I wish I was a doctor or a nurse and could use my skills in the fight against the virus pandemic, but I am not, I am a jewellery designer. It has been made very clear to people like me that our duty is to stay at home to protect lives and that is what I am doing. What I can do is use my skills from home to keep spirits up and keep people occupied. I can also help people to feel connected even though they are physically isolated. I wish I could do more, but I believe that every effort from every individual will help to overcome the virus and its longer term effects.
So what I am offering is very small, but if it brightens someone’s mood for just a moment or keeps someone away from worrying news reports for just an afternoon, then it achieves something. The necklace hides a secret message in morse code and the message is particularly appropriate for now, but I hope it is a design that will take people to happier times with other sorts of message in the future.
Every new design has its roots anchored in inspiration from other sources. The actual beaded braid structure is something I developed many years ago when I wrote the Treasure Nets tutorial. I worked out a method of ensuring that the beaded clusters and spaces are even, which I call the dot to dot method. I have used this method in several workshops and tutorials since then. Last month when I was asked to contribute to a special kumihimo event on a Facebook group I decided to write a new tutorial, specifically designed to attract new braiders. This is the Kumi-Bead necklace and from 1st April it has been available in the files of the Seed Beads & More group. This is what my Morse Code necklace is based on.
The next step of the inspiration was when I saw a post in the group from a beader called Angelika Anuphreychuck showing how to make simple beaded bracelets using morse code spelling out words such as love, hope and faith. That got me thinking that my necklace could be adapted to make beads of different sizes to represent the the dots, dashes and gaps. Next came some trial and error to get the idea to work. This is the part of a tutorial that takes time, effort and materials. It can be very frustrating, but this time I was able to call upon the work I had done for previous dot to dot designs. The next part also takes time and thought. Writing up a tutorial is not always as easy as it may seem, especially when you are writing for an international audience. Getting across a new concept also requires thought and effort. In this instance I was able to use the original tutorial for the Kumi-Bead necklace and I have supplied the additional information afterwards. I did it this way because I strongly advise trying the necklace with the even spacing first. The Morse Code necklace requires concentration because you need to make each beaded section and each gap to the right size.
So what makes this an original design? I didn’t invent morse code, of course! I am not the first person to use it in jewellery. Over the years I have seen it used many times in simple beaded jewellery. I am not the first person to use it in kumihimo. Anne Jones designed some beaded braids with morse code as part of the design within the beaded part. However, what I have done is find a way of representing the dots and dashes in beads and a way of making them readable through the sizing of the spaces. I have worked out how to put this together in an attractive and wearable necklace or bracelet design and the clasp method of ending is also one I have developed. In over a decade of kumihimo braiding I have not seen anything similar. What I have not done is seen someone else’s work and changed a few minor details before calling it my own! I am not trying to boast about it, but I am trying to clarify what makes a design origninal.
To find the free instructions just click on the link below, but first I have a request to make. If you post your work made using my instructions please make sure you mention my name or brand name. This is particularly important when you post outside of my Prumihimo group. You do not need to add a link, because in most groups this would not be permitted. The reason I ask this is to prevent this gift from me to you being taken advantage of. Copying is a huge problem in the art and craft world and most of us have suffered at some time. I have found that it seems to happen more for those ideas that I offer for free and I find this particularly sad. This tutorial is the sort of thing I could earn a lot of money from, by selling it as a tutorial, selling it as a kit and being paid to teach it at workshops, but I am deliberately giving this for nothing as a gift in difficult times. I hope that people will enjoy making it and planning their own designs and I hope that those who are finding it hard to get motivated will still be able to enjoy the posts of others. What I definitely hope not to see is other people offering this as a kit, tutorial or workshop, thereby undermining the spirit in which my gift is given.
So finally, as my necklace says, Keep Safe, dear friends and fellow braiders!