Everything old becomes new again as a recent trip to the Intergalactic Bead Show in Memphis reminded me. Some years ago, I wove a series of beaded pendants. I used a needle weaving technique on graph paper mounted on foam board. This technique was described in great detail first in 1993 by Diane Fitzgerald and Helen Banes in Beads and Threads: A New Technique for Fiber Jewelry.
Then in 1996, Donna Rhodes and Kathy Stachowicz published a monograph on the subject – The Fine Art of Pin-Weaving: Creative Variations
When I first started weaving these pieces in the late 1990’s I was a bit overzealous with beading! The excessive nature of the beads seemed to overpower the tapestry like qualities I was trying to capture in the needle-woven pendants.
The beauty of weaving on a foam board and using “bank pins” to anchor the warp is that any shape can be created. I really like the triangular shape of this piece. Bank pins are a heavy gauge steel pin favored by taxidermists. But if you’re not into stuffing dead animals, you can get them here.
Below are a few more of my handwoven pendants needle-woven on foam board.
These two pendants were woven on a floor loom and the excess warp threads became the necklace strung with beads.
After using both the needle woven and the loom woven techniques, I decided that needle weaving on a foam board was more flexible as it offered more choices as to shapes and dimensions for the finished pendant.
Here is a needle woven pendant that is in search of a “hanger”. It’s a rather large piece, so I think to do the pendant justice, the necklace part will need to be quite long.
This last piece is actually my favorite and my most recent creation. I like the simplicity of it and it has only a few beads woven into the design with some simple charms hanging on the ends. The “hanger” is a simple rattail satin cord secured to the pendant with an elegant swan closure and clapper beads.
My friend Nysha has suggested that I weave more of these as the simple and elegant findings seem to accentuate the tapestry like qualities of the pendant. And that in fact is the effect I am trying to capture! Not to mention the fact that I consider myself a handweaver and not a bead artist.