Friday, July 29, 2011

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

I made this little mermaid back in the spring, listed her on etsy and waited. Nothing happened. The listing expired and I put her away. Just this week I made some experimental beads with the new Premo white translucent and had no idea what to do with them. Today I cleaned out my workspace and found lots of unrelated things: pirate coins I'd made while playing with pearlex powders, a bit of chain bought on sale, silver seed beads. Everything seemed to come together to make this necklace that I just adore. This time I won't mind if the etsy listing expires before it sells, I'll keep it just for me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

ABS July Challenge

I must admit that the July challenge painting for ABS had me bumfuzzled. I just couldn't get the colors to jibe. My first attempt was a dismal failure. I was determined this month to use all the colors: red, yellow-green,yellow-orange, pink,forest green, crimson, periwinkle and blue-purple (my own labels-not the official names). The epiphany came when I looked at the new style of bead I'd been working on this week based on fifties fabrics and grouped the colors to make miniature abstract tropical flowers using the periwinkle as background. The forest green provided a leafy color and the other colors combined to make some splendid spiky flowers that Lucie Hessel might have added to her garden. I decided to make a very simple bracelet to showcase these beads and matching spacers. Quite a challenge!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fifties Fashion

I've been making polymer clay beads lately with muted abstract designs in the colors of summer dresses from my childhood. I remember the fabrics of the fifties. All of the ladies I knew then wore cotton dresses made with yards and yards of fabric. There were shirtwaists and sailor style dresses and A-line and scoop neck styles. The fabric had a tropical feel. The colors were muted and soft, but the art was flamboyant and abstract. Flowers, birds and leaves were mere suggestions. You could look at a skirt and see all kinds of pictures just like when you saw images in the clouds. I didn't appreciate the dresses then, but as I grow older there's a certain nostalgia for things from the past, and I see how beautiful those dresses really were.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Aha Moment

It's been at least a year since I bought all of the paraphernalia for wirework. Several times I've picked up the pliers, played around a little and stored them out of sight. Many, many times I've read jewelry-making blogs and tutorials, books and magazine articles. Nothing clicked. The pliers stayed out of sight. Just the other day I decided to clean up my work station. Lo and behold, the pliers and headpins were in my line of sight. I picked them up. I picked up a bead, threaded a headpin through the hole and couldn't figure out what to do with all of the excess wire. The magic measurement of a quarter inch popped into my mind. I marked a quarter inch from the top of my pointer finger with a Sharpie. Now I knew where to make a cut. I picked up the needle nose pliers and found that was the perfect length for a secure loop. I picked up the chain nose pliers and found that the loop could be flattened and centered above the bead easily. Eureka! Bead dangles! What to do with them? Earrings came to mind first. I tried a few and it worked, but it's not much fun making things you can't wear yourself. I know, I know even toddlers get their ears pierced, but I am Chicken. Hear me squawk. Anyway, I tried making a balanced statement necklace with the dangles and the multitude of rondelles I make in a meditative state while I'm thinking of colors and patterns to try. Again Eureka! Lovely necklaces. And to think-it only took a year.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grandma Beads

I would love to have called these Granny beads, but that's what we called the dirty ring around the neck we got from playing out in the dirt all day. Thus, these are called Grandma beads. I don't sew today. I could, but I don't. Granny taught me how in the front of the store between ringing up bologna on crackers and nickel cokes and dealing with the drummers (salesmen) who came to sell her gimcracks and geegaws for the big glass case in her country store. Granny's penchant for burgundy was famous. I wanted to make a youthful A-line dress in teal and spring green, but Granny insisted on some of the maroonish fabric from her stash. The dress wound up looking like one of the tent dresses Granny always wore because she didn't believe in following patterns. I was never able to wear it, but it would have fit her to a T.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Frida Beads

I have a notecard tacked to my bulletin board with one of Frida Kahlo's many self portraits. It's the one with pink, red , yellow and blue flowers surrounding her head. She looks pensive. Her artwork intrigues me, sometimes disturbs me and sometimes baffles me. Reading about her life can never really explain exactly what she was trying to say. Can we ever know what a piece of art means to the artist? Probably not. Whether you write a poem or brush paint onto a canvas, you are expressing a moment that is so fleeting, so ephemeral that you yourself may not be able to call it forth once it has passed. Right now beads seem to emerge from the clay without forethought. The colors combine in ways I cannot anticipate and I am happy with the results. Months or even years from now will I be able (or even want) to recreate today's work? Or will the work have evolved into a different animal altogether?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Art Bead Scene-What a thrill!

My Ophelia pendant was featured on the Art Bead Scene blog! Absolutely thrilling to see it-I squealed like a kid. I'm so glad I finally got the courage to actually submit something. I know I've got a long way to go. I'm a beadmaker first and foremost; this challenge forces me out of my comfort zone and makes me a jewelry maker as well. I hoped to find a class on wireworking this summer, but so far it's study-on-your-own season. For now it's gajillions of stretchy bracelets so that I can get the beads out in the world. How fine it would be to design a more sophisticated setting for the new beads. Someday....sigh.