Sunday, April 28th, 2024

The thistle represents overcoming adversity and difficult situations. It’s a symbol of resilience. In Celtic regions, the thistle represents devotion, bravery, determination, and strength. Throughout history, many cultures have adopted the flower as a positive emblem, cultivating unique stories that tell the tales of past heritages.

For instance, Scotland has used the thistle as their national emblem since the 13th century.Without any natural enemies, it flourishes in the highlands, islands, and lowlands of Scotland. It attracts goldfinches, bumble bees and many varieties of butterflies.

In the Basque region of France, the thistle is called the flower of the sun as it always stands proudly to face the light, therefore, they consider this sturdy plant an icon that the sun sent down to protect others from harm and evil. Even today, as a symbol of protection, you can see pots of thistles by the front doors of many homes in this region.

My inspiration for Flower of the Sun derives from the description of the meanings for the thistle in the Language of Flowers dictionary published by Joseph Hammer-Purgstall in 1809. The words, overcoming adversity, and determination, came to mind because of COVID and how our lives all changed in an instant. The words, devotion, and bravery to all of those that we have lost and to those that have saved so many. The word, strength, and how we will make it through this, in the end, if we stay strong and work together. We lift our faces to the sun and hold fast!

A three-dimensional thistle, created from a peyote stitch armature, is embellished with baby magatamas, and variations of spikes and branch-like fringe to create the center component for this design. Spiky leaves are wrapping around the necklace core of tubular peyote stitch. The necklace comes to an end in a toggle and a unique way of making the loop.

Discipline: Beading

Necklace length: 17 ½” long for my samples

Techniques Used:
Branch fringe embellishment variation Flat even and odd count peyote stitch Netting variation
Picot stitch-in-the-ditch embellishment Spike embellishments
Split circle technique for dividing a tube of peyote stitch into two tubes for the loop closure Stitch-in-the-ditch
Tubular, even count peyote stitch with increasing and decreasing
Tubular, odd count peyote stitch

Skill level: Suitable for Intermediate to advance levels, beaders familiar with the above-mentioned stitches

Workshop cost: Member $80, Non-member $100

Kit: $60 (required) to order after registration. Available in 3 colors: Periwinkle, Coral and Salmon.
Kit orders will be placed with the teacher 45 days before class starts.

Materials in kits: All seed beads with printed tutorial.

Date: Sunday, April 28th, 2024

Time: 11:00am – 5:00pm EST

Venue: via Zoom

Instructor Name: Cynthia Rutledge

Cynthia Rutledge

Instructor Bio: 

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.”


  • Payment is due in full at time of registration.  If you must cancel a class, please notify us by sending an email to:
  • Cancellations received more than 45 days before the starting day of a class will receive a refund LESS a $25.00 cancellation fee.
  • No cancellation of class after list of supplies provided by instructor or ordered from instructor
  • No refunds are given for cancellations received less than 45 days before the start date of a class.  In the event of no refund, students will receive instructors hand-outs and/or instructions and have the option to purchase the instructor’s class kit.