Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Etsy Bead Weavers (EBW) Spring Swap 2016

I participated in the Spring Swap organized by the Etsy Beadweavers Team, which I'm part of. A swap is something fun and exciting at the same time. One has to make (bead) something for another participant, according to guidelines transmitted by EBW leader Jacquie Champion, who lives in Canada. Swaps are exciting. Beading for another beader without knowing her personally is quite an adventure and expecting a little package from another mystery beader adds even more fun. It was just wonderful to open the little box I received from Erica Sándor. She made a lovely brooch in bronze and pink for me. I love it.

Keeping everything secret during more than 2 months waiting for all the participants to receive their swap was the hardest part for me. It is always difficult to wait to show something we feel proud of.

My "swapee" is the lovely Meg Thomson who lives in Australia. Exactly on the other side of the globe for me - right under my feet. I love how we are connected with friends all over the world thanks to the Internet. Meet Meg and see the beautiful beadwork she makes and sells in her Etsy shop, ABeadedWorld.

Meg said that she likes Victorian and Edwardian jewelry, but... she added that she didn't like chokers... That was challenging, because I love to make chokers, and during these two eras, chokers were legion.

I wanted to make something special and beautiful Meg would love to wear and perhaps even cherish, so I did a bit of research to find out what kind of longer necklaces were fashionable back then. It appeared that besides the simple long pearl strands and fine sautoirs, jewelled tassels were a rage under Edward VII, so I decided to make a tassel for her. But not just any tassel: I included a little perfume bottle; and to 'cathify' the necklace, I used my butterfly rope design. I had great fun. The little bottle was in my stash since a while, waiting to be used in a special design - this was the right occasion!

Edwardian jewelry is often composed of pearls, in combination with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and other expensive, A+ grade gemstones. I had a hank of lovely sapphire blue faceted crystal beads and matte gold Superduo beads. These two were begging to be associated with something pearlescent, so I chose Preciosa Ornella pearl seed beads.

I started by embellishing the little bottle, which ended up looking like an Edwardian corset. This feminine aspect is enhanced by the lacy, skirt-like tassel.

Seeing the very small cork, I was a bit puzzled. It was not attached or glued to the bottle, and could be lost. To hold it in place and make sure that it would not come off of the flask too easily, I attached a - centered - fringe to it with two strands on the side, and these two strands pass through the double connections of the neck cord, so even if Meg has to run for some reason and the cork comes off, she won't loose it.

In the end, the resulting design looks more Gregorian, or French Louis XIV to me. That made me a bit nervous, but Meg said that she really loves it, so I am happy - and also relieved that this "Philtre Phial" has safely arrived.

Wait a second - I nearly forgot to say that I made it using herringbone (with a bit of Diamond Weave 'hints' to take it further), and MRAW and a little netting.

Take some time to visit our Etsy Beadweavers Team Blog to see all the beautiful pieces made by the participants in this swap, everything is worth seeing, and/or read the impressions of participants on Erika's blog.