Variation on a Theme by Chatt
Or, an example of how many mistakes teach the

Though I thought many of the purses in the gallery of Nicolette Stassin's Beaded Amulet Purses were very attractive, only one of the projects seemed sufficiently different from what I'd done before to spend the time actually making it: the cover, designed by David Chatt. As usual, I bit off a bit more than I could chew. However, I've found I've usually learned much more when I made a lot of mistakes, and this piece is a good example, as is the red and yellow tapestry needleweaving.

I had a terrible time—I dropped stitches, lost the pattern (easy to do, since this stitch, unlike most others, changes direction every 4 beads) and ended up with a rectangle longer than it was wide and necked down in the middle, like an hourglass, into the bargain. Obviously, the original idea wasn't going to work, so I draped the piece over a wire armature, made the front diamond shaped (rather than an inverted triangle) to provide a front central flap, complimenting the two small back flaps, one on each side, draped over the ends of the wire ’hanger’.

I think even fringe is dull, so I concentrated it at points of interest—the bottom of the front triangle shape, the top folded over triangle, the corners of the back piece. Even worse, I hate the unimaginative straps most bag makers use. Chatt's has two big beads, each bracketed by nearly invisible czech 4 and 6 mm disks where the strap attaches to the purse, and that's it. From a bead-stringer's point of view, that's pretty boring. After spending so much time on my purse, I wanted a necklace worthy of it.

Having made several purses now, I have a little more sympathy for the difficulties in creating a piece in which the purse, made of many small beads, must combine with a necklace that has many larger beads. Or, translated from the artspeak, my idea, while interesting, doesn't quite work, though I did attempt to create a transition with the seed bead additions on the necklace, near the howlite (white and grey) donut on the right. Having spent many many hours on the right angle weave, and then many many hours on the stringing, I decided I had to spend many many many more hours braiding a silk cord. This pattern, kongo gumi (ultra or diamond hard braid) is particularly slow to make. I used green and blue silk threads to make a diamond pattern on a black ground.

Materials and Techniques: lapis, malachite, howlite, black onyx, glass, nylon, silk, stainless armature; right angle single needle weave, fringing, kumihimo.

Collection of the artist.

Originally created: Wed Mar 11 10:59:31 EST 1998