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The Lovers
(via Zoom)

Cliff Swain-Salomon

December 4 Sun 9-3
Class Fee $90+ mandatory kit $115


chenille herringbone
Skill Level: advanced    
Technique: peyote chenille herringbone
  branch fringe netting  wirework

This piece features two lightning bugs that are situated in a field of trumpet flowers. The head and bodies are constructed using Preciosa pearls and Japanese seed beads—including precious metal plated beads—which are all strung together using a combination of tubular peyote and netting.  The glowing butt is created using a custom-made Murano glass lampwork bead. The bead is formed using Effetre glass cane, famous for its color and quality. They are hand-made using traditions and techniques that have been passed down over centuries from one Venetian glassworker to another. (Some sources say that the techniques started in Venice as early as the 8th century though Murano techniques became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries.) The pattern on the Murano beads is designed to reflect the millefiori style flowers in Klimt’s painting “The Kiss” which was originally titled, “The Lovers” (Liebespaar) when it premiered in 1908. Around the field of flowers on the bead are colorful flecks of “frit” and it is lined with either 24kt gold or platinum (depending which colorway you choose) which were both used in the original painting.

While no one knows who the lovers were in the original painting, there are several theories. One theory is that it is Klimt himself with his companion, fashion designer, Emilie Flöge. Some have argued that the piece represents the kiss between Apollo and Daphne, while other scholars have argued that the piece represents the moment when Orpheus turns to caress Eurydice.

There are many reasons why I chose lightning bugs (fireflies) to represent the lovers in this bracelet. According to folklore and several different native traditions, fireflies teach us the value of living simply¸ and relying on our own inner voices for illumination. These qualities are important in relationships as it is important to maintain our sense of self and know that our inner light will be amplified through relationship with our partner. In nature, the firefly primarily uses its light in mating ceremonies, and it is quite elaborate an intricate when used. Light signals are precise and exactly timed in order to attract the right mate.

Regardless of who the couple was in the painting and which partners inspire you or if you resonate with the metaphor of the lightning bugs, they can represent whomever you love in your life and how your light shines when you are with them, whether it is a spouse, partner, your child, or your fur baby.

This is a fun project that combines some of my favorite stitches including peyote, herringbone, netting, chenille, and branch fringe and a lot of really innovative beading techniques. Please note that this piece uses a lot of size 15º beads so please have proper magnification and lighting if needed. It is also a very versatile pattern that can be used to make a bracelet as pictured, trumpet flower earrings, a brooch or pendant, or you can make a full set of matching jewelry pieces by taking different elements of the patterns to make multiple pieces of jewelry. For those who prefer a lightning bug free piece, they can be set aside for a different project and the focal can consist of the lush flowers and leaves only.

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