The Return Of the Beaded Amulet Bag?

A few months ago, bead artist Marcia DeCoster asked a question on Facebook: are you ready for the return of the beaded amulet bag?

My very first peyote stitch amulet bag, circa 2001, made with cylinder beads and bugle beads!

I have so many wonderful memories of how I got started learning how to bead when my husband and I first moved to Lake Placid, New York. We lived in a tiny two-floor apartment, and most of my beading was done on the bedroom floor in front of the television or on the kitchen table between meals. My bead stash was a lot smaller, too — back then, it fit into just 3 small plastic tackle boxes!

When I learned how to bead using off-loom bead-weaving stitches, I made beaded amulet bags. Lots of them. I made my first amulet bag using peyote stitch, and then discovered the joys of using brick stitch and herringbone stitch for creating amulet bags, too. I learned how to create a sturdy neck strap, how to create beaded fringe, how to work increases and decreases, and I got my first taste of how to do beaded embellishments. I guess you could say that I learned almost everything I ever needed to know about beadwork from crafting these little beaded amulet bags.

Marcia's question really intrigued me. Maybe what I need to do this year is go back to exploring that very first form of beaded art that I fell in love with fifteen years ago, I thought. Maybe I need to go back to my stash of seed beads and with all the knowledge and skill that I've developed since those first days of beading on the bedroom floor and see what I can do with the form of the beaded amulet bag.

But then something happened when I was at the post office last week. Call it a sign from the Universe, a coincidence, or fate, but as I was leaving the post office the other day, the woman in the car next to me actually got out of her car as I was backing out of my space and came around to my window. I opened the window to talk to her, and she said, "Are you Jennifer?"

Now, I wasn't terribly alarmed. I live in a small town in upstate New York. Living in a town with about 900 people means that everybody knows you, where you live, and what you had for dinner last night. That's just how it is up here in the mountains! But what really got my attention was when she said to me, "You're the lady from Beading Daily, right?" Because even though everybody knows me up here, not too many of them are beaders.

Well, I was absolutely delighted that this woman, Yvette, recognized me! We laughed and chatted for a few minutes, and she told me how much she loves to bead. Of course, she had to show me the beaded jewelry she was wearing, and sure enough, it was a beautiful little beaded amulet bag.

Yvette's gorgeous beaded amulet bag, front and back! I love the goddess!

We exchanged contact information, and as I drove away, I couldn't help but thank the Universe for pointing me in the right direction once again.

My little blank canvas: ready for the return of the beaded amulet bag!

So when I got home, I started playing with some basic forms for amulet bags. My latest work in progress is a little frame of right-angle weave that's ready for me to embellish to within an inch of its life before I add my fringe and neck strap — stay tuned for progress photos as I work on it!

What do you think? Are you ready for the return of the beaded amulet bag? Have you ever made a beaded amulet bag? Are you eager to try one for the first time?

If you're looking for inspiration in the form of beading projects and techniques that you can use to create all kinds of beaded jewelry, make sure you subscribe to Beadwork magazine. For all the latest and greatest beading projects using the newest glass bead shapes from some of your favorite new and emerging bead artists, Beadwork magazine should be your go-to resource for fabulous beading projects and ideas! Subscribe to Beadwork magazine and let yourself explore new ways to use your favorite beading stitches and jewelry making techniques.

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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