My Snappy Couture line of Gala tatted necklaces are decadent tributes to a season. The designs are inspired by the colors and feelings that each season brings. My latest Gala is dedicated to winter. With all the snow and ice we have been having, the world outside my window has been transformed into crisp silvery white radiance.
The creation of Gala necklaces and any of the Snappy Couture designs is an intense journey that begins in my head. I get an idea of the texture and motion I would like to convey as well as how embellishment will play a role in the overall design. It’s about the feeling as well as chosen components.
This is Autumn Gala, which was inspired by an 8 day cabin vacation in the Western PA woods at Raccoon Creek State Park. The third week of October produced fantastic colors in leaves that were swirling all around us. My absolute favorite colors are autumn colors. And I pulled as many of them from nature that I could to produce this swirling tribute to fall. The focus of the design is the swirl of the leaves. I worked in a circular pattern and tatted these leaves together creating three layers of components. I used thread from size 20 to 70 and 80 to vary the size of the leaves while using the same two patterns. Minimal beading down the stems punctuates the motion without detracting from the focus of the color and elements.
This version of Summer Gala has more of a blooming flower intention. Summery saturated colors of Azalea Pink and Salmon are highlighted with complimentary glass beading. I wanted a feeling of full blooms falling through the air and gently surrounding you. The leaves in this design add weight and balance allowing Summer Gala to be pleasingly asymmetrical. Beading and accent pearls were more important to this piece with my desire to have a blossoming affect.
The tricky part of the Gala necklaces is deciding where to attach all of the components. The process does begin in my head and kind of rattles around in there for awhile till I finally sit down and look through my multitude of threads and choose a color scheme. Thread size determines the size of the components so that is taken into account as well. I have approached the Gala style two ways…I have tatted the pieces together as I make them and I have tatted the pieces leaving long ends to secure them after I decide on the design. Autumn Gala was tatted together. So was another version of Summer last year. The Winter components were all tatted separately and sewn together later. This was due, in part, to the the extensive beading of the leaves. I used hundreds of tiny glass rocaille beads that are lined with silver. The shimmer is fantastic and the leaves look like the edges are dipped in Sterling. After I made one leaf in this manner I decided not to tat them together because I wanted to position them in a way that showed off this fantastic shimmer and left negative space for skin to show through the design. So I decided to wait until I had all of the flowers and leaves made to attach them to each other. Two shades of silvery gray, white and a very light blue were used. All icy colors that remind me of winter. I did not want the piece to be overwhelmingly white or gray so the pale blue was added to create more coolness and depth.
The Flowers were worked on next. At first I intended to have snowflake like flowers falling around the leaves like in Summer Gala but after the leaves developed so beautifully, I decided to be more sparing with the flowers. Two larger styles were decadently edge beaded with glass, a very time consuming process. The rest were tiny multiple-layer one ring flowers I call Teeny Tats.
After all components are made a difficult decision has to be answered. Where do I place everything and achieve what is on my mind?
All the flowers and leaves have long thread ends on them in case I need length to add more beading or a long connection. When I find the composition that works, I photo it, change it to black and white, make a copy and then label all the flowers by thread and bead color. Then I can store the flowers in individually labeled cups to make my work less cluttered. This also takes the issue of trying to remember where everything goes out of the equation.
I use each leaf’s thread end to sew all the leaves together and attach different kinds of glass beading down the center veins as well. The largest flowers are sewn next with AB coated pailettes added under the glass beads. One issue I was faced with was how to make the flowers more distinguishable against similar colored leaves. The Aurora Borealis coating of the sequins and some of the beads gives the flowers a cool pink/lavender glow setting them apart from the silvery leaves. Continuing to follow my guide, I attach the Teeny Tats one by one with more pailettes and glass pearls.
I take great care in hiding my threads within my work and sewing the ends in such a way that it doesn’t disturb the look of the lace. I tat using the continuous thread technique as much as possible to have fewer ends to sew in, usually just two. This gives the lace more strength as well.
After all the tedious tatting, beading, and sewing I arrive at the place where I feel this work is complete. The right colors, composition, texture…just the right feel has formed. In the end I have used hundreds of beads and sequins and it has been worked on over several days. White organdy ribbon with Sterling Silver ribbon ends, clasp and chain is the final touch to make this a Gala necklace.
This work of Fiber Art has taken so much care and attention that by now I feel overwhelmed. It has become so much more than that original thought that rattled around in my mind.
I feel so much pride in my work. Expressing myself through fiber is always an amazing experience.
I have been an artist of many mediums but the satisfaction of lace-making and Fiber Art design keeps me happy, healthy and fulfilled.
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