I was clearing out some photos on my phone and found this picture of a page from my sketchbook when I was doing my neckpieces project. Thought it was worth another airing.
This piece is based on a very common amulet. Amulets to ward off the Evil Eye are found all over the world, and the eyes are often blue, as seen on the cover of Desmond Morris’s book containing glorious photographs of his personal collection:
Inside there is a montage of this sort of amulet:
The idea behind these amulets is to meet like with like, so the evil eye will be deflected by another evil eye looking right back at it.
My eye is very stylised. It is a big square glass bead which I bought in the extraordinary bead shop on Derby Road in Nottingham. The shop is exciting because it sells a good range of really flashy or big or unusual beads. I couldn’t resist the blue of this one. Then I surrounded it with all sorts of blue beads which I bought as a collection in the Covent Garden Bead Shop, which I have already mentioned:
Once again this is influenced by tribal beadwork:
I have no idea why I love serried ranks of beads so much, but I love these incrusted beads and particularly when they are in rows. This image taken from Sheila Paine’s book on amulets gives a brilliant example in the headdress above.
The strap is a cheap necklace from Sainsbury’s half-price sale.
This piece is another which has been looking for a home. I made the piece on a workshop at Heartspace Studios with Basil Kardasis in 2012. I’ve noted before that I love things that are really heavy with beads and this little sample definitely is. I could have mounted it as a piece in its own right, but I always felt that it wanted to be worn. So finally I made it up into this very large amulet. It does have a flavour of tribal beading
but as I was thinking about it, I thought it was also very much influenced by those enormous macrame beaded neckpieces from the 1970s:
These are from a wonderful book I picked up for 50p from a second-hand bookshop (thrift store):
I have always loved big clunky flashy jewellery with lots of things hanging off, and this piece is flashy.
I made the rolled fabric beads and mixed them with commercial beads, which I think works really well:
and I kept to quite a restricted rich palette:
and then added a bead necklace in the bargain bin at the supermarket as the neck strap.
The back is atrocious, though:
A bit of cotton velvet against the skin.
This piece is basically an amulet to ward off anything that needs warding off, basically! I loved making it, so possibly it protects by giving off positive energy rather than anything more sinister.