Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ode to Cynthia Rutledge

If you haven't explored the world of Cynthia Rutledge, you need to do so.  Her work is structural and, at least for me, provides a path to other creations.  I'd classify her patterns as advanced, but doable.  I do not consider myself an advanced beader and am able to do her patterns.  I have to rework and redo, but with patience I get through them just fine.  Her teaching style is conversational, which poses some difficulty for me as there is a repetitiveness that confuses me occasionally.  Nothing I couldn't overcome, and something that probably doesn't bother most.  The first few kits I purchased, I wasn't focused on the piece itself, it was learning how to do a specific closure (I've been obsessed with making my own closures).

This first picture is not a great one, so you may want to click on it to blow it up a little.  This is from her Beyond Buttons kit, it's not a kit you can purchase online but she typically has it at her trunk shows.  I was able to call her and she sold me a kit that way.  The instructions include several different ways to create your own buttons or to enhance an existing button.

Unfortunately, (because I was looking for closures for necklaces), this kit did not meet my original goal.  However, they became great embellished buttons for my friend Loretta's knitted purses.  They made fabulous pins and pendants, but were just too large for a necklace closure.

This kit, Coming to the End,  was purchased specifically for it's key toggle closure.  Although I've not yet done it, I envisioned this as the closure to a flat peyote strip.  The only  difficulty I had was that the toggle bar slips out of the base and the bracelet falls off.  I've added a touch of velcro under the point, but the toggle needs to be longer and fatter to offer a more secure closure.  I made three of these bracelets.  They're fun to do and it gives you a very good lesson in peyote increases and decreases.

This was the last kit, Simply Elemental, I bought simply for it's possibilities and it has really paid off.   I bought it with the intention of using the attached rings as toggles.  They're a bit too much work for that purpose but I may consider it again in the future.  What really inspired me was my decision to do a Kumihimo rope rather than a herringbone rope as called for in the kit.


When I came to the ends of the necklace, I referred back to the pattern to do the loop and toggle closure.  I had to do some reworking of the pattern, but those of you who have done Kumihimo ropes will see the beauty and elegance of this closure.  No more cones and the raw ends are completely encased.  I plan to end my ropes this way in the future.

The only problem I created for myself (always seems to be a little problem) is I did the rope in size 15 seed beads.  This was the same size Cynthia used for her herringbone rope.  Unfortunately, the Kumihimo is much more compact than the herringbone and I had to do a lot of creative stitching around my stop beads to keep the rings and other embellishments from sliding around.  You can't tell from this picture but it did create a headache.  In hindsight, I should have used size 11 seed beads, it would have aesthetically balanced the larger elements and I wouldn't have had to fuss with it so much

This bracelet, Sea Coil Bangle, was done for the pure joy of the design.  It has a seemless closure which you can see opened in the picture to the right.  It's beautiful on but does need an added safety chain.  It also has a tendency to open on me.

I had the great honor to take a class with Cynthia this past year.  This bracelet, A Chain Reaction, is not yet sold as a kit.  I don't often do Cynthia's projects more than once, I pull components from them instead.  This bracelet is the exception.  I think it's because each segment can be done in one sitting and then you link them all together.  It's not as overwhelming as working on the the piece in it's entirety.   I have one finished, one halfway finished and one started.  That's a true testament to how much I like it.  Visit Cynthia's website by clicking on any of the project names in this post.  They are worth looking at.



Marmalade Hills said...

Wow Christine! Your pieces are breathtaking! I doubt that I can afford any of your gorgeous bracelets but I would love to own one of your pins!

Christine's Beadworks said...

Liana, thanks so much for you kind words. My pins range from $15 and up depending on the button or stone used and the amount of embellishment. For example, the far left pin on the second row is $15. It's small but one of my favorites and is available now. I have buttons for many of the others (including a fabulous dragonfly). I should have postings up in January and am always happy to do a custom piece.

Rebecca said...

Wow Christine, you've really put in the hours here! A lovely selection. Seeing all these pieces laid out her, you can really see the common thread that Cynthia Rutledge and Laura McCabe work with, or is that just me??

Christine's Beadworks said...

Rebecca, It's not just you, there is a common thread, but I can't quite pinpoint it. They have a very similar aesthetic when it comes to color, I'd call it it a bold pastel. They often use the same exact beads in their kits and they both are structural. I find that Laura uses more crystal and pearls, while Cynthia's work often utilize seed beads only for stunning effect. They are both inspiring.

Nicki said...

They are very beautiful! I love the beadwork of Cynthia Rutledge! Fantastic work!
Many greetings from Austria,