October 6, 2011

How an Ugly Bead Became my Favorite

The dreaded ugly bead!
When ordering beads I love to add a bit of mystery with assortment packs, sometimes I get something really fantastic - and sometimes I get the dreaded ugly beads. In one of my last orders I received what I certainly considered an ugly bead.

First it was huge, I mostly use seed beads at roughly 2mm, this pearl is 5x the size. Then there is the color, all I could ever picture were huge pumpkins. I buried these- and forgot.

 Then the other day I wanted to make a quick necklace - and decided to look over my larger beads. It was fall now and the pumpkin color seemed more appealing. I took these out and decided to try a larger bead pattern I had found on the korean site Art Beads. I paired gold beads with the pearls - and hoped it would all work out...

It so did not work.
So, now I had ugly beads and an ugly necklace. I was certainly thrilled. And for ideas all I could keep thinking of was pumpkins, now at some point I heard about Squash Blossom Necklaces. I found some pictures where the blossoms to the sides were graduated, and though that would work well with the graduated loops I had already. I really like working with floral motifs and had previously embellished a daisy chain bracelet with leaves. So i decided the necklace really could not get any worse and gave it a try.

Unorthodox Stopper
 Using small pointed leaves and small tubular herringbone flowers, I started to embellish my disaster. The leaves are in a transparent olive, the blooms are in cream soda and peach lined crystal. The flowers start out very small and are barely cupped at this point - like mini blossoms.

Here you can see my unorthodox "stopper" I wrap the thread around a folded post it and clamp it with a small binder clip. Try it - it works better then a bead you have to take out later in my opinion!     

Soon I knew I had something really fantastic started - and the challenge became finishing it. To give my non-beading friends an idea of time - at most I picked up 10 seed beads at once. On the flowers they are worked 2 beads at a time. I was working 2 embellishment strands. One was green vine and leaf, the other was another gold strand and random flowers.

Here you see leaves worked ahead of the flowers.

Here you see how large the blooms were in the center.
After many hours - and alleve tablets - I had the embellishment done. However I had this lush embellished pearl strand held with post its and binder clips. I decided to finish it with a gold herringbone rope and taggle and loop created from gold lined crystal hex beads and gold lined crystal rocialles. I am still pondering adding a few details to the toggle.

By the time I reached this point I think I had worked on this necklace 30 or so hours. It became a labor of both wonder and love. I mean I had really disliked these beads and written them off as nearly unuseable.The final piece is to me is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Here is a detail of the beads - it just looks lush and rich and fantastic, I almost can not believe this piece of artwork came from my hands. I guess this will teach me to write off ugly and unuseable beads in my bead stash! I actually have similar pearls in a lavender purple and may try something similar with those, wish me luck!

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