Friday, November 14, 2014

Bead Pin Ups

Making Pin Ups of my miscellaneous beads is my latest pastime.

Bead Pin ups aka Hairpins or Hair Sticks

I got the inspiration for this project after visiting Crafty Crafter's webpage (think I'd adopt the name Crafty Beader .... sounds jazzy, though I am not much of a beader : ) ...... so thanks CC for giving me the idea.

Putting them  together was easy. With a pin and a dab of glue to hold the beads in place and presto the pin ups are made.

Easy to make bead pins

Attaching a dangle of silver, coral or cloisonn√© bead increases their charm.

Pair of bead pin ups with attached dangly of silver or cloisonne

The bead holder of these two pins is also very special. It is also a bead, albeit a very large one. It is carved on two sides with a Liangzhu style  mask motif and is likely to be a replica.

Liangzhu style mask motif

Composing these bead pins, aka hairpins or hair sticks led me to discover new ways to display and enjoy my beads instead of hiding them away in drawers and boxes where they never see the light of day. Not only that, but I also uncovered some surprising treasures among my buried beads.

Here is a group of glass, brass, copper  and turquoise beads rejuvenated into pins. Some of the beads were purchased from Nepalese traders long time ago and had been dismissed by me as from the rag and bone category and stuffed away. However in the process of setting them  up some of  these beads piqued my interest and I grew curious about  their background and vintage.
Glass, brass, copper and one carved turquoise

Wild as the suggestion may be, two of the pins (highlighted below)  bear some resemblance to the China's Warring States eye beads, circa 500 BC but they are obviously new.

Resembles Warring States eye beads ?

Here is a comparison with a Warring States composite eye bead to support my fanciful/wishful thinking.

Any  resemblance to Warring States eye bead shown on right?
Next pin shown below features a blue glass bead on top and a copper bead below. While the blue glass bead is not particularly striking the copper bead is  thought provoking. To my eyes the shape is reminiscent of   a prayer wheel and the embossed circular design  may represent a mantra.

Copper bead resembles a Prayer wheel

And here are 6 more of the same  beads. According to one net source the Tibetan hand held prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel set atop a spindle with a weight attached to  a chain. Buddhist pilgrims rotate this prayer wheel with the help of the spinning weight. I am thinking that these beads may have been the weights  that aid in the spinning of the prayer wheel except they are too light. So I am making another wild guess, but they do reflect a mystical presence.

Evokes the image of a prayer wheel with spiritual presence
The turquoise bead pin shown below was a gift from a bead pal many years ago. It is well carved with the Chinese character  Shou  (longevity) and combined with green glass bead and a small coral dangly makes another neat pin.
Carved turquoise with coral dangly

I speculate that the turquoise bead maybe  from some vintage Chinese jewelry or it could have been part of a 19th century court necklace . Here are more of the beads.

Auspicious Beads
Beads with auspicious words carved on them, like these turquoise beads can also be used in malas or rosary such as the one I made,  shown below

Turquoise beads used as highlights or separators in a mala

I could go on ad infinitum making and posting  bead pins but  before this post gets too boring I will wrap up my Bead Pin Up Show with a  sweet eye bead pin.

Eye catching replica eye bead


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  • Theft : a love story
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • The Silent Patient
  • Never Let me go
  • Angela's Angels
  • Where angels fear to tread