Friday, April 17, 2009

Beach Bunny

Bunny Family at Beach

One of the worst things about growing up is that you have to buy your own chocolate come holidays like Easter. The infamous bunny didn't visit me this year, and I have a serious craving for jelly beans!

To ease my longing for treat baskets and colored eggs, I decided I would bead something to capture some of the festive elements of the spring holiday.

The Inspiration:

I started with some egg-shaped Luhuanus shell beads, which have a lovely pastel pink shade. They were a birthday gift, and I have been waiting for just the right project to use them in. Both the shape and color are perfect for an Easter project.

To really tie the shell beads in with the Easter beadwork, I decided to create a necklace that had elements of spring, as well as the ocean. Ideally, the finished piece would be something to wear while combing the beach on the first warm day of April.

The Beads:

For the beach element, I selected some pearl-colored white Ceylon 6o’s, and mother of pearl chips. I hand selected each chip for size and shape, using only those that were not too flat or sharp edged. Of the three strands of chips in my stash, only a small fraction of them were ‘just right’.

On the spring side, I chose lavender iris mix seed beads - a very Easter egg-like color - and 8o’s in a robin’s egg blue. The lavender beads are one of my favorite shades, and I have been hoarding them for a long time. Often I wonder if that reluctance to use beads is counter-productive, but eventually the perfect inspiration comes along and it’s time to let the beads go. I had no reservations about scooping up these beads and getting to work.

The Beadwork:

To really let my favorite beads shine, I wanted to do something big and bold. I decided to create a scarf with widely spaced netting. It has a really nice weight to it, and drapes without sliding as lighter lariats tend to do.

Beach Bunny Netted Lariat

The Luhuanus shells didn’t make it into the necklace until the very end. Early on I decided not to let them get lost in the beadwork, and reserved them for the fringe. Deciding on the fringe created yet another dilemma. Coral fringe would have fit in with the shells, but I wanted to mimic the look of a knitted scarf. The simplicity of the looped fringe really compliments the shells, as well as the netting.

I really underestimated the amount of beads it would take to create so much netting. Between the beadwork, and the culled beads, I have nearly depleted my entire stash of lavender seed beads. For a while I almost considered stopping after the first few rows of netting, but it was obvious that more layers were needed. Fortunately, it was totally worth it. I’m so pleased with how the piece turned out, I plan to make another very soon.

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