The history of the peony is well documented. These beautiful
blooms have been cultivated for over 4,000 years! The
earliest documentation is from China, who made the flower
the official emblem of the country. The petals are edible
and are used to sweeten desserts.
These beauties have over 40 species, from packed round balls
of petals to open ruffling petals. Known for their medicinal
properties, peonies traveled to Europe and Asia in the
Middle Ages to adorn gardens, as well as, suppling the
apothecaries with much needed materials used to treat
headaches and asthma and to relieve the pain associated with
Icelandic peonies are large, with very ruffled, fluffy
looking petals and a distinctive center. These gems come in
just about all colors except blue. The colors grade from a
darker center to a light outer edge for most of them, but
there are exceptions to the rule. Some are so dark as to be
almost a black burgundy. All are stunning.
My inspiration came from a photograph of a hot house nursery
in Iceland. A gal was holding the most glorious riot of
peonies that I had ever seen. I knew from that moment that I
had to create my version of this fragrant bloom.
A flat circular base has a button-style addition to the
center. The center is then embellished to create the unique
“carpel” or basically the reproductive area of the flower.
Surrounding the carpel are the “anthers or stamens” which
surround the center of the flower. Beyond the flower center,
the petals are created separately using 2-drop peyote stitch
with color gradation and a gathering and ruffling technique
to create the inner and outer petals. The petals are
attached to the circular base to support their weight.
The necklace braid has three different tubes, one
herringbone, one a herringbone variation and one peyote
tube. These tubes are then attached to the back of the
flower, braided and end in a shaped pair of cones with a bar