Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sweet Lavender

 We have had a few days of hot sunshine, such a balm for the spirits. I've wandered through my rain ravaged garden, despaired at the ruination of the roses, the jungle of bindweed and found that my lavender bushes have endeavoured to persevere. I wish I had the time to do all the home maker crafts my ma and grandma did so lovingly. On a chosen morning before the sun got high in the sky a table cloth would be spread out in the shade, the cool cream and white ceramic mixing bowls would be set out and the air would fill with he scent of fresh lavender. Our thumbnails turning green as we riffled them down the stems to remove the flower heads.
Once harvested the bowls would be left to air and the contents to gently dry, while busy hands turned tired household linens and scraps of dressmaking fabrics into little sachets.

When I grew up and finally had my own garden a very dear friend brought me ten lavender plants. As Sally Owens says 'There are some things I know for certain, always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck... and fall in love whenever you can'. More of rosemary another day.

I began making lavender wands just as soon as those plants matured. It starts in the spring with the gradual gathering of ribbons. Some summers I've have mountains of lavender in various stages of the process, come autumn I would sell them and use the proceeds to fund Christmas treats.

Here's how it's done:

Gather lengths of ribbon,
1 meter or more.
Harvest lavender. Bind stalks into
bunches of an odd number.
Allow to wilt, then bend the stalks over, a
gentle twist prevents stalks from snapping.

Wrap the ribbon end to cover the binding thread
then, bring it through between two stalks

Weave the ribbon over and under the stalks
to hide the flower section.
With all the stalks drawn together,
wrap the ribbon around the stalks. 
With the stalks wrapped, trim the ribbon.
Cut two tails to knot the ribbon in place.

Cover the knot with a bow of ribbon scrap
Snip the stalk ends to tidy them.
Make lots more!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Battle ready!

So here we are, the battle of the beadsmith pages are hopping with excitement and packed with thee most stunning and jaw drop gorgeousness from beaders around the globe. I am totally energised, inspired, humbled and intrigued in turn by the contestants entries. It's also great to see that the event is attracting a huge number of followers, and that plans for Battle 2013 are under way.
But back to Battle 2012 and my little bit of beady craziness.
I was so glad to send off the pictures, it was a big relief to say, 'Enough'!
Since meeting the July 10th deadline, I've been deeply touched by some of the ego massagingly kind words people have been posting, it's always so very good for the soul to get a complement.
Battle ready Brooch
Here it is then, my entry...
It's called...
Girl with the Scorpion Corsage
(A costume drama)

Why this piece?
It started with those ideas I shared in my previous postings, about not trying to compete or re-create what impresses me in other people's work. I tried to think about what I really like to make most of all when left alone to play with beads, and it is the figurative and sculptural things, kind of drawing with beads.

I'll be honest, I figured I didn't stand a cat in hades chance if I tried to do pretty... but my piece might, just might, get noticed if I did something a bit unusual. I looked up scorpions, totally grossed out on the close up photo's but the phrase, 'They like to live in arid dusty places' stuck in my mind so the curved bit of the brooch is a hint at dried up flowers. Maybe enough to get to stage two of the battle, maybe not.
For sure, the experience has definitely got me thinking hard about the creative process, and that of really exploring beading all over again!