I first learned how to make Russian leaves from the instructions in Linda Gettings’ “Collecting Leaves” project in “Bead and Button” issue 82 (Dec 2007). Her open centred variation of the traditional pattern has inspired me to make many designs, the first of which was an arrangement of three leaves with tiny flowers used as a focal for a necklace.This was one of my earliest designs, and was much admired, so I made a couple more for a friend and a relative – improving the design by adding a beaded toggle and loop clasp. The original shown here has languished in a box for the last couple of years waiting to be remade, as I used a thread which has frayed (it was before I discovered KO thread, but the ones I made for others were made with KO and are still going strong!). I remade it for myself in matte amethyst AB, which goes well with a couple of outfits I wear frequently.
Having made the three leaf focals for the necklaces, I wanted to make a flower with 6 or 8 petals, each one like a Russian leaf – but I didn’t want to make them separately, then sew them together, so I spent hours and hours trying to work out how create joined Russian leaves to make the flower. Even when I worked that out, I had a problem working out what to put in the centre. So the star and flower patterns shown in earlier posts are the result of months of trying things out, failing and trying again. At some point I realised that the star or flower could become a butterfly by changing the relative sizes of the “petals”, and that led to the butterfly cuff.