Sunday, April 5, 2009

Variations on a Theme

I'm frequently asked why I started beading and who taught me.
As to why - I have been collecting vintage clothing since my early twenties and I started attempting ( emphasis on attempt, those first efforts were truly pitiful) to create reproduction clothing in 1994 and I wanted appropriate accessories to complete my outfits.
As to who - it was the venerable firm of Trail & Error, especially heavy on the error!

Here's my very first beading project:

The pattern is from a republication of the Priscilla Bead Work Book, originally published in 1912. It's described as "A sunflower centre surrounded by morning-glories, nasturtiums, sweet peas and opal ground combine to make this very handsome bag." The pattern was intended to be knit although it is suggested that it could be adapted to canvas work. With over 30 colors of beads, it was not the ideal beginner project!

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to find and purchase a bag obviously made from the same pattern.

Over the years, I've seen about half a dozen bags made from the same pattern, all just a bit different from each other and even more interestingly, not ONE of them followed the pattern exactly; everyone changed things, some more, some less so. Was this due to personal choice? Or was it a case of "this is what I have to work with"? For me, it was just not knowing any better; I made some really poor choices in bead selection, but I ended up with a usable bag, so it wasn't a total waste. I learned so much and I may someday replicate this bag again, just to see the differences some experience can make.


  1. You do beautiful work! I love the insights on winter life on Mackinac Island as well. I spend several weeks every summer in our family cottage in Mackinaw City, so the photos are poignant to me - when I'm not there, I miss it so much!

    Keep writing!