Thursday, October 30, 2008

hmmm . . . what's next?

I love big projects, but I always find myself at loose ends after finishing one. Yup, the big piece is done; photographed, blogged and hanging around my neck even as I type. I've put away the drawer full of beads that I used while making it, but am reluctant to commit to a new big piece just yet.

So I've made a few pairs of lampwork earrings. And ordered some more lampwork beads. I've got some ideas rumbling around in my head; so far none of them has grabbed me, though. Sometimes I really enjoy the period between projects; it is a time when anything is possible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm writing again

Blogging has bit me with the writing bug again; I'm considering writing a book.  I'm nervous but excited; it's a long-term project and I've just started today.  I don't know if I'll be able to do this or not; I've always been a short-short writer.  But it's something I've always wanted to do, and the time just feels right to give it a go.

Not to worry, I'm in no way giving up making jewelry.  In fact, I may have finished the very large piece I've been working on; I just need to let it sit for a little while before I'm sure.  Sometimes it is hard for me to know when I'm done; I don't want to overdo it, but neither do I want to stop short.  

Hmm.  Maybe writing and jewelry making have something in common.  I've gotten used to stopping short when I write; maybe I can go on a bit more.  Time will tell.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm it!

I was tagged by Heather of A Creative Journal and, since I haven't ever done this before, I decided to play!

So, here are seven random facts about me:
  1. I actually like spending time alone.
  2. I think birds make the best pets.
  3. I like to be near water.
  4. I think fiddley, tedious things are fun.
  5. I love spicy food.
  6. Clutter makes me crazy.
  7. I wish I could sing on tune.

Here are the blogs I've tagged:
  1. New Beaded Jewelry Accessories
  2. Butterfly Beadwear
  3. Crafted Gems
  4. Fire and Glass
  5. No Easy Beads
  6. Not Your Average Jo Jo
  7. Ca' Lucia Creations

Ok, so here are the tagging rules…
  1. Link to my blog (tagger) on your blog.
  2. Give seven facts about yourself.
  3. Tag another seven blogs by leaving a comment on their blog and letting them know they were tagged and listing them (and their blogs) on your blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Instant gratification

I needed a bit of instant gratification today, so I made my favorite style of lampwork earrings. They're pure simplicity: a pair of small lampwork beads, ten inches of silver wire, a torch, a pair of pliers, and about ten or fifteen minutes. Okay, so I also use a file, a bit of sandpaper and a polishing cloth. But those are a given when working with sterling, so hey, they don't count.

Anyway, I'm wearing my new earrings and feeling very spiffy.

I've still got a day or two of work to do on my current seed bead piece; the embellishing is going well, but it's not fast work. Bead embroidery on beaded netting is not nearly as quickly accomplished as bead embroidery on ultra suede; it's an entirely different way to work. This piece is getting a sculptural look; it came off the pad a bit flat looking, but it is flat no more.

Have I piqued your curiosity?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Billions of beads

I would not even want to guess how many beads I've already put into the piece I'm currently making. No, not really billions, I used that for alliteration, but it's got to be in the hundreds of thousands.

And I'm not done yet.

This is a beadweaving piece; no backing, just beads and thread. All off-loom stitches. It's big, and it's been loads of fun. I'm still working on the embellishments, and I have yet to make the clasp, but this is one I just love.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Once more, with feeling

I'm still watching the discussion I wrote about yesterday, though I am no longer participating. It's like looking at an accident; I don't really want to look, but I find myself returning, just to see what is happening. Which side will prevail? Or will the entire discussion simply disappear if it grows too rancorous for prime time?

I've had a few more thoughts on the subject; we are a social animal, and, for many, the worst thing that can happen is to be on the wrong side of the leadership. This leads us into some astonishing contortions; think politics for some excellent examples of people acting against their own values.

Is it the same in the art world? Is being cool worth compromising everything?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is it art, or . . .

. . . something else?

and, what is the purpose of art, anyway?

Some would say that the purpose of art is to inform and inspire action. Others say that the purpose of art is to delight and inspire joy. Some might argue that the purpose of art is to add beauty to the world; and there are those who argue for the shock value of ugliness and horror. Some simply want something color-coordinated to fill a space and make their lives a bit less bland. And I suspect that there are others who feel that art has no purpose at all.

