Saturday, December 8, 2012

Featured Artist: Karen Williams

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!
I'm happy to share the work of one of my favorite jewelry artists with you today.

Karen Williams of Skunk Hill Studio makes beautiful beaded pieces. She has a knack for freeform peyote stitch and makes the technique look organic and effortless.

 (I love the fall colors and the cute leaf clasp in this bracelet!)

(Freeform beaded beads and copper headpins are a gorgeous combination.)

In addition to peyote stitch, Karen also makes freeform pieces using netting and right angle weave.

 (Moonlight and Shadows, one of her more recent pieces. Spooky and elegant!)

(Rainbow Reef bracelet. The fish buttons are perfect.)

Karen also makes beaded fancy goldfish. These little guys are a favorite of mine. I can imagine an aquarium full of them -- minus the water, of course!

 (The beaded fish: a cute and low-maintenance companion.)

Recently, Karen even started using sequins in her work -- which makes me one happy sequin scientist! Here's the piece she made for the Sequintastic September blog hop:

(Intricate and delicate; perfect for winter!)

She also added sequins to a beaded bead, and I love how it turned out:

I'm enjoying her explorations in sequins and seed beads. I can't wait to see what she does next!


Karen isn't just a talented artist, though -- she also has a gift, and a passion, for writing and teaching.

I've mentioned her first book, Freeform Peyote Beading, before. It's worth buying even if you're not a beader. There's the serious eye candy, but then there's the discussion on the elements of design. She's better than any art teacher I've had at explaining the technical side of art -- just read her series of blog posts on color, and you'll see what I mean.

I also like the way she tackles the techniques involved in freeform. Freeform beading is a mixture of building specific skills and following your own path/instincts as an artist, and it can be a challenge to explain for this reason -- but Karen blends these areas together very well. I especially liked the section on beaded beads.

(Speaking of beaded beads...)

Karen recently published another book, Corsets, Caps and Stays: Elegant Beaded Bead With Right Angle Weave. As you might have guessed, I'm not so good at following directions. My brain is rebellious, and my eyes cross when I look at the diagrams in books. But this didn't happen with Karen's book. I started to understand RAW right away, and her diagrams actually sped the process up. 

(I have a long way to go before I'll master this technique, but I no longer think it's impossible. Freeform RAW is at the top of my list of things to try!)

I could go on and on about the other cool things that Karen does, like create tutorials and kits, but I'm afraid of embarrassing her -- if I haven't already. So I'll let you look for yourself!

I hope you've enjoyed this week's featured artist! Stop by next week, and I'll have another treat for you -- Tela Formosa has written an incredible book on wire wrapping cabochons, and I'm going to tell you all about it.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a sequintastic day! <3

PS: Want more freeform? Check out this post on Darcy Horn's epic Kickstarter project!


  1. Wow Sarah! Thank you! I felt like I was reading about another person, or else I'd be blushing furiously!

  2. Lovely work, the organic bracelet is a winner for me! xox

  3. What a great post on Karen! I love her work, and her freeform is stunning and organic ... so beautiful! I didn't realize Karen has written books - I'll have to check that out!!

  4. Great post featuring Karen~she is such a great talent, as a weaver and a teacher from afar ( I cannot even imagine how I would grow by taking a class in person!!!). I have some of her kits and also her Freeform Peyote book. She got me to almost instantly embrace random RAW. January will be a lot of play time when I finally try my hand at the freeform peyote. It is hard to write good instructions but she makes it seem as easy as breathing. Those fish are so cool...can't you see them all suspended at various levels on monofilament attached to an aquarium lid, dancing around in there?

  5. Hi Sarah,
    Oh I enjoy Karen's creations and I own her first book and her freeform RAW tutorial. She makes it all seem so easy, and the way she explains it is easy to perform the stitches.
    I want her newest book Corsets, Caps, and Stays it is on my wish list.

  6. Hi Sarah - I love your feature and didn't know Karen had a few books out. Her freeform style is so delicate -beautiful awesome work!

  7. Karen is an amazing and talented bead artist -- thank you for featuring her beautiful work!!

  8. Beautiful beading, I love the freedom free form offers and Karen does it so well. Great post Sarah.

  9. Thank you, Sarah, not only for a great post, but for some drool worthy eye candy, too. Karen does delicious work and I love the inclusion of sequins in her work. I love the reef piece!!


  10. Hi Sarah, we are big fans of your blog. We have a DIY blog too, i will appreciate if you visit us :)



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