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Kate Drew-Wilkinson

Posted on February 15 2018

Many of the most beautiful and rare beads have been lost or not seen to their best advantage, because they were assembled with such a hodgepodge of other beads that their distinctive qualities and fine workmanship disappear amidst all the clutter.
 This situation can prevent us from appreciating the historical and cultural merits of important beads.
I’m not saying that necklaces with large and complicated designs cannot be absolutely fascinating of course. I'll take a chance and show you how I might use large beads in a necklace.

Mixing large numbers o beads, especially if they are big or of different types is tricky and one of the pitfalls for the new designer.
One important aspect is also comfort. We have to remember that and keep the more lumpy beads away from a nape!

Extravagant designs can have practical business consequences too, especially if you consign your work to galleries. You have invested time and money and so often, a piece can sit in that gallery for weeks, even months. With little and only occasional money coming in, you may not be able to budget for replacements to sustain such extravagant design habits!
Oh well.
There are more creative and rewarding ways to go.

 Some beads are so magnificent that they can stand on their own and carry a piece of jewelry that needs few other elements from your inventory. Dare to be Simple is the name of one of my design series and that series is needing constant new beads.Yes, so simple, but you'd be surprised at how many people just want the color.

But special beads need to be “capped” so that they can be, in effect, framed to enable them to work alone. This is a Bohemian Pressed Glass bead, made mainly for the Tibetan Market. I love these beads so much, I sometimes frame them with exotic ethnic Silver.
They can also be framed and set in chain with other beads, each staying separate to be appreciated one at a time. Here is another idea, get the beads with strong black cord to make a spectacular necklace. 
There are various devices to enhance the individual beads in a design, hanging a tassel can make your feature bead dance!
I’ve been experimenting, making large pins with some of my beads. They seem to go to those who live in a cold climate and want a kilt-sized pin to hold a large shawl in place. How about a key ring? I drew this years ago to make a point.
This Copal bead was so large that it invited me to create a pendant from it, with chain and more trade beads.There. I will look forward to some of you showing me what you do with the large focal beads!

1 comment

  • Denise Meehan: March 12, 2018

    Beautiful work, Kate. I love the direction you’ve taken. I look forward to finding a few pieces that I can’t live without.

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