In yesterday's class, I taught the new polygon beaded bezel. Honestly, they ARE even prettier on the reverse side than the front! Most of the bezels I've been working on are for rivolis. Many of these are featured in the necklace I am designing for a Bead Gallery Inc workshop. Currently the workshop is described as a day of bezels, but soon (and you'll hear it here first!) I'll have completed the necklace that features these beauties, and then we'll post the picture.
Many of you know I've been deeply immersed in adventures in a South African stitch called Polygon. (Sure wish I could have offered my 2 cents when it came time to name it.) Many of the current workshops I am offering focus on this little known and under-used stitch. I am so jazzed by the versatile scope of this stitch and exhilerated by the innovations that have immerged as I explore it, that I am in process of writing another book, just to share my explorations and discoveries with the bead community.
Looking back over 30 years of contemporary beadwork, consider just one stitch: Peyote. It is the "entry level" stitch that most off-loom beaders learn. It launched many of us into Netting, Herringbone, Brick... And, yet, its versatility is so expansive that some beaders spend their entire beading careers in Peyote land, never yearning for more. Look at Judy Walker's THE BEADED SPHERE or Diane Fitzgerald's SHAPED BEADWORK: Dimensional Jewelry with Peyote Stitch to see the fruits of their years with this stitch.
Beaders outside of Africa were introduced to Polygon stitch in an Ornament magazine article in 1997 by Valerie Hector. Her book, THE ART OF BEADWORK, provides the history and fundamentals of this stitch she describes as "beaded tubes with 3 or more sides, containing parallel rungs supported by vertical spines".
I took the "3 or more sides" as a challenge and have been teaching 2-sided polygon projects for years. In teaching here and abroad I find beaders are hungry for new recipes and new techniques. Just as Polygon has rocked my bead world, I think Polygon will feed that hunger in all beaders. Here is a stitch with all the sculpting and shaping that our other stitches offer, plus the added dimension of texture, to explore. Yeah, I hear some of you reminding me that it is a tubular stitch. Au contraire mon amis. Approached with the spirit of adventure and knowing that all things are possible, I am beading it circular and yes, even flat! It produces a leather-like feel and is reversible! Don't you just love the sparks that fly that propel us through new discoveries?