Sunday, November 5, 2017

Counting down to New Year's Eve, one bead at a time

Eiffel Tower seen from the Alexander III Bridge in Paris
Photo courtesy AG Photography

Do you remember my blog post in September where I told you that I would be the "cover girl" of the beautiful magazine Perlen Poesie in December? Well, it's been a long wait, but I can finally show you what I cooked up for this 35th issue, and I hope that you will find it worth the wait: here is "New Year's Eve", composed of a Roller Chain Rope lariat and a Paradox Pendulum pendant:

"New Year's Eve" - Paradox Pendulum on Roller Chain Rope

You may notice that this project is a simplified version of my Toho Challenge Roller Chain Rope and Paradox Pendulum, but I omitted the embellished Cellini swirl at the top of the pendant. The Roller Chain Rope lariat is a double sided Diamond Weave Rope and can also be worn in a variety of manners without the pendant - you will find suggestions at the end of this post.

X-mas 'pendulum'

I am really happy with this piece, because to me, it has the perfect feeling of a December night in the city. When making it, I had "December" in mind, but even though the pendulum can be a very nice Christmas decoration, I wasn't motivated to make one early in the Summer, so I went for a "New Year's Eve" theme. I made the Christmas bauble in the photo here on the right later.

Now to explain how to make a Roller Chain Rope and a Paradox Pendulum is one thing - that is the "tool box" part that you will find in the magazine, and in my shop in February. However, to explain what exactly made me choose these colors and forms, beads and charms, is a totally different thing, and that is what this post is about: I make things from my heart and I will try, using images, to explain that aspect, and hopefully it will help you to make your piece a happy one, from your heart. Maybe yours will want to be ocean blue and turquoise green with cauri shells instead of cotton pearls, or emerald forest green and fuchsia with exotic bird charms or flowers...

The main color in my pendant is iris purple. It represents the mysterious variegated dark plum skies we sometimes have above Geneva on Winter nights, resulting from the amber street lights and other sources of light reflected by mist or clouds. David Fraga's beautiful photo of the Arve, a river crossing Geneva (colliding with the Rhone further down), illustrates this perfectly:

Arve, Geneva, photo courtesy David Fraga

Other cities also sometimes have this type of beautiful purple sky for the same reasons, like Paris:

Paris-la-Défense, Paris - photo courtesy Dimitri Destugues

The big white coton pearls remind of snow, but they also represent old round street lamps. I've always loved white globes. When I was a teenager, I often appreciated their soft light down town Geneva in December, for my school was located Rive gauche, and to go to the train station on Rive droite, I had to cross the Rhone river, which I did often by foot. There are several pedestrian bridges which are lit by these globes, as you can see in the photo below.

Quai Besanson-Hugues, by Patrick Nouhailler
I also love the beautiful railings and the Rousseau Island farther in the back, recognizable by its tree silhouettes.

Mr. Serge Vescovi sells chestnuts since more than
50 years - Photo Pierre Abensur, courtesy TdG.
Closing my eyes, I can nearly smell the roasted chestnuts sold at the Pont de l’Île where the above photo has been taken from (the "Island Bridge", which has a very old history). Roasted chestnuts are an institution in Geneva in the Fall and Winter. I might well have bought some from the vendor in the photo left :) Yum! 

But let me come back to the lamps: some are well known meeting points for people, before going to a party or event. I love the one in the photo at the top of this post very much - it is the famous "Ronde des Amours" on the Alexander III bridge in Paris. It is an extraordinary work of art, but uses electric light. London still has 1600 Victorian gas lamps, lit and taken care of every day by gas engineers, and I find that simply amazing. I love these beauties! 

Gas light engineer in London - courtesy Daily Mail

And maybe you guessed it already, but the orange fire-polished beads in the Roller Chain Rope represent all those lovely lights which look like long necklaces on river banks, bridges, roads and boulevards...
Alexandre III Bridge, Paris, France (25 December 2010)  by Dimitri Destugue

Brooklyn Bridge over East River, New York, USA

Geneva, Lake, the Quai Gustave-Ador and the Salève
with the Pâquis light tower at the Front

As you can see, this lariat and pendulum are all about light in the dark, meeting points, roads and bridges - all symbols of reunion. And that is what the 31st of December is about. Coming together with friends and having a good time and, for example, sing Auld Lang Syne... And of course rivers and bridges are great places to watch fireworks, for the view is excellent and the water a safer place to lit fireworks. But in Switzerland, fireworks are not shot on New Year's Eve, so there are no 'Fireworks' added to my pendant. I added clock parts and chain, to symbolize time and the count down to midnight, but you can add your own fabulous coral fringes if you wish. The pendulum is a very versatile and playful design and will love to be customized.

Now some hints for the Roller Chain Rope:

The lariat has a gold-filled hook clasp hand made by Almendro on Etsy, whose work I like very much. This type of clasps is very practical for reversible or twisted ropes.

Hook clasp

I like to make a surgeon's loop in the center of the lariat (also called an overhand bow) as you can see in the photos above. If your thread tension on the edges is soft, you can make all sorts of knots, like a tie knot or Chinese knots. There exist so many knots! The more loops you will make, the shorter the rope will become. You can also not knot, but twist the rope.

Have fun playing!

Make the lariat long enough to wrap it 5 times around your wrist, which should make it possible to wrap it easily 2 times around the neck, or 4 times around the ankle. For me, this resulted in a 1-meter lariat. Depending on your morphology, this can vary somewhat.

You can wear the lariat in a variety of manners. Because it is flat yet dimensional, it is reversible and can be twisted. It is visually more interesting to use two different colors for each side.

You can wear the lariat as a long twisted rope (1), as a short double twisted rope (2), or as an infinity loop choker (3).

Note that if you twist the rope, it will become shorter.

It is beautiful when completely twisted (4). The hook clasp is hidden inside the beadwork.

Voilà! Now you know nearly everything about this project and the playful possibilities that it offers. Yes you understood that well: nearly. There is one more thing to discover: a litlle secret hidden inside the pendulum.

"New Year's Eve" - Paradox Pendulum on Roller Chain Rope

My next blog post will be about this little secret that is a small Christmas gift for you.
Stay tuned! 

I wish you happy beading, counting down to New Year's Eve, one bead at a time ;-)


  1. THAT LARIAT!!! Gorgeous. Thank you for sharing all your inspiration too!!

  2. Congratulations Cath! Thank you for the story and delightful photos.
    -Eva Maria

    1. Thank you, dear Eva Maria, for your kind words!

  3. CATH, tu mérites grandement cette reconnaissance. Tes créations sont magnifiques et très originales . BRAVO!!!!

    1. Merci beaucoup! Je suis très touchée par ton message.


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