Sometimes, I go to the bead store, find something that absolutely has to come home with me, and then the beads beg to be made into something.
The beads I picked up aren’t true amber; they’re an amber resin, which is where amber scraps are melted down and turned into amber-like resin, along with a couple of binders. The result is an ultra-light, deeply coloured amber-like material that looks an awful lot like beads used in paintings from SCA-period.
This particular paternoster was inspired by two paternosters: the Arnolfini Portrait and The Magdalen Reading, both from 1430s Netherlands. In the Arnolfini Portrait, a linear paternoster with twenty-nine beads (either glass or quartz) hangs in the background – bright green tassels in contrast to the stark white walls in the painting (bearing an awfully close resemblance to the Ghent Altarpiece paternoster. The Magdalen Reading has a linear paternoster with twenty beads (17 of them amber-like, the other three a white material, probably bone) and dark green or black tassels. The tassels on both paternosters are very large, very full, and by the way they look, both well-used.
In making this set, I used the aforementioned amber resin beads, as well as some cherry amber for the ends with tassels in green silk.
I still have a little bit more of the amber-like beads, and I anticipate more soon, and hopefully even closer to the Magdalen Reading paternoster!