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Here it is! My first creation for 2014, made especially for the Etsy Beadweavers January challenge.
Handmade beadwoven necklace with crystals and fringe
This was a kind of double challenge for me, the first being that I challenged myself to learn the Dutch Spiral to incorporate it in this necklace and second and not least was that it had to be done amidst the million other things going on at Christmastime!
I experimented with the spiral first, trying out different sized beads and number of beads in the ‘bridge’ that circles on the outside of the spiral. I liked the effect of tiny beads in the bridge, which gave an airy feel to the spiral and allowed the spiral core to show through.
An image of what I wanted my finished necklace to look like was forming in my head and I set about creating it. I used the Dutch Spriral as a feature on the sides, mirroring the spiral around the neck. Where the Dutch Spiral ends, I continued with odd-count peyote spiral around the back. The central part is tubular peyote from which hangs a fringe. I wanted a beadwoven Swarovski rivoli to hang separately in front of the fringe, so I left the top part of the fringe plain as a backdrop for this.
All entries for the challenge may be seen on the Etsy Beadweavers team blog. Please view all entries and vote for your favourite by the 15th January 2014 at the link below
A unique handmade necklace featuring a natural sea urchin shell. In this necklace I combined beadwork with a touch of soutache to frame a wonderful sea urchin shell. A chunky sea glass fringe and thick braided leather cord complete this original piece.
The beautiful, clear blue sea that surrounds the Maltese Islands is not only a great source of inspiration, it is also occasionally a source of my materials.
Sea urchin shells make wonderful focal features in jewellery and accessories. I collect only sea urchin shells and never live sea urchins. The shells are extremely fragile and must be washed very carefully and strengthened before they can be used.
Sea urchin shells, washed.
After washing the shells I check them and put aside those with visible defects. The good ones make it to the the next step: strengthening. This is when I I fill them and apply several coats of non-yellowing varnish.
Sea urchin shells, filling and varnishing.
Now the fun begins, deciding what I’m going to do with them!
I’ve been seeing lots of pictures of Soutache work and thought “Yippee! Something new to try!!”
Very similar in technique to bead embroidery, flat back cabochons are stuck to a backing such as Lacy’s Stiff Stuff, with beads and Soutache cord stitched around the focal cab. Soutache can also be stitched directly to drilled beads without the need for a foundation.
Soutache work is very time consuming and great care has to be taken to ensure that the needle passes exactly through the centre channel on the soutache cord and also to make sure that the thread isn’t pulled too tight or the cord will pucker up.
My first Soutache work was a pendant. The focal Turquoise cabochon was undrilled so I worked with a foundation.
Pendant with Soutache cord by gr8jewellery. Work in progress.
I stuck Ultra Suede to the back to hide and secure all the ends, then stitched it to the foundation for a lasting finish.
Hand stitched backing on Soutache pendant.
The finished necklace. Suede cord in turquoise and lime green and clasp with extender chain.