Lapis and pyrite pendant


Thanks so much to my friend Katherine, who when she went to Chile, kept her eye out for something for me to bead. We met for lunch when she returned, and she poured this lovely lapis cab out of a bag. It is a lovely, rich blue with very attractive pyrite inclusions. I made something simple, but a bit unusual. I attached the cab to a herringbone rope at the bottom with some pyrite beads. There’s about 7″ of unattached rope on either side of the cab, so this forces a nice reverse arc in the herringbone when worn, as shown.

I have a small photography setup that I have used in the past – but it takes up room on my work table. I took this photo without it, and it’s okay, but not great. That’s a reflection of my Ott-light in the cab, not ideal. Some day, I’ll figure it out!

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Turquoise and pearls

I purchased this Kingman turquoise cab perhaps two years ago, and created the pendant. Turquoise-and-pearls-pendant

What I had not done is figure out how to make it into a necklace.


Pearls were the solution. I wanted something with a substantial enough weight to match the pendant, so purchased these creamy stick pearls and tanzanite potato pearls (that’s how they were labeled!). I like it, and it’s sent to its intended recipient – the same intended recipient of two years ago.

I like doing the precise work of good bead embroidery. This finished edge looks quite nice.


I think my next bead project may be bead embroidery too. I have a beautiful lapis cab from a friend who lived in Chile for a while; lapis comes from Afghanistan and Chile. It’s got some pyrite in the stone, and when I purchased the pearls, I also bought some small pyrite beads. I have been daydreaming how I want to use the lapis.

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Antique Pattern Library

So here’s something that I want to share: the digitization of out-of-copyright craft books in the Antique Pattern Library: “This ongoing project is an effort to scan craft pattern publications that are in the public domain, to preserve them, so we can keep our craft heritages in our hands. Most of these scans have been graphically edited to make the images easier for craft workers to see, and to reduce file sizes. They are available, for free, to anyone who wants them, for educational, personal, artistic and other creative uses.”

Categories range from Battenburg lace and filet and flower arranging, to knitting and crocheting and quilting. And beading! This collection is small and has works in progress, and they do accept donations if you have any old beadwork books. It appears to be a small nonprofit, with at least some of the work to scan done by volunteers.

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Beadwork to see in Ontario and Los Angeles

There are a couple of exhibits I’ve learned about recently. Both are First Nations beadwork, one in Brampton, Ontario, and the other in Los Angeles, California.

First, a digression: I’m never quite sure what terminology I should use. The Ontario exhibit uses “First Nations,” and the Los Angeles one uses “Native Americans.” I am in no way an expert, but in my exposure here in Minnesota, exhibits in non-Native museums use “Native Americans,” and Native Americans seem to identify themselves by tribe or call themselves “Indian” when speaking. My local Native American Gallery is All My Relations, and their mission is to honor and strengthen relationships “between contemporary American Indian artists and the living influence of preceding generations, between artists and audiences of all ethnic backgrounds, and between art and the vitality of the American Indian Cultural Corridor.” I am as respectful to everyone of any culture as I know how to be, while fully acknowledging that I know only a little, and I may unintentionally not be. For example, I recently learned that a gentle handshake in Native culture can be a sign of respect. Reminder to self: follow the other person’s lead when unsure – and even when you think you know what you are doing…

Back to beadwork! The Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives in Brampton, Ontario (just west of Toronto) is exhibiting “Spirit Seeds: A Celebration of First Nations Beadwork” until October 13th. From the images, it looks like there are some lovely examples of Niagara Falls area beadwork. Also, there’s a beaded cuff class on October 4th.

In Los Angeles, the Autry National Center is showing “Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork.” On exhibit until April 26th, it is “a groundbreaking exhibition of more than 250 unique objects and personal stories. The exhibition is the first of its kind to explore how beaded floral designs became a remarkable art form as well as a means of economic and cultural survival for the Native North American people.” The exhibition catalog is by Lois Sherr Durbin. The Autry will also be hosting beading workshops.

Please visit if you are in either area, if you want to see some beautiful beadwork! If you can’t, read this article about the evolution of beadwork through the generations in the Prince Albert Daily Herald, and this article about a rare Cree coat at the Autry in the Los Angeles Times.

Edit (7/25/14): The current issue of Magazine Antiques (July/August 2014) has an article “A Fruitful Exchange” about the Autry exhibit. Six full pages, including a picture of a pair of quilled boots by Jamie Okuma. The article isn’t currently available on the website, but may be later.

Edit (8/18/14): Another article! The current issue of American Indian Art Magazine (Autumn 2014) ALSO has an article about the Autry exhibit. Again, many pages long and with many photographs, s0me different than the above. It is also not available on the website, sorry. This exhibit must be something to see…

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Linda Fifield

Linda Fifield is a Kentucky bead artist who is perhaps best know for beading over wooden vessels that she or her husband turns on a lathe. Her work is beautiful and precise, often with expert color gradations, and sometimes the addition of ruffles or flames tipped with orange.

The Kentucky Craft History and Education Association (KCHEA) has started loading videos of craft luminaries: “Linda was raised in rural Kentucky with her extended family engaged in functional crafts. She began her exploration of beading after being inspired by an exhibition at Chicago’s Field Museum. Linda has developed a unique method of beading. In these excerpts she talks about influences of place and family in the development of her career, her beading techniques, and design influences. She discusses the benefits she has derived from participation with many different craft programs in Kentucky and the region.”

There are several videos on Linda Fifield’s page on the Kentucky Craft History website. Each video is about two minutes or less, where she discusses each topic individually. The purpose of the Craft Luminary Project is to document and preserve through video history interviews the personal stories of individuals who have made significant contributions to Kentucky’s craft movement and impacted Kentucky craft history. We are fortunate that Linda was chosen as one of the three samples posted, of the more than 60 interviews KCHEA has conducted over the last five years.

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