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  • Writer's picturePatti McWhorter

Inspiration from the past...

Taking time this week to explore some ideas I have wanted to pursue…

In a metal working class a few years ago, the instructor introduced us to several publications that explore designs in all the arts from the past. She encouraged us to choose a simple shape to replicate as we learned to navigate the tiny, sharp blades that I broke constantly trying to cut out that shape from a sheet of metal.

Unfortunately, the pandemic put a halt to those classes, and the wonderful instructor moved home to Pennsylvania. It is likely I will never be able to finish that piece, but the time in her studio helped me to discover that I’m really not cool with the inherent danger in metal work - fire, torches, whirling blades, melted solder - and I decided I didn’t need to be doing any of that unsupervised (nor in my house). At my age, however, I know that experiences like these can lead us to new ideas and paths we might never have explored. It wasn’t all a complete failure.

I ordered some of the books the instructor introduced us to and found myself lost in the ideas and possibilities. In these hundreds of pages, I could imagine all kinds of bracelets, earrings, and necklaces - just endless ideas. As I moved into more intricate bead work and learned new stitches and methods, I found myself feeling like that emoji - the one with its head on fire…

So, that’s what I have been doing this week - spending time with my beading program and my resource books - letting ideas develop as I designed several more bracelets for beading, looming, and bead embroidery. Nothing ever turns out the way I originally envision when I start a project based on these ideas, but that’s the fun of it to me - something about the journey and not the destination?

These resources continue to fascinate me and provide endless jumping off points to create unique designs.

I do love a Celtic knot or cross. This bracelet was originally intended to be a pair of earrings, but after I completed the bead embroidery, the piece was too heavy. I could not abandon it, so the focal you see here was born.

Another bead embroidered piece that was inspired by ancient designs. Bead embroidery tends to go where it wants to go - even when I have a plan.

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