seed bead embellished felt biconeI’ve been experimenting more with felting processes, and decided to try sculpting some “beads” into different shapes. So far, I’ve tried ovals of varying heights/widths, and a couple of bicones, in addition to the traditional round shape.

This 1 1/2 inch bicone seemed like a great piece to try adding seed bead embellishments to. It has literally been years since I’ve done *any* needle and thread beadwork. I used to love freeform peyote stitch and freeform netting, and at that time, I thought that I really wanted to be an artist using beads as a medium. Once I discovered wire and metal, I got completely obsessed with sculpting metal, and gradually stopped doing beadwork. Recently, since I started felting, I’ve felt inspired to do some beadwork again.

Talk about a SLOW process! I couldn’t believe how long it took me to put these few beads on my felt piece. That’s partially because I’m so out of practice, but also because beadwork, like knitting or crocheting by hand, is an inherently slow process – you can only do one stitch at a time. With bead embroidery, as shown on this piece, that means picking up one tiny (size 11 in this case) seed bead on a tiny (size 12, in this case) beading needle, then stitching through the felt to secure the bead to the fabric. Every so often, the thread needs to be knotted or woven back through some beads, so that it won’t come undone. I used to be pretty quick with threading beads on a needle, but no more – I felt clumsy, and I know this took at least twice as long as it would have if I was still used to doing this kind of beadwork. My technique could also use a little work – something that I know from experience just comes with practice. I’ll probably keep adding some embellishment to some of my felt pieces, but I’m not sure if these are commercially viable beads/pendants, due to the amount of labor involved – I really don’t know if I could sell them for a price that adequately pays for my time – maybe at a nice gallery, but I’m not at that point with my felting or my beadwork yet.