Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Step Forward One Step to the Side

I had a great time at the Lake Norman Quilt Guild meeting last week. They are a great and very talented group of needleworkers. I brought along a trunk-show collection and we all had fun modeling and talking about inspiration and work process. Thank you - for the great hospitality - and the chocolate on the refreshment table.

Depending on life I have more or less time to work on beading projects. As my pieces come to life they begin having their own character, as I worked on this piece; I thought that it would take the form of a standing figure. I did a bunch of research and sketching and finally drafted a pattern for an eighteen inch body, constructed a crude armature and completed the figure shape. Unfortunately, this figure and the beading would not harmonize. I now have two pieces "under construction" now. So, here is what is going on with the last piece you saw.

My plan for the next steps are - a face, beaded hair, neck embellishments and perhaps a "crown" or other
head wrap feature. As for the other figure - I need more research on myth and imagery - some large shield form and perhaps a staff... I will keep you posted.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beadwork & Airplanes

Here is what's new in my studio. I am working on a new sculptural figure embellished with beadwork. This will be the front of the figure. As this is a work in progress, I will post again here as the figure takes on more personality.

How do I get started??

I often start new beading projects when I have to sit on a plane for a few hours. About a week ago, I went to Arizona, so with a total of 8+ hours on a plane - I started a new beaded figure. The reason I like to start projects on an airplane is that it forces me to narrow the design options to what I can carry in my re-purposed cosmetic bag that I have as a carry-on. This forces me to focus on what works really well when designing with beads - rhythm and repetition, rather than the drawers full of beads in the studio.

I usually work intuitively when I do beading. I start with fabric that has colors or a gesture in it that I like, cut a piece of it off and usually back it with a piece of acid-free paper. The paper helps keep the fabric from being too distorted from the stitching. I then go over to my beads and select a group of beads of various sizes and finishes that seem to go with the fabric. I look for colors that blend and contrast with the base fabric. I make sure I have a few different sizes and finishes and pack them up. This usually happens about 30 mins before I leave for the airport, so I don't have much time to obsess over selections. So by being captive in a plane (or a hotel room) with a small selection of beads, I have to work with what I have. When I get home, the piece has already been established and has taken on its own personality. As I work in front of the TV at home, I am less enticed by the plethora of beads available.