Thursday, 19 July 2018

Time, tide and treasured memories

It’s been a bit of a blessing to have something watery themed on the go recently.  It’s been very hot and dry, so beading my Water Sprite necklace has been slow, dreamy and oh so pleasurable. As I stitched I recalled many images from childhood fishing trips in a little rowing boat with my father. I see us sitting like Mole and Ratty, with me in a pair of tartan trousers that Mum thought practical garb for a six year old on a boating trip. I hated those trousers! Memories bob up to the surface and find their way into the beadwork. I remember the little swirls and eddies the oars made as they sploshed into the water, like mini whirlpools. So I made two little swirls from blue wire to go at the bottom of the pendant section. I attached them with teeny gunmetal coloured pearls.


Sometimes Dad would catch a fish – roach, bream, or perch, with beautiful silvery bronze scales. Before we rowed home they would be gently put back in the water. I searched through my drawers of seed beads until I found some gilt lined smoke coloured ones which are just the right colour and finish. I made the shell drops in my fringe overlap like fish scales. Now I need to think about the strap section.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

A punnet of berries

Punnet. Isn’t that a lovely word. I’m not talking about a nasty, plastic supermarket container here. Oh no, I mean a lovely old fashioned wooden chip punnet. I remember helping my granny to pick raspberries for Sunday tea. I loved the way the punnet had been stained from previous fruity forays along the raspberry canes. We ate as we picked, to the background hum of bees and the contented clucking of her hens.

This morning I went on my own foray – into my thread and bead boxes – to choose colours and textures that remind me of berry picking. I want to include a visual reference to the stained wooden punnet, so I have drilled and dyed my wooden beads and then varnished them.


I will take my Japanese marudai braiding loom out into the garden to weave this happy summer memory into something tangible and pretty. The background hum of bees will be a common strand between past and present.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Calming, cool and monochrome

Maybe it's the hot weather we've been enjoying, or perhaps it's that I've been busy with colourful seed beads, but I felt drawn to the little box in my workroom where I keep my black beads. It's not a colour scheme I use often, but it just felt right somehow. I cut a length of sterling silver wire, grabbed my pliers, took a deep breath and just went for it, hoping that the 'beading gods' would guide my fingers. I tucked the last end of wire neatly in and - would you believe it there was nothing to trim - the wire I'd cut was exactly the right length to the very millimeter, for the wrap. Beading is like that sometimes (but all too rarely!)


Mr J came in, looked at me and said 'You look serene'. Now that's not a phrase he has ever used about me before so I'm thinking this little pendant must have something. He thought it looked very chic and stylish, so I was doubly pleased.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Iris inspired colour scheme

Decided to sit in the garden and embroider some earrings. I love the colours in iris flowers so picked out beads in those shades.


I'm at the stage now where I'll add edging and backing. These will have a fringe at the bottom so will be lovely to wear with something feminine and floaty.

Monday, 18 June 2018

A jewel for a water sprite

Norfolk has it’s fair share of watery habitats. We are not far from the broads, with all the rivers and marshland dykes that flow into them. When I was little my father would hire a rowing boat and take me fishing on the broads, banging a long pole into the mud to anchor our little craft. I would marvel at the smooth surface which was broken only by the occasional commotion of waterfowl.  I thought it a wonderful and magical world down there in the cool green depths, a place for nymphs and water sprites.

What sort of necklace would a water sprite wear? I imagine something sparkling with droplets, little fish scales, water plants and perhaps a piece of metal, maybe the remains of a dagger, an offering from our ancestors to the water gods. Shiny pebbles there would be, as well as water plants and flowers, and maybe a tiny bronze water snail or beetle wing. I have pebbles a-plenty – well, beads anyway, also a beautiful shell shape with a metallic sheen and others like pale fish scales. I can make the tiny water snails myself, from clay.  No doubt the water sprite would weave water weed to make a support for all her little treasures, but I will content myself with threads in iris and green.


As I sketch, and daydream, I can almost hear the gentle splash of oars and call of coot. Dad never turned for home until sunset turned the calm, water lily studded water orange. (I pull out a phial of tiny peachy beads so that I can include that lovely memory in my necklace).

We always called in at the pub on the way home and I was given crisps and a bottle of Vimto. Simple pleasures!