2/02/2016

bead sketches : month one

48

When I wrote the following on Dear Flora last month,

"Something new for what is feeling like a glorious new year on the horizon.
Thought it might be time to embark on a yearlong adventure ... 52 weeks
of 3-inch squares and the discovery of all the tiny worlds I can create
within them. I have no idea where this is going,
but go I must ... "

what I didn't mention was that I was going on this journey mainly to
play with beads again.  We'd taken a break, my bead family and I.  You know how it is
when you have to step away for a while in order to come back with fresh eyes,
a renewed heart?

I'd been away for so long that many new bead varieties had hit the markets without me
and I'd been growing steadily more curious about how to integrate them
into bead embroidery work.  Compound this with all the hand dyed
cloth I'd been amassing, explorations with paper, metals and all sorts
of sundry textiles and what was building felt nothing short of a crisis of making ...
I needed to dive.
I needed to stop dreaming and start doing.

For the last year or so I've noticed myself being attracted to the projects
of others who'd committed themselves to creating something/anything on a steady schedule.
Committed.  Key word.
Schedule.  Key word.
Be they daily poems or sketches, weekly paintings or mixed media collages, 
even a gorgeous pair of knitted socks per month, folks were dedicating themselves to
show up ... do the work.  Best of it was, they were gaining much from 
this kind of discipline.  They talked about it - they were having breakthroughs.
Their new creative "habit" was renewing confidence &
providing fertile ground for inspiration.
This, to my mind, was a healthy choice of how to invest ones time.

So I had a good long think about what I could stomach doing for the long haul.
Having really blown it in the past was actually helpful for not setting goals
to outrageously out there ... 20/20 hindsight & all that.
Size was going to be critical.  Beads are [mostly] tiny little pretties
and the last thing I wanted was a demanding blank space shouting, "Fill me up!"
So learning from a previous 6-inch disaster I first cut the size in half.


Another extremely important aspect of setting parameters was allowing
for the element of  play  ... I did not want to produce a *finished* square each week.
Instead, how freeing to simply play with ideas & materials
and just see where that took me.
Hence the name, bead sketches - not particularly clever, but to the point.
Without the pressure of having to finish something each week I found
month one an extremely enjoyable enterprise.  As each new week rolled around I
picked up whatever caught my fancy in the moment & started from there.
I wondered what would happen if I paired this with that,
then tried it.  I experimented with edge treatments & extending beyond
the exact space while allowing the materials to dictate the direction.
There were mess-ups - like joining methods, thread issues, fabric limitations -
which sent the beads all wonky-doodle ...
but I sure know a lot more now then if I'd never started.

Little templates to explore some ideas every week.
Slow and steady ... just show up.
Play relentlessly.

I'm really liking how this feels.





:::
It would be immensely enjoyable to hear about your experiences.
If you are someone who's ever [or currently] embarked on a daily, weekly,
even monthly practice, your comments about the process are most welcome here.
If you'd like to share a link where we can come and see what you made during the process,
please do.  I think the sharing could be very advantageous indeed.

Thank you for stopping by.

"I have no idea where this is going, but go I must ..."

: : :

To view all of the  52 Weeks : Bead Sketches  posts, starting with the most recent,





48 comments:

  1. Never thought of doing such work with beads, very fine edges on all fabric and colour full , exciting to see what more come up to you ,while you are working new idear come out most of the time , a pleasure

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    1. Many thanks, Bodil, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens myself.

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  2. I like your impromptu pieces very much. I guess I think I am committed without a schedule. One thing I shy away from is schedule. My entire work career was based in jobs that required "schedule".

    So now I have a daily project that I log info for and complete once a week, but MUST be caught up by the end of the month..a sort of schedule.

    I get bored easily and a project must have a useful purpose. Creating for nothing more than the joy of creation for me is an intangible. I wish the right side of my brain would move over to the left!!
    xx, Carol

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    1. "Creating for nothing more than the joy of creation for me is an intangible."
      Now that's an interesting comment. And I would bet dear Carol - speaking as one who's known you out here on the internet for what, maybe 8 years? - I would bet that you create all sorts of things for the joy of it but perhaps you are not even recognizing you are doing it?

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    2. we don't cease to play because we grow old, we grow old because we cease to play

      George Bernard Shaw

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  3. drawing with beads, cloth and thread. poetry without words

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    1. There may be a word or two included in future ;>)
      but you have seen into the wellspring.

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  4. good idea. i've tried it a couple of times. i wrote morning pages for a month or so one year. it did not change my life. it was surprisingly unproductive, and i felt i was whining unnecessarily. i then made shifu squares every day one august, the resulting vellum bound artists' book was very cool. i trashed the pages, the book is in a university library now. it just depends...

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    1. You seem like someone who listens to herself very well, Velma. You are constantly producing unlike me who seems to go in fits & starts with any making. I'm very cerebral - I live in my head much to much (I laughingly blame it on being an only child) - so my hope is to pull myself out of there (my head) & put myself into something tangible. Not forming words about very well yet .... but I think that will come with time.

