When I began teaching bead embroidery classes a little over five years ago I started with several technique-based classes in which my students create samplers of a wide range of bead embroidery techniques. I still teach these classes in 1/2-day to 2-day workshops, as well as combined with other activities in longer 5-day workshops, and I still love teaching them.
I also realized pretty quickly that students, like me, also like to create finished projects while learning or refining techniques, and so I began designing two new ornaments/medallions each year to teach in workshops and sell as kits. It's been wonderful to experience the enthusiastic response to these designs and hear from so many students who enjoy making them. In fact the response has been so good that I've actually sold out of nine of the first 10 project kits I've made, so I need to get busy designing more!
Over the next several blog posts I plan to write more about my approaches to creating these designs and to show some of the other ornaments I've created as one-of-a-kind pieces.
Today's image is of the largest ornament I made, which is about 6" across, backed with cotton fabric (I usually back them with Ultrasuede), and stuffed. I photographed it on black and then on grey Ultrasuede, and I thought the differences in how it looks were interesting enough to show both. I think the black background creates a more elegant look, while the grey background does a better job of showing the 3D quality of the piece and the shadows behind each piece of fringe.
I created this ornament by piecing six identical pie-shaped wedges of a symmetrical Paula Nadelstern print fabric, fusing the fabric medallion to medium-weight interfacing, and then embellishing it with bead and thread embroidery. Then I backed it, stuffed it, and created the backstitched beaded edge, hanging loop, and fringe. I gave it to my grandparents, and they loved it so much that they hung it on their living room wall. After they both passed away it went home with my dad, which made me happy. When creating it I opted to let some of the fabric remain visible and cover other areas with beads and thread in harmonizing colors.