Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beading and Radiotherapy

Recently I had four days of free time on my own, away from friends and family, with no responsibilities, not even to cook for myself. So my creative darlings in a situation like that, what does one do?

I took a little project away with me, and although it is not finished yet, this is the result. The first attempt with a new medium, beading. I had purchased some glass seed beads, that looked Victorian and was keen to have a play with them. Lesson learned if I am going to pursue this I need a tapestry frame, fabric needs be stretched when you are working on it.

It was intensely absorbing and I barely left my room for the whole four days.

I have mentioned Rafaella Serena's book in a previous post, and I was inspired by an image in her book.

It was a detail of a sampler from her book, embroidered in cross stitch, in silk thread on linen and worked in Italy the first half of the 19thC. It is from the collection of the Palazzo Danvanzati, in Florence. Put a link in for you if you would like to take a little trip to Florence, what an incredible museum.

Below are the front and back of a small purse worked in glass pearls, from a private collection in Milan, also taken from Raffaella's book.

The detail in this work is extraordinary, but then glass and beads were refined to some of the highest levels in this part of the world.

So there is probably at least 30 hours work in my feeble attempt at bead work at the head of this article, imagine the hours that went into this little purse. This was at a time when we were not just consumers as so many of us are today, but producers, and skilled artisans were highly valued. It was not about the cheapest, it was about the most beautiful, the highest quality. We have lost so much in the way we value things today. Clothes made from cotton that has sucked lakes dry, and pegged young Chinese girls eyelids open, so that we only need to spend $10.00 on a piece of clothing, that will shortly be thrown into a landfill, because it was actually rubbish when we bought it.


  1. Love it. If I could I would go to the Royal school of embroidery in England and do their degree

    Do you think our husbands would let us go to London and do one of the day courses

    I would have to go with goldwork or jocobean.

    I have just finished this sampler

    Just need to iron it so I can get a photo.

  2. LOL at the lakes and eyelids! Very true!!! Your beadwork does look a little scattered but I love it! The colours are cool as and it's got funky character :P

    Cool post zhozho :)

  3. Wouldn't that be amazing, I would do crewel work and blackwork, then we could come back to New Zealand and open an embroidery studio. I will come with you Janine, shall we see if we can get a student loan to do it and just take off. Loved the scarlet letter. Went to the Fitzwilliam Museum site and the original is online if you wanna see it, or at least it looks like what the site you had describes.

  4. a beautifully inspired piece of gorgeousness. I can see the thoughts coming and going like clouds as you worked on it. Wonderful stillness in it.

  5. Thank you my friend and confident.

  6. Hallo Pipparucci, so good to hear from you.