New Snappy Couture just in time for Spring!

The Dandelion Gala

I am celebrating the lovely and so often rejected Dandelion in a way that will not lead anyone to spray their lawns with caustic substances, stab at it with sharp tools or yank on it with gloved fingers. A beautiful Gala for the sadly abhorred blossom. I worked on this over the 5 days we spent in a cabin in March for our birthdays and anniversary. I began with the nearly dozen layer golden flower and tatted the different leaves and flowers together as much as possible. The larger than life Dandelion is shuttle tatted with a variety of glass beading worked into the layers. The shimmer and sparkle is wonderful.

The flower alone took several hours to complete. Beads must be strung on the cordonnet in advance and pulled into the tatting as I work. So it is knot, loop, knot, bead, knot….and so on. The knots, loops, and beads of each layer are counted in advance and graphed on paper. A time consuming process but enjoyable and so worth the time.

The leaf design was made especially for this piece. I used the holly design that I have made before for other fiber art works as seen on this barrette

I made the stem twist tighter, the beginning narrower and end wide and added lockstitches at the edges to make the stitiches turn in. I was trying to give the leaves the rounded but jagged look of true dandelion leaves. I used references from the internet to redesign the leaf pattern. Several attempts were made before I was happy with the effect.

I used two weights of leaf green cordonnet to make the leaves and changed the core thread to give more dimension. I wanted the larger leaf to stand out more and used a dark gold thread at the core which leaves little flecks of color through the leaf adding brightness and congruency. The two smaller leaves have an evergreen core thread making them recede a little and deepen in color slightly. Finally, when I worked the outside chain, it was reversed so the edges curl up. I like that effect. It feels fresh and natural to me.

This is a photo of my work station beside my chair in the cabin. It was so nice to have all of my stuff out for days and not have to worry about curious kitties dragging things off! You can see my thread balls, beads, tons of shuttles, needles, hooks, embroidery scissors and a few comfort things like chapstick and Udder Cream hand lotion which keeps my worn hands soft but does not stain threads and fabric. The blue cup is for snipped thread ends. I get very bothered by loose ends…imagine that!

After the main flower and leaves are tatted together I began to make ” Teeny Tats”, tiny one ring flowers that I named when I began making notecards.

I could have stopped with just the Dandelion and its leaves but I wanted purple  to set off the gold and the Teeny Tats are an adorable way to add color without detracting from the design. I had to decide how many and where to position the Teenies. So, laying the motif flat I move the little flowers around. I placed the richer colors and heavier weight threads closer to the Dandelion and faded them out to the very finest and lightest Teenies at the edges. I took a photo of where they are to be placed so I can remove them  while I work but still have a reference saving me time. In the end I did not use all of them and the remainder go into a small round box to be used on other projects. Each Teenie was hand sewn into the work using its own ends. A glass bead was sewn into each center for sparkle. For pricing, I add 3 minutes for each Teenie plus the amount of time it took to sew them into the design.

I was tickled pink with the way this work evolved. Originally I was making a Spring Gala but the Dandelion is so large and such a focal point that I thought it was appropriate that the Gala be just for this Dandelion. It’s own formal affair. I brought the motif home and added Sterling links and white organdy ribbon with a fantastic shimmer. A two inch chain extender is at the clasp so it can fit any size neck. the “V” shape of the design makes this statement necklace a natural fit.

The Dandelion Gala Statement necklace is now listed in my Etsy shop for sale. It is part of my Snappy Couture line, a glamorous collection of statement jewelry that is one of a kind.

The Creation of the Winter Gala Statement Necklace

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.


Autumn Gala

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.

Summer Gala

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.

Myself in Winter Gala

I have been an artist of many mediums but the satisfaction of lace-making and Fiber Art design keeps me happy, healthy and fulfilled.

link to Etsy Snappy Couture: