New Pip bead from Preciosa Ornela

Posted by Kerrie Slade
on Monday, July 21, 2014

The new Pip™ bead used in a Kumihimo bracelet.

The new Pip™ bead used in a Kumihimo bracelet.

Blue Pip flowers on a netted base.

Pip and Solo ring.

Pip butterfly pin.

Pip Posy.

We are living in exciting times in the bead world with an ever increasing choice of new bead shapes appearing on the market and the latest bead to be released is the new Pip™ bead from Preciosa Ornela. I was lucky enough to be involved in the process which lead up to the final launch and I learned that a lot goes on behind the scenes before a new bead shape is released. It actually takes many months of testing and fine tuning before the finished product reaches our stores in the full range of colours and finishes, ready for us eager beaders to enjoy. Of course most of the testing had already been done by the time these beads reached me, but being a big fan of floral beadwork, I was looking forward to experimenting with these 5 x 7 mm petal shaped beads.

I was still on a Kumihimo roll though (following on from my recent Fanciful Flowercup Braid February 2014 issue) and so I wanted to see how well Pips worked with braiding. The answer turned out to be “very well indeed” and I went on to make 9 Kumihimo bracelets in various colours! You can find my instructions for a basic braid on the Preciosa website or with this video.

The shape of these beads means that just six of them connected into a circle creates a simple but perfect flower shape which you can use alone or add to other finished beadwork. You could also incorporate them into embroidery or even use them to decorate garments or items around the home. I scattered a few bright blue Pip flowers on a silver netted band to make this bracelet but I’m visualizing how pretty they would look sewn onto a favourite cushion.

The Pips have a flattened base which means they interlock with other bead shapes like the Solo™, Thorn™ and Twin™ and so for my next experiment I packed a metal sieve base with Pips and Solos to make a densely clustered flowery ring. This is so easy to make and wear and it gets such a lot of compliments that I’m planning to make more of these in other colours.

Still experimenting with sieve findings, I made another flower shape from Pip beads but topped it off with a cute little butterfly made from just 4 Pips and a few seed beads and turned it into a pin. Doesn’t it look like that delicate blue butterfly has just landed to sip some silver nectar?

Next I wanted to see how well the Pip beads worked for making sculptural beaded flowers and so I went back to my first love of beadweaving. Using a combination of Peyote and brick stitch, I mixed Pips with seed beads and fire polished beads to create a little posy which I tied with organza ribbon. This would make a lovely decoration for the home or even a gift for a special friend.

So after a month of beady experiments I’m happy to report that I now count the Pip bead among my favourite bead shapes and I will definitely be using them in my work again. The pictures above are just of my Pip work but Preciosa has set up an inspirational Flickr album of work from various designers. Most of the main distributors have this new bead in stock or on order, so if you like what you see and would like to try some of your own Pip experiments, be sure to ask your Local Bead Store to order some in for you.

Kerrie Slade is a beadwork designer living in Mansfield, England. She has been beading for more than 10 years and has had her work published in numerous books and magazines around the world. Kerrie has taught beadwork internationally and she now sells her patterns via her website.You can read more on her blog.

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