Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quetzalcoatl Necklace

Yao Chi Portrait by thegryph

Like many ancient cultures, in Mesoamerican myth, deities often took the form of great, magical beasts. Each god or goddess was represented by a creature that was known for specific traits. Kind gods took on the form of gentle animals, and angry gods took on the form of fierce ones. One of the most interesting and beautiful of these was the Quetzalcoatl.

Worshipped by many groups, including the Mayans and the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was generally represented by a feathered serpent. Over time, he gained humanoid features, and became a reptilian man with colorful plumes. Quetzalcoatl was considered at different times a god of air and agriculture.

The Inspiration:

The Quetzalcoatl I know best is the fantasy version - much like a dragon with beautiful multicolored wings. Perhaps because of rainy winter weather, I have been craving rainbows. Rather than make something really upbeat and whimsical, I wanted to use a rainbow palette for something with a little more edge. The first thing that came to mind was a Quetzalcoatl serpent.

Rainbow Reptile Bead Palette

The Beads:

I started with a few green beads for a base, choosing emerald green hex cuts and a transparent green seed bead mixture. I also grabbed some yellow lined black 11/0’s, which have an amazing reptilian quality to them. To this I added transparent 11/0 seed beads in yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and aqua.

Quetzalcoatl Necklace - The Sage's Cupboard

The Beadwork:

I wanted to make something that would look like wings, with the feathers on the underside spread wide. Using the green beads, I made a base of St. Petersburg chain, then added scalloped loops to the top. For the serpent body, I started with the transparent green mixture, and slowly increased the size of the loops. Eventually I added the colored beads in groups of four, and increased the loops with each new color. Green finished off in the middle again, creating a continuous loop of color.

Although the brightly colored stripes are clearly rainbow inspired, I think I succeeded in making something that wasn’t at all juvenile in mood. It reminds me a little of souvenirs from South and Central America, which is almost what I was going for!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading


  1. Love the story and the necklace is spetacular!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi there! Gee, there are some times when I read blogs and I wish I had everyone's phone number so I can call and say what I'm thinking!! I cannot even believe you wrote about this!! How cool! Here is a post I wrote in July of 2008. Very fun! You are so clever!! http://abeadaday.blogspot.com/2008/07/hi-everyone-and-happy-friday-fridays.html

  3. Thank you! Isn't it funny how even the most obscure things can get caught in our collective subconscious? I think it was Stephen King that said the mind is like a sink with a filtered drain - what gets caught in the drain is often what inspired us.

    Truthfully, I was inspired by a Dungeons and Dragons monster, the Coatl, but it's basically the same thing, just not a god. I think the Quetzalcoatl is something a lot more people can relate to.

  4. Stunning! I'm such a sucker for lots and lots of color:) I love the fringy look of it.

  5. WOW!! that necklace makes a statement.
    utterly beautiful

  6. Congratulations! Because I find your blog an excellent read as well as very inspiring, I am passing on the "Sunshine Blog Award" to you.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Inspiration Topics

accessories amulet Ancient Worlds Modern Beads animals April's Army art ArtFire astrology astronomy autumn awards awareness bangle beach Bead Inspired Bead Shops bead soup bead spotlight bead stash Bead Trays beaded beads beading theory beads belt bezel birthstones black blog spotlight blue boho bone book spotlight bracelet Bracelet A Week branch fringe brick stitch brown bugles buttons cabochon ceramic chain maille challenge charity chevron chain christmas collar Collections color Color Ideas color triads conservation craft shows crafts crochet crystals cuff Culled Beads current events Current Faves daggers Daily Sets daisy chain Delicas Destash drops Dutch spiral earrings Egypt Egyptian Gods embellishing embroidery environment etsy exotic fair trade fantasy fashion Favorite Beads Favorite Techniques feminine fibers film findings fire polish fixtures Flashback Test flickr inspiration flowers food found object free form fringe Geek Jewels geekery gemstones geography giveaway glass gold gray Greece green herringbone hex cuts history holiday home decor insects inspiration tip inspired beader Inspired by... Inspiring Links ivory Jewelry Stash knitting ladder stitch lampwork lariat leaf fringe leather lights literature loomwork macrame magatamas Master Class Medallions metal free metalwork Mini Collar a Week mixed media mixture Mood Board MOP multi-color multi-strand music natural beads nature necklace Necklace a Day Nepal chain netting New Beads ocean ombre orange paint paper patterns pearls pendant peyote photography Picasso finish pink Pinspiration PMC polymer clay poster sketch purple quick inspiration rainbow RAW red resin ring Ring a Day rivoli Rome Russian spiral scarf science seed beads shell silver soutache spiral rope spring square stitch St. Petersburg steampunk stringing stripes summer tagua TBT The Elements thread Tilas Time Capsule tools trade beads triangle weave tribal tropical turquoise tutorial two-hole beads Ugly vintage Wear it Twice weather white winter WIP wire wishlist wood World Beaders yellow
Blog Home * About * Beading Tutorials * Advertise

Learn About Sponsoring Inspirational Beading with Project Wonderful
Affiliated With ShareASale.com and Amazon.com