Cynthia Rutledge

| Instructor |

Cynthia is a contemporary artist and teacher focusing on beadwork as her medium. She specializes in peyote stitch and off-loom weaving techniques with an emphasis on developing sculptural unsupported shapes in beadwork.

Her work has been exhibited in national and international shows and has appeared in Nicolette Stessin’s Beaded Amulet Purses, Carol Taylor’s Creative Bead Jewelry, and Carol Wilcox Wells’ Creative Bead Weaving: A Contemporary Guide to Classic Off-Loom Stitches.

“My attraction to 3-dimensional shapes has created a fascination for me throughout my life and has fueled my creative spirit. My choice of beadwork as a primary medium has followed that same fascination. As my beadwork has evolved, my work seems to always lean towards the building of shapes and forms that are functional and wearable.

The choice to use beads as my medium was primarily influenced by my love of color. Beads reflect and absorb light, hold shape and dimension, and in so doing, offer chameleon-like qualities. It is not always the end result that is the most important to me, however. The process of working with beads and thread is meditative and calming, which allows time for reflection. Engineering each piece is always a challenge that thrills me, as well as giving me the power to make the decisions that need to be made for each piece. The more I experience the wonderful qualities of beadwork, the more I realize my relationship with beads will always be one of learning, experiencing and sharing.

The decision to teach grew from my personal desire to share my love of beads and all the wonderful things that can be created with them. The commitment that I have to teaching stems from my desire to share the knowledge I have gained while developing my own skills in this medium. Ultimately, my mission is to help to keep this art form alive and well.”

Cynthia Rutledge

Project: The Downton Tassle

For many, the historical drama television series Downton Abbey by Julian Fellowes, was truly masterful. The show was set in circa 1912 to 1926 and depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in the post Edwardian era. Their lives revolved around major world events as in the sinking of the Titanic and the First World War.

Among the numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, the series, was in my eyes a fabulous view into historical clothing and jewelry. Watching the styles change season to season was very informative.

The actors were taught everything from dancing and table manners to the mannerisms of the day. Of course, the jewelry was very intriguing. The one piece that stood out the most to me was the Cartier-inspired tassel sautoir. Andrew Prince, a designer with an encyclopedic knowledge of jewelry history, was hired to create the tiaras and jewelry. His sense of style and accuracy is truly amazing. Mary Crawley wore the necklace in two ways, in the front and also in the back for a formal occasion. Stunning.

The Downton Tassel is inspired by the work of Andrew Prince and the beautiful jewelry that he created for the show. Pearls in the 1920’s were all the rage, so I created a long, beautiful pearl chain (called a sautoir) ending with a bezeled cushion cut CZ and a fabulous swinging tassel. Let’s get our flapper on!

Workshop: This is a one-day workshop

Skill level: Intermediate to advanced

Necklace length: The chain is 30” long plus 4 ½” for the CZ and the tassel embellishment

Flat and tubular peyote stitch
Fringing and embellishing techniques
Netting techniques