Seed Bead Embroidered Needlecase
Inspiration for a long, long, long time...

The Great Lakes Beadworkers’ Guild was founded in 1992, and I know I made this needlecase well before I learned how to make glass beads, a road I started down in ’96; so this sampler was made between those times, as the GLBG sponsored the workshop with Joanne Laessig during which I made this and my beaded bead.

wooden needlecase with embroidered insert. denim, nylon? thread, assorted seed beads. Overall dimensions: 2-3/4 x 4-3/4 x 1-1/2” Embroidered panel, 2x4". early 90s?

The needlecase, including the insert designed to have a suitably embellished piece wrapped around it, was a gift from my mother-in-law, and it was inspired; I have been happily using and enjoying the use of this object for going on 15 years.

The piece incorporates several techniques Laessig covered in her class: straight lines of beads; curved lines of beads; random "seed stitch" of beads; and a sort of dimensional curved stitch reminiscent of bullion stitch (the part in the middle with the 8/0s). As it was a sampler, it seemed perfectly appropriate to work my name into the piece, which I did in smaller 13/0s.

By Feb 2012 I'd forgotten I'd made this post, and re-photographed the needlecase. Here's a closeup, which is more of a textural shot.

The most useful thing I learned in the class was not so much the embroidery stitches, which I already knew how to do, but the idea that it was proper, even beneficial to mix multitudes of different colors in one container. Laessig called this bead soup, and it was for me a revelation, because my tendancy is always to sort, or at least use up mixes. (This is in direct opposition to my friend page, who calls these mixes roadkill, and generates inch deep layers of them. In 14x7” trays. Oh, be still my beating heart. Occasionally, she even gives them to me to use up;) The bead soups do two things: one, of course is reduce the real estate needed to set up the hundreds of varieties of beads I typically incorporate in a piece; the other is to introduce a little more chaos into the system, juxtaposing beads I might not otherwise typically mix, thereby adding some freshness to the combinations.

Angled shot. Photographed 19feb2012; added to page, 08oct12.

I'm slowly getting better at the soups (having recently branched out from only 11/0s to czech pressed), and now use them for the fantasy french beading, beaded embroidery, and even, a little, for stringing. —They've proven to be an absolute boon for sequins, as well. However, bead soup don't come natural to me: it has taken years to overcome my natural, obsessive inclination to store each kind of bead in its own, separate container.

Onward and upward. So often, making good art is the willingness to break out of one's habits.

photograph, file 07oct08.