Posts Tagged ‘spiral’

“Snake in an Egg” Bead Weavings: Pentagram, Octagon with Spirals

May 2, 2020


So here I am sitting in self-isolation, wondering when I can go back to my day job. Not surprisingly this has led me to bring out writing and art projects I have not been able to finish while working full-time. I have decided most recently to revisit some old beading projects from a few years ago.


White & green water snake in an egg. Beadwork by Mike Smetzer.

White & green water snake in an egg.

Green & gold water snake in an egg. Beadwork by Mike Smetzer.

Green & gold water snake in an egg.


These two water snakes were designs for the last Chinese Year of the Water Snake. Chinese astrology has twelve animal signs, so the snake comes around every twelve years. But every two years the element associated with the year changes. Chinese astrology has five elements, so it turns out that there are five different years of the snake, each associated with a different element. As a result of these overlapping progressions, the Year of the Water Snake comes around only once every sixty years. In times past, for the great majority of people, it would be a once in a life time event. For me today, it means if I want a design for each of these years, I’d better get busy.

These designs were woven on a home-made loom using Miyuki 8/0 seed beads. The “snake in an egg” is the featured part of a design for a larger hanging. I like the idea of the little snake being in the egg ready to emerge at the start of its new year. Both snakes are meant to show depth as they spiral toward the viewer. The first snake is looped into an irregular pentagram. The second loops into an irregular octagon.

Obviously these designs are very different in style. The white and green snake is freer, more energetic, younger, and more emotional. Perhaps a bit frightening. The green and gold snake is stylized, controlled, older, and more reflective. It is like a mandala. I like both snakes. I have different moods.

A post to follow presents designs that depict not only the wood horse but also that reference the snake it follows and the goat it precedes.


Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles

June 3, 2019


Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles. Photo by Mike Smetzer.

Lapis Spiral in a Bed of Tourmaline Pebbles.


Stringing and mosaic. All the beads are natural rather than dyed.

The lapis lazuli beads spiral out from pure lapis near the center to lapis with obvious inclusions in the middle to beads that are mostly inclusions with a little bit of lapis mixed in. The outer beads have a corduroy blue color rather than a rich lapis blue, but they also have some pleasant iron pyrite sparkle. Despite their limitations as gemstones,  the outer beads are visually interesting, especially as a transition to the tourmaline pebbles.

The tourmaline pebbles are small-to-large in size. Although drilled for stringing, they are bunched loosely here.