Voting to Etsy Beadweavers' November Challenge "Ancestral Expressions" has begun! Please visit the EBW blog to see what beautiful pieces, created especially for this interesting challenge and vote for your favorite entry. Your comment is also appreciated ;)
Good Luck to all the participants!
I have made this embroidered cuff for the challenge but decided NOT to list it, although I have finished it just before the deadline. In this work, I tried to imitate some traditional designs and ornaments that I really love, used in Yemenite silversmith work and embroidered ornaments of clothes. I also used black, red, silver and gold, which are commonly used in the Yemenite costumes.
The main reason for not listing it is that I have noticed (too late..) that some of the gold seed beads just lost their color :( (bad coating I guess), but I'm also not very pleased with how the whole design and work came out.
I probably worked too tight, shrinking the backing material. It supposed to be a symmetrical design, but then I didn't have the same enough room on both sides. I tried to press together the lines, but ended up with piled up beads at some parts.
I did finish it off, though, attached UltraSuede on the back, and also the clasp – Why? I don't know. I just needed to see it finished. Maybe it's because I wanted it so much and worked so hard on it and I'm a bit "emotionally attached" to this piece, that I couldn't leave it in my "to unpick" box… I'll just keep it, or wear it on a special family occasion.
But, despite of the outcome, I am happy I made it. I have learned some important lessons that I'll use in the future.
I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was when the theme was published, Thank You! Deb of Beadandbloom. Not only did I enjoy creating something in this Yemenite style, but also and mostly I enjoyed talking with my mother about it, bringing back memories and stories of times, when life was much simple and everything was so different from now… (I am excited almost to tears as I type these lines and, yes, I know I am very emotional…).
My grandfather from my mother's side was a Yemenite silversmith. Back in Yemen, apart from being a Rabi and a Jewish teacher, he used to create beautiful gold and sterling silver beads, findings and also Jewish ritual objects. When my mother's family left Yemen 60 years ago to come to Israel, they had to leave behind almost everything they had (they were very rich back then). They were allowed to take only a parcel of clothes and some personal stuff, but they didn't care much about it – the only thing that mattered to them was to finally come to the Holy Land. My grandfather took some of his working tools with him and after the family settled in a small, poor neighborhood of Tel Aviv, he opened his little work shop again and continued his silversmith work.
I remember when I was a child, I used to sit beside him in his tiny shop (I mean really small- like the space of a small bathroom) and was fascinated by his intricate, delicate and detailed work and by all his tools, which he never let me try using any of them ("too sharp/heavy/hot", he used to say) . Most of his creations were for the bride's costume for the traditional Jewish Yemenite wedding, called Henna. The Henna party is still celebrated by the Yemenite people in Israel (unlike other traditional things that were abandoned).
My mother still have this very rich, colorful bride&groom's costumes that consists of a lot of handmade jewelry, and she's working very hard at keeping this tradition alive.
I could have write more and more on this subject, branching out to others, but this post has become an endless one, so I'll stop here. You can read and see a bit more about this Yemenite costume in this post.