An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cabochons, heads, domes and nails – what takes your beading fancy?

It’s been a while but I have the blogging muse again and some determination to make some time for it. As some of you may know I’ve begun making my own lampwork glass cabochons fuelled by my recent enjoyment in returning to bead embroidery.
Seascape lampwork cabochon, Glenda Mac Naughton

Cabochon is such an arcane word that sharing my current creative explorations in making them with others has led to some puzzling conversations. One such conversation recently went a little like this:

Are you getting time to do some glasswork now the Festival of Glass is over?
Yes, it’s terrific and I’ve started playing with making my own cabochons?
Oh (accompanied by a puzzled expression) – are they a special type of bead?
Cosmos lampwork cabochon, Glenda Mac Naughton
No, they don’t have holes.
So, how do you string them?

It made me ponder where and how the word emerged and whether there are better ways to describe what I’m doing to those not familiar with it.

Seascapes lampwork cabochon, Glenda Mac Naughton
I did know that the word derived from French but that was the end of my knowledge. Google helped a little. I now know it derives from the Middle French word ‘caboche’ which could variously means nail (with a head), head, knob or small dome depending on which dictionary I consulted. 

Explaining I am making nail heads I think might lead to even more puzzling conversations but perhaps talking about domes of glass could work… though strictly speaking not all of my cabochon creations are domed. So,… more pondering to do? What do you think? Do you have your own language for the flat-back ‘things’  in the beadwork you create, buy or wear.  

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