Coral Reef

I designed and built this piece for Fire Mountain Gem’s seed bead competition, so wish me luck.  I wanted something with a lot of texture and think I achieved my goal.  I made the polymer clay fish then beaded the base around it.  The base is a beaded net and the fish has six holes side-to-side to accomodate the beading threads.  This makes the fish an integral part of the bracelet rather than something that’s just glued on.
There are basically three beaded structures on the base which make up the “coral.”  One is a type of branching.  The second is a tube of peyote rising from a ring of upright beads around a large glass bead or pearl.  The third is peyote worked on a ring of sideways beads around a large glass bead.
An engineering secret in this bracelet is how I designed it so that the fish will stay on the top of your wrist when you wear it.  Polymer clay is lighter than the glass beads.  I placed my heaviest, largest glass beads near the clasp to help weight that side of the bracelet down.  It also helps that the clasp is narrow.
I like the colors and textures – not just the beading textures but the finishes on the different beads – of this bracelet.  It’s substantial and fun to wear.
While working on this piece I renewed my appreciation for Czech glass beads.  My local bead store has a “bead bin” – actually a large plastic litter box filled a few inches deep with loose beads.  You can look through the bin and pick out beads individually.  You fill a small plastic bag with your selections and they charge “by the bag.”  Looking through that bin is the best therapy I’ve found anywhere!
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