So, here it is. The wonderful Steven Weiss starting posting pictures today in the Battle of the Beadsmith. The last battle pair that he posted (the 13th pair, on Friday the 13th, no less!) was myself and the lovely Ekaterina Kalinina! That means I get to show you my entry, so here it is. With the name of "Mother of Dragons: Revolting Women", this is what I created for the Battle of the Beadsmith:
And if you would like some more detail:
A shot of the clasp, made with brass hooks and a couple of vintage buttons from the thrift shop:
And a closeup shot of the sculptural peyote stitch elements that make up the collar:
The idea for the sculptural peyote stitch domes came from a picture I saw in a comprehensive book that details the history of jewelry from India. I thought about doing something similar, and while these domes don't look exactly like the piece that was in the book, they're pretty darn close.
I traced a circle on the Nicole's Beadbacking (the best bead embroidery medium in the world!) and then stitched over it using backstitch. After that, I just started working in tubular peyote stitch, just the same as I would have if I were bezeling a cabochon or a stone.
From there, I made the appropriate decreases, and finished off the tops with a tiny silver bead.
Each dome took me a little over an hour to stitch. And then there was the bead embroidery between elements - the spacing on these was so tricky!
Trying to get the fringe on the finished piece was enough to make me want to give up. I nearly did give up. I spent three hours on Saturday putting fringe on seventy-five percent of the piece before I stood up, took a good look at it, and realized that it was all the wrong shape. Commence tearing out, crying, and general feelings of discouragement.
I sat down to work at it on Sunday and spent five hours in the afternoon experimenting with different lengths and combinations of beads. I finally hit on it and finished it after dinner while Tom and Colden were out having a tractor ride.
Monday was the day to finish adding the chain. That was maddening. Measuring, clipping, sorting, counting, measuring, clipping, sorting, counting...you get the idea. And it took me a little while to figure out the correct "rhythm" for adding the chain.
And of course, I posted about my freaky photography session on Tuesday before I sent in my piece. But there it is! After nearly forty hours of work, lots of episodes of "Frasier" on Netflix, and talking myself out of dropping out of the Battle, I finished it and got it submitted on time!
There are a few reasons why I am glad that I did this competition. Lately, I've been starting to feel like I don't have anything original left to say in my beadwork. This piece made me realize that yes, I do still have a voice.
I also feel stressed out over my lack of time to bead. This piece was time management challenge to myself. Between making this piece, I also managed to finish two new tutorials for Etsy, stayed on top of things with my job, and spent enough time with husband and child so that I didn't feel like I was neglecting my family.
My experiments with combining sculptural peyote and bead embroidery have led to a whole slew of new pendants and earrings - many of which I need to finish photographing and writing up as tutorials for my Etsy shop. But stay tuned - they will be listed in the coming weeks before I go to Bead Fest!
So for now, I'm going to take a few days off from the beading (yeah, right), sit back, and enjoy all the eye candy Steven Weiss is posting in the Battle of the Beadsmith group on Facebook. If you really want to join, message me, and I'll add you!
Oh, and if you're wondering if this piece will be listed in my Etsy shop for sale, the answer is...maybe. I've already had a couple of inquiries, but I'd like to be able to submit it to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts juried show in September. And Colden has asked me not to sell it. He thinks I should "keep it forever".
He's a really smart kid, so...