Monday, June 10, 2013

Battle of the Beadsmith "Locked in Time"

Entries for this year's Battle of the Beadsmith are still being slowly been revealed.  My piece happened to be one of the first, so I'm able to share with you my entry, the piece I've been working on a solid two months plus.  Introducing "Locked in Time".

Inspiration: Steampunk
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that features steam-powered and mechanical vehicles, weapons and contraptions in settings inspired by an alternate history of the 19th century British Victorian era or the American Wild West.   Steampunk has been around since H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, but only recently has it become mainstream in fashion and jewelry.  I began a very popular line of Steampunk beadwork jewelry about a year ago, so for this year’s Battle of the Beadsmith, I was ready to bring Steampunk and Seed Beads together in a whole new way!  I found some odd lots of old alarm and cuckoo clocks on ebay and spent an entire weekend smashing them apart to extract the most desirable gears and pieces.  Leather is also a big feature in Steampunk style so I scoured the thrift shops for the perfect leather coat that I could take apart and upcycle into the base of my collar.

Clocks, locks, keys, gears and buckles are some the most recognizable Steampunk style elements and they work quite beautifully with seed bead embroidery.  I picture “Locked in Time” being worn by an adventurous young Victorian lady who longs to explore the world in a time machine she has built herself from the mechanical workings all around her.  The centerpiece of the collar is a large keyhole plate into which a key can be inserted.  Gears in all sizes have been attached to the leather, some with the leather cut away to see through to her clothing.  The back of the collar gives the feeling that you are looking at the inner workings of an automaton.  More keyholes, clock faces and gears decorate the collar accented with bead embroidery in a variety of bronzes and peacock blues and greens.  A little spray of peacock feathers ads a touch of the exotic and the collar is joined over the right shoulder by a trio of buckles.  Dangling chains and a beadwoven cubic right-angle-weave rope create movement and the look of jewelry.      

Back 12” across
Drop 8” from shoulder
Front 12” across
Drop 8” from shoulder
(12” including front rope)
24” around neck – adjustable
Weight 1lb 4oz

Upcycled leather and suede
Base metal and brass finished elements
Upcycled gears and plates from actual vintage clockworks (all cleaned and finished with sealant)
Natural peacock feathers
E-6000 glue
Beads Used:
Vintage nailhead trim glass beads
Czech glass pearls
Beadsmith  Antique Copper plated seed beads (15/0 used in the C-raw rope)
Miyuki Rocaille seed beads #457 and #458 in size 11/0, 8/0
Miyuki Delica hex cut 11/0 #0027
Miyuki Delica 11/0 #608
Miyuki Rocailles 8/0 #149


  1. Chris, this piece of artwork in beads and things is just over the top wonderful! I imagine you having the time of your life creating it - bet it kept you awake nights thinking of things to include. Kudos on a job well done!!!

  2. Super design and a fantastic result! A logical progression from the steampunk line you have been creating for your Etsy shop. The best kind of arty success is personal, and comes from within. This sure did. I love it. Congratulations!!!