When I attended Bead&Button, I was absolutely bowled over by the pieces on display in the Bead Dreams showcases. One necklace that really wowed me was Helen of Troy, by French beader Anneta Valious. Not only is it luxe and gorgeous, but it uses a technique I’d never seen before.
Back at home, I found Anneta’s website, clicked through it, and discovered she describes her designs as being soutache jewelry. That still didn’t tell me much. I resolved to find out more and emailed the artist, proposing to share this technique with all of you. She accepted. Here’s a translation of our Q & A. All photos in this blog are by permission of the artist, and any errors in explaining what she said are mine!
What is soutache?
Soutache is a type of trim or gimp, and more specifically a flat braid with a groove down the center. Soutache began to be embroidered onto garments beginning in fifteenth-century France, becoming quite popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. [Think of the military uniforms of that era, festooned in braid. --NM] Soutache enjoyed a brief resurgence during the macramé craze of the 1970s. Today, it’s used mostly to embellish lampshades. It’s less well known for making jewelry.Continue reading...