Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Bracelet a Week: Tribal Mosaic

Tribal Mosaic Cuff

When you find a material that you really love, it’s hard to give it up. This is true for many types of art and crafts, and is especially true for beaders. It probably explains why you can’t go far without finding some amazing beadwork done with rivolis, and why Delicas are the number one choice for peyote cuffs. When you’ve found the best, why use anything else?

This is sort of how I’ve come to feel about trade beads, especially Christmas beads. Although they are technically just Czech seed beads, a strand of "love beads" is so much more than that. Even though they are often rough and irregular, I’ve fallen for them even harder than I did when I discovered how superior Japanese seed beads were to what I had been using.

This week I wanted to work with them a little more, and perhaps use up what’s left of the large strands of Christmas beads I purchased earlier this year. They aren’t quite as versatile for me as the smaller versions, so I thought it would be best - and fun - to get them all together in one piece.

Freeform Trade Bead Cuff

Since the beads are so colorful and busy all by themselves, I chose a single bead color to work with - one of the last remnants of Czech seed beads in my stash. Copper-lined gray has been one of my favorite go-to shades when earth tones are called for. Even though they have a little metal in the finish, I kept them in my stash during last year’s inventory clean up because they’re good quality, and I had so many. It’s so much easier to design when you know for sure that you’ll have beads left over.

I am so happy with the way this cuff turned out. It was a little scary towards the end, as I worried that I wouldn’t have enough nicely shaped trade beads to finish. I also had to double up on beads in a few places to get the right sizes.

Even though this is the tamest possible kind of freeform peyote I could try, it has me wondering what other possibilities there are. Perhaps it’s not as scary as it looks? I am very tempted to have another go at a cuff like this, with a wider mixture of beads styles. Starting with cubes, I think.

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
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  1. I've seen those lovely strands of colorful trade "Christmas Beads" and have been tempted to purchase them, however I really never knew what I would do with them other than use them as beaded strands in a necklace. Your bracelet is unique and totally charming. Lovely work.

  2. Beautiful!! Have just recently begun free-form peyote myself, and trying to decide how wild I want to go:-)

  3. Wow, great use of your beads. I love both the design and your choice of backround color. PS thanks for always being so ispirational.

  4. Very pretty! I didn't know they were called Christmas Beads, how sweet!

  5. This is just beautiful. I love it! How did you work the edges of it? I gives it such a nice finish. Really pretty. I might have to get some of those trade beads. I've been holding myself back but they look so pretty!

  6. Thank you Sally! I finished the cuff with a variation of square stitch. It's a really handy and versatile edging technique and works with flat and circular pieces. I included it in the "Stacked Ring" PDF tutorial, which is exclusive to my SagesTutorials shop on ArtFire.

  7. You are SO talented!!! It never fails every time I come over to check in to see what you have been up to, I have a jaw dropping moment, this is just perfect! :)

  8. Really love that bracelet - great work!


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