This was a test piece: a friend and I have been trying to come up with
marketable fashionable items that, yanno, actually sell (as opposed to endless bits of bead embroidery on random pieces of fabric...) She suggested I try shirt lapels. That sounded fun, but traditionally lapels are stiffened with stabilizer, and I was worried it would be too difficult to push the needle through two layers of fashion fabric plus collar stiffener.
right lapel. Assorted semi-precious (e.g. golden obsidian, tigereye, jasper) and glass beads, some lampworked, nylon thread. The moire effects on the downsized photos are really bad, sorry. Click to see full size versions of any of the images for a better view.
This proved not to be a problem. And working in browns was a nice break from the red and green on black (much as I enjoy that color scheme;) I thought the embroidery actually came out pretty well  so K suggested I try to do a representational image, something I haven't really tried (though I keep meaning to.)
left lapel, showing cicada. Made & photographed 19oct2015. Nylon thread, assorted lampwork and other beads
We settled on a cicada. The brown fabric (body) is linen and the green wings are cotton. I did some freeform embroidery with number 25 floss, then started beading over it.
As the piece progressed, I experimented with differing colors (burgundy and olive) beading thread, and these, along with the thread embroidery, made for a reverse that came out fairly well. Really, the only frustration was not being able to use malachite—I judged it would be too soft and vulnerable to chemicals to go through the washing machine or dry-cleaning chemicals: I designed the piece to be washable, though ideally it should be line dried, and obviously glass beads and irons don't mix.
Alas, I was very unhappy with the smearyness of the images. They're in focus, the lens just had something on it (say, fingerprint oil or the like) which I didn't realize until the piece got taken away (and I was too lazy to get it back & re-photograph). Then I realized if I had shot it with the lensbaby it would've looked this way on purpose and so stopped worrying about it.
Unless otherwise noted, text, image and objects depicted therein copyright 1996--present sylvus tarn.Sylvus Tarn