For me, the term bugle beads seems to be a misnomer for these long bead tubes, but that seems to be how they are known. They go a long way towards creating lines in bead work, as seen in this detail shot on the left of the art quilt, “Japanese Irises” .I find them to be kind of like unidirectional crosshatching in etchings, in that they give another quality of lines to a piece. In this particular section of the flower petal, I also used elongated white pearls to achieve a similar effect. If you look at the yellow area in the upper right of this photo, while the yellow and medium blue round seed beads have also been sewn in lines, the effect is very different from the lines created by the bugle beads.
In this detail photo from the art quilt, “Elements – Earth”, green bugle beads are again laid down as lines as if on a lush forest floor. They offer a contrast to the round lines of green seed beads and draw the eye off to the right where there is a larger concentration of buttons to suggest mushrooms and other structures on a log or mossy stone. These long beads could also be interpreted as long blades of grass that have been flattened by a passerby’s footsteps making his way through the woods.
These two thumbnails are from the same art quilt, “Fabric of the Universe” . Both show different representations of small galaxies that swirl out there in the Universe. By using gold bugle beads, sewn at angles,the eye is directed outwards into the cloud of the spiral. Here again, lines of black and gold seed beads repeat the pattern of the lines made by the bugle beads and make for a much richer texture than using only one kind of bead would have done.
In the photo on the left from the art quilt, “Feathers and Stars, Stars and Feathers” , shorter bugle beads are used to make vertical lines that mimic the lines of larger round beads and trim used in the same area. These glass beads are emphasized with the short gold safety pins with 4 large beads on the shaft of the pin that are fastened across the vertical lines. One of the problems with using elements to make lines of any length is seen on the left hand column of gold bugle beads that wobble a bit in this detail shot. In the actual full art quilt, that inconsistency doesn’t show up as much as it does in this detail shot. However, lines that stray too far from a true 180 degrees are quickly picked up by a viewer’s eyes.
Along the upper edge, on the right of this detail shot, you can see bugle beads sewn on vertically to line the edge of the art quilt, “The Moon Rises Over Thundercloud” . By doing so, the edge was made much thicker than is usually found in a quilt sandwich with its decorated top, middle batting, and backing fabric. In contrast, there are also a number of much longer bugle beads that are used to make the corner tassel and suggest the ethnic look I was striving for in this piece.
Lines are not usually an important design element in my work. Bugle beads are a terrific way to incorporate them into your art quilts. You do need to be careful about choosing ones that have smooth endings as some have broken edges that will cut the threads used to fasten them. Depending on where the beads will end up in the design, clear plastic sewing thread may be needed to sewn down the bugle beads to avoid this tearing. Some new kinds of bugles even have a delightful twist in them that gives another layer of subtle texture. Do make sure that the needle that you’re using will fit all the way through a majority of the beads before threading it, as bugles especially seem to be inconsistent with regard to the size of their central holes.
Do you use lines as an important design element? How have you achieved the use of them in your work?
Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!
You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com