I love the look of freeform peyote stitch criss-crossing its way through a wire armature, especially if I can find some really striking object to use for the centerpiece. I had already started on a freeform piece when I came across my friend Amy E. Fraser’s collection of polymer clay medallions. Amy is an extremely prolific and creative artist whose first love is painting. Based upon a series of enchanting women that she painted, Amy designed many series of medallions. She calls the collection Exalted Beauty. I had a hard time choosing, but finally settled on a floral medallion that Amy made in the colors I was working with.
Materials and Tools:.
20 inches sterling silver wire, 14 gauge
Seed beads, #8s and #11s
3-5 assorted glass floral beads, 4-10mm
Polymer clay floral medallion (available from Exalted Beauty)
20 inches of beading wire, .019” diameter
25-35 assorted glass beads, 6-10mm
2 sterling silver crimp tubes, 2mm
Sterling silver toggle clasp
Ball peen hammer
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
1. Assemble a collection of seed beads and assorted accent beads that you might use. I like to gather up twelve or more colors that I think I might work, and make my final selections as I go. I mostly stick with size 8/0 and 11/0 seed beads, but tube beads and some slightly larger beads are nice for texture and variety.
2. Bend heavy gauge sterling silver wire into a curving shape, approximately 4 inches long from end to end. I used 20 inches of 14 gauge wire to create a shape similar to what you see in the photo above. Form a loop at each end and hammer the wire flat with a ball peen hammer.
3. String 4 inches of seed beads in blocks of colors. Peyote stitch along the band with the same colors, doing two complete rows. Weave the band through the sterling silver armature.
4. Starting at one end, peyote stitch around the outer wire. Stitch along one edge of the peyote band, wrapping the thread around each wire that you cross on your first pass. This will be covered by future work. Peyote stitch around the outer wire at the other end.
5. Stitch back and forth from end to end along both the outer and inner edges of your peyote band with freeform peyote and netting stitch. Add beads of different sizes and colors as you please. Skip some stitches, stringing on extra beads, to create arches in your work. Anchor your piece to the armature as you work by weaving in and out of the wires.
6. Build up the texture in the center portion of your freeform work by adding additional arches with seed beads. Add ruffles to these arches by adding three beads at a time instead of just one. For your final rows along the bottom edge, add some larger decorative beads. I added a few glass floral beads. Stitch through the bail of your medallion with small seed beads, attaching it firmly to the rest of the piece.
7. To wear my freeform piece, I created a 17 inch beaded strand with a toggle closure. This gives the option of wearing the strand alone or with the elaborate centerpiece. Cut a 20 inch piece of beading wire, and alternate small and large beads evenly along the entire strand. I used assorted glass beads from 6 to 10 mm in the same colors as my seed beads, and alternated them with size 8/0 seed beads. Use small seed beads at each end and a crimp tube to attach the toggle clasp parts.
Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.