      Thank you for your comment. I enjoy your art very much & appreciate hearing your views.

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  5. such an inspiring post. i, too, have an extensive bead collection. it is nice to have them on hand when needed but what you are doing with them is fabulous. can't wait to see more. i always have lots of different projects going at once but no real schedule. that doesn't work for me....just whatever, whenever is the way i tend to work.

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    1. Again, much like Velma (see above), you are constantly *making.* I wouldn't think any kind of schedule would be of use to you at all for you already wake up & dig into your projects every day ... tis who you are! And I remember you being that way years back, way back in Bead Journal days. I see that as a blessing - your "whatever, whenever" totally works for you.

      Thanks so much for the kind words, deanna.

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  6. Lovely and doable. Hmmm! A wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing. Janet Wright

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    1. JANET!! lovely to find you here, fellow islander, thanks for the visit. Hope life is good over your direction.

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  7. beautiful work with a 21st C tribal edge
    & re process I dream big sprawling projects that take years to bring into reality... it's a life.

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    1. A most interesting description. I don't see the tribal myself, but we often don't see ourselves - our [art]work - the way others perceive us, do we.

      Your Old Man Crow project has been long & sprawling ... about to come to fruition, I think. There is much to be said for labors of love.

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  8. You've set my mind ticking over. I've spent January sorting & clearing out, during which time I kept shoving bits of fabric, paper, beads, photos in a book which I named "things I might do something with (or not) book".
    I don't want to do a big project but could see myself creating lots of little hangings or collages for no other purpose than I like messing with composition and layering.
    Your idea cloud in fact focus my butterfly brain and it could result in a nice series of pieces.
    So thank you very much for planting the seed. Stay tuned to this space.
    Lynn :-)

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    1. "Messing" about is vitally important I believe. When I was first learning improvisational bead embroidery my teacher, Robin Atkins, used to tell her students, "Just pick up ONE bead - any bead - and GO." Has to be one of the finest prompts I've ever held onto & I use it to this day. With these current 3-inchies it's morphed into picking a fabric then going, and deciding to weave with ribbon then going, etc etc, but the principle is the same. I have no *final* intent in mind - the only goal is to play & explore.

      I wish you great luck with all your bits n'bobs, Lynn. I'm tickled pink about planting any kind of seed at all and will stay tuned.

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  9. well you know me, I'm always off on some lark or other. leaping from class to class to challenge to challenge. nothing new.

    but.

    my experience of doing things ...and DOCUMENTING those things... are 2 very different experiences for me.

    the 'doing' is virtually always a Good Thing. like you say, even if making mistakes, we learn so much. and there's the jumping in with both feet maybe without the necessary tools so we improvise and Eureka! a new lovely technique or look. Yay!

    the 'documenting' ... which I do believe is necessary. accountability and all that. but in putting it out there ...here... personally I begin to need approval. and that, my friend, is a whole other kettle of fish. neediness is not a good muse. ever.

    my .02cents which today on the open market is next to free. xo

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    1. "neediness is not a good muse. ever." Now ain't that the end-all-be-all truth !!
      I hear you, Jen, although this is not the mental place I am in at the moment.

      Contrary to seeking approval (although its always lovely when someones likes what you do) my desire for documenting the process is based solely in the journaling aspect of record-keeping (definitely the accountability) ... AND ... sharing the sketches to expose myself. Yup, you read that right ... expose myself. Being an introvert has its disadvantages - little nudges outside have proven to be good for me. Sometimes I meet up with like-minded souls (one or two have even been life changing) yet most of the time it's simply a valuable tool for moving forward.

      I always value your .02 (no matter what the exchange rate ;>)) xo

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  10. What a lovely, lovely idea! My interest and my artistic adventure muse are totally captured by this! I'm going to follow your lead and think about this process a bit more. I'll be keeping track of your progress!

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    1. Debi, if you jump in to embark on something similar I hope you'll stop by again to speak about it - maybe post a link?
      Many thanks for the visit.

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  11. Your little bead and fabric samplers are very intriguing. I have been wanting to get reacquainted with my fabulous beads and this just may be the inspiration I am needing. Thank you for sharing your Creative Bliss...

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    1. Those beads are calling you !! Give in ;>)

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  12. Wow, i lost but found direction here!

    I'll share sundays even it's one stitch
    It set a goal
    Thank you so much

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    1. dear yvette, WONDERFUL .... do share please.
      I hope you are mending well. Pats to your doggies.

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  13. Looks like fun. I do agree with "Just Jen" - the documenting and then the sharing can so easily get all tangled up in the whole approval mess. It's a good reminder, for me at least: Tread carefully.

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    1. That's a tricky snare for sure, Morna, but for me, I'm treading with great ABANDON !! Am not caring one zot for anyone's approval ... if I was going to skip off merrily into the woods to dally with sticks and create montages with fallen leaves & lichen, take their pictures then share the adventures here, it would be exactly the same thing to my mind. This is my *sketching* playtime - what anyone else thinks about it is no concern of mine ! If anything strikes a chord, well then, all the sweeter ...........

