Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Confetti beads in lace spangles


The spangle is the ring of beads attached to the end of English East Midlands bobbins to give them weight and ensure they lie flat on the pillow. They are generally made up of six square cut beads (three each side) with a larger bead at the base, although there are many variations. The larger bead is often more ornamental than the others and those in the image all have added dots of glass. The one on the second right is a confetti bead which was made by adding small chippings of brightly coloured glass to the surface of the bead as it was being made just before it solidified. The large green bead seems to have had the white dots added after it was made as they are slightly raised. The bead at the top is known as an eye bead as it has a series of dots on top of each other, loosely resembling an eye. The most famous of these types of bead is the Kitty Fisher eye bead, which is made of grey glass with small red and blue spots inside larger white spots, supposedly representing the beautiful face of the actress. These dotted beads may have been made locally or purchased from travelling salesmen as many beads were made commercially for trade in Africa and would also have been available for lacemakers to buy (see my blog post of 24 September 2021).


EagleLobes said...

I'm wanting to give it a go at bobbin lace, and in researching the different types of bobbins available, I'm trying to inform my decision as to what kind I'd like to use, ultimately. After I get accustomed to lace making using my wooden clothespins, that is. Certainly, if I find I want a set of proper lace bobbins, I'm getting some with spangles:) Thank you for introducing them here. Of the larger beads in your post, I like the green with white dots the best, but the Kitty Fisher eye bead is intriguing. Off to see what it looks like!

Carol Q said...

Good luck with your bobbin lace I hope you enjoy making it. You will find that different types of bobbins are used for different types of lace, so something like Torchon lace would be ideal for spangled bobbins. Thanks for the link to the article on trade beads - I have seen some of these in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and they were obviously used by lacemakers as well!