I went on another Pinterest trawl, and found a pin of a paternoster held in the hand of a figure. Having just purchased quite a bit of rock crystal (which is quartz, for those who are looking to recreate their own version) for a pretty decent price at Fire Mountain Gems, I was certainly excited to make my own version.
The Ghent Altarpiece is a massive panel polyptych dated from 1430-32, and was created by Jan and Hubert van Eyck. In it, a Deësis of the Virgin Mary, a figure called “the Almighty,” and John the Baptist are featured in the top panels, and in the bottom and side panels are members of the church, more saints, and the clergy. It is in the panel with the monks that this particular paternoster is found.
I counted 30 quartz beads in this detail. This linear paternoster also has green tassels, and an unusual acorn-cap-like bead that cradles the end beads. I’m not sure what the acorn-cap thing is, however it is an interesting detail. It could be a faceted bead (simple facets were in vogue at this point for gemstones, and the technology certainly existed, as rings from the period are starting to return to simple facets.
In my redaction, I strung the paternoster on four green silk strands rubbed with beeswax. To keep the beads from falling off as I strung it, I clamped a haemostat onto an end, and proceeded to start stringing. I used two sterling silver granulated beads on the ends, and 12mm rock crystal beads and strung them onto the silk. Once these were strung, I then made a tassel (there are numerous tassel tutorials online) out of the silk on the non-clamped end, left enough room to pass the beads up and down the strand, and then made another tassel to terminate on the other end.
This particular paternoster is simple – 32 strung beads on silk. But simple bits and additions to a kit add to the authenticity of it, and that’s why I love what I do.
In fact, there are two smaller ones (that had my camera behaved, I’d have photos of!) that are on their way to Gulf Wars for largesse baskets. The quartz beads are a bit smaller, and the tassels are different colours (in Ansteorran sable and Or), but the idea is still there.
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