The basilisk did make a brief return to the spotlight in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, in which a giant snake terrorized Hogwarts School. In earlier legends, the basilisk had characteristics of both a snake and a rooster. It was the counterpart of the terrible cockatrice - a gruesome halfbreed with features of a cockerel and lizard.
The basilisk that I know best is the fantasy interpretation - a deadly blue-black snake that can kill with a single stare. Lately, my interest in strange and obscure creatures has been renewed after flipping through an old D&D Monstrous Manual in my weird and wonderful home library. I wanted to create a piece of jewelry to represent the mysterious and scaly basilisk, with it's hard skin and dark colors. Although it is one of the least pleasant monsters of mythology, I like a challenge of making something terrible look beautiful.
To mimic the shiny hardness of a magical snake's scales, I started with a mixture of dark metallic seed beads in 11/0 and 6/0. To these I added 8/0 seed beads in metallic hematite and matte gunmetal. The combination of colors and finishes created exactly the effect that I was looking for. Each one could represent a different side of an endless, slithering monster.
To achieve the look of many tiny scales, I used my bead selections to create a hollow right angle weave bangle. First, I created a long strip from the 11/o seed beads, with a single row of black 8/0's at the edge. When it was long enough, I stitched the ends together to form a loop, and added a few rows of the grayish matte gunmetal to either side of the ring. Once these were added, I pulled the edges together, and stitched them shut using the colored metallic 6/0 seed beads.
The larger beads along the middle of the bangle create a ripple effect. For this piece, I like the way it looks - there's no need for perfection when you're recreating a fearsome myth - and the changes in texture look more like a real serpent. If I were to make another bangle with this method, I would stick to two sizes of beads to make the beadwork smoother. I wasn't sure how much the beadwork would shrink once the edges were cinched together, so I cautiously made the first strip of beads quite long. I discovered that there is very little change once the bangle is assembled, so it is larger than most bracelets. I have declared this piece to be my first guy-friendly accessory.
Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading