What’s in a Name

Here we are at the beginning of a new week, and noticing last week went by fast. It definitely was a busy one at my studio.

I held another class. It was a basic needle weaving session using the gourd, or peyote, stitch. This was a new stitch for a few of my six students, and a nice refresher for others. We used one of my own earring designs as a starting point.

This stitch has been around for millennia, and goes as far back as ancient Egypt. I grew up knowing it as the gourd stitch; at some point beaders today more commonly use the term “peyote stitch” instead. What is interesting is that the term “gourd stitch” derives its name from American Indians decorating gourd containers, and “peyote stitch” is derived from American Indians decorating decorative objects used in their peyote ceremonies. Nonetheless, it is the same basic stitch.

I like it for its simplicity and versatility. When I create something using only Delica seed beads, the piece turns out smooth, flat, and slinky. I have modified patterns by using various sizes of seed beads, the most well-known of these is the Cellini stitch. It’s peyote gone ‘round and ‘round with a lot of interesting bumpiness!

We had fun at my class, and we learn from one another. I hold the belief that not only can experienced beaders share their knowledge and talents, but novice beaders bring a lot to the table, too. They see things with fresh, new eyes. And sharing and discussing some background history about the art of beading keeps our conversations between us beaders delightful and positive – and it makes it so much more enjoyable to want to learn more, and to return to my studio to learn and share even more.

©2016 Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, The Rosary Shoppe, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

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