I am always looking at leaf textures and considering which ones to use with metal clay, but the leaf I use most often is that of the bunchberry dogwood. The back side has raised veins that recreate the lines of the front, when pressed into fresh soft clay. I guess you could say the bunchberry is my “go to” leaf.
I’ve been looking for bunchberry plants in shady areas on the side of the road. Where are they? I thought they would be out by now, but they are not in their usual spots. Maybe I am looking for them too early in the season. The only leaves to be found, where I usually find bunchberries, are the wild lily of the valley.
(Pretty little flowers, but the smooth leaf texture = boring.)
In my road side search, today, I remembered to look for old goldenrod stems from last fall. Since making my silver pod bead from the mold of a triple stem gall, I wanted to find a single stem gall to make a mold for single pod beads.
Though they were well-camouflaged in all of the dead grass and sticks on the side of the road, I was able to spot a few. I may still be waiting for the bunchberry plants to show up, but at least I didn’t have to wait until fall to find these.
In trying to describe how I made the pod bead , I began to wonder what was the thing I picked up on a walk last fall, and of which I made a silicone mold? How do you Google something that you can see, but you can’t name? I tried to remember where I picked it up. It was from a dried plant stem, so I Googled “bumps in plant stem,” which only netted me information about tomato plants. I know I found the bumpy thing in a place where heliotrope grows wild in July. My next search term was, “large round bumps in stem of heliotrope.” Plenty of heliotrope information, but nothing about bumps. Hmmm…how about, “insect caused stem bumps?” Bingo!
The bumps are called galls. More specifically a goldenrod stem gall.
I’ve seen them many times, but never knew their name, and never paid much attention to them. Once I had the name, I Googled images for the stem gall and looked at over 13 pages. None of the images had a triple gall like the one I used to make this bead, so I think I picked up quite the unusual gall!
I have tried to pair the bead with other beads I have on hand. I switched out the reddish glass beads I bought from SueBeads. (Although just now, looking at Sue’s Etsy shop, she is selling Pod Beads that may be the perfect match with my pod bead.)
I strung it with some patinated copper beads from Miss Ficklemedia. I love the color of these beads with the silver, but I am unsure about others of my own beads I used in the necklace. Hmm, Sue’s pod beads will look lovely in between mine and Shannon’s….
Below: The triple goldenrod stem gall, the silicone mold, and the fine silver pod bead.
For the many times I’ve considered how I want to use this 2″ bead, I have also wished I had a mold of a single “pod” so I could make smaller beads with this texture. Now I know to look where the goldenrod grows (next to the heliotrope) and I also know the name of what I’m looking for. I think I like saying “stem gall” and I know I like like saying “pod bead.” And the cool dark pod beads with a metallic finish from Suebeads? Just bought ’em.