The black and white project

Fashion keeps changing, but one of the trends that repeats over time is a return to black and white.  Classic, clean lines, perhaps in different styles, but this year black and white is back in force.  I see it every day in the office… from the dresses in amazing black and white prints, to the solid pieces paired in a way that looks sophisticated, delightful, clean, yet classic.

Wow, i sound like i should be giving the speech on a runway, right?

Actually i am writing this blog to share some of the work i just completed on my latest project :The Black and White Project.  I was challenged by several patrons who attended the Textile Art Alliance Event last month to consider working on pieces that only use black and white.  (That is my favorite color combination – why didn’t I think of that before?)

So I have dug deep into my stash of beads and wire, got that crochet hook going, and created a dozen pieces…. loving the outcome and wanted to photograph a few of them for sharing here.


The Art Noveau influenced and Egyptian influenced Eye Brooch –

An odd combination, my first hope was to capture the curvaceous nature of Art Noveau.  For those who are not aware, Art Noveau is a style of art that emerged in Europe, and became common to jewelry, design, architecture and fashion in the first decades of the last century.  The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art describes this genre of art as follows:

From the 1880’s until the First World War, western Europe and the United States witnessed the development of Art Nouveau (“New Art”). Taking inspiration from the unruly aspects of the natural world, Art Nouveau influenced art and architecture especially in the applied arts, graphic work, and illustration. Sinuous lines and “whiplash” curves were derived, in part, from botanical studies and illustrations of deep-sea organisms. (MOMA website –

Most famous artists that worked in this period and style are Albert Muncha, Gustaf Klimpt, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Emile Galle.   I have attached the link to MOMA’s website should you wish to learn more about this style, or view a slide show of some of their better known works.

Art Noveau does draw from nature, highlighting curves, accenting the beauty of form.  I was influenced to create a brooch that captured some of this form, this curvaceousness yet asymmetrical style. The brooch can be worn in a vertical (portrait) fashion, or turned 90 degrees so that it is wider than it is tall, and worn in a landscape fashion.  When it is turned landscape the resemblance to an eye is more obvious.

Classic Egyptian eye makeup... defining the eye, adding embellishment at the outer corner of the eye.
Classic Egyptian eye makeup… defining the eye, adding embellishment at the outer corner of the eye.

Egyptian comes into play with the heavy line around the eye… Egyptian makeup always defined a heavy line around the eye, and often some sort of flourish at the corner.  By extending the beads out rather than remaining symetrical I was hoping to echo that influence.

The Classic Black and White Heart Brooch

I love to crochet hearts… they are easy, and when bead embroidered they just look stunning.  This brooch took shape using sliver tone copper wire that was crochet into a heart 2″ x 2″.  The left half of the heart was embroidered with black seed beads, faux black pearls, dull black glass beads, and a few black faceted sparklers.  The right half includes faux pearls, white crystal sparklers, and white glass seed beads.  The pin back is magnetic, which allows you to position the brooch on your garment without putting holes in the garment.

The Black Bullseye Brooch – 

While searching for unique beads i came across a local potter’s wonderful works… this is a one of a kind bead, glazed with high fire black glaze and a center that was glazed white, but as it fired it merged and muttled with the black glaze, creating a smokey pearl color.  While not the traditional black and white, it was calling for me to put it to use.  In this brooch it is the center of the piece, with seed beads and other beads embroidered around it to resemble beadweaving.  It is a statement piece measuring 2″ tall and 2″ wide.  The clasp is magnetic, and i used a fairly strong magnet, which means it will hold through heavy fabric.


In Love With Fall Brooch – 

While diverting from the black and white theme, Black remains the predominant color of this wire crochet brooch.  Another focal bead that was locally made by a potter, and glazed in a rich black high gloss glaze, with raised yellow dots called out for me to do something with it.  As i looked through my stash of beads it seems that the yellow-orange-reds would accent this delicious bead well.  I found a few sliced shell beads that seemed to be an amazing contrast to the angular lines of the bead… and wow. When i finished i realized how much this looked like fall.  The rich colors of the leaves, pumpkins, apples…  This also has a strong magnetic pin back.  I actually wore it yesterday because i was concerned of the weight of the pin, but it layed well on my sweater, never moving, and seemed to be drawing attention because it was so unusual.


So that is what I have been working on.  These are now posted on my shop on etsy, and the header of each description is the link to take you there should you be interested in purchasing one.  I hope to publish more photos of the wire crochet i have been working on in the next few posts.