Sunday, July 30, 2017

Component of the Month-Scarabs

This month over at Art Elements Sue chose to make her lovely scarab beads for the design challenge. She makes her lampwork scarab beads in such lovely colors I was torn about which one I wanted so I asked her to just surprise me. When I received the bead I realized it was exactly the one I would have chosen if I had been forced to-hehe. Thanks Sue!!
Sue's shiny scarab beads

This is the one Sue sent me...
Sorry for the slightly blurred photo. It has such a gorgeous metallic sheen to it that I was having a hard time with the lighting.  The color reminds me of a raku finish-just divine!

I knew I wanted to do something with an Egyptian theme to it and even though it is a bead with a hole through it, I wanted to use it like a cab & do some bead embroidery. Initially, I thought about doing a necklace but when I sketched out the design it was WAY too large, although I bet Cleopatra would've worn it!

I created a polymer clay face with black clay and then used paint and ink to try and blend with the color of the scarab. I glued both the polymer clay face down and the scarab bead. When the glue had dried I still stitched the bead several times to make sure it stays put since it isn't flat backed like a cab.
Then I started beading...
Again, bad photo due to shiny face and scarab. You can see my sketch lines on the black bead foundation.

So sorry I failed to photograph the beaded piece when I was finished. I ended up cutting around the design and even cut out the center of the piece.  Since I wanted to mount this I wanted the backbround fabric to show through not the bead foundation.
I used an 8x8 stretched canvas & wrapped it with a piece of vintage silk kimono fabric, stapling it to the back of the canvas. Again, in a hurry and no process photos...

Once I wrapped the canvas and laid the bead piece on top, it needed more of that blue/gray color so I stitched some shibori silk ribbon behind the beaded piece to show through the cut-out area. Then I stitched the beaded piece onto the fabric wrapped canvas and it still needed something...So I grabbed some poly/nylon metallic looking ribbon thread and started making french knots around the edge of the beaded piece as you can see in the photo above. DID. NOT. LIKE. IT.
So I took the knots out and did a twisted chain stitch around the edge to soften between the bead piece and the flat background.  See photo below.
Stitching around the edge of the beaded medallion

When I finished with the twisted chain stitch around the edge I let it sit overnight then decided it NEEDED a little something else. So I stitched a few beads randomly over the background. And here is the finished piece....

Purple and metallic have to be THE hardest things to photograph-at least for me it is/was.
This background fabric is a thick crepe silk and the colors of purple that fade into a grayish periwinkle at the top was the perfect color for my 'Queen of Scarabs'.

As always, the component of the month challenge was great fun! I can't wait to see what the other members and guests have created.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and have a look at all the beautiful beetles this month.

Here are the participants:


AE Team


  1. But it did turn out wonderful! Love the combination with the face and the beading... and I so need to take a class with you! :)

  2. what a lovely piece of art. I cannot imagine sewing all those teeny beads in place one at a time. such patience such talent. beautiful how the shibori shows through the centre cutaway portion. the starry night seed beads are a wonderful finishing touch.

  3. Wow, perfect! That color really is so hard to photograph and get all the great colors. I love the polymer piece you made, the colors match perfectly! I love the inclusion of shibori and twisted chain, and all the little seed beads really do make it! Thank you!

  4. Such amazing bead work. I just love seeing all the different approaches to using this component. Your scarab looks like it is exactly where it's supposed to be!

  5. Your bead embroidery has a wonderful flow to it, I love all of the different details that lead your eye around the piece. It's a gorgeous world of art!

  6. Oh wow I love how this has turned out, those colours and your attention to detail, amazing work!

  7. Holy scarabs, that is amazing. I love that so much. Wow.

  8. Wow what a great piece! I love how you stitched her and then put her on the canvas...neat idea. Great job!

  9. STUNNING!!!! I love this so much. You are so talented and creative. Is there anything you can't do?

  10. Wow wow wow! Stunning beaded piece... I can't love this enough!

  11. Just fabulous is all I can say!

  12. Cathy, this is lovely! I am so inspired to try something with more textiles and fibers now!

  13. Queen of the night. She is lovely. If this keeps up you may even convince me to try shibori.

  14. Oh my gosh! What an amazingly stunning piece!


Wishing you peace, love & chocolate!

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