The April Etsy BeadWeavers Challenge theme was chosen by Laura of Lauralia as a tribute to this breezy time of year. EBW Team members were asked to create a piece that is as "bright, delicate and gentle as the first warm breezes of spring". This theme was sure to inspire an amazing variety of beaded works. Everyone’s interpretation could be a unique take on what’s happening right outside the window.
When I sat down to work out a design for the “Light as a Breeze” challenge, I closed my eyes and tried to envision what that phrase meant to me. No matter how many times I looked for inspiration, I kept coming back to an image of cherry blossom petals blowing lazily over a grassy field. I could see the silhouette of a cherry tree as well, dark against a pure blue sky. I couldn’t let go of the image of cherry blossoms, so I finally gave in and decided to design around them.
I can’t say exactly why, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the fruit blossom theme of my design. I wanted to add an extra element of lightness, without doing something too minimalist. Eventually I decided to bring out an old technique - the woven peyote ring pendant that I had made in tribute to Julia Gerlach’s shell donut necklace. I love the look of the finished technique, but the process is long and agonizing, so I had never gone back to it before. After what seems like days of making little peyote rings comes the task of trying to string and weave and braid, while switching back and forth between one and two needles. It’s exhausting! Still, I knew that the technique was just right for this project, so I went to work.
I first selected some pretty pink Ceylon 11/0 seed beads, with lustered yellow beads for centers. I decided to add some apple blossoms as well, with opaque yellow and Ceylon pearl 8/0 seed beads. For grass, I grabbed my favorite copper-lined green seed beads. For the sky, I selected aqua blue beads in 3 sizes, then finished the palette off with some pretty Czech pinch bicones.
This necklace was much easier to create than the original, and not only because I was already familiar with the pattern of weaving the rings into the chain. The daisy stitches along the necklace keep all of the previously strung beads in place, making it much easier to work the two threads at once. I also had a good supply of English beading needles on hand this time around, which have made all kinds of beadwork more enjoyable.
As often happens, it wasn’t until the piece was coming together that I saw how well the colors worked together. In the packages, the beads don’t speak quite as loudly as they do when they’ve taken shape. I love the way the coppery green and aqua blue look against one another. They have a jewel-like quality that is somehow soothing, just like a warm Spring breeze.
Voting for the "Light as a Breeze" challenge opens April 9th. You can view all of the EBW member entries, and vote for your favorite until April 15th. Visit the Etsy BeadWeavers Team blog to see all of the breezy designs!
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