Dara’s bracelet for her special day! Share her excitement with bead woven separator bars separating beautiful islands of bead strung beads.
This bracelet is made up of either Czech fire polish beads or Austrian Crystal beads, strung on a cable thread, in this case Fireline brand, and secured with knots. The bracelet has a strong pattern to it, namely a series of triangular spaces. Even though coupled with an adjustable clasp assembly, the pattern limits the useful size of the bracelet. For a much smaller wrist or a much larger wrist, you would need to either remove or add a triangular space to the design.
This bracelet was originally designed for the bridesmaids in my niece Dara’s wedding. I wanted to design a bracelet that would coordinate with their dresses, but which could also be worn outside a wedding setting.
My niece had sent me photos of bracelets she had seen on Etsy and which she liked, and I adapted the design, based on her preferences. I wanted to create a strong bead woven element in the pieces, as my special signature and personalization. Dara’s preferences focused on bead strung pieces using larger 6mm and 8mm beads. She liked things which had a very contemporary and bright feel to them. She preferred silver over gold.
I played around with ideas until I settled on this particular design. While the original pieces were a combination of sterling, palladium and Austrian crystal, I adapted less costly materials for this particular project.
One critical key to the success of this piece has to do with the integrity of the separator bars. I had to come up with a design that allowed the components to function as “separators”, but to maintain their shape as the pieces were worn. I decided that combining two stitches – Right Angle Weave and Peyote – would allow me to meet these criteria.
Whenever you create a piece of jewelry, it is important to try to anticipate how your choice of techniques and materials might positively or negatively affect how the piece both functions as expected, and keeps its shape and integrity at the same time.
In this project, the critical architectural component is the “Separator Bar”. The bar must have side-directed holes for stringing material to pass through, and to separate multiple strands. To create a bead-woven hole, whatever stitch we use, will of necessity and consequence be very loose and weak structurally. The hole has few, if any, supports. Left on their own, the holes would probably collapse upon each other, failing in their mission to maintain a consistent and coherent separation of strands. The question becomes how we build in that necessary structure and rigidity so that our separator bar can function appropriately.
Towards this end, I decided that I could marry the strengths of one bead weaving technique to the weaknesses of another, and achieve this goal. Right Angle Weave and Peyote Stitch marry very well. You can immediately start one stitch off the other. Right Angle Weave, an inherently loose stitch, will, however, nicely create the series of “holes” we need along the sides. Peyote Stitch will provide a rigid supporting structure along the top and the bottom.
If we make a woven piece of 1 RAW row, then peyote off to create that 3-row zipper, then another RAW row, and finally another peyote stitched zipper, we can fold this piece into a rectangle, and zip the two edges together to force all the beads into their logical place. This gives us holes along the side, and rigid supports and top and bottom.