Three-drop gourd is a bead weaving technique done one bead at a time around cylindrical objects. The patterns are mathematically based and the designs are impossible without a lot of calculating, counting and re-counting before starting a project. This style is traditional to Southern Plains tribes and is used on dance regalia, ceremonial items & everyday objects.
How do the beads stay on?
Beads are strung on, one at a time, creating a netting around the object. The beads stay on through proper thread tension, a good bead count and math.
Is is gourd or peyote?
The term peyote refers to beadwork used in Native American Church (NAC) ceremonies where peyote is a sacrament. Outside the church beadwork was called gourd even if it was the same stitch. Many established beadworkers and elders follow this protocol. You won't find consistency on just which name to use since over time the term peyote was appropriated to describe many different beadwork styles.
What's the difference between 3-drop and 2-drop?
A discerning eye can spot the difference between the 3-drop and 2-drop styles by looking at the starting row. There are two styles of 3-drop. The direction depends on whether you bead top to bottom and/or left to right. Other styles are also called 3-drop and 2-drop where beads are added 2, 3 or even up to 6 at a time. With the styles pictured below beads are added one at a time.
3-drop steps up or down three beads before meeting the next set of three beads to create rows.