Friday, May 5, 2017

Time has wings - TOHO Beads Challenge 2017- I put my soul in every bead

I'm so happy that I could participate in the 2017 TOHO beads challenge! There is something really exciting about getting the same beads as fellow artists and to see what others will come up with. And to have my piece exposed in Milwaukee and then in Japan is truly an honor.

Today I heard that my piece was featured in an ad in the Bead & Button magazine, and got the ok from the organizers to show you my work. I wrote this blog post back in March, when I sent the beadwork to them, for wanted to tell everything when the beadmat was still hot from beading. It is a bit long, I hope that you don't mind. I had so much fun!!!

The Swiss customs blocked the package with the beads because "free samples" was not enough for them, they wanted to know the worth of the beads, etc. They're so punctilious. *Sigh.* But beginning of January I received the beads. yay!

My tendons had been bad during more than 3 months, but I rested them well, and I fortunately could bead again. It is the computer I had to stay away from, and so I enjoyed 2 months of wonderful creative time with this beautiful challenge assortment.

Time has Wings
I loved the colors and beads I received. The beautiful purple, gold and cream selection immediately invited me to create something steampunk, but the capri blue beads didn't charm me as much as the other beads, because it was ice-cold outside and I prefer to use this color in the summer. Nontheless, even if used scarcely (and mostly in size 15/0) they play an important role in the composition, without taking the lead.

We had the right to use all sorts of materials, like silk and other materials, but only one "focal" bead or cabochon. My focal is an explosed watch. I used chain as if it was fabric. I beaded the wheels/gears/fans  to avoid using more metallic findings or parts and am very, very happy with the result.

The whole piece is called Time has Wings. Below you will learn more about the 3 parts and their symbolism, the inspiration and the making of the piece.

The necklace is composed of 3 parts, which all have a meaning. There are several possibilities to wear the jewelry. On the left are the ways I recommend, on the right the other options:

1. A Colimaçon spiral

Colimaçon with clasp at the back
Colimaçon with clasp at the front

I called this new spiral a colimaçon, which means spiral in French, specifically to describe a spiral staircase. The bugle beads draw a railing typical of those staircases in castle towers and lighthouses, where the railing is in the centre. A beautiful example can be seen on this page. Spirals are representative of time in all cultures, etc. This spiral is made with a mix of tubular Diamond Weave variations.

2. Wings

Wings at the back
Wings at the front

The meandering lace-inspired bib-style collar should be worn in the back with an open-back dress. "Time has Wings" means that time flies, fast, but those who know how to meander - wandering with no particular aim - reduce the pace and enjoy the present moment more intensely. The wings are primarely made with Herringbone stitch with extension beads, split at some point, and brick stitch.

3. Paradox (Pendulum)

Paradox with watch clasp
Paradox without watch clasp
"A pendulum is a body suspended from a fixed point so as to swing freely to and fro under the action of gravity and commonly used to regulate movements (as of clockwork)."(Merriam Webster).

This pendulum is a folded All-wing made with dimensional peyote (CGB language), including a double Cellini spiral at its top. It makes me think of a miniature time machine... It hides a miniature hourglass.
Unfolded, it would be quite large. Time sometimes feels as if it was stretcheable, like an accordeon.

The DW flat rope is reversible

To connect the pendulum to the spiral I made a separate DW flat rope, which is reversible. It has no name yet. I had a track of a railway in mind when making it. But I am not sure that track rope or rail rope sounds good for a beaded rope. Suggestions for a name are welcome!

Inspiration: the colors of the 2017 Toho Beads challenge also made me think of films: Alice through the looking glass (2016), Hugo Cabret (2011), and a little bit of Wild wild west (1999)

The beautiful steampunk decors, the clocks, mechanics, trains and time machines and lacy corsets all inspired this piece.

Alice through the looking glass (Sacha Baron Cohen as Time in the heart of his realm)

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield as Hugo, rewinding a clock mechanism)

Wild Wild West (Salma Hayek as Rita Escobar, in lovely lace)

WIP of Time has Wings.

First I made the pendulum, then I made the colimaçon spiral, and then the crescent buttons and the herringbone lace. I had real lace in my stash awaiting inspiration and time to make a beautiful necklace à la Marsha Wiest Hines. Visit her blog to see her Persephone's Return, it is absolutely stunning. In addition, she also received her Toho challenge and got published in ?

Reading about Marsha's creative process made me realize that the lace would not be strong enough for my project. I decided to bead my own lace and started by making the little wheels and then the meandres.

If the colimaçon spiral ate up the thread, the lace needed the most time, in particular "thinking time", even for the chain.

Then I embellished the pendulum and created the flat rope and the watch clasp.

Second the spiral
First I made the pendulum

Third the lace

I cut out the central herringbone
v-shape and started it over

Decisions, decisions...

Study how to attach chain. The center part
of the collar is still not complete.

Once done, the piece looked much better without the pendulum.So the pendulum got its own rope.

The very last bead added to this piece was a tiny melon bead right above the watch face on the collar - I had lost it, and it was my last melon bead! I was happy when I found it back (yay!) It hink that it is crazy how one bead can alter the look of a piece. Then I made the watch clasp, and suddenly everything was perfect.

I hope that you think so too.

Thank you for reading me! Know that if you go to visit the exposition of all the Toho Challenge participants in Milwaukee at the Bead & Button Show, you can get your very own mini challenge kit from at the Toho booth.


  1. Congratulations Cath on such a beautiful and interesting work!
    -Eva Maria

    1. Thank you dear Eva Maria. I am very happy that you like it too. Hugs!!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us, Cath. It adds so much dimension to an already amazing work of art. BTW, your unnamed chain looks like roller chain to me.

    1. Hi Susan! Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for the link to that photo, I find that a very nice name. Roller chain or double roller chain. I might well adopt that!

  3. How fun to understand what was going on in your head as you worked! I made a dozen flowers that looked like polka dots when I tried to use them, lol. Not every idea works as imagined. But your artistry in working with your components to create a pleasing whole is flawless. Congratulations my friend!

    1. When I look at what you made I am myself completely charmed by the exquisite way you mixed the beads and how you positioned each element. Designing is often rejecting mis-lucks as we say in Dutch. For example, I needed quite a bit of attempts to get that spiral 'right'.
      Thank you for your compliment, dear Marsha! It means a lot coming from you!

  4. Your work is beautiful, Cath! Thank you for sharing! Good luck with your new website!

  5. Thank you very much, dearest Ileana!

  6. Thank you for sharing your insight into the creation of this marvelous piece!

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comment!

  7. Fantastic piece! You have so much patience and creativity :-)


Your comments are welcome!