. . . Certain designs also contain heavy gauge sterling silver wire that has been coiled, hammered flat, antiqued, and added as spacers between the rope and larger end beads. Other semi-precious donut shaped spacer beads are added to “connect” the color of the rope to the end bead. Finally, an antiqued sterling silver stamped disk identifying me as the artist is added.  Alternatively, my medium length "cluster" ropes terminate with a mixture of various colorful Czechoslovakian pressed glass beads in the shape of daggers, leaves, and teardrops arranged to form a cluster resembling a pine cone or cluster of grapes.


I usually like to crochet many different colored ropes before making final design decisions about the end beads. That is because I pull all my trays of beads out at once, alongside the many colored ropes, to determine the best fit of end bead to rope. My entire desk, adjoining tables, and floor are covered with beads at this point. There are usually several possible design options, but as every artist knows, when the right one appears, your gut lets you know. Then it's a matter of fine-tuning the design with the spacer beads, which, I think, pull the whole design together.


The chokers can be technically more difficult. Outside of maintaining an even tension while crocheting, the incorporation of a Tibetan or Indian pendant inlaid with coral and turquoise for example, or a delicate Venetian glass tube from Italy, or a squash-shaped lapis stone placed into the middle of the choker can be a challenge as it requires a serious amount of weaving while ensuring the pendant or middle bead stays in its proper place.  


While there is evidence of crochet as early as 1500, no one knows exactly when bead crochet originated (most sources suggest the 1830s).  Most everyone is aware of the popularily of bead crochet bags and ropes during the 1920's flapper era.  These designs traditionally consisted of a long thin crocheted rope with a tassel or fringe of beads at the end.  


Today, with the availability of versatile shapes and colors of Czech pressed glass beads, and pendants and stones from around the world, the exploration and creation of non-traditional, ethnically-influenced, or organic/nature-based designs is endless.  Playing with the infinite array of colors, shapes and materials just makes me happy.