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Glass bead jewellery


                                                                Katharina Eder



Katharina Eder, born on 31.1.1964, lives and works in Mödling near Vienna amongst a big collection of antique and new glass beads.




I almost solely work with glass beads  produced during the Biedermeier period in Gablonz and are thus hardly available for purchase. My sources are leftover beads and pieces of textile owned by mothers, aunts or grandmothers of my customers, sometimes I manage to find old beads on flea markets around the world. Persistent collection and bargaining have resulted in a considerable accumulation of equipment. I work with beads of different sizes and forms which have thin walls and are very irregular due to their ways of being produced. The hues of antiquarian beads are much more subtle and diverse than those of new, freshly manufactured beads.

The use of transparent glass beads and the specific arrangement of threads allow me to accurately emphasize the textile structure of my works. This way, precise tints and nuances of colour, which cannot be achieved by “new” bead material, can be created.


Processing techniques


Since the work with glass beads is rarely taught in Austria I have  acquired my knowledge about beads and their processing techniques all by myself. It demands a lot of patience and ultimately toil to work with extremely thin needles, fringing threads and fragile, sharp-edged beads. After thorough study of relevant literature and occupation with processing techniques of glass beads I have decided to mainly use two techniques:

Work with needle and thread – I use a square stitch to sew the beads over a wooden model. The square stitch connects the beads from below, the centre and from above. I enjoy using this technique because I have always been mesmerised by patterns and this way I am able to realise them. 

Work with crochet needle – The beads are crocheted to form tubes which I knot together or simply let their structure bring themselves into effect.

My work with old, transparent beads often brings along new opportunities to integrate the thread. That is, I often deliberately use the thread, which is usually concealed, to let it have its very own impact on the pieces I create.

Hundreds of years old beads are a substantial element of my work. With their unmatched forms and colouring they constitute to the special appeal of my jewellery.

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