Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's All a Process

Sometimes simple is better:

mother of pearl necklace

My son and his wife brought me this Mother-of-Pearl spiral pendant from their trip to New Zealand this summer.

My first inclination was to make it a pendant on a string of beads or pearls. I got out all the mother-of-pearl, pearls and dyed pearls, shells, stones and glass beads that I thought might work with the colors in the pendant:

necklace process2

Then I made a bale out of silver wire and a few beads:

Mother of pearl necklace4

while I thought about which pearls and beads to use, and in what way, for the necklace: one strand or two? length? stone and glass, or pearls only? mother-of-pearl, and dyed pearls? I ruminated. But something irritated me about the bale: I thought it might be hard on the pendant. I thought it just might scratch or mar the surface of the Mother-of-Pearl, over time. Also, somehow, the hard wire clashed with the organic softness of the pearl surface and shape.

Then I remembered a necklace that I have, made for me by Mary Spanos several years ago. She wove a fine silk ribbon of her handspun, and wrapped the ribbon around an antique stone spindle whorl:

Mary's necklace2

Simple, effective and beautiful. I wear it often, especially to spinning and weaving venues where someone else might recognize and appreciate the stone whorl.

So, I had a small skein of silk:

silk yarn for mother of pearl dyeing

Which I then dyed a few colors that seemed "mother-of-pearl" to me:

abalone silk2

abalone silk

and warped up a silk ribbon. It was woven on an inkle loom, about 27" long, with white 30's/2 silk as weft.

The finished ribbon was wrapped around the pendant, with a simple knot. I had thought to leave it there, but the mother-of-pearl is not very weighty. To add some heft, I slipped on one silver bead.

There is not even a clasp:

necklace finished

I finished the warps with a twisted fringe, and simply tied the ends.

Sometimes simple is best:

two necklaces


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:09 AM  
Blogger judy said...

perfect color, lovely solution. the little bead does make a great cinch rather than the knot showing and weights it for hanging. Nice, Sara.

Do you have time to sleep?

9:25 AM  
Blogger margene said...

The silk is perfect and words simply elegant come to mind. Very, very nice.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Naomi said...


9:52 AM  
Blogger Caroline M said...

It is lovely. You're right about there being a place for simple things. One of my mummy lines is "Just because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD". It was developed as a response to a six year old's behaviour but I've found that it crosses over to my knitting too. Just because I've mastered a tricky way of doing something doesn't mean that I have to use it every time. Just because I've got a big book of lace stitches doesn't mean that I have to use every single one of them in the same shawl.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Beautiful and very effective. The colors of the silk are perfect.

10:47 AM  
Blogger vanessa said...


12:36 PM  
Blogger Sue Bleiweiss said...

Fabulous and I'll bet it looks wonderful on. Nicely done!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Lori said...


1:36 PM  
Blogger Marlene said...

It's the simple things that I love best. Beautiful.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Purple Fuzzy Mittens said...

You have perfectly preserved the organic feel of it! And I love the idea of painting a warp for the inkle loom. It makes me want to go home and drop all of my 57,000 other projects and try weaving some ribbons!

4:42 PM  
Blogger beadlizard said...

I adore silk tape. I use it to bind the edges of woven panels of beadwork. The colors you chose are perfect. --Syl

6:45 PM  
Blogger Beryl Moody said...

You did a great job of enhancing the elegance of the mother of pearl spiral. Wonderful.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

In the words of Peter Sagal, "Well done!"

10:05 PM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

What an excellent (and elegant) solution. You do such thoughtful work, as evidenced by your re-construction of the steps... I always love getting a peek into your thought processes.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Beautiful! I love the way you recreated the mother of pearl color-way. You continue to blow me away with your creativity.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Maia said...

Simply stunning! It allows the pendant to be the star. I am guessing that the woven cord is more dynamic than it photographs.

9:05 AM  
Blogger June said...

On my feedreader, I have a setting that searches for the word "handspun" in any 'blog (not just the ones I've subbed to), and I've discovered interesting new writers this way.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is because your post came up (among the dozens that it finds per day). I skimmed over it (looking only at the photos) and thought, y'know, this looks like Sara's work... I clicked the link, and lo! It is!

12:44 PM  
Blogger c u r i o u s w e a v e r said...

Exquisite weaving...beauty and function entwined.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

Simply beautiful.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Beautiful! What an elegant way to finish off a marvelous pendant. I'm going to tuck that idea away in my box of tricks.

2:42 AM  
Blogger JesseKleinbach said...

Nice Work Mom!

2:00 PM  
Blogger ShannonK said...

Sara, it is absolutely beautiful. I love the simplicity and elegance, of course that is usually my style. You always seem to find a way to emphasize the important pieces. We are glad you like the pendant.

3:16 PM  

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