The beautiful organic patterns and shapes created with soutache and bead embroidery are always a wonder to behold. The combination of unique focals and exciting color palettes used by Suzanne of French Mermaid Collection perfectly showcase the potential of this lovely technique.
Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite technique?
Suzanne: I specialize in Hand-Embroidered Soutache Jewelry. I first became enchanted by soutache jewelry when I first saw "Helen of Troy" by Anneta Valious. It reminded me of the beautiful fine hand stitching that I learned from my grandmother in France when I was very young. She was a true artist with needle and thread.
I start with an idea in my minds eye and apply fine hand stitching. The creative process takes over as beads are lovingly cradled within more layers of soutache braids. I never know what the finished product will look like, but I'm always pleased with the results.
Inspirational Beading: How did you first learn to do soutache embroidery?
Suzanne: Actually my love of embroidery and beadwork were a natural. I had been doing both for so many years that when I saw the possibility of melding the two, it all came together.
Inspirational Beading: Of all the creations you've made with this technique, which one is your favorite?
Suzanne: “Sunset” is one of my favorites. The sea shells are a beautiful natural orange coral in color of Florida sea scallops that I've only seen on the near-by beaches of Marco Island, Florida. They work so well as focals enhanced with Swarovski pearls and crystals, complimentary soutache braid and copper-tone metallic braid and beads.
Inspirational Beading: Can you share any tips for getting started with soutache embroidery?
Suzanne: Find someone who is skilled in fine needlework and take lessons until you are comfortable with the results. Start with small things like hankies, pillow cases, tea towels, etc. Or, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer check out embroidery books and YouTube tutorials.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material or color to use it with?
Suzanne: Since I specialize in Hand-Embroidered Soutache Jewelry, soutache braid is an integral and essential part of my materials list. Though I use a wide pallet of colors, metallic gold is dear to my heart.
Inspirational Beading: If someone had to choose to learn only one technique, would you recommend this one?
Suzanne: Only if they have a strong background in fine stitching such as embroidery and lots of patience. I personally love this technique. It has a very calming effect for me.
Inspirational Beading: What is your least favorite thing about soutache embroidery?
Suzanne: Only one thing: holding several of the narrow soutache braids in alignment while trying to keep them smoothly together as I begin stitching can be extremely challenging.
Inspirational Beading: Do you use any variations? Which one is your favorite?
Suzanne: I use a variety of focals or center cabochons: Imported hand-carved cameo’s, semi-precious stones, glass covered ephemera cabochons (that I make myself), found sea shells and sand dollars, any lovely and unique item that catches my attention that well incorporates with my design.
To see more gorgeous soutache jewelry designs, check out Suzanne’s blog French Mermaid Collection.
Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading and Suzanne C. Suber
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