Jewelry Design Translations from Beadwork June/July 2019
The beautiful BARGello Bracelet design on the cover of June/July Beadwork magazine is Michelle Gowland’s translation of the traditional Bargello needlepoint embroidery technique. She executed the design so well using two-hole shaped beads and luscious color palettes. This may seem odd, but looking at Michelle’s designs transported me back to the early days of using polymer clay.
ABOVE: BARGello Bracelet, Michelle Gowland; Beach Blanket Bracelet, Susan Pelligra; Agave Bracelet, Wendy Ellsworth; Louka Bracelet, Vezsuzsi
In the mid-1990s, Laura Liska devised a technique that translated her love of Bargello into polymer. She displayed some of her work during the Masters Invitational Polymer Clay Exhibition and Sale (MIPCES), and it was wonderful to see her work up close. The details, colors, and the way she was able to create layers of color that transitioned seamlessly were mesmerizing.
Other artists were also translating natural materials and patterns or techniques into this new medium. City Zen Kane, the company run by Steven Ford and David Forlano, created beautiful ikat designs in polymer. Ikat is an Indonesian dyeing technique applied to fibers before weaving them into fabric. Tory Hughes was instrumental in creating faux recipes that had our pasta machines busy night and day creating faux ivory, turquoise, and cinnabar, to name a few.
Beadwork June/July 2019 Jewelry Designs
I still love seeing how artists translate things they love using mediums they are passionate about—it’s something we see in beadwork all the time. Agave Cuff by Wendy Ellsworth is her interpretation of thorny plants found in the desert.
Susan Pelligra brings us a taste of summer in her bead-loomed version of a beach towel in Beach Blanket Bracelet.
Next time you’re working with a piece of fabric or cutting flowers from your garden, take a close look at what you see, then challenge yourself to translate that into beads using traditional off-loom stitches or weaving them on a loom!
Speaking of looming—this issue is filled with bead-looming resources. Julianna Avelar, inventor of the Jewel Loom, shares five things she wishes she knew before looming one of her iconic designs.
Three favorite Beadwork contributors show standout looming designs, and Katie Hacker has a great article highlighting one of our favorite looms. If that’s not enough to get you weaving, be sure to read Megan Lenhausen’s How to Use a Bead Loom.
Wishing you happy summery days filled with beading and weaving –
Editor, Beadwork magazine