Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Creator’s Necklace

Egyptian Creator God Atum

A beader’s repertoire is constantly growing, changing, and evolving. We try new techniques and materials, new combinations of color and pattern, always learning something new about ourselves as we go. But when we do find a groove, or a set of methods that works for us, it’s bliss. That’s why it was incredibly satisfying to sit down to create a necklace for the Egyptian creator god, and know exactly where it would lead.

My latest subject was Atum, the first deity in the Egyptian pantheon. He created the sibling couple Shu and Tefnut, the gods of air and moisture, and was sometimes represented as a snake. He also had a menagerie of sacred animals, including the bull, lion, mongoose, lizard, and ape. I wanted to incorporate all of these traits into a single design, so I started by choosing the beads to see what my options were for construction. Then everything fell into place.

For the bull, I chose some simple natural bone rounds. For the mongoose, Rudraksha prayer beads. Green buri nuts would be perfect for the lizard, and large black druks for the ape. Finally, I selected the very few amber tortoiseshell druks in my stash to represent the lion. To back up these accents, I gathered up two shades of green 8/o seed beads for the waters of Nun (as well as the Nile) from which Atum emerged. Two misty shades of blue would go perfectly with the rest of the palette, and represent Shu and Tefnut.

Sacred Animals Bead Palette Atum, Shu, and Tefnut Bead Palette

I used the seed beads to create a snake-inspired twisted herringbone rope, then added a handful of each animal accent in a spray of fringe. At first I wasn’t sure exactly how to pattern the fringe, until I remembered how well Apep’s necklace turned out with stacks of beads at the ends. I used the bone beads in each strand, and finished them with a different accent, saving the smaller beads for the shorter strands. It was a pleasure to use a favorite design without hesitation, and it came out perfectly.

Atum the All Necklace

Do you have a favorite style or technique that you return to often?

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  1. Beautiful necklace!!!! Somehow I always seem to come back to herringbone and peyote... I started with them and it seems I always come back!! ~KM

  2. I love this series and how much I've learned from it. This is a beautiful necklace and really represents your god & his entourage very well!


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