Being humbled, making malas, working with c-lon, and the creative arts.

I usually work with silk thread when beading and hand knotting my pieces. The trouble with silk is a lot of my beads have holes around 1mm and even with doubling the silk thread, the beads would still slip over the knots. I purchased a few strands of some A Grade beads and some silver from Bali. If you like to work with sterling silver, I highly suggest getting your silver from Bali. I haven't found better silver anywhere else. I bought aquamarine, labradorite, and rainbow moonstone. I had some "blood moonstone" already on hand.

I thought I would go with a thicker bead cord when beading this piece. I couldn't find silk any larger than .6mm. Too big to double the strand and not thick enough for one strand. I decided my next option would be to go with c-lon tex 400. I could use just one strand and it doesn't unravel when working with it. It's stiff enough to not require a needle to thread the beads and has so really pretty colors. This is an entirely new product for me
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I've been drawn to beads that have chatoyancy lately. When it comes to labradorite, the reflective quality is called labradorescence. Chatoyancy or labradorescence means the stones have deep inclusions of blues and greens. They catch the light and reflect it back to you. You can see the labradorescence in the bead on the top left. 

I sat down to make this mala last night. It's a lot different working with c-lon than it is with silk. Basically, it's stiff and has sort of a waxy coating. When knotting with it, you need to be sure you have the knot in the proper place before pulling it tight with c-lon. Silk doesn't respond the same way because the knot is easy to take apart, but once you get a knot in the c-lon cord it stays and it's really hard to take apart. I learned this the hard way.

I got through the entire piece. At first I couldn't get the cords through the bali bead. I tried for several minutes then had to switch it out for a different bead in the same style. I thought to myself that that piece of silver just didn't want to be on this mala. I was putting the knot on the cord to secure the bali bead and finish the mala. I realized when I had knotted the bali bead securely that the cords weren't even. I struggled to get the knots out. Second go around I screwed it up again! Third try and the knot was finally right. It took me 40 minutes to get that bali bead on.

I told myself, "It's time to put this piece down for the night and get to my yoga practice." Something in me was persistent because the mala was almost done and I could finish it quickly. To clean up where the coating had loosened from the string, I took a GENTLE flame inches away from the cord to smooth out the coating. I was nowhere near the nylon cord and it just melted. You have to hold the flame right up to the cord and leave it there for it to burn. That's not what happened for me this time. 

I learned a lesson from that last night. The beads let me know what they need. The beads tell me how they want to be placed and who they want to be placed next to. If a bead doesn't belong where I put it they let me know it. This might sound ridiculous to some people. It's not something I can explain, but they definitely communicate. I should've listened to that internal voice telling me it was time to set the piece down last night and I didn't. Instead I had to remake the entire mala, from start to finish today.


That's a picture of my left hand. Second go around with this piece. I have a blister on my pinky and my fingers are wicked sore. That's why I have a bandaid on my middle finger. I pull the knots tight when working. That's a habit from working with silk, and the c-lon is much harder to knot.


I couldn't be more pleased with the end result. The experience of learning to work with new material is humbling to say the least. Being active in the creative arts means being open to failure and being humbled throughout your journey. It takes a bit of openness and fearlessness to be in the artistic realm. That could be music, dance, jewelry making, painting, anything creative you can think of. To create means to be constantly inspired. It means you never stop learning. It means you have to listen and become one with your work. You have to become the very thing you are creating. 

Whatever the end result, it will be what it wants to be. Let it be a reflection of all that is beautiful in yourself.

Love and light my friends,
Shannon 

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