Friday, 29 March 2013

Beads and Quillwork

Chapter 6 is all about beads, collecting, making and using.

these are some found items that could be used for beads, toy gun caps, washers from umbrella making, metal work etc. I have coloured them with black spray paint in varying quantities.
i made some beads from paper pulp and then painted them. lower 'bead' is made from a bottle top mould so you can see the scale. the ones with the crosses on are from a chocolate box container and i must admit i got carried away with these so i have made rather a lot! the smaller ones are from cell battery packaging. i remembered and for these i made the pulp very fine.
i then tried making some beads with shrink plastic, coloured with felt tip and liquid graphite!the stitching is worked with horsehair.
these are the pieces after shrinkage with some additions and some wire beads. the brass bead is worked with french knitting and is less than a centimetre long. the liqiuid graphite crystallised when it was heated which has made it glisten. in some ways i prefer the beads pre shrinking!
some rolled beads, so from far right clockwise, rolled 'fimo' beads the white ones are glow in the dark, then some paper rolled and dipped in resin, perforated paper strip wound around and sprayed black, rolled and melted plastic, drinks can metal, oxidised wire mesh, knitted plastic that has been melted and rolled and finally rusted papers.
threaded bead work which i have never done before was great fun. i made a pattern loosely based on the gun cap and worked the bottom right piece in 'square stitch' with fine nylon thread. the piece to the left is loom woven, still on the loom because i might do some more and not sure how to finish off the warps! the warps are linen and the thread looping the beads through is guttermann sewing thread. the beads are tiny seed beads.
i stitched the first sample to a paper i had made in a previous chapter.
i then added some paper beads which i stuck in place.

as an antidote to the structured beads above i did some random crochet with made and found beads.
the thread used was fishing line

 Now for some quillwork.
this was great fun too. i used a mixture of paper, metal and plastic for the quill. its difficult not to do straight lines but i did try and vary it. there are far more stitches that can be done than i have done here! bottom right is worked with a drinking straw and staples.
the quillwork 'rosette' was quite tricky as the central thread only goes through the surface once as it it more of a pull loop linking everything together, so when you work it you are juggling with the bits in the middle flapping in the air until its all done around the outside and you can pull the drawstring; then of course you run out of strip halfway round and have to keep the tension going!

 i was greatly aided in this venture by: 
'The Technique of Porcupine Quill Decoration among the Indians of North America' by William C. Orchard, Eagles View Publishing, 1984.

'Quill and Beadwork of the Western Sioux' by Carrie A. Lyford, R.Schneider Publishers, 1983.

They both have excellent diagrams.
My favourite place to get fine beads is J.G.Beads Ltd. They have a wonderful selection of Japanese made beads.


  1. As usual, you've taken the chapter to extremes, i love the results, they're so quirky and different . My favourites are pics 7/8 from the top and the rosette is brilliant.
    Thanks for the bead ref I hadn't heard of them before.

  2. Great work and well done finding more info on quill work.