Thursday, 27 October 2011

Why Acorns?...

Albion stitch and size 15's, work in progress!
Acorns and oak leaves are on trend right now thanks to Kate Middleton's divinely diamond encrusted wedding jewellery. Delve a little deeper into our pagan past and the Acorn is a symbol of fertility and abundance, apt for a bride to wear on her big day. You can also carry one in your pocket to ward off old age (! bit late but worth a go), or put one on your windowsill to protect the house from lightening strikes... which is why those curtain and blind pull thingy's are often acorn shaped, who knew!
With these comforting properties maybe it's not surprising they are emerging in all forms for our adornment when all around us is a bit unsteady.
But the honest why is that I just got an urge to see if I could bead one... it was a throw it across the room in frustration experience, followed by a walk away and ignore it while the brain ticked over session. Eventually I resorted to trusty Albion stitch and now have the beginnings of a design. I fiddled around with some spare beads to make a top for the pendant, so now all I have to do is come up with a nice way to put it all together. When I do I'll write up the pattern and pop it in the shop.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

harvest an idea

a snap from the i-photo stash
Recently I was being interviewed for an article and interviewer asked, 'do you keep a sketch book?'... long pause, 'Well yes, kind of... I have a little book in my bag that I scribble in with black biro... the scribbles make sense to me, but definitely nobody else'.
I got to thinking about this because I used to love filling sketchbooks with drawings, colourful snippets and ideas. A habit from my art school days when the sketchbook was a tool for processing thoughts. Our drawing tutor also drummed into us that we couldn't expect to understand shape unless we stopped to really look and explore things with our eyes.
To be fair, I also have in my bag an amazingly small digital camera and i-photo folders full of 'eye candy' snaps that I use for inspiration, is that virtual sketch booking?
I love buying sketch books, can't resist the promise of a new one with all those lovely creamy empty pages. Promise that one day I will fill them, then off they go, into the box with all the others.
Just to remind myself, I dug out some old, filled sketchbooks and was amazed at the energy and colour I'd poured into them, a little bit nostalgic too for the days when I had time to start each project with a good long sketchbook filling session.
Then the brain played the 'what if' trick, what if you started with a really small sketch book, what if you got back into using one, what if you just, like, sat down and did a drawing for the first time in forever?
So with some acorns and oak leaves gathered on my woodland walk it was out with the crayons, watercolours wetted down at the ready and a whole afternoon later my first little page is done.
Why Acorns?
first 15x15cm sketchbook... filled!
I'll show you tomorrow...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Falling leaves

I love autumn, the colours that paint themselves across the countryside, the crisp air with a hint of bonfire smoke, the promise of a last few sun bright days before the long, long dreary winter sets in. I love the urge to harvest the fruits of the season, make jars of jewel coloured fruit jam, spice laden pots of pickles and chutneys, non of which I do being a hopeless cook...

Instead I take the camera for a walk, feast on the outrageous colour combinations in the leaves, relish the ripe berry colours of rowans, rose hips, horse chestnuts and acorns.

With pockets full of inspiration, and a good splash through crisp autumn leaves to satisfy the bit that never grows up, the next lovely part of the process is to raid the bead stash. Only beads that honestly match the colours in my leafy harvest.

So out with the Vitrail rivoli's, silver lined and metallic cylinder beads and a few fire polished crystals and I'm ready to bead me a Michaelmas bracelet. 

Michaelmas, the feast of St Michael and all Angels is on the 29th September is one of the four quarter days spaced three months apart (the others are Lady Day 25th March, Midsummer 24th June, and Christmas Day) and celebrates the Autumn equinox.
Anyhoo, I'm liking the results, and specially the way the colours change, depending what's next to the beadwork... so I could buy a mustard, brown or burgundy colour jumper and it would look fab with either... or all.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Getting started

I've spent many a happy hour browsing blogs, a magical world of creativity, awesomeness, honesty, humour and inspiring work... so now it's time to dive in and share a corner of my world.
First up, today has been a day of 'I don't wanna' when the internal three year old is on tantrum mode over the must do paperwork, the chores, the drizzling rain. So the incentive has been to get through them quick sticks and back to some lovely beading.
I'll be teaching this mixed media workshop on the 21st of October here. It's called 'Steamer' inspired by Steampunk and uses some natty plumbing bits and pieces. I've picked out a new colourway I want to try (rich coral, palest watery turquoise and soft sandy grey...mmmm).
Steamer mixed media necklace