Bumblebee Necklace
The Ten Year Old Bee

This piece was a very long time in the making: the large, yellow striped black bead that serves as the secondary focal point dates back to approximately 1985. Often, waiting for enough beads for a coherent design to come my way is what takes the longest. I finally got enough sizes of the striped black and yellow seed beads this spring, picking them out of mixed Mill Hill boxes at Minnesota Fabrics. (I really wanted to complete this piece.) In between I purchased the oval black and yellow striped wire wound beads and was given the 10stripe 11/0s by Barb Davis “Bent Needle”. Her gift is what finally sparked my interest and inspired me to find the last beads I needed to make the piece.

The body of this necklace is strung on one piece .015 beadalon, a nylon sheathed seven stranded steel cable, ideal for the glass beads used almost exclusively in this piece, as it resists fraying. I achieved the multi-strand effect by looping the wire back and forth between two disks with large holes, with frequent detours around and through beads. Since there still seemed to be a visual hole near the center of the necklace, I added another piece to make the dangles.

The free form peyote apron of black, yellow, and black and yellow seed beads is stitched with nylon, and the beads range from 18/0s (the smallest I possess—I bought these things at a Powwow and wondered for years what I'd use ’em for but haven't been able to find any as small, with proportionately as large holes since—to 5/0s, nearly 4mm across.

I finished the necklace with a 16 single strand FFF silk custom kumihimo (note that the patterns differ slightly from one side to the other) to keep the weight down. This pattern of Keiruko no himo is illustrated but not patterned in Catherine Martin's Kumihimo; or if you prefer, the legacy page.... I like braiding and in addition to giving the necklace a custom finish store bought clasps can't give, it also makes it highly adjustable.

collection of the artist

Last modified: Sun Sep 13 18:30:57 EDT 1998; fixed ‘pattern’ link so it would go to the new page, also updated kumi book link to newer review page, 12apr2018