One of my favorite parts of beadmaking and teaching is the idea to come up with a new design without really creating something entirely new, I assume that most beadmaker shave a favorite bead or bead set that utterly pleases them. And you will see how easy it is to create a new design (or several) without the need of coming up with something entirely new. I want to illustrate this idea based on my all time favorite design: the Groundhog beads:

You can look at different parts of the original designs – the colors, the size, stuff like that. My first variation was to change the shape of the beads, instead of making ROUND beads I decided to flatten them, using the squeeze press:

the issue with flattened round bead is that the distribution of the pattern has to be spot on – if your round bead is not perfect, you won’t really know, because a round beads doesn’t show “not so perfect “ arrangement of the design, because you don’t see all the 4 sides at once – but when you flatten the bead every small irregularity is right in your face….

Another element you can change, while still staying very close to the original design is the SIZE…so I tried to make a few “typically” groundhog bead – just a lot bigger:

they still look good, but they take a long time to make and if you make enough for a necklace you’ll be stuck to the torch for quite a while, so I kind of gave up on that idea…

in a next step, you can just focus on the colors, disregarding the actual pattern of the “main set”. I was thinking of one of my favorite bead strands for bracelets: the “Domt worry – be happy strand. The original set looks like this:

All of had to do to change the design was the change the color of each bead, while preserving the basic fun idea, using “sliding spacers” when stringing these beads.  In the groundhog bead idea, this is what I came up with “

It pretty much follow the original idea, just changing the colors.

Soeaking if color, another possibility for staying with the basic design is to REALLY change the colors, to something you like working with. To me, that is aqua and ivory (there even is a chapter on this in Passing The Flame) so I changed direction and tried to make similar beads in ivory and aqua. It looks completely deifferent, but you can still see the idea of the “don’t worry be happy “ strand with groundhog influence

While I as of love the aqua-ivory combination, I wanted to get back to the fall colors of the original set. So I contemplated on what I could do to create a variation on the ground hog beads – when i remembered my “Angel Wings” style (a tutorial in that will be in the Vault next month…this is moving a bit further away from the dot based patterns and basically focuses just on the amber-ivory color combination, but I REALLY love this one, there is a airiness and sparkle and translucency to it that makes me happy: ( the first image is an example of this design in different colors:

you can tell that these beads have more of a simplicity….so, I kept thinking: what other beads I have in my repertoire that can be created in the fall colors. And OF COURSE, my Desigually beads would be a perfect candidate to be “fallish” even though the design moves further away from the dot and stringer designs of the “base strand “…but who cares:

I hope this little blurb will help you look at some of your own favorite designs and discover the endless possibilities of what you already “have”, without having to come up with something entirely new…flame on my friends L