Triffid – beaded sculpture

Took me a while to absorb what the email was telling me but eventually it dawned – my entry into Bead Dreams 2018 had been juried into the competition. Holy Cow!

You can imagine the butterflies in my stomach while trying to get the critter safely boxed up and ready for mailing.

Triffid by Rose Rushbrooke. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
Triffid by Rose Rushbrooke

The whole piece was put together in sections. The flower and stem, the venomous stinger, the 3 claws at the base of the stem, the body, and the ground base. Some of the work was planned, and some I just prayed.

Here is the statement which accompanied the piece:


The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

The Day of the Triffids, written by John Wyndham in 1951 was one of the first science fiction books I read and decades later the story still haunts me.
You awake one night to watch a dramatic green meteor shower in the sky, and the next morning you’ve gone blind. Sooooo not cool.
And to top it all, suddenly 7 foot tall, man-eating, walking plants are striding around your streets. Holy Cow! One strike from the venomous stinger and you’re a goner.
Strictly speaking, a Triffid is probably a bio-engineered, carnivorous critter and not an extra-terrestrial. But this is speculation. It’s never made clear in the book where the original Triffids came from, or the green meteor shower.
Whatever the truth (and it is ‘Out There’ – for X-Files fanatics), the Triffids are my favourite possible ET’s.

I’ve not done bead embroidery before so this was a good excuse to see what all the Sherri Serafini type fuss was about. I enjoyed finding special beads and rummaging through my seed bead stash for interesting colours. The design came easily as it is curved sections and each one got filled in as I went along.

Bead embroidered base of Triffid by Rose Rushbrooke. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
Bead embroidered base of Triffid.

These vintage chartreuse wire balls were sooooo perfect. They look like tumble weeds. I found them, along with the looooong bugle beads, in Bead Bullies, a terrific bead shop in Tigard, Oregon. Wish I drove, I would be there all the time. Such a great shop.

Close up of Triffid base. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
Close up of Triffid base.

I found all sorts of ways to use Czech glass beads, tilas, lentils, spikes. All a challenge and amazing colours. And finally I found a way to use the dragonfly button.

Closeup of Triffid base. Beaded sculpture by Rose Rushbrooke. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
Closeup of Triffid base.

I managed to squeeze in ammonites, more bugle beads, and a funny little nest of interesting round beads. The basket weave worked out pretty well.

Triffid flower, stem and venomous stinger.  Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
Triffid flower, stem and venomous stinger.

The whole thing is made around a coat hanger, styrofoam ball, and cardboard! The stitching for the stinger is herringbone, and the flower and stem are peyote stitch. I tried to grade the colours on both the stem and flower to give some dimension.

Still taken from Facebook video taken at Bead and Button show 2018 Bead Dreams showcases.
Still taken from Facebook video taken at Bead and Button show 2018 Bead Dreams showcases.

All in all, I’m very happy with this piece, and even happier it was selected for Bead Dreams 2018. This is a still from the Facebook video.

Portland Bead Society Traveling Library Show 2017

Portland Bead Society Traveling Show 2017 Tigard Libary
Portland Bead Society Traveling Show 2017 Tigard Libary
Each year the Portland Bead Society garners beautifully made beaded pieces from our members and these artworks can be seen in a variety of libraries around the area. This is a picture of the show mounted at Tigard library, Oregon. You can see a slideshow of the display on the PBS website.

Beaded Bead Necklace

Beaded bead necklace. Beadweaving - seed beads, pearls, tila beads, and semi precious rounds.
Beaded bead necklace by Rose Rushbrooke

Back in 2012 Beadwork magazine celebrated their 15th anniversary by presenting a challenge. They offered 4 months of beaded bead patterns and we had to come up with our own colour choices and design a piece of jewelry using the beads. The original piece I created was VASTLY too complicated and was basically a mash up of a needlecase necklace and this beaded bead necklace.

Eventually the penny dropped and I realised I needed to simplify the necklace – which I did – and it’s a better piece for the reduction.

