Thursday, 24 September 2015

Old and new memory piece

When I started on this amazing beading adventure, the first ever beading book I owned and poured over was 'Beads, Make your own Jewellery' by Stefany Tomalin. It not only gave me my first lessons in knots and thread, but also a doorway into a world where Stefany lived, surrounded by beads and their history. Many moons later, and I will embarrass neither of us by revealing how many moons, I had the huge pleasure of meeting Stephany for the first time at a Bead Society event. It gave me pause to think about that younger self and how a first glimpse into the world of beads revealed my tribe to me. How I too now live surrounded by beads, enjoying the process of digging into the history of this amazing craft.
Stephany had recently been to Czechoslovakia and had a few treasures for sale, I bought some huge (3cm x 1cm) spike beads and resolved that I should do something with them. Here they are next to some regular old 17mm spikes.

A more recent memory was from earlier this year when I had great fun teaching at a beading retreat in Hilzingen, Germany. Andreina, one of the attendees, very kindly showed me the techniques with right angle weave and pinch beads that are hugely popular in Europe, because I fell instantly in love with a necklace she was wearing. With her consent I'll be sharing a few of my experiments in up coming workshops; which is why I was playing around with the techniques at the time that this particular design was happening.

Rummaging in my bead box I also came up with some ceramic spheres, these are sold in bags at garden centres, designed to be scattered in plant pots to hide the soil and keep in the moisture, and of course who could resist them in the perfect shade of turquoise?

Pinch beads are among one of the older established shapes of beads, much overlooked until recently, they've had something of a renaissance along side many of the new shapes of beads.

The whole mix was a soupy mess on my bead board for several weeks as I tried various combinations of components. This beadwork is quite chunky and as a result weighs some, so the final piece is a shortish necklace with an off set focal of bezelled spikes linked together with a bezelled gardeners ball. I don't know about you, but I find heavy jewellery irksome to wear, love how it looks, but not so much the headaches if I wear a heavy piece for too long. I've worn my new necklace a few times now and can report back that it behaves well on the neckline and definitely raises the odd eyebrow, which is a good thing, right?

But best of all it tells a story of my journeys and discoveries with beads and reminds me where I started. It speaks of how life and people move in circles that inevitably intersect. It's a design combination that shows how a little treasure from here and from there, will one day come together and become part of something else, and how sharing ideas is at the heart of beading, always.