Cynthia Rutledge - Contemporary Designs of Timeless Elegance
Unsupported Shapes in Beadwork:
Amphorae, Vases & Vessels

©2011 by Cynthia Rutledge

Unsupported Shapes in Beadwork: Amphorae, Vases & Vessels  ©2011 by Cynthia RutledgeFrom the beginning of time, Man has made containers from many naturals materials in order to hold liquids and foodstuffs for storage and transport. Historically, amphorae date to around 4800BC even though the Greeks and Romans developed the shape to what we see today as a streamlined, pointed base to allow upright storage by being embedded in sand, soft ground or to be lashed together aboard ship for transportation. The Greeks developed a sophisticated tradition of early pottery, leaving behind one of the largest collections of decorative style vases and vessels. Both of these shapes stem from the amphora, sitting upright on its base, but keeping true the amphora style, and introducing a form of decorative luxury to a common shape.

Unsupported Shapes in Beadwork is a 4-day workshop that delves into the design process of creating 3-Dimensional beadwork, focusing on the shapes of amphorae, vases and vessels. Using peyote stitch as the primary stitch for the shape, students will play with other stitches to achieve texture and dimension.

Students will design, and begin the creative process of making, a shape of their own. In class, I will be offering instruction on the skills needed to be successful in this venture. Each student will be asked to do some pre-work in getting their design, solid there minds and on paper. I will have a hand in size, stitch choices and beads to be used. Our communication prior to the actual workshop should have them comfortable enough with their ideas to proceed once in the workshop.

Day 1: This will be a honing of the skills day, making some samples, learning about increasing and decreasing in some of the major stitches, stitch switching and embellishing techniques. The students will present their ideas to the class on this day. We will go over starting points, stitches to be used, making armatures and general construction. The rest of the time will be used pulling together palettes of color, working out bead sizes etc.

Day 2: This is a big day. All students will begin their shapes. I will be monitoring their progress, helping with color, and the techniques used by each student.

Day 3: A beading day. The shapes should be well underway by now so we will begin to work out the details of embellishing and beginning to address the finish line.

Day 4: A beading day and a sharing day. Students will continue with their shapes, experiment with some embellishing and sharing with the other students their experiences over the past 4 days.

Supplies: As this workshop is not one that would work well for a kit, students will be instructed as to the amounts and types of beads they should bring to the workshop.

What I will bring:

  • A handout that will cover the basic instructions on working with some of the major stitches.
  • Samples and documentation for inspiration

What I will have for sale in the workshop:

  • Basic beading supplies to include: One G thread, beading wax and needles.
  • Armature materials
  • Interesting components to include different kinds of vintage beads, wire, gemstones and pearls, cabochons, faceted stones and settings, buttons, sequins, nailheads, and Swarovski products.

Skill level: Advanced. Must be comfortable with the basic stitches, Peyote, Netting, Brick, Square, Herringbone and Right Angle Weave stitches.

On to Art to Wear Necklace Workshop...

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