Friday, December 26, 2014

The Cellini-Bernini Debate

Cellini is a stitch that I've struggled with. It just seems so wonky when I'm beading it that I'm constantly questioning if I've got the right bead size and whether I'm on to the next row? 

Recently my beady friend Linda was using a pattern that seemed more my speed ... well at least it is flat and somewhat less wonky. So it has that going for it. This actually is just straight up peyote, but you are switching the bead sizes from 6s, to 8s, to 11s, to 15s. So pretty wide range which is what makes this pattern look like Cellini. The original Cellini spiral stitch is a sculptural peyote beaded into a self-supporting tube. Kind of like a carved column, or how the stitch was named.

Benvenuto Cellini is who the stitch is named after. He is a 16th century Italian artist best known for his sculpture of Perseus holding the head of Medusa (left). Apparently the beaders who created this stitch thought the pattern looked like spiral columns they thought were in the Sistine Chapel. Virginia Blakelock and Carol Perenoud of Beadcats are said to be the beaders who named the stitch.

But here is the fun part. I then found a second post on BeadingDaily by a beader, who also studied art. She noticed that the pillars were actually the work of Gian Lorenzo Bernini who created the columns in question for the alter in Saint Peter's Basilica (right). So does that mean that we should be calling it the Bernini Spiral? I don't know about you all, but I'm going with Bernini Spiral.


  1. Hi Cynthia,
    Very interesting post thank you for the insight. Well whatever you want to call that stitch it is still one of my favorite stitches. I hope your Christmas Holiday is going well.

  2. Hi Cynthia - I love this bracelet and the background information as usual is always so interesting. Thanks for the shout out.

  3. This stitch looks amazing. I can see how it would be tricky to create. That is something I wouldn't have the patience for! Interesting about its history. It does sound like the stitch needs to be renamed properly.

  4. Another exciting piece!
    It's interesting to learn that the increase in bead size results in this undulating look :)

  5. Sounds to me like the detective in you figured this out. I'm going with Bernini too! Love the bracelet - can imagine all kinds of colorways.

  6. That is some interesting tidbits here about Cellini / Bernini!! And for the record, that stitch always leaves me befuddled too!!! The flat version you did in the bracelet is gorgeous!

  7. Great piece!! I've been lucky enough to see those columns in person, they are wonderful!!!
    A new year always brings new dreams, new goals, new challenges, but old friends always remain.
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  8. Very interesting! I love coming to your blog! Hugs and I hope you had a great Christmas ;o)

  9. Bernini it is!!! Love the flat Bernini and the leather. You are completely working the leather ends lately and boy does it look good! Don't stop! Maybe a hop of traditionally spiral stitches done in flat form? I am loving the look of yours! A. Lot.


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