Cellini Spirals - Theme and Variations
The Fascinating Cellini Spiral
One of the most intriguing variations of peyote stitch is the Cellini spiral. This stitch is a type of sculptural peyote that produces an elegant helix in the form of a self-supporting beadwoven tube. Using just a needle and thread, you can create tiny (and not so tiny) works art.
The basic stitch is surprisingly easy to master and once you have done so, the possibilities are endless! You can produce countless different looks depending upon your choices of bead size, color and finish.
In the examples below I'll show you some of the many ways to vary the slope of the helix, play with color, and generally have fun.
The Basic Spiral
Where it all begins
This is an example of a very simple spiral. It uses three sizes of bead (small to large: 15/0, 11/0 and 8/0), which gives it well-defined helix shape. It has a monochrome color scheme with textural interest provided by the use of three different finishes: transparent, transparent matte, and transparent silver-lined. The spirals are tapered at each end for use as earrings. If I were to make this same spiral for a bracelet or necklace, I wouldn't necessarily use the taper, depending on how the piece was to be finished.
Playing With Shapes
Here is a much less well-defined spiral with a softly wavy shape. I created this by using 5 different beads in a narrow range of sizes, so that there were no abrupt transitions. It relies on the two silver stripes - one big and bold and one tiny, almost hidden - to give interest to what might otherwise be a bit bland.
Now here's a gorgeous example of a dramatic shape. This Earthy Swirl bracelet, made by totallytwisted on Etsy, uses precisely the same size beads as the green earrings above, but what a difference! By using several of the tiny 15/0 beads together, she emphasizes the grouped 11/0 and 8/0 beads, making these larger beads stand out from the background in a prominent ridge. The color choice - the silver between the bronze and black - makes the pattern really pop.
Playing With Color
This beauty is the Trinidad bracelet by beadnurse on Etsy, a lovely combination of turquoise, silver and black.. Notice how no two rows* of beads are the same color and the color order is just slightly asymmetrical. In this piece, the shape of the helix is very even and basic, to give the spotlight to the brilliant colors.
*They are not, technically, rows but they appear to be, so for clarity that's what I'll call them. :)
Want to Learn This Stitch?
Have the pictures and all my talk whetted your appetite for more? Want to give it a try yourself? If you do, I've linked to several online tutorials below.
The first two show you how to do regular tubular peyote and if you don't already know this stitch, I strongly urge you to learn it first - before you tackle the third link, which is the spiral tutorial. If you're familiar with tubular peyote, then by all means jump right into spirals. They are great fun - but you knew I'd say that, right?
Where to go to learn to make Cellini Spirals
- Even Count Tubular Peyote Tutorial
PDF format. Short and sweet - and well illustrated.
- Even Count Tubular Peyote Video Tutorial
This is a video tutorial from Fire Mountain Gems.
- Cellini Spiral Tutorial
This is where I learned to make Cellini Spirals. She illustrates her instructions with drawings and photos. If you're familiar with tubular peyote, this should give you all you need to make the move to spirals.
Cellini Spiral Tutorial teaser...
Here is figure three from the Cellini Spiral Tutorial linked above. As you can see, the author's illustrations are really clear and helpful; they complement her text very well.
(photo used by permission)
Beads and Beading Supplies
A few sources
A mix of bead sizes is necessary to make Cellini Spirals - anything from three to five or six or even more. The local craft store usually doesn't carry a wide enough selection to make your average bead addict happy - although if you are fortunate to live near a good bead store, they might!
If you find that you need to shop online for beads, I have a couple suggestions. Artfire is a good source of seed beads in many sizes: Size 6/0, Size 8/0, Size 10/0, Size 11/0, Size 12/0, Size 13/0, and Size 15/0. There is a wide range of colors available from a large number of Artfire sellers.
For beads and all manner of jewelry-making supplies, there are many sources online. Two of the biggest are Fire Mountain Gems and Shipwreck Beads, but there are a zillion others.
Just for Fun! - Cellini Spirals - from a recipe or one of a kind?
It takes some effort to assemble just the right beads for a Cellini spiral. You need a range of sizes, at minimum, and usually a range of colors and/or finishes as well. And beading an attractive spiral takes planning. Sometimes you try out a design and it doesn't work, so you rip it out and start over. It's definitely a labor of love, making spirals from scratch, but it sure can be satisfying! On the other hand, working from a recipe means you get your finished spiral faster and with less of the often frustrating trial and error that goes into new or one-off designs.. There's a case to be made for either method.
Do you prefer to work a cellini spiral from a recipe (yours or somebody else's) or do you design each new spiral from scratch? Why?
From a recipe or a repeat of one I've done before.
How did you like this lens? Did it interest you in trying Cellini spirals? And did I miss something that you think ought to be included? Do you have a question? Let me know here or you can contact me through my Zibbet shop. If you haven't guessed, I love to talk about beads.
And thank you!