La Doña, Statement Necklace in Competition

I rarely get to finish a piece on time for the Etsy Beadweavers monthly challenges, but I did it this month, the December 2009 “Peace Piece” challenge. My entry is a sculptural necklace accompanied by a poem. There are 20 entries, each an expression of the artist’s interpretation or inspiration of the theme. My own focuses on the emotions of a mother who hopes for peace in a time of strife. Or perhaps she is that existential Mother representing all of motherhood and the encompassing state of being that is nurturing to all of us?

The heart of La Doña - Close up of the Centerpiece

The heart of La Doña - Close up of the Centerpiece

The color I used, red, is not generally associated with peace. It is the color of life, of passions. But these are iridescent reds and as well, there is a hint of yellow in the work. So perhaps one can see the vivid glow of the sun at the horizon – either or both dawn or dusk – and the contemplative ambiance that accompanies both of these moments. And so the poem recounts a mother watching the sun at the horizon while waiting for peace for all her children.

The centerpiece was created first. It is a huge base woven using the Russian variation of Peyote stitch that results in a shawl shaped oblique edged fabric. Next I added the two rows of straight fringe and two ruby red Swarovski teardrops as pendents. The based is made with very old true-cuts; these are faceted rocailles, made in what is now the Czech Republic (though I think it may have been Bohemia when these beads were formed). These very sparkling beads are also finished with an aurora borealis finish for even more flair. The fringes are made with modern charlottes (similar to true-cuts but much smaller beads) and yellow AB finished Swarovski crystal bicones.

Tight Ruth's Twist bead weaving for central cables in La Doña

Tight Ruth's Twist bead weaveing for central cables in La Doña

Next I had to decide how to keep this large centerpiece from curling in at the top point when worn. Although this could be an interesting effect, it is not the one I wanted. I thought on it and came up with the tight version of Ruth’s Twist, a wonderful cable stitch that is worked in up and down and back up again weave resulting in an ever lengthening, tightly coiled spiral. Not as stiff as a solid form, there is just enough give to give form to a perfectly fluid drape. The core of these cables are silverlined ruby red seed beads with the vintage true-cuts forming the spiral.

La Doña statement necklace - Close up of Knot on one side

La Doña statement necklace - Close up of Knot on one side

Now that I had a firm picture in mind, I worked the first, upper, necklace cable using a loose, open weave variation of Ruth’s Twist with a large vintage Swarovski faceted round bead at about shoulder height. Next, for visual balance and interest, I added the lower cables that curve from their connections on the centerpiece (directly opposite the lower inner cable) to the two large shoulder beads. I finished off with a third of the large beads and a Peyote loop for the closure. Finally, I created two side pendants or dangles using huge vintage Swarovski ruby red (siam they call it) crystal bicones and vintage octagonal yelow barrels (also Swarovski) connected by Peyote stitched true-cuts. Above the bicones I wove a very long Peyote loop using the silverlined ruby red seed beads. I knotted these onto the upper cable (the casting on knot for macramé) and I was done! (Well, except for tying off those pesky thread ends.)

Sculpture to wear, La Doña settled on a calcite specimen

Sculpture to wear, La Doña settled on a calcite specimen

There is one more image of this necklace; full on draped as worn on a display bust. To see it you can go to the Etsy Beadweavers December Challenge voting page where you can also view the other, wonderful contenders and cast your vote for your favorite. Or you can go to its page in my Silver Dragon etsy shop.

8 Responses to “La Doña, Statement Necklace in Competition”

  1. Ruthie Says:

    I loved reading about how you put this together! One question – I’ve never heard of Ruth’s twist before…and since I’m Ruthie….can you tell me about it? Is there a way I can learn it? That would be priceless 😀

  2. Patricia C Says:

    Ruth’s Twist may have another name that you might know the stitch by. I’ll describe it generally and hopefully you will be able to tell if you do, in fact, know it after all. If not, I can go into more detail.

    Basically, you take up a bunch of core beads and then the spiraling beads. Come back around through all of the core beads making a giant circle. Add however many core beads (at least one) you feel like depending on what kind of density you want plus however many spiraling beads you want. Now go back to the original core beads and insert the needle where you want the overlap. Should be at least one bead up from the very start (in other words, skip the first bead). Go up through all the remaining core beads including the new one(s). Then do this step again and again until you get the length you want.

    So, for the original Ruth’s Twist, it was 4 core beads, 3 spiraling beads. make a circle. Add a core bead and 3 spiral beads. Go back to the initial core beads and insert the needle in the second, third and fourth beads, and then the newest core bead and pull tight. You can spiral left or right depending which side you add the newest spiraling loop to. A right handed spiral means you pull the finished loop to the left and add the new stitch to the right of that. A left handed spiral would, of course, be worked the other way.

    I have some bracelets in my shops (etsy and 1kM) that are worked this way with the tight weave, and some necklaces (both shops) worked in a much more open weave.


  3. Ruthie Says:

    Thank you so much! I’m going to see if I can find directions somewhere with pictures 🙂 I do better that way 😛

  4. Patricia C Says:

    Oh! Sounds like I should make up a tutorial for this weave! 😀

  5. Marsha Says:

    By your description, Ruth’s twist seems like what I know as spiral stitch, but whatever its name, you use it to lovely advantage here. I really enjoyed the process description.

  6. theresa Says:

    rena klingenberg showcased this beauty in the ‘making jewelry now’ section of her newsletter

    kudos on a gorgeous design and the p.r.

  7. Patricia C Says:

    Marsha, I would not be at all surprised since it is quite possible for things to be known by more than one name (e.g., brick stitch is also sometimes known as Comanche stitch.

    Theresa, thank you for stopping by, commenting, and for the compliment. 🙂 I shall have to send Rena a thank you as well. I love her newsletter but lately things have been very hectic and I’ve not had a chance to read it fully and respond. 🙂

  8. Arlena Mansbridge Says:

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.