Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Beads: Long Magatamas

Long Magatama Drop Seed Beads

One of my favorite things about trying new beads, is that there is always an opportunity to learn something new. While this sometimes means trying a new technique, it can also help a beader learn more about the techniques they already love.

My bead budget for November was incredibly small, and once I had purchased some supplies I needed for a custom design, I had very little room left for new beads. I decided to make the most of it, and added a couple of magatama packets to the order, since I’ve been longing to try them all year. I grabbed some in blue, and I couldn’t resist the transparent lemon lime.

These leaf shaped seed beads have a lot of interesting qualities, particularly the angled holes, which make them ideal for organic inspired designs - they make excellent leaves and dragon scales. I wanted to put these beads to use in a design that would really show off their shape, instead of simply throwing them in with my usual work. Bangles have been done, and beautifully, so I had to come up with something else.

I decided it would be fun to replace the 8/o seed beads in a Dutch spiral with magatamas. They would look fantastic snuggled into the beadwork, and spiraling around the chain. After some debate, I settled on a palette of brown and gold to contrast the green and blue, and lend some more organic flair to the leafy shapes.

Earthy Bead Palette with Magatamas

At first I was really excited about the idea, but after a few turns around the spiral, I started to get bored. The idea seemed to fizzle as I contemplated all the work ahead, even though the project was turning out as I had planned - perhaps better. It was then that I realized that I wasn’t interested in the project because I was forcing myself to do something that worked for the beads, instead of making the beads work for me. It was time to start over.

Chevron Collar with Magatamas

Instead of making a project that was ideal for the magatamas, I decided to take a chance and see how they would work in a design that was more my style. With the drop-like nature of the magatamas, I couldn’t resist trying a Chevron collar. I removed the topaz from the palette, and simply added some blue and green drops to the edge of dark brown netting.

Although taking the time to make sure that the long magatamas were facing the right direction with each stitch made the work go a little slower, it was much more fun that trying to please the beads, instead of the other way around. And now I have this fun little collar with blue and green leaves along the edge!

Have you worked with long magatamas? What’s your favorite technique to use them with?

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  1. Beautiful material and new....!!!

  2. I do like the drop effect with the collar--you can tell they're not an ordinary fringe bead. I have some magatamas in my stash but haven't played with them yet.

  3. Very nice!

    I've used long magatams a few times. The angled holes are both an asset and a challenge.

    So far I've used some in a pair of shaggy loops chain maille earrings (they hang very nicely), a chain stitch bead crochet bracelet and in a brick stitched flower. The latter, I then saw, was made the same way as the cristmas trees at the B&B blog, just smaller.

    I want to use them more, but right now I don't really have any ideas for them. I do have a small collection of inspirational links to projects including long magatamas so I should probably check them out again, looking for something to catch my fancy.

    This is one of my favourites:

    (I also like this necklace which makes the magatamas look like gemstone chips: )

  4. I like your use of the beads! I have seen the long magatamas used in a spiral stitch project at my local bead shop.... and was fairly unimpressed, so I was left with a tube of beads that I didn't like very much. I've got more than enough types of beads to use as drops, but I definitely like the way you paid attention to these beads and their particular shape, placing them one side up and the other side down. Good job on this one.


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