These bronze beaded antlers are from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Beaded Antlers Make Natural Statement

Could beaded antlers be the most unusual beaded object you’ve seen?

In New Mexico, mule deer shed their antlers during late winter or in early spring. Antlers, an extension of male skulls, vary in size with age, increasing annually before reaching maximum size. In this part of the country deer are plentiful.

I began using antlers for jewelry displays because it seemed like a natural fit for my tribal-themed creations. I draped necklaces over antlers at various shows. I hung bracelets from them as well.

I’m not prepared to disclose how many antlers I now possess. When does a grouping become a collection? How many objects must one assemble in order to be credited with a collection? The query interests me because many of us assemble, preserve or display like objects in our lives. My friend Ann has a collection of salt and pepper shakers. Margie displays kitchen crocks on the top of her cupboards.

Somehow, I have embraced a collection of rather unusual subject matter: beaded antlers.

Beginning a beaded antler collection

Like many things, my obsession began with an experiment: “What would happen if I added leather and beads to this?”

This is a picture of the very first beaded antlers from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, First beaded antlers

My project received much commentary during the Sandia Heights Studio Tour. One visitor even returned the next day with two antlers he’d picked up during a walk around our neighborhood. (So, as you can surmise, my collection grew organically.)

Intrigued with the many ways of enhancing a natural object like antlers, I announced and completed a road project. More about that effort and one of my first beaded antlers in this 2016 post. 

These bronze beaded antlers are from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Bronze beaded antlers

After I received eight dainty mule deer antlers as a birthday present, (Note the continued, organic growth of the collection) I obsessed about a deep purple set of beautiful colors beaded into my small, elegantly shaped antlers. Voila! It happened.

These purple beaded antlers are from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Purple beaded antlers


Since then, other beading enthusiasts have asked me to lead a class during which I’d share techniques for beading antlers. That’s on my list. I’ve also fielded calls about custom beaded antlers as well as other unusual objects of nature. These conversations about sharing beauty with beads make me happy.

Beaded Antler Conclusion:

Before I lead a class project, or do a custom piece, I have to add one more beaded antler to my collection. I call this Sunset on the Mesa.

These beaded antlers named Sunset on the Mesa are from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Beaded Antlers: Sunset on the Mesa

Could there be a pair of beaded antlers in your future?

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