Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Spy With My Bead-y Eye -- Fabrics and Beads

I recently wrote a post on my personal blog about shoes.  I probably could have gone into shoe sales from the number of posts and emails I received about this particular pair of shoes and how many people decided to buy a pair...
(photo via
The point of my post that day was finding inspiration in the wild colors of my favorite shoes and using that as a springboard out of beader's block.  The idea is to find something (like shoes) with a design, and then search out beads to match it, thus hopefully triggering your imagination in a different way.

So I thought I'd try that again, but this time, with fabrics from  If you're not familiar with Spoonflower, you're in for a treat.  You can have your OWN custom designs printed onto fabric!  How cool is that?

So let's start.

My first fabric choice is "Supahero" by hamburgerliebe.

Not your common inspiration, is it?  It's not floral, or an Oriental rug, but let's push ourselves a bit and see what beads we can find....
Photo by Flying Corgi
First, the colors worked for me.  Second, there was a slightly goofy, irreverent, fun spirit in this bead that I just couldn't pass up.  I think it's just a perfect jump from fabric to bead.  It doesn't have to match perfectly to be a perfect fit.

Next, we have "Umbrellas" by natalie

I like this.  I want an umbrella made with this umbrella fabric.  But let's find beads that match up with this, m'k?
bead by Gaea
These ceramic beads by Gaea picked up the slightly muted colors of the turquoise, red, lime, and orange umbrellas.  How about using leather with this one, or wire-linking each bead to keep it airy?

My last fabric choice is "Cherry Blue" by cottageindustrialist.


How about this borosilicate focal?  Isn't it perfect?  Now it's up to you to add in the rest -- Thai silver flowers, perhaps?  Wood beads to pick up on the branches? The sky's the limit.

Boro focal by uvanomos

I hope you've enjoyed this new way to find inspiration and get out of the rut we all fall into from time to time.  But what if you have a huge stash of beads and don't need to buy new ones?  Pull out a drawer of beads, set it by your computer, and surf through Spoonflower.  You might find a fabric that triggers a memory ("Oh yeah, I have a bead kind of like that!) and awaaaaay you go!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs.  She writes the blogs Pretty Things and An Artist's Year Off


JeannieK said...

Oh Lori this is sublime and so much fun.
I'm fortunate enough to have a mom that is a prolific sewer and embroider and have learned to draw inspiration from that. In fact I'm working on some now (not jewelry) that is fabric inspired.

Great Post Ms. Lori

Miss Val's Creations said...

What a fun post. Inspiration can come from just about anything!!!!

LLuvia said...

I love this idea, I have always had a thing for beautiful fabric even though I don't sew. I've purchased fabric and just kept it to look at once in a while! but I never translated that into my designs, I'll be sure to try this soon! Thanks for the wonderful post!

Barbara Lewis said...

Lori, This is great. I have also felt that textile designers are some of the best colorists. Fabrics are a great source of inspiration ... and I have a thing for Dansko's, too, but mine aren't nearly as pretty as yours. I've recently become acquainted with Gaea's beads and I LOVE THEM! If I had made ceramic beads as nice as hers I'd probably still be making them. I love all of your color choices ... wonderful!

Blue Rose Design said...

Thank you so much for this idea! I have been so stuck for the past couple weeks, and this post appeared just as I was getting desperate. I took a little jaunt over to Spoonflower and suddenly I can't put things together fast enough!

Patty said...

Oh my. Those shoes are delicious! What fun. :-) I get inspiration from fabric too - it's so much fun to see how a pattern and color translate into molten glass.

Unknown said...

This is so much fun, Lori! Spoonflower is awesome! What a great suggestion.

cookievf said...

Thanks for all the eye-candy, Lori. I absolutely love your fabric and bead selections. Popped over to visit Gaea's etsy shop - Y.U.M.

- vicki xo