Friday, 18 May 2012

Go Fish

Fran's fab fishy wishy
While I was in Daventry at the Beadworkers Guild annual get together,  I ran into my friend Fran Griffith who's Crumpets Farm workshop is a rural  retreat. We don't get to see each other very often and it reminded me to tell you all about my goldfish...
Last year Fran ran a series of workshops based around the inhabitants of a beaded aquarium that her various groups of students had made for a local show.
I fell completely in love with her shimmering beady fish and, lovely lass that she is, Fran invited me to come to a workshop. I say lovely because it's not always easy to welcome a fellow tutor into your class, so I was honoured by the invite.
OK so Fran's fish reminded me of my own pet fish called 'Sunlight on running water.' Yes, I know! but to be fair, the companions he outlived were called Davy Crockett and Hiawatha.
Sunlight was a comet, which is a regular goldfish with an extravagant feathery tail. He lived for 12 years, travelled to various homes in a bucket in the back of my car and would dance up to my fingers whenever I passed by his aquarium. Sunlight's favourite trick was to decorate a frond of plastic weed with tiny pebbles, the very first thing he did after I changed the aquarium water, no kidding. So to bead a memorial Sunlight was an opportunity NOT to be missed if at all possible... plus I was intrigued to see how such a convincing 3d shape is worked in beads.
Underwater beaded installation

Fran's workshop is deep in the heart of Dorset, a purpose built haven with light and space to work in, where the occasional chicken will step in for a visit.
I enjoyed Fran's teaching style a lot, the shopping opportunity in her bead store too, and was able to complete a very realistic goldfish by the end of class.
'Sunlight two' is suspended in one of twelve compartments in my Graham and Green wall cabinet  (see it here), about which I'll wax lyrical another day.
Each compartment has a name plate and I have a special word in each one and that is a story for another day too. Sunlight's word is 'Wish'. Behind my fishy is some gorgeously hand marbled paper created by my dear friend Janet, which I coveted until she gave in and donated it to me.
Below him is some beady coral on a beaded rock left over from some very big underwater beaded installations I created a few years back. Here's a pic of a green one, yes, it's full of water.
At the time it seemed like a really good idea.
my beady octopus on another beady coral rock

Just to complete the watery mood, here is a picture of a wire and bead Octopus I made, inspired by the work of some French bead artists. I saw some photographs of their work many moons ago and kind of remembered in my head, but was never able to find again. Le grande Meaulnes of beading!
I think this technique is mostly used for making beaded flowers, but these people had created all sorts of complex creatures including an articulated Lobster! My Octopus is leaning on another beaded coral and the background is a painting made with strips of coloured paper and fabric.
Back to my workshop with Fran and the outcome is... Every day I can look at my replica of Sunlight, enjoy the memories of an aquatic life well lived and beyond expectations. Thank you Fran for a lovely day, your secret is safe with me.