Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bed, Bath and Bamboo

Bamboo Forest, Sagano, Kyoto, Japan

Although jewelry design is a favorite activity among bead lovers, there are many different types of amazing beadwork to create with these little treasures. Not only can the usual seed beads and crystals be transformed into works of art, but all manner of materials can be drilled and made into useful objects.

The Inspiration:

While browsing at my local bed and bath shop, I came across some pretty bamboo place mats. At first I thought they would look great on my kitchen table, and then I realized that the rectangular bits of bamboo were in fact beads. I scooped one up immediately and got to work on some ideas for using the smooth little rectangles in jewelry.

Beaded Bamboo Place Mat

The Beads:

It occurred to me that it would be easy enough to mimic the look of bamboo stalks using green seed beads and bugle beads. I selected some emerald green bugles, and paired them up with lighter colored peridot 11/0’s. To act as bumpers between the smaller beads and the bamboo rectangles, I grabbed some foil-lined brown 6/0 seed beads.

The Beadwork:

To keep things simple, I selected enough bamboo beads for a long necklace that would require no clasp. Between each, I strung short rows of bugle and seed beads, then stitched back through and added little leaves here and there. This necklace is one of those great triumphs where the finished piece turns out exactly as envisioned.

Bamboo Zen Necklace

Copyright 2009 Inspirational Beading


  1. Oh my gosh, as soon as I saw the photo of the bamboo placemat, my mind started racing with ideas too. LOVE it!! Wonderful idea and great reminder of the many things around us that can inspire creativity and be used in jewelry design. Very cool!

  2. So very fun - I love that you absorb inspiration where ever you go!

  3. Pretty! I love the look of bamboo... so tranquil and zen! ;)

  4. Thanks ladies! I had a lot of fun making this piece. It was a lot like Zen, creating something with no pressure - just string some beads and hope for the best!

  5. That's a really good idea to go looking for beads in unusual sources! You should call this piece Zen for sure.

  6. Hi...where did you find the placemat?

  7. Hi SpinnerLady! I found this placemat at JYSK. It's kind of a summer item, for patios and camping. One like it could be found at department stores or home decor shops, too.


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