Can Yoga Philosophy Improve Your Beaded Jewelry Designs?

Nov 22, 2013

The more I practice yoga, the more I discover that my practice can apply to every other aspect of my life -- including my beaded jewelry design ideas. One of the most important concepts to me in all of yoga is the concept of santosha. Santosha can be interpreted in many different ways: either as a sense of contentment with things just how they are, or as a sense of not being attached to any thoughts or expectations. So, what does this have to do with successful beaded jewelry designs?

Well, as I work my way through National Seed Bead Month, I made it my goal to tackle a couple of UFOs that have been sitting patiently on my bead board as I play with my two-holed seed beads, my spikes, my gumdrops, and all those other fun glass beads that I use in my beading and jewelry making projects. The first piece I decided to tackle was this bead embroidered necklace, which I have been referring to as "Call of the Wild", made with a gorgeous Laura Mears porcelain mountain lion bead and one of my favorite gemstone cabochons from Gary Wilson that I bought at Bead Fest Philadelphia.

This piece was hard for me to envision from the beginning. I must have played with the arrangement of the components dozens of times, ripped out hours of stitching because I didn't like the way the colors lined up against each other, and finally settled on a composition that used three feet of copper-ish chain as fringe.

But I still didn't like it.

For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that this piece just had to have that copper chain as fringe! It had to! Why did it have to? I don't know. But there had to be copper chain in it! Somewhere! Somehow!

I even posted a picture of the piece on a Facebook group, asking for critiques and ideas on how to finish it. Lots of ideas came in, but I wasn't happy with any of them. Looking back, it's probably because I was so attached to the idea of using that chain in the finished design.

So, there it sat on my bead board, until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to look at the project in a whole new way. The first thing I did was tear off the chain from the bottom of the pendant -- whew! It was almost instant relief to rip those threads out. (I don't care what anyone says, I find it highly therapeutic to tear apart a beading project that just isn't working.) Then I cut the component with the porcelain bead off the bottom of the cabochon and attached it to the top. Much better!

Finally, the thing that had been bothering me the most about this particular beaded jewelry project was the neck strap. I wasn't sure if I should do an elaborate bead embroidered set of components, or just go with a simple beaded rope. A couple of hours playing with my seed beads in the same color palette that I used for the bead embroidery showed me that, yes, in this case, a simple twisted herringbone rope was exactly what I was looking for to add a little bit of texture to the finished beaded necklace. (A bonus: this twisted herringbone beaded rope will work up faster than a set of embroidered components would, and it won't overpower the cabochon and porcelain bead!)

The only thing I have left to figure out is if I should put any fringe on the bottom of the cabochon, and what kind of fringe to use. Again, I'll  be practicing non-attachment and instead of approaching the fringe with an idea of what it should look like, I'll let the beads tell me what they want to do.

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Letting go of my attachments really helped me to create a beautiful piece of beaded jewelry! What attachments are you holding on to with your beaded jewelry designs? Can you take one piece that has you stuck and think about it in a completely new way?

Bead Happy,


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Njak wrote
on Nov 22, 2013 12:09 PM

So where's a picture of the finished piece?

on Nov 22, 2013 12:34 PM

How about some copper chain in varied lengths dangled from the beaded rope so that it frames the lion head component? That's what my design-y brain is seeing...could be kind of mane-ish. :)

Claire@55 wrote
on Nov 23, 2013 12:52 PM

You could perhaps connect short pieces of the copper chain as fringe from the bottom-centre of the carb, especially as you really want to use it.  Are there any small beads you could attach to the chain?  The twisted herringbone rope is lovely and complements the pendants very well.

on Nov 23, 2013 2:47 PM

I am assuming that the bottom picture IS the finished product, right?  It does not need anything else, in my opinion.  It's just right!

ctutt wrote
on Nov 23, 2013 6:26 PM

The final design gets my vote! It is very clean, 'tribal' looking, and showcases both components.Yah, eliminating the chain was the right way to go.

I did that once with some black  wire I was DETERMINED to incorporate…finally I gave up, off it came, and voila! Enlightenment~~~

BetNew wrote
on Nov 23, 2013 7:30 PM

I don't think that it needs any fringe. That bottom photo shows a beautifully designed piece that needs nothing else ... except a finished neck chain :)

floozette wrote
on Nov 24, 2013 9:41 PM

Hi Jennifer

I do hope you don't think it too presumptuous of me, but I printed out your pendant and cut up the individual components which I then moved around.  Have you considered putting the mountain lion under the larger cabochon. This would create a totally different look from everything you have tried thus far.  And although I do not make jewellery, design is design wherever it is, so for my money - no chains needed.  IMHO the two cabochons are plenty, especially if you use the fancy twisted 'chain' that goes around your neck.

I  love the larger of these cabochons so if you find it all too difficult, it would have a good home with me, lol.