I have found myself in the middle of an interesting discussion regarding a piece of socio-political art. The intent of the artist was to inform and inspire action; to me, the piece failed, but for others, it succeeded. They found it amusing, or felt that it was a strong and true validation of their anger.

I found it crude, vulgar and mean. I don't like to see people sink to the level of the ugliness they wish to unveil. I guess I'm the sort who wants art to inspire and elevate.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The purveyors of order

So you already know that order is a challenge for me, but I know a couple of people who specialize in it. Gwen Fisher and Florence Turnour are the artists behind BeAd Infinitum and they are beaders of the highest order.

Gwen even got me to step out of my chaotic box and practice a bit of order last weekend. You can see my orderly effort in their guest gallery; I took a class and learned how to make Gwen's Kepler's Star pattern. It is a wonderful weave, surprisingly easy and comfortable to make. I couldn't totally abandon myself to orderliness; I made a few teesny-weensy changes to the original pattern. Check out their tutorials; I can say with great confidence that they are very well written and illustrated.

After all, Gwen was even able to bring order out of my chaotic fingers!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Entropy and order

Only half-jokingly, I told someone the other day that my beads do not want order, they want entropy. I have to really fight to make an orderly piece; symmetry is not in my nature. But sometimes I flirt with it. The piece I am working on right now has the appearance of symmetry, but it's a very rough symmetry. The shapes are not exact on each side, they are not quite in the same position, and the stitches most definitely do not match. I don't like to count when I bead.

Now some of you may have noticed that I did bead a perfectly symmetrical, and yes dadgummit, COUNTED piece just this past weekend. But it was a real stretch for me, and not in my nature at all. I'm glad I did it; I really like the stitch I learned in order to make it, but I've thought of nothing since but how to deconstruct it and make it dance for me.

Entropy. Yeah. That's my style.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spackle and paint

Yup, that's what's on my mind. We just bought a house; what a crazy time to be buying, but there is is: our lease is up in a couple of months, and our landlord was not encouraging when we asked if he would be willing to extend it. He'd really like to sell, not rent.

Although we've enjoyed living here, it's not a place we'd like to buy, so we got busy looking. I think we saw at least a hundred houses, but one stood out from the rest.

It's in great shape, and we love everything about it, except the way it was painted. But that's easily fixed. In just a few weekends, we'll have it just the way we want it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Click your heels, Dorothy

I went looking for someone else to be today, but I didn't find anyone I wanted to take home. I went into a craft store and found all sorts of new people; I could take up paper mache, make cute bracelets with metal scrapbooking sayings, photograph my jewelry on exciting new backgrounds, or embroider with linen thread. All of those things were really tempting; I would like, on some level, to be the sort of person who does those interesting things, and all it would take would be a few dollars in supplies. But, after walking the entire store and thinking about being someone who makes cute little Christmas ornaments or stunning silk flower displays (I could put a stem of faux orchids in the pot where the real ones are getting crispy!) I decided I was better off not adding anything new to my repertoire and I bought a packet of beading needles. Using my 40% off coupon, natch. How me is that?!?!?

Then I walked down the way to a discount store, and I thought I might be the sort of svelte woman who tames her tummy with a nice little tummy smoother type of undergarment. But either they were out of my size, or there are bigger tummies out there wanting taming. Alas, I am not destined to be sleek. Nor am I up to giving heels another go; I can't even really fantasize any more about making my legs look longer with a gorgeous pair of high-heeled pumps. The reality is, I just don't have that kind of balance any more. Or that kind of lifestyle.

So I hit the grocery store and came home.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bead Dreams

I don't know about you, but I almost always start a new piece wondering, "Is this my Bead Dreams entry?"

So far, the answer has always been no; but it doesn't stop me wondering. Yup, I'm at it again. I've just started a new piece, and I'm wondering . . . is this one my Bead Dreams entry? The design feels right, it just depends how it works up. But it's fun to dream while I bead, and someday, yes, someday I know that I will answer yes.