Fine Detail of Kegg's Solid Beading

Magnified detail from pouch body

On Maude Kegg's museum-quality bandolier, black velveteen is whipped to a stiff backing, and the pattern to be beaded is marked on it. Nowadays this is usually done by following the pattern outline with sewing machine stitching (or hand stitching), especially for a project like this, which will take so long -- it took 3 years to complete the bag -- that chalk or flour-paste markings are sure to wear off.

Outlines of the flowers are beaded first, using the double-needle applique technique. Notice how the flowers and leaves are all filled in with decreasingly small curves that follow the outline. This requires skill in designing the pattern, so that nested curves of beads will exactly and tightly fill each petal, leaf, fruit. It takes a good eye both to plan the design and to whip down the beads. These curves of beads are what gives Woodlands beadwork its dynamic appearance, an effect quite different from woven beading, (or paintings).

The background here has been so tightly and evenly filled with white beads (this is called full-field or solid-field beading) that the beads hardly show up in the photo and various tricks with Photostyler to increase their contrast makes the rows appear lumpy. Actually, the rows are so straight and un-lumpy it is clear Maud selected all the beads for evenness of size, as well as whipping down between every one.


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Text and graphics copyright 1995, 1996.

CREDITS: Photo of Maude Kegg's 1982 Museum woodland bandolier bar (strap) is by Bobby Hansson for American Federation of Arts catalog for the travelling Coe collection show.

Last Updated: Friday, August 30, 1996 - 9:41:57 AM