Wire, Bead & Stone Trees
El Kaye and Ginny
How This All Began . . .
My grandmother Margaret was a very special person. She traveled quite a bit and had the opportunity to collect many beautiful artifacts from all corners of the world. No doubt she had many friends who had given her gifts as well, so amongst her possessions (which we are still trying to sort through since her passing) were many wonderful knick-knacks and pieces of art.
I had the opportunity to choose various items which I thought were special and which I felt would help to always remind me of her gentleness and beauty. Amongst the items I chose were three beautifully crafted gemstone trees. The labels indicated they had come from a small gift shop in Oregon. They are made of what appears to be jade, amber and tiger's eye stones (respectively) on wire and mounted on very pretty quartz stone bases (the tiger's eye tree is mounted on a larger piece of what appears to be tiger's eye or a stone of the same color). When I finally brought these home they were quite dusty, so I sat down to carefully clean them. As I worked on the dainty stone leaves mounted on wire I looked at how they appeared to be put together and the thought crossed my mind . . . it wouldn't be impossible to make these!
I toyed with the idea for some time and finally decided to give it a try. With my father's help we found wire, stones and base rocks. I came home and started working on learning to twist the wire into the branches and trunk (dad was also the engineering genius who explained how this could best be done!) and before I knew it I had put together my very first tree! I loved it so much I started working on others, but had trouble locating small (and affordable) gemstones. Oddly enough on the first tree I used some small stones (originally intended for bonsai gardens) from grandma's collection, but finding small polished pebbles seemed very difficult. I tried everything from decorative marbles and aquarium pebbles without much luck (I have since found resources for actual gemstones and will likely try doing actual gemstone trees in the future).
I came to realize that working with simple beach rock as the base was very pretty in its own right. Gemstone trees are often quite expensive because of the materials used, but I knew beads could also be used this way, so since I had a huge amount of beads left over from the necklaces I had earlier been making for my sister's business I began making trees with beads. I found they looked really nice and decided this would be a good way to go.
After making several trees my mother, Ginny, who has always been very talented at crafts (she used to make the most gorgeous pinecone wreaths among other things!) became intrigued and wanted to try making them. Before I knew it she was making beaded tree branches at great speed! We often work together on one tree, with her making the branches and doing the wrapping and me shaping and mounting it on the stone base. Between the two of us we have an ever-growing collection of bead trees! Most of the trees are around 5" to 6" tall but some are smaller. I'm now working on other designs and ideas, such as unique Christmas ornaments.
Whether or not we'll ever make this into a business remains to be seen (I came up with the name Tree Chic just in case!), but in the meantime we're having a lot of fun sharing this art and we would like to share our work with all of you via this website! I hope you'll enjoy seeing what we've been working on!
Designs by El Kaye
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Designs by Ginny & El Kaye
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If you would like to contact Tree Chic,
E-mail El Kaye