Tangled webs: the waxed linen blog hop reveal

Waxed linen. 

When I think of it I imagine the colorful options, know it is versatile, and then draw a blank. Its not in my wheel house. Friends like Linda Landig and Erin Seigel, to name a few, use it with great results. But for me… its a challenge. So thats exactly why I decided to join when Diana of Suburban Girl Studio announced this blog hop. 

I sat down with my journal – and a coffee – to try to sketch… I like to think visually on paper in doodles. The characteristics of waxed linen that I was drawn to: multi strands, an assortment of treasures, versatility for beads of varying size holes, and I wrote down one word more, that really started the ball rolling. WOVEN. 

Athena and Arachne. 

In Greek myth, Athena ( Goddess of wisdom, war, and patroness of the arts) enters a contest with Arachne. Arachne, a human girl of consumate skill at the loom, commits a fatal mistake by bragging of her talent and offending the Goddess. They weave tapestries in competition, and although Athena wins, Arachne’s skill is great. Arachne hangs herself in the tatters of her weaving. Athena, in a moment of mercy, transforms the girl into a spider so she is allowed to/cursed to spin all her days.

Polymer hollow focal

I created a hollow polymer focal with aluminum tubing inside to act as a channel for multiple threads. The owl, representing Athena, is cast from a reproduction drachma. The web for Arachne is a linoleum stamp that I carved to use in clay. I toyed with various spider options, but they ended up distracting from the focal… 

thread and beads choices!

I have an amazing assortment of waxed linen from Mary at White Clover kiln. I also delved into my Czech glass treasure, from back in the days at the Shepherdess in San Diego. Just making the color decisions was the hard part! 

knotting the strands

My original plan involved all three of these strands. Two are double strands, knotted at intervals with beads spaced an inch or so apart . The third was denser, knots, 8’s and drop beads, continuously knotted. I liked the contrast of the more open strand with the denser strand. But all three – was too busy. Here is what I decided on in the end: 

 Tangled web - Athena and Arachne

The front: greys, blues and golds. A linen tassle dangling from the embedded loop. ( Note the top. The channel inset in the pendant was too narrow. Wrapped loops solved that problem!)

Tangled web - Athena and Arachne (back)

The back: Arachne’s web

So I was left with a knotted strand – just waiting for a pendant. Here is the bonus necklace I created with one of my ceramic fairy pendants. ( Fired to ^10 reduction for you clay people out there)

Bonus piece

 So – if I can muse philosophical for a sec, I am glad I did this. I don’t see waxed linen being my go-to material. I respect it, and designers/artists who work with it. I can see using it as an accent in mixed media pieces. I am happy with my pieces, and would love to hear your thoughts!


Thanks to Diana for organizing the challenge. Please visit her page for the links to all of us participating! There are sure to be diverse offerings, and many beautiful things! 

Thanks to Mary Hubbard for the sample bag of the waxed linen from her shop! I purchased it from her at Beadfest a year or two ago, and the plethora of pretty colors really inspired me to try my hand at linen and knotting! 

To my fellow participants – I am currently photographing flowering cacti in Austin, TX – and visiting family. I apologize for the delay, but I look forward to “hopping” as soon as I can! 

30 thoughts on “Tangled webs: the waxed linen blog hop reveal

  1. Becky Pancake says:

    Hi Jenny. You chose a wonderful theme for your waxed linen piece. I am impressed that you created the pendant too for this special piece. I agree that the three strands was too busy. I like your design a lot.


  2. Erin says:

    Hi Jenny, These pieces are great. I love how you varied the knotting techniques and beads on the multiple strands. It adds so much texture and interest. Wonderful job!


  3. Karla Morgan says:

    We have lots of flowering cacti in our area. I’m just a hop & skip down the road in New Braunfels, TX.

    Love your necklace & polymer focal!!!! Wow!! You’ve got talent!

    Enjoy time with the family!


  4. Johana Nunez says:

    When I was a little girl, in school I remember when my History Teacher teach us Greek myth and I was fascinate. The same happen when I read your post!!! And your jewelry are so wonderful! Thank you so much!! 🙂


  5. Linda Landig says:

    You may not *feel* that waxed linen is your forte, but damn, girl, that is an awesome necklace! I love all the texture created by the knotting and the tassel. Of course we all know you are the queen of mythology expressed through jewelry and your pendant is nothing short of amazing. Great work!


  6. Kay says:

    I love your pendant you made, it’s gorgeous. And I love all the texture in your multi-strands for the pendant. Very pretty. And I really like your second necklace, too, with the extra strand. I’m only about 60 miles north of Austin, and I have tons of flowering cacti right now. Love it when it flowers. Not so much the rest of the time. 🙂


  7. Cory Tompkins says:

    Jenny, I love how much thought and planning you put into your design and I had an “AHA” moment while looking at your hollow polymer focal…bake the front and back first…then put it all together (sometimes the simplest things just don’t come to me right away!) I think you did a great job with the waxed linen even though it is not your go to medium. I especially love the strands you did with the 3 pearl segments.


  8. Susan Kennedy says:

    Well, one, thanks for the lesson, I did not know that one! Two, thanks for showing your polymer process, very ingenious! And three, thanks for showing your process for knotting the cord. When I first looked at it, I didn’t understand totally what you did, but you showing your process allowed me to understand! And I think you do great with waxed linen cord and think you should have some simple pieces to sell at Bead Fest!


  9. Vanessa says:

    Nice work, I like how you left the linen dangling, and how you connected the big focal bead. What a beautiful piece.


  10. Kelly Hosford Patterson says:

    Clearly that 3rd strand was meant to go with the butterfly pendant. Love the Arachne necklace and the story behind it. Are you a member of the SRAJD? You could totally enter this for the Greek mythology themed challenge this month. I’m working on a piece based on Chronos and Zeus for it tonight.


  11. Toltec Jewels says:

    The journey of creating with you is inspired! Wow, what extraordinary art. I love your Athena necklace — the linen tassel & combination of wirework & texile looks fantastic, as does the colorway — and what an exquisite, brilliant focal. Amazing. I’m in awe. And your fairy is charming, sweetness. Both pieces are rich in their unique designs; balanced & beautiful & moving. I learned from our challenge, also, as waxed linen is new to me too — and I am learning with each artists’ post! Gracias for a wonderful post, for the gorgeous art you create and share!Happy Hopping! ? TJ


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