This is the picture of a reworked beadweaving called Renu by Mary Ellen Merrigan of Mary Ellen Beads, Albuquerque.

How a Simple Beadweaving Renews Spirit and Structure

This blue beadweaving is from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2012, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Blue Beadweaving

Imagine my horror as this necklace slid from my grasp and shattered on the cement floor.

This is the beadweaving focal prior to the accident.
©2012, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Blue Beadweaving, focal before accident

I stared in disbelief at the jagged edge. My beautiful piece broke along the focal stone’s irregularities.

An ache in the pit of my stomach seemed to spread throughout my body. “No!” I wanted to scream. I’d purposefully left the bottom part of the stone open so natural light could reflect through it. “How would I ever fix that,” I wondered.

At the advice of fellow bead artists, I had a gem specialist slice the tear to even it out.
I couldn’t bear to look at the precise straight line of the piece. (What did I expect? A miracle? ) I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of the misshapen stone.

For nearly two years, a project box held the original necklace along with extra, matching beads. I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.

I did make one attempt at redoing the piece. I had envisioned something with dangles that might distract the eye from the straight cut. I affixed pellon and stitched a few rows on the side. But it didn’t take. Sick at heart, I stowed the beauty in its project box.

When the spirit of completion overtook me this summer I vowed to return to my stunning blue beadweaving. It no longer pained me to handle it. I found myself enjoying how easily I conceived of new design elements and how well they formed a new, asymmetrical structure. In this version, three quarters of the back is now covered with leather.

This is the picture of a reworked beadweaving called Renu by Mary Ellen Merrigan of Mary Ellen Beads, Albuquerque.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Renu Beadweaving

Instead of edging the beadweaving with dangles, I added waves of beads with crystals galore. I used almost the same elements as in the original, although I lengthened the necklace by three inches and added sterling silver spacers throughout.

What did I learn?

  • I discovered an appreciation for the healing power of time. The months in-between the accident and my second attempt at the project gave me emotional detachment.
  • As a result of my continued beading practice during that time, my skills improved.
  • Structural peyote stitch skills contributed to an improved design.
  • I realized power and satisfaction in completion.

With that energy, I began to create anew.

My final design as shown here incorporates flow. That element, above all, is essential to the soul of beading and to my beading soul.

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