“Until you step into the unknown, you don’t know what you’re made of.” -Roy T. Bennett
Luna City necklace bead embroidery experiment was an adventure worth sharing. Every step of the way was full of surprises. Every detail was leading me to a new idea. Every stitch was part of a journey – a bead embroidered journey through the Luna City.
Luna City necklace started from a set of beads carefully selected by Adornable Elements.
I remember looking at the beads and thinking: there is nothing that calls for bead embroidery here. Nevertheless, I felt it was my chance to swim against the stream and experiment with embroidery techniques.
The colors of the beads inspired the name of this project. When I create, I always feel detached from reality. A city away from this planet seem to be a perfect place for me and my beads.
Even the most spontaneous looking beaded creations starts with a sketch.
My sketch clearly suggested I have bold objects such as two-hole Pyramid Hex beads. I felt I’d rather treat them like focal points. Therefore I positioned them first because they were larger that all other beads in the set. Then I arranged other elements around them.
After the approximate sketched was completed, I realized that there are two levels of the composition that I have to keep in my mind while I follow my beadwork plan: flat and dimensional.
Flat Luna City Design
Flat Luna City is a necklace that you see from a distance, just like you would look at the city from a plane. You see buildings, fields, streets, but you don’t know how high are the objects and you don’t see the details. Therefore, the flat version of the design just introduces you to the set of colorful objects and some graphic design around them.
Since most of the beads were in darker colors, I had to add lighter seed beads to create a contrast between small objects withing the design. These lighter beads also helped me create some movement in the composition and prevent all the colors smudging together when the necklace is seen from a distance.
Dimensional Luna City Design
The dimensions of the Luna City is for the inspired visitors who like to fly between the buildings and walk the city exploring it street by street.
A closer look reveals that some objects are groups of two-hole beads. We usually use these beads for bead weaving and usually position them flat.
I tried a different approach.
I stacked Tile beads in clusters resembling clusters of ordinary building structured. Some of them are connected by one “walkway” on top of them.
I also stitched up Silky beads vertically to create objects similar to building structures.
I used two-hole Brick beads both ways: vertically and flat.
I arranged two-hole Piggy beads into a flower-like shape to resemble a modern architectural design.
The highway rising above the city is actually a CRAW rope stitched to the surface. It wouldn’t be necessary to use this stitch for this particular part of the design if I wouldn’t want the highway to curl up in the center of the city and pass it over other elements to keep the “traffic” moving.
The challenge of the graphic design for me was to incorporate geometrical shapes and harmonize the composition with the smooth lines. Seed beads served this purpose beautifully. I did not introduce other sizes of seed beads to keep the selection to a minimum and focus on a given set. I only added light lavender and mint green seed beads to create contrast.
Despite their geometrical shapes, most of the beads in the selection were cranky and fractious when I wanted them to take their assigned positions. Sometimes I had to stitch up one bead twice and repeatedly stitch up the whole cluster together to make it look like one object and ensure its secure attachment to the surface. As I mentioned in my other post about Crescent beads in bead embroidery, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the two-hole beads behave this way when it comes to fixating them in a particular position on a backing surface. However, this doesn’t have to stop you from experimenting with them. You might find a new way of designing with them. You never know.
Tila beads were probably the easiest to embroider with. When I stitched them together, they formed nicer shapes than other beads.
Honeycomb beads were also comfortable to work with. Due to their color, they represented green areas of the city in the design. Clustering them and then filling the surface around them with seed beads were a little challenging, though. It was worth the trouble because at the end these green areas stood out on the design.
I didn’t know I like to challenge myself until I tried it. Thanks to the Beadwork magazine that gave me this opportunity and featured my necklace in their blog publication Beads of the Month Beadwork Challenge. It was a pleasure to participate!