Made with seed beads, pearls, tila beads, and semi precious rounds. The chain is in herringbone stitch and woven with cobalt delicas. I love the contrast of the bright blue with the warm browns and creams of the beads.

Here are close ups of the individual beads:

Beadweaving - seed beads and semi precious rounds. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
Beaded bead 4 by Rose Rushbrooke
Beaded bead 3 - seed beads, pearls, and semi precious rounds. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke
Beaded bead 3 by Rose Rushbrooke
Beaded bead 2 - seed and tila beads. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke
Beaded bead 2 by Rose Rushbrooke
Beaded bead 1 - seed beads and a crystal center. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke
Beaded bead 1 by Rose Rushbrooke

I didn’t win a place, not surprisingly seeing as the original necklace was totally over-worked, but in its simpler version I bet I would have!



New Quilts from an Old Favorite 2017 winners

Ever since I got involved in the quilt world I’ve been fascinated at how modern quilters interpret old block designs. Each year a classic block is put out there by the National Quilt Museum and each year I am amazed at how they are interpreted.

Flying Geese block from Craftsy - designed by Rebecca at
Flying Geese block from Craftsy – designed by Rebecca at

This year is Flying Geese.

Migration Patterns by Susan Mogan
Migration Patterns by Susan Mogan

At first I looked at the winning quilt by Susan Morgan and didn’t really get it. But somehow the colours and design stuck in my mind, and when I saw the title it made sense. Very clever.

I used to think I would make one of these quilts one day but I think I’ll leave it to the experts! Go see some of the other winners.


BeadDreams 2016 contest

Cleopatra: Looking for Short Term Relationship by Justina Coffey
Cleopatra: Looking for Short Term Relationship by Justina Coffey

I was browsing through this year’s BeadDreams winners and was – as per usual – amazed but not drawn by the pieces selected.

I love a good sense of humour and when I saw this amongst the entries for the Objects and Accessories section I fell in love. This is wonderful. And when you read the title you want to meet the designer. You KNOW you’ll have fun if you hung out together.

I’m truly sorry I didn’t spend the time to vote and try and get this little gem into the winner’s circle.

To see the rest of the designs go to the voting page.

Portland Bead Society Bead Retreat


It sounds like something whistling or even screaming? OK. I’m just going to lay here, in the dark, and think about it before I start creeping around the hotel room as though in a horror movie.

Phew. It’s the wind pushing through the hotel room door.

Tolovanna Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Tolovanna Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon

For the 3 days we stayed at the Tolovanna Inn at Cannon Beach it rained, and stormed. Exactly what’s supposed to happen in the winter on the Pacific NorthWest coast. Magnificent. And really, really weird at night time…….

Having sent in my registration, and completely forgotten to include a check, I was looking forward to the famous PBS bead retreat. Luckily our organiser took it in stride and just laughed when I emailed my ‘excuse me, I’m an idiot’ note. And I got to go.

Yes, of course I paid.

My husband came with me and spent each day fishing. He fell in every river, even washing downstream at one point. He had a blast and got very wet. Oh, and no fish were harmed.

And so did I – have a blast, not get very wet.

This is probably one of the best organised retreats I’ve ever been to. Everything laid on – catered breakfast and lunch. Thank you so much to the 2 Englishwoman, along with their colleagues, who ran around feeding us, .

They both came from Manchester in the UK and were born in the same hospital. Not on the same day….. Then they worked for the same catering firm in America. How serendipitous is that?

English breakfast WITH black pudding
English breakfast WITH black pudding, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms – close to what we had for our Sunday brunch

When I exclaimed the brunch on Sunday was brilliant – almost like an English breakfast, one of the woman laughed and remarked grilled mushrooms and a tomato would really complete the meal. She knew what she was talking about. The only other thing missing was a couple of slices of black pudding.

This time around we had several workshops to choose from. Virginia Blakelock of BeadCats was teaching a bracelet pattern she’d designed especially for the retreat – ‘March at the Beach’.

Sadly I didn’t get to take the class as by the time I ambled up to the registration desk the sign up sheet was long filled, with a waitlist. But I did get a kit, which is stunning (the kit, not that I got one!). And I was able to sign up for a couple of other classes which looked interesting.

