I’ve been working with myriad combinations of beads and sequins a great deal recently and I can’t wait to continue further – I’d go so far as to say they’ve almost become my raison d’etre.
So what is it exactly that attracts many people just like me to want to work hour after hour with them?
Is it simply the joy of colour, the sparkle, or the texture of these tiny – or not so tiny, embellishments?
Small they may be, but they have a tendency to insinuate their way into our lives, whispering gentle nothings into our imagination – encouraging and influencing our creative decision-making and wriggling their way into our stash of delicious necessities.
They become our muse.
And as pretty as some beads and sequins are, they have a history that reaches back through time to our ancient forebears who used seashells, seeds, and even broken egg shells to adorn and decorate their clothing, with a recorded history that goes back 5,000 years or more.
Many of Tutankhamun’s tunics and collars were richly beaded and gold sequin-like discs were also found stitched onto some of his garments. Alexander the Great wore a beaded robe when he conquered Persia in 331 BC. Research the embroidery of Opus Anglicanum to see how often tiny pearls were used and who could look at almost any painting of Elizabeth I and not see pearl beads worked into that sumptuous embroidery.
I think part of the attraction also is the immense variety now available via our computer fingertips.
But for me, as I work, stitch by stitch to attach these loveable little adornments, it’s all about the colour, the texture, and the dimension they can create – check out the image below using hand-painted paper sequins, covered with embroidery and beautiful beadwork.
Now that’s a tall order for any embellishment.
They have a character and personality all their own, and everyone will want to use them differently. They add glitter and glamour, draw attention, and offer bucketloads of pizzazz.
Want to see a contemporary and innovative use of beads and sequins? Then take a look at the work of English embroiderer, Jessica Grady here.
I know beads and sequins aren’t for everyone, and not all embroidery needs their attention, but when you do include them, you simply can’t miss them.
Used judiciously, they’re elegant and refined. Use them like me and it’s like all your Christmases have come at once.
And how good is that?
All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.