February 23, 2010

Bead Journal Project for January...

Wishing on a Blue Moon

This year, rather than working from a theme, I am journaling about whatever feels important to me in each particular month. The month of January began with the occurrence of a "blue moon" on New Year's Eve. This moon seemed to effect quite a few of us in some sort of profound way or another. An airline pilot friend wrote an amazing story about his flight that night. It seemed I really had no other choice in the matter - I too, must journal about this event.
What does it mean to witness such a phenomenon? Why does it effect us so? I stood in the dark for a long time on that eve.  It was icy cold.  Trees and shrubs had dropped all their leaves and seed pods hung in silhouette from stark, dormant branches. I have always been in love with the dark, never having fear, not even as a child so for me, this night sky was a velvet cloak, a large comfortable mantle of stars.  And I let it cover me while that giant blue moon took all my wishes right up to the heavens...  

The piece is about 7 1/2" square, give or take. I'm going to attach each page to an 8" square backing (as yet to be determined.)  I've chosen a square format this year for a couple of reasons.  One is to purposely break my attachment to rectangles and two, is to force myself to deconstruct the resist dyed Merino felts in order to reassemble them into something entirely different. Some background on the felts I'll be using can be found here. This piece is a combination of two felts cut & sewn together.  You can click on any photo to view it a bit larger.
Aside from figuring out how to combine a mix of textiles, one of my biggest challenges was deciding how much of the felt should show and how much I could cover up with beads & stitches while still maintaining a feeling of balance. I wrestled with that A LOT.  I have decided to hold onto the mantra "it doesn't have to be perfect" while I continue to figure that one out.
New things I'm discovering this time around:
how much I like rough edges, selvages, and my preference for piecing together irregular shapes
while keeping all those uneven edges...
...how much fun it is to try combining different textiles
 and then add stitching...

...how rewarding it is to learn from others,
like how I learned from Jude at Spirit Cloth
about turning down a corner to reveal its better side...
...and then there's just how far sheer determination can take you
when you've got your mind set on using that teal-colored wool vest!

A couple other notes: the piecing together was hugely difficult for me, so constructing the base on which to bead took the most amount of time - oodles of time. I never thought I'd be able to say that the beading was the easy part! In addition, I totally enjoyed learning to needle felt, couching yarn and I really, really loved stitching, way more than I would have imagined.

So there it is - finished at last!

February 8, 2010

Bead woven treasures...

I was delighted yesterday when I saw the subject line, A Treasure Bracelet, over on Kaite's blog.  I knew just what her post was going to be about and I couldn't wait to read it...  

Kaite, who is way over the Big Puddle from me in Australia, found her inspiration for making one (or two) of these bracelets from Robin Atkin's book, Beaded Treasures - Finger Woven Bracelets, Necklaces, Tassels and Straps.  Since I also learned this technique from Robin, I wrote to Kaite right away and offered to blog about my own experience.  I just lovelovelove the power of beads to create international communication and sharing!
I too, had some difficulty with my first bracelet (above) but I think that's to be expected when it's the *first*. It feels to me like there are not enough beads and the ones I did use, are too widely spaced. I also wove them with the stacks & loops too high so they all stick out too far.  I've since learned a fairly easy fix for these issues (by using a tapestry-like needle and weaving in more beads) but I haven't done that yet.  A mixed blessing, since this actually provides a good comparison photo when I put it next to the second bracelet which I like much better.

For those of you who like to see the backside of things as much as I do, this one's for you:
These bracelets DO feel wonderful on the wrist.  You can pack them full of all kinds of beads & trinkets that hold special meaning or memories.  Or just play like crazy.  Robin has even done all buttons, oh my!
 They don't take long to make once you get going...really.

Have you made a woven treasure bracelet? If so, it would be great to hear about your experience. Until next time, friends, share with each other. 

p.s. Kaite, this has been fun!


February 4, 2010

Muse at sunrise...

Every now and then, my muse goes missing.   Then, for no apparent reason, one morning I will wake up and there she is again. Where does she go?  Why am I so listless when she's away?  How is it that I can know instantly when she is back?   Because suddenly my day will have more color and my step takes on a different cadence.  Pestering thoughts get pushed to the background and I find that I am only looking forward...

The Muse at Sunrise, 1918
Alphonse Osbert