Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fabric Beads 1, 2, 3, and 4

Real job and real life seem to keep encroaching on real studio time, and often by night time when all the must do's are done, I just want to sit on the couch with a heating pad behind me and a blanket over me. Happily though I am able to stay creative while relaxing by stitching up some of my fabric beads. 

I've been focusing on four styles...

Style #1 are these assorted Hand Quilted Fabric Beads made from various Japanese Chirimen fabrics, shown above and below.

One of the keys to a successful fabric bead, (at least in regards to the type that I make) is to take one's time to carefully build up the edges with layer upon layer of stitching. Doing so creates a solidly sculpted shape. 

Here you can see the stitched edges of the beads as well as a peek at their inner fabric core lining. 

Style #2 are these Frayed Fabric Beads...

Unlike Styles 1, 3, and 4, which basically follows the construction method outlined in my 
Quilted Fabric Beads PDF Tutorial Pattern, this style of bead uses a different method that I am just starting to play around with.

However they still utilize the same sculpting method of building up the edges with lots of slow stitched layers.

Style #3 focuses on beads inspired by the rough patching and stitching of Japanese Boro...

Made from bits of shot cotton, the beads feature lots of rough hand stitching while wrapped bands of heavily stitched strips act as my boro inspired patches.

The bands of stitched fabric strips give each bead it's own unique "figure" and shape.

I like to think of each one of these beads as little sculpted works of textile art.

While doing these boro inspired style beads, I started morphing them into my 4th style.

This bead above and the one below show a bit of the morphing where I am beginning to incorporate more "pretty" embroidery stitching into these previously rougher stitched boro inspired ones.

And then finally, in Style #4, I have started embellishing the beads with just the "pretty" embroidery stitches as shown below...

I've just begun making beads in this 4th style, and need to play around with different stitches to see what I can come up with, but I really enjoyed doing these simple little flowing vines and always love making french knots.

I generally make the beads in two sizes as reflected below...

And that's the fun of having various styles... one of these styles always seems to fit my mood! If you'd like to see which beads are currently for sale you can go here. Note that some of the beads shown have already sold, and that as time allows I will hopefully be listing more beads. And who knows, maybe more styles and variations will emerge.

Oh, and while I like to just wear 1 or 3 on a ball chain or a cord, here's a more decorative necklace that I made using some of my Japanese Chirimen beads as well as little colored glass beads and vintage buttons...

(I would love to have enough to make a bohemian beaded door curtain, but I don't think that is going to happen any time soon... or ever. That's would take a whole lot of beads!)