Friday, July 9, 2010

Underwater Garden Necklace

Clownfish at Koh Bon Island, Thailand
Photo Credit: takau99

This month, the theme for the Etsy BeadWeavers challenge is “Secret Garden”. This topic was chosen by Ileana of Enchanted Beads, who encouraged participants to create their own real or imaginary garden. It’s a great theme for summer, with absolutely endless possibilities. There are so many ways to interpret the word garden, that choosing just one would be a challenge in itself.

The Inspiration:

Although I adore nature, I’ve never been a green thumb, and landscaping sort of baffles me. So there would be no realistic gardens in my piece. I started thinking about more magical, fantastic gardens. It occurred to me that the most secret of gardens would be one that humans could never reach.

I had already started seeing some possible shapes and designs in my mind’s eye, and I was most drawn to one with flat, six petal flowers. I thought it would be fun to turn all of my oval dyed shells into flower petals, so then an aquatic theme started to emerge. If the city of Atlantis had had a garden, what would it look like now, at the bottom of the sea?

Sea Garden Bead Palette

The Beads:

Using the green shells for petals meant that I would have to be careful about choosing the rest of the palette. I wanted to be certain that the flowers would look as such. I finally decided on salmon pink, which is not only a very flowery color, but also reminds me of anemones and starfish, which one might find in an underwater garden.

For the background, I chose transparent cobalt - an excellent deep sea blue. I also selected some pink cat’s eyes, and 15/o seed beads to match the green and chartreuse shell coins.

The Beadwork:

To make the flowers I had imagined take shape, I used wide triangle weave stitches, with each wedge supporting a petal and a bit of the pink center. To fill in the spaces between the shell flowers, I made a few beaded flowers with matching pink centers and green petals.

Atlantis Garden Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard
Atlantis Garden Necklace

Choosing a technique for the necklace straps was a challenge. I wanted them to have body, but not distract from the flowery bib. Eventually I took the simple approach and created several strands of cobalt blue with assorted accents, including some blue and green pressed glass clam shells.

Voting for the Etsy BeadWeavers July challenge opens today. Stop by the EBW Team blog to see all of the amazing entries, and vote for your favorite! The challenge closes on July 15th.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and The Sage's Cupboard


  1. Very pretty. A very cool-feeling piece. I bet anyone who wears that will feel refreshed, like they just dipped their toes in cool water.

  2. I love the necklace and the inspiration behind it.

  3. Thank you! I love your interpretation, Fae! Now that summer is actually here, we need all the cool thoughts we can get.

  4. I like your blog entry. Beautiful necklace!


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