At the famous “127 Yard Sale” one year I bought some brass horse bridle decorations, knowing someday I would figure out a way to create something, just because I liked them. Do you ever make impulse buys, then much later be glad you followed your intuition? When I started in earnest using beads again, I pulled bridle decorations out to embellish as wall hangings, showing for the first time at Open Studios. I took photos as I went through the process making this first one, “Talisman for Beachcombers.”

"Talisman for Beachcombers", beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for Beachcombers”, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

First, I just get all the materials out that I think might be incorporated. the first inspiration came from the decoration, which reminded me of the sun, and being at the beach. I found beads that were water and sand colored, and shells with holes (beads!) that we had combed. (side note: the  first beads discovered in a French cave were Cro-Magnon ones made from shells 40,000 years ago , I guess I am part Cro-Magnon)

"Talisman for Beachcombers", process, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for Beachcombers”, process, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

The beads chosen were: Beach Rock Beads, Shells, Aventurine, Amazonite, Turquoise Jasper,Ghana-style Glass by Mark L. Roberts, Contemporary Indian Glass, Swarovski Crystal, Small Antique Christmas Beads, Shell Heishi and Abalone Shell.

"Talisman for Beachcombers", process 2, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for Beachcombers”, process 2, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

 

 

Next, I tied the shells in place to get an idea for how it would hang, in a balanced fashion. Also laid out strings of beads to figure out where they could be connected from and adding the fabric to understand how it could hang.

 

The notches and openings in the bridle decorations offer design choices, I like this limitation.

"Talisman for Beachcombers", process 4, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for Beachcombers”, process 4, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

One of the challenges is that beads have different size holes, which determine the size thread or cord to choose. The shell and Beach Rock Beads have large holes, so I used a thick cotton cord and tied Macrame half hitch knots and wrapping, and checked for how they laid next to each other.

"Talisman for Beachcombers", process 5, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for Beachcombers”, process 5, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inspiration for “Talisman for Farmers” started, of course with the rooster bridle decoration. I had no idea how to work with this until I found the enameled carrots at a flea mall. This set the color palette – orange and green, for growing things. I already had the glass chili pepper, I bought at Nomad Beads in Boulder and the little enameled horses. I also incorporated Ghana-style Glass by Mark L. Roberts, Lampwork by Mark L. Roberts, Swarovski Crystal,Contemporary Indian Glass, Aventurine, Venetian White Hearts 1890 AD, African Paper Bead, Cotton Macramé and Wool Yarn.

 

"Talisman for Farmers",  beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for Farmers”, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

“Talisman for 4 Elements” was actually the first one I made. I couldn’t resist sewing gorgeous Antique Venetian Beads into the holes on the perimeter of the bridle decoration. Because of the division into 4, it reminded me of 4 elements, 4 seasons, 4 directions. The elements I chose are symbolic of this, like: Robin Feather & Shell Bird Fetish for AIR; Pearl, Cowrie Shell & Shell Heishi for WATER; Antique African King Bead, Egyptian Faience, Vintage Maasai Clay, Carved Bone for EARTH; Brass Horse Charm, Vintage Brass, Peridot, Turquoise, Lampwork by Bonnie Blincoe & Antique Padre Beads for FIRE.

"Talisman for 4 Elements", beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for 4 Elements”, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

"Talisman for 4 Elements", detail, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O'Brien

“Talisman for 4 Elements”, detail, beaded wall hanging by Kathleen O’Brien

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