Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Alliums are one of those flowers that seem like they couldn't possibly be real. The chives growing in the garden, well ok, but the giant allium that grow 5 feet tall with 4" globe shaped blooms? And they're purple! The first time I encountered these flowers was at a rest stop in Virginia. I was amazed (and impressed by the landscaping.) I since have planted many types in my gardens, but the Allium giganteum will always be my favorite. 
While trying to figure put how to use pink fringe (or tassels) in my Haute Couture necklace I was playing with my favorite colors of vintage French seed beads. That would, of course, be the pinks and purples. When I used to buy from Pierre Bovis in the 1990's he told me his family had been selling beads made in their factory in France to people living in the southwest United States since the early 1800's. At the time I was buying beads they were having difficulties with color in the pinks, especially the opaque, because the formulas they had always used contained ingredients that were being banned for industrial use. Probably lead, but maybe some gold too because the transparent pinks and purples of these beads have a luminescent quality with an inner glow that is just beautiful. It is also a permanent color; unlike so many of the Japanese beads it will not fade or rub off. The beads are not very well shaped, and the sizes vary within packages and from color to color, but sometimes that is better because you get a more organic look with the finished piece.

After trying a couple of different ways to blend the various components it was clear if I insisted on fringe the overall piece was going to be too busy. Instead of the fringe I decided to make some flowers. In keeping with the tassel idea I made some chives. This was a pretty simple flower to make. I mixed the size 10, 11, and 12 beads for the center and fringe, and used some Toho 11 and 15 beads for the base. I am not sure how I will work the chives in since I already have a large flower for the focal point.

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