Now I’ve started to get the hang of reticulation, it’s actually quite hard to get the holes I was intially looking for, so when I produced this (mostly unholed)piece, I decided to cut shapes out and find ways of working them into jewellery.
My first idea was to cut circles and use them a bit like shishas, but the strong fan shape at the top was too tempting to resist, so I cut that out too.
A bit like half a leaf.
During the long drive home, I started to play with ideas involving using the metal as one side of the leaf and having the other side embroidered. To give a solid textured finish, I went for one of my favourite embroidery stitches, detached buttonhole stitch in hand dyed mercerised cotton on dark green silk dupion.
With the barrelled and polished brass section.
And with the stitching completed.
Long bullion knots had worked very well on the Volcano pendant for holding the metal in place. Here I thought they would look like stylised veins on the leaf.
The green thread worked well and was very forgiving over such a long distance and then I had a brainwave of going for a mirror image effect by using gold thread over the detached buttonhole stitch.
Using the gold thread was pretty nerve-wracking as it was stiffer and a lot trickier to pull through layers of fabric and thread while keeping the wraps even. It also made a horrible noise as it came through as if it was stripping the metal off the core, but in spite of that it also behaved remarkably well.
And laid down much more neatly than I expected. Seen this close up there seems to be an awful lot of the yellow silk core showing but it looks a lot more sparkly and evenly covered in real life.
At this point I was really pleased with the effect and moved on to cutting out a matching leaf shape from some Vilene and covering it with the metal and embroidery.
The same silk as the background was used to cover another piece for the back.
But I didn’t like it. Without the green silk surrounding it, the leaf looked and felt chunky and blocky. It definitely needed some sort of border or edging to set off the central embroidery. I didn’t want to have to undo it all and add in extra fabric, so I went for a simple line of seaweed green seed beads around the edge and worked a border of light green beads accented with metallic dark copper into that.
It was exactly the finishing touch it needed, offsetting the heavy embroidery of the centre and lightening the whole thing.
Not quite finished though. It’s actually only 4.5cm/just under 2 inches long. Is that too small for a pendant? Would it be better as a brooch?