Ring Around the Collar – A Choker for my Neck!

Black beaded choker by Nancy SmeltzerNancy Smeltzer, MFA

I’ve always liked the look of chokers. May be it’s because I have a long neck that I like wearing them. Since I have had a lot of opportunities for dress-up, costume, and black-tie parties, I’ve often made my own accessories. This beaded choker on black velvet was one of first attempts. There is a central blue-black glass button in the middle flanked with two flat carved rose quartz beads. I then proceeded to cover the surface with all kinds of flower and vine motifs,stitched in seed beads and accented with gold oval beads. The piece ties around my neck with black 1/2″ ( 10 mm) wide satin ribbon.

Gold Leaf Beaded ChokerThis next piece I wore to one of President Clinton’s 2nd Inaugural Balls. My ex was a classmate of his at Georgetown, so we got to go to several events over the years at the White House. Since my birthday is January 20th, I got an early birthday present of having a professional clothing designer coach me in how to make my own evening gown. This choker, that went with the dress, has a series of commercially beaded leaves that I fastened onto a satin ribbon that had a gold and black edging. I was quite please that the height of the leaves did not restrict me bending my neck, as I couldn’t be sure that that would not be the case until I had finished the choker. A hook and eye fastens this piece around my neck.

Green choker by Nancy SmeltzerSeveral years, a favorite niece had a medieval wedding, and of course, I couldn’t pass up a chance to dress-up. While my dress was probably more Elizabethan than medieval, it fit into the scheme of things all right. The backing fabric of this choker is an olive green brocade with round Asian designs on it. To play off of those motifs, I used a large central gold, green, and black glass button. It’s flanked on either side by smaller green, glass buttons. I had green ribbon tendrils spilling out of my hair, so I was rather pleased at the effect I created.

Black sequined collarFinally, this last piece is more of a collar than a choker. I didn’t make it and haven’t worn it yet, but bought it because it was so beautiful. I imagine that it was made in the 1930s, as that’s about the time period for the flowered sequins that stretch around the length. Coming up from the base of the fabric is a black bugle bead, then the flower sequin, and than a black bead before the needle passed back down through sequin, the bugle bead, and then through the fabric. That process allows for each flower to “stand” on a short stem. The flowers are spaced closely enough so that the whole field of flowers stands upright from the background by about 3/4″ (2.8cm).

I loved playing dress-up as a child, and that passion has persisted into my adulthood. Clothes do make this woman, and I love taking on “roles” as I put on finery of one kind or another. I’ll have some pics soon of some more of the wearable art pieces that I’ve done. It’s not all about art quilts, you know!

How do you like to adorn yourself? I’d love to see some well-lit photos of pieces that you’ve made from buttons and/or beads and fabric that I could consider for a future blog. Please send your pics and a short description of the piece(s) to info@fiberfantasies.com .

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You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my spiritual healing work at www.transitionportals.com and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

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