I was looking for something else entirely when I found this beadwork brooch started on a piece of perforated paper. It must be close to thirty years old, like the Japanese Embroidery kit, so it’s been languishing for a while.
There seems to be a bit of a theme of tidying up UFOs in odd moments while I’m working on the Amarna Family Group, so it didn’t take me long to decide that it would be a good idea to finish this one while I’m about it!
Nor did it take too long to finish the beadwork, once I’d found my bearings on the chart and learnt how to distinguish the different bead colours end-on, as well as side-on. The pale blue, lilac, and dark lilac look much the same when most of what you see is the hole through the middle.
The only time I’m happy to use glue with my stitching is on the back of pieces like this, so I painted the back with glue and trimmed the paper to size, adding a felt back and the brooch finding.
Once I’d done that, however, I thought that as a brooch, it would look a bit half-hearted. So I decided to add some stems – just randomly strung green beads from the leftovers, using proper beading thread and a beading needle.
Then I oversewed the edge in dark green, filled in the gaps with inktense, and tied a tiny bow at the front. I don’t know whether the original designer would approve, but I like my version better than theirs!
In other news, Episode 29 of Slow TV Stitchery is now live. In which it is noted that two needles are not less trouble than twenty-seven, some further thought is given to the presentation of the finished piece, and a milestone is reached…
In “Nefertiti Lived Here” Mary Chubb describes excavating a necklace, and being reminded of a bead necklace she had as a child, partly by the delicacy of the necklace she was working on, and partly because the fact that she had no idea where it had gone gave some insight into how the excavated necklace could have been lost in antiquity.
Of course, she didn’t describe the necklace very much – she only said it had daisies on it – but I want to include some trails of daisy embellished lengths of beading, hanging off the edge of one of the Dreams of Amarna panels. Beadwork is not a technique I’m very familiar with, so it’s yet another adventure into the unknown!
I wanted to make sure that there was some variety of colour in the green strands, and I used this “bead-spinning” pot to thread a random selection of green seed beads onto a strand. I got a little carried away here, because it took me some time to get used to the technique. I discovered that, strongly right handed though I am, it was more successful to hold the needle in my left hand, and turn the spindle with my right. In the end I had at least a couple of metres of bead strand waiting to be used, and I still have a metre left!
Here is a close up of the beaded strands I have created, with very simple bead daisies interspersed with lengths of the green beads. I’m rather pleased with it. It has the sort of delicacy that would have been considered suitable for a little girl in the early years of the twentieth century, and I can just imagine a small Mary gleefully rattling her beads and feeling very grown-up!