The Birth of a Freeform Peyote Bracelet – Part 1

When I woke up yesterday morning, I discovered that the power was off. That was strange because we hadn’t had any storms overnight nor was it terribly windy. I called the power company to be told that they were working on the wires up the street and the power would be restored by 10am. Ok, I guess I could wait for my cup of tea until then. I waited patiently, writing 3 pages of Morning Pages and doing a little reading in my current book, Happy for No Reason. 10am came and went and I called the power company again only to get their automated power outage line. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who had called in. Without lights, there was no working in my studio so I brought some beadwork out on the deck where there was plentiful sunshine. The power came back on about 7:30 last night when I was out having dinner with a friend who I hadn’t seen in 3 years.

So, what did I do yesterday, you ask? Out there on my sunny deck, another freeform peyote bracelet was born.

I chose 9 different beads in various sizes – 11s, 8s and 6s – and strung about 10-15 beads of each color for a total of 6 inches. I used 2 of the beads twice in my strand for a total of 11 sections. I always string an even number of beads on a neutral color Silamide thread. Silamide is a twisted 2-ply prewaxed thread that has been used by dressmakers for years. Here’s some great information about it. I’ve been using this thread for years now and I really like it. I used to always use Nymo but it tangled too much on me even when I waxed it. I think that the best thread to use is whatever you feel comfortable with and works well for you. Before I added all of my beads, I added one bead, leaving a 6 inch tail, and looped the thread around to go through that bead again. This creates what is called a “stop” bead which prevents the beads from falling off your thread.

In peyote stitch, I added the second row of beads, stopping to tighten every 3 beads or so. You can see how the sections are more accentuated now.

I then added a third row.

From now on I will start adding beads so that the bracelet doesn’t look so striped. I do this by drifting the colors into each other. In my next installment, I’ll show how I do this.

I absolutely love this way of beading. You don’t have to follow a pattern, only a technique and even then, you will be improvising on the technique here and there. Every freeform piece you create is totally unique and expresses your voice, what you were experiencing, thinking of and feeling in the moment. What colors shall I use? Shall I put this color next to that color? What size beads? The more sizes you use, the more textural and wavy your piece will become. It’s a wonderful way to experiment with different beads. There isn’t a right way or wrong way to do it. Just get in the flow and add one or two beads at a time and see where the beads lead you.