Eye Eye!

Image and design sole property of Maria Phillips Copyright 2013
Image and design sole property of Maria Phillips Copyright 2013

What began as a fanciful idea in my head to create my first piece of bead embroidery has become a two month-long project so far in creating an entire neck-piece. I discovered the art of bead embroidery at the beginning of this year, and was so smitten with the idea that I began dreaming up designs immediately. As is often the nature of my inspirational flashes, I saw an embroidered eye in fine detail in my mind as I sat one evening half watching T.V. and half pawing through a new book on bead embroidery. So I grabbed my sketchbook and pens and began sketching.

There were a number of variations on the eye theme that I drew, however I decided to keep to my original design. The beads and the colours I envisaged for this piece were so specific that I had some difficulty finding suppliers for some of them, particularly the red and blue bugle beads I used for the eye-lashes and the tear-drop tassels (who knew they would be so difficult to get a hold of this side of the Atlantic!). The other beads I already had in my collection. I like to be as true to my design as possible when I embark on a project.

Image and design Copyright of Maria Phillips 2013
Image and design Copyright of Maria Phillips 2013

It wasn’t until the middle of February that I began this particular project in earnest, teaching myself the techniques as I went along. I discovered, as I mentioned in my original post The new love in my life: Bead Embroidered Jewellery’ that it really wasn’t as difficult as it looked. In my opinion peyote-weave is far trickier (although peyote-weave is also one of the sewing techniques used in bead embroidery). Within three long days I had finished the eye. Then it was a case of working out how I was going to make the tassels, then how I was going to attach them to the eye, not having done this before!

Two months hence and the end is now in sight. Spending anything from half an hour to whole days at a time painstakingly sewing the tiny seed beads onto my foundation, with only a rough concept in my mind of what I was aiming to achieve. I’m sure, in hindsight, that I could have completed the necklace a lot quicker had I had a specific design already drawn out on the foundation material. But most of it has been done on the fly, following my intuition as I have been going along. It’s been a learning curve, and I think because of the way that I have approached this challenge I have actually learned more through my experimentation than I would have if I’d had a specific design to work with.

Image and design Copyright Maria Phillips 2013
Image and design Copyright Maria Phillips 2013

When I created the eye pendant I had a vague image in my mind of how the finished piece should look as part of a necklace. The colour for the collar I saw was very specific, a very uniform pastel yellow. Its shape a simple crescent moon, complimenting but not detracting from the eye as the main focal point. I also saw a boomerang shape from which the eye would hang, but until just a few days ago I had no idea how I was going to make it, or what materials to use.

All in all, I have far exceeded my own expectations and I am immensely pleased with what I have produced thus far. With the catch now designed and in the process of being completed, all that will be left to do is assembling all of the individual components. My first piece of bead-embroidered jewellery is nearing completion. It has been an ambitious project, but despite the many hours I have dedicated to it already, the many needles I have broken through sheer over-use, and the numerous injuries I have sustained through stabbing myself with said needles, I can still say that   my new-found love still fills me with wonder and excitement, and that I have discovered a new line of fabulous jewellery to add to my online shops. And I can’t wait to start my next piece!

Image and design Copyright Maria Phillips 2013
Image and design Copyright Maria Phillips 2013

Published by Maria a.k.a. Bess/Ishaiya

I am an artist, writer, photographer and social commentator. Mum, wife, Synaesthete, linguist, cook, ex-musician and philosopher. Not necessarily in that order.

One thought on “Eye Eye!

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