed!  I often grab large bunches to share out with my friends and neighbours and this was a quick handful for my desk... so pretty I had to grab a quick photo.  Today the colours seem to have caught my imagination and I can just see it as the palette for future beadwork.  The lushness of the pristine white, set off so beautifully by the lively green and accented by the trace of black...I think I know where I have lampwork beads stashed that would suit...<wandering off to check>...

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, August 27, 2012

How Do You Work?

How do you like to work on your beautiful beadwork? I've been beading for too many years and tried too many ways to think there's one magic answer. The answer that works best for me is, "on my lap, on a tray that has a rim (for preventing tubes from rolling off), a Vellux mat (to keep the beads where I can see 'em) and room for the project (when I invariably have to lift it to one side to deal with some other item calling for my attention)". This isn't an ideal solution for many people, but I have a lovely overstuffed armchair with broad arms (all the better to prop elbows upon or needles within), an ottoman or table in front (for feet or tray, depending!), a lovely floor standing work lamp with my Ottlite securely attached and a metal shaft that holds metallic items via rare earth magnets. This works FOR ME, I must stress. I know how my body works and moves and needs support or not. For most people I know, they may enjoy an uninterrupted location or to bead while watching television or chatting with others.

Usually the essentials are a supportive working chair, adequate lighting and space around you and a properly ergonomic height for your work tray. A low cost solution for sofa-sitters is a lap desk (often sold in plastic for children, with a pocket on each side to form legs) or breakfast-in-bed tray. These give sufficient height while allowing a beader to sit more comfortably. For those experiencing neck-aches while working, I suggest taking the same lap desk and moving it UP - onto a table top. The space beneath can hold scissors, etc., while the beadwork is now lifted up to a height that remains easy to reach and work with, while decreasing the angle your neck must bend to see your work clearly. Do you have any tips you've come up with during your beading? I'd love to hear your ideas, too!

Happy Beadsday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Looking Ahead

So, now that we know each other a little bit, what am I up to these days?

I am honoured, delighted and amazed to share that I have been upgraded to an official collaborator for "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork", a fabulous new book by Kate McKinnon and Jean Power, with Dustin Wedekind, Gabriella van Diepen and ME! *G*

While I was happily contributing various items to the book, I think I had assumed they would go into some general eye-candy gallery. Imagine my delight when July rolled around and I was invited on board! There is so much true genius out there and Kate and Jean are but two examples! People who pre-order the book are not only contributing the necessary capital to get the book into print, but in return are being given the "inside scoop" on things each week, including tips, tricks and pre-publication access to selected patterns. The photos come flooding in, all day long, giving the creative response of beaders from all around the globe and they are AMAZING!

One of the earliest patterns to be shared with book pre-orders was my super fun Colourwheel Helix Cuff, shown above in one of my all-time favourite photographs. Kate McKinnon took that amazing shot, and set it up as if the tiny dino had an exercise wheel!

Believe it or not, it grew from a quick "sketch" of an idea sparked by Jean Power's rivoli stars (photo by Kate McKinnon).

Which led me to imagine a different scale and application of the technique, that I quickly sketched out in size 8 Japanese seed beads (photo by Kate McKinnon).

Which led to the need to run for my favourite size 12 cylinders (I know the rest of the world calls them size 11, but they ARE smaller than size 11 seed beads and I am a die-hard nitpicker!) in a full spectrum array (yes, this photo is also by Kate; she swears by her new iPhone4S and uses it to get these amazing shots. Aren't they great?).

Happy Beadsday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

History Lesson

So, who am I, anyway? I am Christina Vandervlist and I am a bead-addict. I began beading at age 10 in self defense (yes, really! - 'nother story, 'nother time) and I've never stopped. When life got busy or time otherwise evaporated the beads would get a little dusty, but wherever I went my treasure boxes of beads came with me.

I love complex, freeform creations using many different off-loom beadweaving techniques, as well as mathematically addictive geometric structures and the distracting wonderment of bead embroidery. I've applied myself to learn as many beading techniques as possible with the occasional foray into a complementary skill - wirework, metalwork, precious metal clays, fibres, needle- and wet-felting and oh! So MUCH more! But these are all in service to my need to bead.

I've been beading now for 39 years and enjoy endless enthusiasm for the possibilities encompassed in the simple supplies of beads, needle and thread (I'd better add scissors, too!).

One very cool thing in my past is the cover of Beadwork magazine. What a magical, delicious and unexpected honour! It's a bit on the older side now, but some beadophiles may actually remember it:

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I'm so glad you found my corner of the blogosphere. Here is where I'll be showing, discussing and sharing the joy I find in beadwork. My primary interests are in the fusion of science and art, including contemporary geometric beadwork and the freestyle pleasures of bead embroidery. I am just activating this blog, so please be patient and I'll bring it to life as fast as I can! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me; thanks for your patience!