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The thousands of beads on this handbag are all applied individually using a couching technique. The beads are strung on one thread that rests on the surface of the fabric, and a second thread sews the beads to the surface. It allows for very detailed patterns of beadwork, and is employed by many cultures around the world.
The handbag dates to the early decades of the 20th century, and the craftsperson is unknown.  The clasp mechanism is machine made in brass, and has motifs common from the Art Nouveau era.
Inspired by this or any other piece you’ve seen in recent blog posts?  Apply for the Backspace Forward Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Craft.  See the full call for submissions here.