I started the rhyolite/unakite pouch around the 13th of July and probably completed it about a week later offsite. I used a mini-cigar case (a hinged metal box about the size of those old tins AOL used to ship disks in—remember those?) which proved to be nearly a perfect ‘bead soup’ tray, that I filled with a custom mix for that particular project. I contemplated doing a second embroidery on the back of the pouch, but decided not to, as I also had the red/black/white necklace to finish (plus a another project I still need to document....) which meant I had a lot of beads left over.
In progress. S4, 1Aug2015 Silk, assorted fabrics, machine and hand embroidery, bead embroidery; rhyolite jasper, unakite, tiger eye, artisan lampwork, vintage, seed beads
I did my first (solid) beaded embroidery in the early 1990s; then two more pieces in the late 2000s; and the most recent lot prior to this (which I spent the last week documenting) in 2009; and what I primarily remembered was how much it hurt my hands, shoving the size 14 or 15 needles through that thick, heavy, taut fabric. But with the rhyolite pouch, I used thin fabric, which I carefully appliqued to some thick, quilted stuff, which in addition to padding for the contents, provided support for the embroidery.
This silk, which was upcycled (and even had small holes in it) is equally fragile, so part way through the embroidery process, I backed it with some old percale for support. I also went to using almost exclusively some white thread I'd purchased years ago and was tired of: thread technology has come a long way in 25 years, and the faster I used this old stuff, the sooner I could justify buying new stuff at my favorite local beadstore one of my glass friends has purchased, and which I wanna support.
The basic machine embroidery applique dates back to roughly the same time as this project —say Jan–Feb 2009, but I probably started the beaded embroidery around the end of July, and completed it (according to my todo list) on the first of August. It was a pain, because the usual construction method is to cut two pieces, front and back, and turn through the seam along the bottom—and I didn't want to cut the brown silk in half to do that. Inserting the zipper involved some tricky (i.e. not great) hand-sewing.
Needing to applique the decorative fabric squares, not to mention the percale, are a big part of the reason of the spreading of the beadwork: I wanted to show off the fabrics, as well as the old machine (and new hand) embroidery. The other rule I set myself was not adding any new beads—but to make do with the old beads already in the tin. I pretty much stuck to that.
And, with this technique, have ultimately come full circle, to the very first work I made under the rejiquar banner waaaaay back in ’87 or 88 when I began the company. Whew.
possibly dating all the way back to the 90s and wound onto about 10–15 bobbins—which have been sitting in a drawer for those 10–15 years.
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