While working on a tutorial for making sliding knots, I had a great idea. Even though a well-crafted knot is handsome and unobtrusive, why not embellish it by concealing it with a polymer clay bead coordinated with the necklace’s pendant or beads? I worked it all out in my head during one of those sleepless hours that sometimes intrude during the night. Normally being unable to sleep would drive me crazy, but not this time. I was excited and inordinately proud of how clever I was.
Even in the light of day what I envisioned actually worked. I made the cutest little orange/white Skinner blended beads. Picture this: I cut three heart shapes with a small cutter. I overlapped the hearts in a semi-circle. Then I picked them up, joined them full circle, and flanged the lower edge to look like petals. Where the points met I made a hole just big enough to slip over two cords but small enough to stop at the knot. It was the cutest darned thing. Tim said it looked like a fairy cap.
I cured two beads, slipped them over the cords, and made the sliding knots. Yes! Then I put on the necklace and looked in the mirror. That’s when my bubble burst. Instead of hanging like proper little trumpet flowers, the beads exposed their throats. Not pretty.
Undaunted, I went back to the drawing board and came up with a calla lilly design. Cured them, stuck them on the cords, looked in the mirror. That’s when it hit me. The knots are supposed to be unobtrusive so that at whatever length you wear the necklace they don’t beg for attention. Beads didn’t work at any length, especially when they sat on either side of my neck looking like growths I should get checked out.
At this point I considered switching projects, maybe working on my southwestern tiles that have been on the back burner. But I didn’t feel like it. I was reminded of the wise fisherman’s adage: fish or cut bait. It was time to cut bait. I took all the necklace cords that snaked over a rack in my studio and organized them. I measured and coiled each cord, wrote the length on a little piece of paper, and taped the paper around the coil. They all went into a plastic bag now hanging on the pegboard in my studio closet. It was time well spent. Not nearly as clever as my camouflage beads, but eminently satisfying.
Furthermore, I gained a lot of respect for the humble sliding knot. It serves a function and looks good without trying to overachieve.