|Melinda's happy elephant Ojime bead necklace|
I had made a happy elephant necklace for my sister a while back, with a beautiful hand-carved Ojime elephant as the focal bead. Her elephant likes to play, so I gave him a colorful little ball to roll around on.
So for the upcoming show and sale, I chose several new Ojime beads for you! These beads just fascinate me because they're intricately detailed and elegant, as well as humorous and fun.
|Here's what I had to start with - yum!|
Ojime Bead Traditional Use (from Fire Mountain Gems)
"Ojime Style Beads from Fire Mountain Gems are inspired by traditional, antique Japanese Ojime beads. These hand-carved boxwood miniatures are skillfully detailed by contemporary Chinese Master-Carvers, who take up to four hours to craft each one. Each unique carving is signed by the artist. In Japan, Ojime beads are traditionally combined with Netsuke and Inro boxes, and worn from the Obi belt of the kimono."
I did a little research to see what beaders do with Ojime beads and what I saw out there was pretty "interesting." In my necklace designs I wanted a flow between the necklace and the bead, so that the whole piece is integrated. I also thought about color, including green gemstones in the necklaces where an animal might enjoy playing in a garden, and turquoise in the ones that remind me of horse country. The dragons live in a world of their own, so some of those necklaces include gorgeous shimmery jet lined topaz colored seed beads.
|My favorite Ojime horse bead necklace|
I loved the challenge of making this necklace, as the beads must go up through the middle of the horse, at just the right length, and come out nicely on each end. I also love this bead because the carver created a seamless circle bracelet around the horse's back legs, and that had to be quite a challenge!
|Happy rabbit Ojime necklace|
|Fat and happy little frog Ojime necklace|
There's also a fat and happy little frog Ojime necklace that includes beautiful moss agate and aventurine tube beads as well as glass leaf tips on the tails. Moss agate is one of my favorite gemstones, said to "refresh the soul and enable you to see the beauty in all you behold," and aventurine is also a huge favorite for its capacity to enhance creativity and bring about prosperity. (Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible, 2003)
|This Ojime cat has caught herself a mouse.|
The Ojime cat necklace includes beautiful lapis tube beads, which "stimulate personal and spiritual power," and a bit of onyx, for strength. (Judy Hall, The Crystal Bible, 2003.)
It takes about 4-5 hours to make one of these necklaces, which are strung on AccuFlex wire for durability. They're about 35 inches long, slip right over your head, and hang below the chest. They're soft, lightweight, and go very well with black or green or brown agate teardrop earrings, which I'll have available at the Green Drake Gallery through December.
Come visit me at the Bellefonte Art Museum - I'll be there Sunday, December 7th from noon til 5 and Saturday December 13th from noon til 2:30. The Holiday Show and Sale hours are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. and there will be lots of other wonderful, unique animal themed gifts for Christmas.
Hope to see you there!