Blue Iris Choker
Or, How Not to do Beadwork

My first attempts at some of this stuff has resulted in the some real doozies, such as having to back my first attempt at tapestry needleweaving with leather to support it, because the weaving was too loose; or the woven belt in which the beaded warps (6’/2m!) were allowed to swing free; or the similarly tangled “coin kumi”, and this piece.

It looks, at first glance, like it might be a beaded crochet tube, which is indeed a technique I now know how to do, rather than the peyote it actually is, because the beads run parallel to the necklace (compare to black and gold peyote tube in which the beads are perpendicular to the axis, or length of the tube).

Traditionally peyote tubes are made as a sort of spiral, round and round and round, like grooves on a record, with one needle. However, I'd never done peyote before; this is made with multiple needles, in a linear fashion, from one end of the piece to the other. In effect, I made a long thin flat strip and stitched the edges together...except that I worked with all the needles simultaneously. You can see lumps where the core ended, where I attempted to weave the ends back in, etc.

I seem to recall there being eight threads, and thus, eight needles in which to tangle (thread management has never been one of my strengths, and it is fortunate that as a child I actually enjoyed untangling, because I've created some real monsters); and to make matters worse, I used stringing needles, which are flexible twisted wire. They had plenty of opportunities to dig their twisted little tips into the the silk, and took every one. Especially bad was attempting to string multiple threads through the bullion, which happily tears itself apart with one needle and set of thread going through it, let alone multiples. Ugh! There are four loops at each end, making for a klugy finish, at best.

This piece also bears the distinction of incorporating the only real gold I possess besides my wedding band. I've never collected much, and the rest was stolen years ago. Both the beads and the clasp are 14k, though in the picture none of the dents show. (14K and stone beads don't coexist real well; the heavy stone easily crushes the whisper thin gold beads, which then split, and tear up the silk. Best to stick with 14/20). The cloisonne bead is a nice one, with blended colors; it's of a quality I haven't seen much, nowadays.

Materials: glass, cloisonne, 14/20, silk, bullion. Collection of the artist.