The making of a shibori silk beaded barrette

bezeling a teeny rivoli
 This barrette was an order for a friend of mine. I made two of them as close to matching as possible :)

I wrote up this tutorial because many people have been asking me for one centered on how I design my open concept shibori.

first arm of the cross
 The rivoli is a SS29 size in vitrial colour. I have a large stash of interesting colours of beads, and I happened to have some 11/0 delica beads in violet/bronze which went perfectly with the rivoli and the colour shift of the silk. When bezeling, I did the outside layer with the initial points for the cross so I could get the spacing right, because I hadn't done a cross before.

 I am not covering the actual process of making a beaded bezel around a rivoli in this blog entry, but you can find a good one here on youtube. I used a stitch that I kind of made up for the arms of the cross. I call this stitch cubic herringbone, but it's basically a take on tubular herringbone, done with only 2 sides. (I eventually plan on covering this stitch in a step by step blog entry, or a youtube video.) I used 3mm swarovski pearls in iridescent green for the ends.

all done the cross
 Normally I use fireline for bead weaving, but I ran out of it and so I used a violet coloured nymo. I am not a fan of weaving with nymo as it's difficult for me to keep the tension consistent with it, even with conditioning, and consistent tension is important with weaving.

finding the best spot
 I tried a couple of different placement spots and orientations with the cross, before tacking it down, as I was trying to set it up best for the colour and shine of the rivoli when worn. Once I found where looked the best, I started sculpting the ripples by tacking them down with beads and crystals in different areas. The colours of the beads and crystals used was chosen to pull colours out in different areas. Part of the art of using shibori silk to create with, is the placement of the pleats. You will see all types of uses with shibori, including grouping all of the pleats close together, and even folding/twisting them, but my preferred way is this way, which shows off all of the gorgeous colour play in both the top of the silk and the depth of it. All of the hand dyed and pleated shibori that I use, I buy from Lisa at Aria Design Studio on Etsy.

sculpting the ripples
 During ripple sculpting I don't work in a linear fashion, as the look of it changes and evolves with every place you tack down. Tacking and ripple placement starts first and foremost with the initial decoration, which is the cross in this case. From that point I push and pinch and try different placings for the waves to see what looks right, adding different sizes of beads depending on the height of the wave. I do tend to work in general areas, but even then sometimes I go back and forth from one end to the other. I use up a lot of thread this way, but I'm okay with that. Before I started the tacking, I trimmed the edges of the Stiff Stuff backing in a ripple effect, but I ended up trimming more during the tacking process as well to coincide with the placement of the ripples. I tried to use inspiration from the Aurora Borealis for placement, as this is what the colourway of this barrette reminds me of. :)

starting on the ends
 As I place the ripples I also fold the ends over and tack it down, using stitches and sometimes beads, but still paying attention to the look of the ripples. I used to do this while I was beading the ends and edges, but I found that very frustrating to do, so now I sculpt and then do the finishing beadwork after everything is tacked.

closeup of the end
 I used toho 11/0 beads in cornflower lined rainbow and purple lined light topaz for the edging and end work. I prefer to do the end work by sewing down each bead individually, as this gives me more control over the end result and placement. I have an affinity for lined colours, but lined colours don't work as well for embroidery as solid colours do, so I have a bunch of both. I alternated which colour I was using depending on where in the colourway of the silk I was edging.

almost done the edging
 I personally find that sewing down the final backing is best done while edging, so once I was done the ends, I positioned and attached the barrette on/with the backing, and then trimmed it to fit. I used ultrasuede to back it, with the "fuzzy" side out as this aids in the gripping of the hair when clipped shut, and the attaching of the clip is one of the few places in my creations that I use glue, as I find that the action of the use of a barrette stresses the thread too much without it.

all done the edging
 The edging was done with a 5 bead whip. This is my favorite style of edging, and takes much less time than my second favorites, which are brick stitch and picot. I tend to design not only with the end result in mind, but also with the cost in mind as I prefer to make things that are affordable for everyone, and not just for those who have lots of extra money for pretties. This of course ties in with the whole concept of "The longer it takes to make, the more it costs" as skilled labour is worth a good wage, and I insist on being paid for my time. Fortunately I'm also fairly fast ;)

curved to sit well on the head
 This barrette is a large one, done with a clip that will accommodate thick hair. One of the things I love about these clips is that they are big enough that I can make the entire barrette follow the curve, which I find really aids how it sits.

 I hope that this has helped you understand how to do a flowing shibori silk design, and I'm always happy to answer technique and questions. (I'm not always happy to be told that I should have done something differently, but feel free to tell me how you would have done it, I love a good creative chat.)

all prettied up
The final picture is a "prettified" picture done up in my home made light box and collaged to show both the full piece as well as different views. :)


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