Tiger Finally Finds a Purpose

 It was at least three years ago that I made this polymer clay head and painted it with acrylics.  I wanted a jewel for its forehead and remember searching a local gem and mineral show with my sister for the perfect stone.  The one I decided on is this hessonite garnet.  I glued the garnet in place, and the tiger head remained in that state, waiting for me to get on with the project whatever it might turn out to be.

I have been making bead embroidery pendants with polymer clay animal heads and, often, stone cabochons then hanging them from braided leather cord.  I went to the braided leather cord instead of beaded necklaces because I thought they would be a bit more casual and thus more “wearable.”  But I just couldn’t see a tiger head hanging from leather – it just didn’t seem to “fit” since many tiger live in India where cows are sacred.  Also I always had felt a bit uneasy using leather because it’s an animal product the use of which (unlike wool) clearly harms the animal.  Finally I hit on the idea of silk cord and found a source for them with many beautiful hand-dyed colors (https://www.etsy.com/shop/Schalrausch on Etsy).  I figured that by bunching several of these cords together I could use the same glue-in cord end clasps that I had been using for the braided leather.  So I was finally ready to proceed with the tiger project, and it would be a bead embroidery pendant hanging from a colored silk cord necklace.

I searched by drawers of beads for appropriate colors and assembled all my materials, as you see above.

Here I’ve just begun the bead embroidery.  The amount of beading you see in the photo is from one length of Fireline, and there will clearly be many more.  I’m not planning to use any stone cabochons on this piece, but I have some pretty hessonite garnet beads and beautiful long faceted teardrops of “beer quartz” for fringe and/or dangles.  By the way, the white stuff is Lacy’s Stiff Stuff which is a great backing material designed specifically for bead embroidery.


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