Big Chunky Bracelets

I’m a fan of bead weaving. A big fan of bead weaving. I’ve recently been working on a couple of bracelet projects, ones which have been in my head for a while. They take longer than your average strung bracelet to make, but I’m ok with that.

The first project I’ve had in my head for a while was this bracelet. The photo shows off the pattern nicely, but in person the pattern isn’t that pronounced. I worked at a bead shop with a really nice selection of Japanese (Toho) seed beads this summer, and at one point I decided I wanted to do something with a color, and the frosted, or matte, version of the same color, and see how the pattern would turn out. What you see there are not two different colors, but two different finishes. (27BD is the shiny one, and 27BDF is the matte finish) They’re Toho.

I saw this wall at the Walker Art Museum in Mpls, and I had my inspiration for the pattern. One of the reasons I immediately envisioned it as a piece of bead woven jewelry is probably because of the dot-holes which create the contrast for the swirly pattern. Here’s a close up of a section of the wall.

I couldn’t just put beads where there were dots though, because my vision was a big chunky bracelet, and that would turn my piece into something which was much more free form than I had in mind. So I had Danny draw me on a appropriate sized piece of paper a pattern I could work off.

I think my version of the pattern worked out well.

I wore it once, wore it twice, and decided I had to have a pendant to go with it, because nothing I already had was quite the right color.

So I made this

They’re three open oval shapes, also worked in peyote, from Diane Fitzgerald’s newest book Shaped Beadwork. She’s a local bead artist who is known internationally for her seed bead work, her stuff is just stunning, and I’ve been struggling off and on with the shaped beadwork patterns for a while. Finally, I’ve made it work, and I can’t imagine a better project to be my first success!

Because I used both finishes to create texture in the ovals, as well as the silver to create a finished look, they go perfectly with the bracelet. I can’t wait to have an occasion to wear them! Here they are together.

The other project which I’ve finished recently is also a bracelet.

It’s my own design- I tried to stick with even count peyote, but it was necessary to have a few 3 wide strands in there. Those ended up being a sort of bastardized version of a right angle weave. Odd count only works well with a larger width.

It doesn’t hold it’s shape quite as well as the other one, mostly because instead of being one solid piece, it’s a few different strands of different widths.

Oh! A note about clasps! I didn’t have any snap clasps, which you’ll have used if you have any older clothing, they’re the little round things that snap together instead of buttons or a zipper. They’ve kinda gone out of style on clothing, but they work really well to create a more seamless bracelet on a piece of seed bead weaving. Anyway, I didn’t have any of those, but I did have wire. So I fashioned a clasp which utilizes a woven tube at either end of the piece, and the stiffness of the wire. I used the same clasp style on both bracelets.

Next time I post about peyote work, (you didn’t think I’d run out of ideas did you?) I’ll post a how-to tutorial on various clasps for stitch work.

Until then, wish me luck on Christmas presents, prop work, and all the other crafty stuff I’ve got to get done before Monday!

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8 responses to “Big Chunky Bracelets

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  8. Wow. Those new pieces are stunning! Any chance they will go up on your Etsy? I would definately buy!

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