Sunday, February 22, 2015

Soutache, Or My Newest Obsession

For a while now, I've been stalking soutache jewelry online, drooling over the graceful loops and whorls that embrace and enhance the beads they surround. But the technique was a mystery to me.

At a bead show, I bought an instructional pamphlet and some materials, thinking I could figure it out on my own. The result? More "crash and burn" than "graceful loops and whorls".  The term "tragic" leaps to mind.  Not even worth trying to salvage.

Then I got an online webinar from Interweave, featuring Amee Sweet McNamara of Amee Runs With Scissors, and that was helpful.  My first attempt was going pretty well, until I realized that I had flipped front and back. Well, crap.

Yeah, that wonky end on the right side? Totally supposed to be on the back. 

I jumped right back up on the horse, and finished a small, relatively acceptable little thing. There are lumps and uneven spots, and even a bit of thread that somehow jumped to the front, but at least it has a discernable front and back.  It's kind of an adolescent soutache piece -- awkward, a little off center, but with hints of what might be.

And then, I found out that I could learn from the master herself -- Amee Sweet-McNamara (insert sounds of angels singing here).  I haven't taken a beading lesson in probably 15 years, relying more on the self-taught experimentation.  But when it's a completely new technique, like soutache, I'm happy to have a chance to let someone show me the path.

Yesterday, I spent six fabulous hours learning from Amee, and I am now officially, undeniably, completely obsessed with soutache. Here's what I made!

The colorway and the pattern are all Amee's, but the work's all mine. I am ridiculously happy with the outcome.  Already plotting the best outfit to wear it with to wow the folks at work. And yes, already planning to work on my first original design tonight during the Oscars.

Now, to figure out where I'm going to store the soutache braid I know I'm going to be buying soon...


Karen Williams said...

Wow! That's quite the learning curve! You almost have me tempted to give it a go - I love your systematic approach to learning new skills.

Christine Altmiller said...

Bobbie ~ this is spectacular! How exciting that you got to take the class in person and had such a magnificent result! It oozes with personality :-)

Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Bobbie,
You have a way of putting a smile on my face when I ready your witty posts. Your necklace and your attempt are beautiful. I have tried Soutache and have failed miserably myself. I just have not been able to grasp it. I do not think I am going to be lucky enough to take one of her classes :-(

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

This is just gorgeous! You know, your self taught version is pretty good, too! Have a blast!

KJ said...

Woot! What a success. (And thanks for sharing the pictures of your baby steps.) It is fun and challenging and an inspiration to creativity to learn a new skill. I can't wait to see what you create next, and next, and next.

anafiassa said...

Absolutely lovely! I have yet to be brave enough to try soutache... It looks like you have aced it! I am so impressed. :D

Skylar Bre'z said...

I bought a bunch of trim to use, wanting to try soutache. Then put 'em all on a shelf. Your beauties inspire me to pull them back out. Just lovely!