Saturday, September 4, 2010

Beadwork: Oil Slick Medicine Bag

Beaded Medicine Bag: glass seed beads, thread

The "oil slick" effect of this beaded medicine bag is achieved bead by bead. The color of these lovely glass seed beads are called matte iris. They come as a rainbow mix.

I choose a starting color, then use my needle to pick up the next closest color. I find it very relaxing. I focus my color vision and somewhat unfocus my natural vision so the color I desire pops out of the mix. It would be tedious if I didn't enjoy the challenge.

The bag itself is woven in a peyote weave, also called the gourd stitch because of how easily the weave conforms to an object. I begin with a circle of beads on my thread. Then I add two beads, skip two-so on and so forth. The next row fills in the two skipped beads. This simple process builds the bag. The resulting circular tube is stitched together at the bottom to complete the bag.

Fringe is stitched to the bottom of the bag. Each strand is knotted. Not only does this secure the fringe, it helps it to have flexibility.

The light-catching accent beads are vintage cut bronze Czech beads and are very old. The irregular cuts are a nice contrast to the matte seed beads.

What to put in a medicine bag? A coin, a crystal, a note, a lock of hair. Special tokens seem to find their way to a little pocket worn close to the heart.

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