Fafnir's Tail bracelet designed by Darlene Fordyce
Fafnir’s Tail bracelet designed by Darlene Fordyce

First was the Fafnir’s Tail bracelet from Darlene Fordyce. Darlene hadn’t found a clasp she liked so it was up to us to design something. Magically Bello Modo had an excellent selection of buttons and bingo, bango, there was my fastening. Lovely finished piece.

Zulu bracelet
Zulu bracelet

Karmen Scmidt taught us a Zulu bracelet. We brought our own beads for this. The button I had intended using for a clasp had a broken shank. Poo! So I used a back up which wasn’t quite as nice. The bracelet still came out very prettily.

Imagine that – two finished pieces. Pretty darn good for a weekend’s work.

And what’s with the clasps…..? Bad clasp day?

AND, we had a retreat challenge – the Margaret M Scovil Bead challenge. This was bitter sweet. Margaret, who sadly I never met, died shortly before the retreat so wasn’t able to see our work.

Blue Segment by Vassily Kandinsky

For 2016 the challenge was to make a wearable piece inspired by the painting Blue Segment by Kandinski.


Took me a long time to be inspired…….. Eventually I decided to go weird, after all, I do live in Portland, Oregon.

Q. What has segments? A. An orange.

So I made a necklace of orange slices, orange flowers and leaves. See if you can find the ‘blue segment’?

Orange You Blue necklace
Orange You Blue necklace


Here are our four winners: Maxi Starr, Teresa Shelton, Karie Heib, and Cherie Calwart. I wish I’d taken pictures of the pieces they made. Stunning. Every one of them was imaginative, thoughtful and beautifully made.

Bead Challenge Winners
Bead Challenge Winners

Teresa sat next to me during the day and was a wonderful companion. She helped me with the ‘March at the Beach’ bracelet, put in a bid for me at Bead Bingo (she won a book for me!!!!), and was just a delight.

Karie is a remote member – she is living in Chicago right now but her heart is with the Portland Bead Society. I get to see her at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, WI. Also a top notch beadweaver and designer.

Maxi Starr – well, I have no words. She does magnificent work, she has a standard poodle companion named Katie. Katie came to the bead retreat and visited all of us. Just another reason to love standard poodles and Maxi.

Guess what? I’m so seriously going to next year’s retreat. CHECK ALREADY WRITTEN.

Beaded Horn of Plenty and necklace

Horn of Plenty basket containing necklace. Beadweaving - seed beads, fire polish crystals, delicas, Swarovski rivolis, and wirework. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.
The initial design of this 3-D piece began at a Masterclass with Nancy Cain at the Milwaukee Bead and Button Show.

I got stuck on filling it with the conventional fruits and veggies. However, common sense prevailed and I made a delicate necklace for the bounty spilling out of a basket.

Horn of Plenty basket - peyote beadweaving. Made with seed beads and Swarovski glass pearls. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.The basket is shaped peyote using seed beads, pearls and coloured wirework.

Horn of Plenty necklace - beadweaving. Made with seed beads, drops, fire polish crystals, and Swarovski rivolis. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.The necklace is made with bezelled Swarovski crystals and a daisy chain fastened with a silver and Swarovski clasp.

Toho Triangles necklace – Toho Challenge 2015

Toho Triangles necklace. Herringbone and cubic right angle weave bead stitching - seed beads, fire polish crystals, and triangles. Created for Toho Challenge 2015. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

Managed to snag a Toho Challenge package while at the 2015 Bead and Button show in Milwaukee, WI. Lovely colours this year. Especially the teals. After faffing about with various hopeless designs I discovered simple is best.

A herringbone rope stitched with teal triangles and gold size 15 seed beads, strung with a cubic right angle weave triangular pendant in metallic dark amethyst seed beads, fire polish crystals, and joined with daggers. Very pretty and wearable. In fact I wear this 18 inch long Toho Triangles necklace quite often.

To see other designs have a look at the Toho Challenge 2015 page.