One of my husband's favorite things to do is to go crabbing with everyone we know. Through many of these beach picnics and crabfests I am very familiar with the anatomy of these beautiful delicious crustaceans. But interpreting a crab into a beaded jewelry item was not something I had given much thought to until now. Their main body is a broad oval, with a slightly raised bumpy rim. My mind kept putting two tiny beaded ovals together for the base and proceeding from there. When the thought of using two oval glass pearls as a center, the beautiful little crab charm came together.
It has been a long time since we have found a glass float wash to shore. It seemed a simple shore, find an appropriate 'float' bead and put a net around it! In a stash of vintage family heirloom beads I found one I would use for a glass float. I was most surprised with the difficulty of getting my 'net' of beads to fit around this bead. Many nets were made and torn out before this feat was accomplished.
Next was kelp. These 7-10 foot long whip-like stuctures are very familiar on our beaches here in Oregon. They are the dead stems of a certain type of seaweed.
Then came seaweed. They or something very like them are frequently depicted in beadwork. I researched to find what kind it is I see waving about just off shore in the ocean and seaports and could not believe how many types of seaweed there are. One website sold prints of ancient drawings of these that were exquisite. The research was great fun but I decided to do a ragged and non-symmetrcial specimen from my own imagination.
|I thought I would strangle with all the threads coming out everywhere!!|
All through the other 4 charms I kept thinking of a starfish. Starting something with five points was throwing me a little. My experience with doilies and other bead work made me think it would always turn out round in the end. Finally my experience with picot edging came into play and with a combination of sewing and tear out I was able to accomplish a very life-like starfish - what I mean is he or she is not perfectly symetrical but looks like he or she is moving.
Next was placing the charms on my peyote stitched backdrop. The crab, starfish, glass float and kelp are 'at sea', with the starfish finding the nearest rocky tidepool and the kelp nudging up to shore. The seaweed has freshly washed over some exposed boulders.
Closure was a hurdle I would think about as I progressed through the other elements. I had thought of an anchor and rope of beads but when the ocean wave did not work elsewhere it became part of the closure. In the anchor charm I reinforced the point of the anchor is with a metal finding. It is flexible enough to roll up when brought through the wave.
Lastly the width of the bracelet made it keep shifting on my wrist. So a couple of boulders on one side and a strand of beads became part of stabilizing the bracelet.
In certain lights it is like looking into a sparkling clear ocean on a clear night - the light shimmers on dark waters. Depending on style the wearer, it would go exotic, bohemian, elegant, casual. It makes me think of light, gauzy summer fabrics. It looks fabulous with medium heather blue, also with yellow.
All in all I am very pleased with this bracelet. There are a couple of other techniques I will try if I do it again but it is truly an original - not made with the complexity and skill of the Master Creator but with the imagination and resources He gave me.