I’m having more fun playing, er learning to use the new camera, so while I’m thinking beadwork, here are some more photos of my beading adventures. The first one is another item in the victorian flower technique. I made the petals individually and then sewed them onto the crazy quilt block. When making beaded flowers of this sort, the usual material for stringing is fine gauge wire. For these, I used beading thread and found them to be very floppy and slightly annoying. Also, without a little support under the petals, you don’t get the three dimensional character you would if using wire. Free standing beaded flowers can be bent into shape after constructing the flower. I guess I just didn’t want to use wire on a textile work. They are made with orange lined yellow seed beads, which are much prettier than the name sounds. On the left hand edge of the photo is a piece of vintage lace with straight stitches and clusters of 3 dyed pale orange seed beads. I seem to be on an orange kick lately, though this block was made some months ago as a sample for a brochure for Quilt Wyoming, where I taught last summer. Somehow, a lot of my more recent work has orange in it as well. The big rose on the right is a spider web rose made with 7mm silk ribbon that I dyed myself, probably using calligraphy pens.
The second photo is a beaded mother of pearl button that I did a few weeks ago. I was looking at photos of beaded faces and cabochons, and I found a tutorial of this method at About.com I can’t say I’m too fond of the object in the photo, but scroll down to the technique to get to the good part. Make sure you join the ends of the strip together as shown, as you need the beads in the right place to do the subsequent steps. Ya wanna know how I know that??
I didn’t have any cabochons handy, so I dug out this enormous button from my stash. The button was about 1 1/4″ diameter before being beaded. Before putting on the fringe, I showed it to my husband, who said it looked just like a steering wheel cover. Hmmph!! But, he’s right, that’s a perfect description of what it’s like. There’s nothing holding the beadwork to the button, except the fact that it wraps around the edges. It’s just like the fleece steering wheel cover that I had on my old car. If you handle it too much, the beadwork will squish out of shape and you have to push it back where it belongs. Oh, and the back looks much the same as the front. Where some techniques have you putting the button onto a backing and sewing through that backing, this one is completely naked on the back. Once you get the cover on the button, then you can have fun adding fringe, spikes, whatever you like. The fringe-y things in the center are to camouflage the fact that it’s a button, with four big holes in the center. I’m not sure what I plan to do with this, nor am I sure that it’s completed. I was contemplating some long fringe along the bottom. Does a round object have a bottom? It does if you put fringe on one side. It should probably end up being a brooch. For those wondering why I wouldn’t want some sort of backing on it, especially if it’s going to be a brooch, here’s the explanation. First and foremost, I just had to try the technique, right now. One of those ‘because it’s there’ kind of things. I’ve done beaded buttons before with a backing, and they’re great when done that way. Mainly this was just a little adventure in beading. Another good reason to do a button this way is if you had a valuable button that you didn’t want to risk ruining by putting glue on the back. Although it would destroy the beadwork, I could liberate the button any time I wanted and be right back where I started, the button no worse for the wear. I’m one of those purists who believe that if you have something old and in good condition, it should be left that way, not cut into bits and pieces for other projects. Now, give me a stained up old doily and a pair of scissors, and then stand back. If the item can’t repaired or cleaned, then it’s fair game.
Until next time…