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  14. Wonderful little bead sketches, adorable!

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    1. hee hee, Mystic Quilter, thanks much for the visit.

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  15. I almost always have a project which may or may not fizzle. My journal pages are filled with personal prompts such as combining this or that and a list of emotional searches. Its been like that for the past 8 years and this being the ninth...January began...three cloth, beads and stitching on handmade boxes...most days at the work table, music, piles of beads and cloth!
    I like your squares and love your beadwork...I'll check back in and around 12/31/16 or maybe a little before!

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    1. I fell so in love with your indigo pieces a while back, Mary Ann ... your working methods certainly "work" for you. I can feel the rhythm of your creative days/years with that description ....
      Am so appreciative of the support - but most of all, for your inspiration.

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  16. Love your 'little work'. I also love the thoughts behind it. I've been having those same thoughts lately. My self-imposed deadlines are getting a little old and perhaps some small stitcheries or 'whatever' would be in order. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Join me in some 'whatever's Penny? Might be an enjoyable sideline to your delightful whimsy people, yes??

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  17. i love these .... i do not know what it is like to not be creating something . it is how i go .i look forward to watching your squares show up on this page . these are wonderful.
    kathy dorfer

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    1. Seems I'm endlessly creating photos [or app-ing them extensively!] and putting those out for all to see, but not my handwork and this is what I want to change. Odd that there is a little fear about it - obviously there's a hurdle I need to sail over so I'm hoping for fair winds ;>)
      Many thanks for your kind words, Kathy.

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  18. This is such a wonderful and useful endeavor, Christi. I'm grateful to be able to watch it progress. Love everything about it!

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    1. You are sharing my eyes about it all, Gayle, how terrif !
      And I am grateful that you are here.

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  19. I can't decide if I like the piece with indigo or the lavender woven one. I thought of the gratitude thing that seems to be going around a lot. I nixed that. Every night before I go to sleep I always think of things I am grateful for that day. I tried the sock thing once. I got too tense towards the end of the month that I "had" to get this done. Too much pressure. Now I just prefer to just play and flow. Not very structured, I know. But fun!

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    1. Play and flow sounds like an excellent plan to me!
      And I try to stay well aware of gratitude too ... is such a powerful medicine against negativity.

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  20. First, I love everything about this post. For I don't know how long I've had a craving for some daily or weekly or shoot, even monthly practice. Ritual. Whatever. Something. Your bead sketches are captivating.

    And this: "I have no idea where this is going, but go I must ..." Can you hear me chortling? In mid-January I sat watching a documentary with my husband and daughter (history buffs). I stitched my disabled sister-in-law's drawings while they soaked in history, and then I tuned in enough to hear about the 70273 disabled people who were murdered by the German Nazis between 1940 and 1941, and bam. In came this idea in one big whoosh. It's the kind of idea I've lived my whole live hoping for. An idea that was complete when it lighted on my shoulder and whispered in my hear. And about a month later - last Sunday, Valentine's Day, my birthday - I launched The 70273 Project.

    The Engineer asked his engineerish questions about size and space and time and how much and how big and why are you doing this - all the question I've told him repeatedly over the last 43 years to stop asking because just as I don't know why I HAVE to stitch Nancy's (the disabled sister-in-law) drawings, I don't know why I have to do this project. I only know that Bones say I can't not do it.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing that story, Jeanne, how life is for you. Your heartfelt project! And for the kind words.

      Let's do it.

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  21. Just found your lovely blog! Looking forward to journeying with you.
    Blessings, Sue McQ

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  22. I create way more in my mind than I ever do by my hand. Because I am usually working and commuting making my week long? Maybe. Because I lack the start button I need? Perhaps. Because I am continually pondering what I would DO with any completed anything as I strive to clean things out? Could be. Because my making need only happen in my head, as THAT is the creative part for me? Likely. The things I do make, I give away and I enjoy the thinking and dreaming part equally well. I've accepted that I think. I think. Every now and again I set some small goal I think I can reach (do to time constraints) - like I just posted about. But, generally I just go willy nilly. Great post. Glad I've arrived here :)

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    1. PS Love the blue woven piece...it invites touch and the native looking piece is so eye catching!

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    2. I have wondered all those questions about myself, too. I think the ongoing conversation with ourselves is VERY important although as I get older I'm realizing that it's also very important to not dwell on the "demons" brought up in the convos. I am always aiming to set my eye/my heart on the positives [altho not always successful].

      I'm finding great focus in these weeklies. Thank you so much for your words & kind comments.

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  23. The drawback about documenting, for me, is all the time it takes. You, Christy, manage to post beautiful photos, fascinating links, and thought-provoking text, as well as respond to almost all of the comments (42 already on this post)... That takes TIME, LOTS of TIME. I am one of the benefactors of your efforts, and appreciate it very much. Thank you!

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    1. Very time consuming, indeed, and I may weary of it at some point. For now I'm approaching this project by "journaling" its details ... seems important to do that at the moment. And you know me - always a bit picture-crazy so that fits right in with all the rigamarole. Thanks for the kind words, Robin!

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