Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bending Mind (And Beads)

Now that I'm able to spend hours at a time in my studio, I am focused on learning more intricate beading techniques long-admired in beading magazines. One of those is the Dutch spiral, a version of peyote stitch but with a technical twist. This results in a wild and organic shape that is visually exciting.

Thanks to my mother's dear friend, Mikkey, an opportunity to learn the Dutch spiral fell into my lap. She sent a necklace kit for me to make up for her. Perfect! The beads were included, as well as wonderfully detailed instructions. I made my way through the pattern, row-by-row. It took me about 5 hours start to finish, which I think was pretty good time.

Now, I've made three more, using my own beads and I've whittled the time down to 4 hours. This first one came out quite knobbly because I experimented with bead size. In additional to #11 seed beads, I added #15's and #13 charlottes. Using such tiny components tightened up the spirals, which is interesting to look at, but I liked the gentler twists of the original necklace better.

This blue version went back to #11 seed beads, and I added some deep iridescent fringe beads, which poke out of the design. Wonderful textural interest there!

More experimenting with color here: Reds, lavender, brown, green, and gold.

The ends of the rat-tail cord are embellished with tubular peyote stitch "cuffs" and beautiful art-glass button closures.

The original pattern had the bead embellishment as individually stitched parallel circles of beads. I didn't love this finishing method - the rows didn't nestle together neatly, and it took much longer to do than the peyote stitched ones I did later on.

These three necklaces are available through my Etsy shop - click on the pictures to view the individual listings. I'm hoping these will take off as they are a lot of fun to make!

Working with this new technique had me singing this fantastic song by Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross as I stitched...

As I watched this, I wondered, "So WHEN does she get to take a breath?!?" Amazing phrasing there...


High Desert Design Council said...

In awe (as usual)

High Desert Diva said...

that was me

Gabriela said...

Hello Kate,

I love the blue version.

~ Gabriela ~

Snap said...

I think I'm in love! Nice of Mikkey to come up with another kit for you to put together! :D :D

lori vliegen said...

kate, you have left me totally speechless (i think i said the same thing the last time you finished a "mikkey kit"!)....your work is absolutely beautiful, and your attention to detail just blows me away! i can't imagine that these will be in your etsy shop for very long....

and....oh how i love these you tubes that you find! the scene reminds me of the old dick van dyke shows when they'd "have some people over" and everyone would be all dressed up, singing, playing the piano and dancing right there in that fabulous living room! good times, huh?!

hugs, :)

Fete et Fleur said...

OM Goodness!! Kate your bead work is truly A M A Z I N G !!!!! I had fun watching all the music videos. Thanks for posting them.


Rhonda Roo said...

(Me, walking in to work one Monday morning wearing my favorite cocoa brown blouse with the fabulous teal spiral necklace)
(Coworkers, gathering around)
"Oooh!! Aaah! Gorgeous necklace! It's like art! Wherever did you get it?"
(Me preening and prancing ever so slightly)
"Oh it's an *original* Kate Tracton."
(Boss, who loves beadwork)
"Thank you for showing it to us, I am so inspired! Take the day off with pay!"
(Everyone claps as I exit stage left for a fabulous day of shopping and spas)

Rhonda Roo said...


Andrea - Faded Plains said...

You did it again...simply stunning!

3rdEyeMuse said...

holy smokes, Kate ... these are simply incredible! I especially love the blue one. :)

TattingChic said...

OMGoodness! Your work is incredibly beautiful! I LOVE it! Thank you for sharing those beautiful photos of your fabulous work!
I wanted to let you know that I'm having a giveaway! Be sure to come on over and join in!
Ya know, a lot of tatters put beads in their work! ;)

SweetbriarStudio (Christie) said...

Wow! I really like these. I love the idea of making a "bead" out of beads and using the cording for a more understated look.
Way to go!

Christine said...

These are beautiful!I would've thought those took longer than five hours to create~my favorite is the peacock colored one:)
Do you ever make beaded headpieces? When I look at these I can see a slightly altered version that would look great worn in the hair:)

Hope all is great! As you ca see I'm up late trying to find some time to blog:)Have a great week~

Isabel said...

I don't know how you DO it! These are intricate and beautiful! And to think you already made some many...leaves me out of breath! Love your choice of colors in each one. Happy sales!