Friday, 31 August 2012

current favourite

my new favourite bracelet
Sometimes things don't turn out the way you think they will. The introduction of twin hole/duo and then Super duo beads should have been a cause of excitement.
But, for me there was a real stumbling block about the thread showing between the holes if you wanted to 'step up'. By all means call my a fussy so and so... I am. This caused a real hold up for anything other than simple right angle weave designs. I found myself less and less drawn to them, could this possibly be bead fatigue?
Or is it that without the time to sit and really play beading with these little cuties, what I was actually suffering from was too many facebook 'TaDa!' moments from beaders around the globe...  there is only so many times you can mutter Doh! I should'a thought of that! before the ego wants to hide under the bed and not come out!
Anyhoo we all know how the bead envy story pans out, the more you try the bigger that pile of snipped up beady gobbledygook gets on the bead mat!
So as yet another arabesque of beady cleverness arrived in my inbox I'm thinking maybe I've missed the boat on this one and had to admit defeat.
As soon as I had... the pressure was off and I made this bracelet.
That was three weeks ago and I've worn it pretty much non stop, no less than twelve people have asked me for the pattern, plus there are a few more designs that are growing from the simple train of thought that triggered this one. So I guess my new motto is 'If at first you don't succeed, just quit trying.'

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Battle Honours

OK so Battle of the Beadsmith and here I am through to round three... and pitched against my all time favourite piece, and, I know the favourite of so many others. I think the outcome is pretty inevitable, beauty versus the beast so to speak.
We had to post another image showing a different angle, so I had fun thinking where my scorpion might hide out. Here she is lying in wait on some sun dried wooden fencing in the garden.

So to summarise:-
It was the best fun to create and participate, I loved the process of the challenge, I also love the comments and praise that came my way (who wouldn't, honestly?). Would I do it again? hmmmm......
I've noticed that for some folk, there is a kind of competitiveness in beading, a subtle pressure to be among the first to show designs using new products, to get 'new' ideas published, posted and out there... in a way not dissimilar to territorial marking.
As well, there is the constant niggle that if you're not facebooking, posting, blogging or tweeting, you are somehow falling behind in a race.

The 'Enter this competition' pressure is different, if you enter, then it becomes an internalised battle about self worth, 'failure' is inevitable for all but one person... so the art is in keeping this in perspective.
All I can say is that it's been fun, but I've come to realise that, for me, creativity isn't a competitive sport. In the end it's just beads and beads are fun.
Good luck to the souls who battle on into the next rounds!!!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

traditional view

I was on a mission down a country lane today and came across a thing I haven't seen for a very long time. The mission was nothing exciting, picking up a bit of garden machinery that needed a repair... around here, most things like this involve trips to villages where there's a guy who runs a business in a tucked away building. The building usually reveals itself, when you stand and wait for him to write out the receipt, to be probably 15th century with bits definitely a lot earlier... plus you can glimpse some intriguing stone work through the inevitably mullioned window with the adorable 18th century ironwork. But I digress, the view that had me pull over and get out the camera was this:

poppy field
We think it is probably waiting for the film crew to turn up, as on closer inspection the crop is in there too...
We are so used to seeing fields of just one plant, wheat, corn, barley.. linseed which is a lovely dreamy cloudy blue, or oil seed rape which, quite frankly, is an affront of a colour when in flower. But this is how fields must have looked back in the day before intensive pesticides and the application of modern science to crop growing. It's also fair to say we do get a lot of filming taking place around the region.
So having come from the ancient cottage which has seen hundreds of harvests ripen, brought down with the steady swish of scythes and home on carts, this was a lovely sight to see.
That got me thinking about folk and folk songs and the work songs whole communities would know by rote to help create a steady working rhythm, so maybe I should dig around and find a gentle one we can sing along to as we type, or bead.
When I was small, I loved the Spinning song, which my Dad would sing for me, but Ma hated it and said it was a ghost story. Anyway the rhythm is for spinners at the wheel.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Tangerine and duck egg blue

Harmony by Shelley
I adore, I drink in, I cherish. I think my love of colour may have had a starting point here...These  Harmony Dripware ceramics from the Shelley Pottery belonged to my Grandmother and now my Ma.
What they are is really not at all important, how they feel, silky, how the colours glow in different lights, first warm, then cool. How from all the different blends of colour in the range some discerning ancestress was drawn to this delicate and perfectly balanced mix of dove grey, duck egg blue, tangerine and burnt orange. Utterly of their period and yet timeless... these are the completely important things.
I like the way the eye traces their shapes, and how they live together, the comfortingly fat bellied ginger jar, the narrow topped volcano vase and the open throated conical vase, easy colouring book shapes. It pleases me hugely that they can be re-arranged to create shapes and shadows. I probably stared at them, as a tired/bored little girl, in a yorkshire 'best china cabinet' in the parlour, I know my eye often wanders to them as a grown up daughter visiting my Ma.  I've yet to find the beads in these exact shades... maybe I could be invited on a colour mixing trip to Japan?... or maybe they don't exist except in these glazes for a reason. So just share with me the joyfulness of this little bit of eye candy.
detail from ginger jar
Detail from conical vase

inside the ginger jar

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pink and pretty

Acantha, spiky lariat workshop
So that's really not me at all is it, pink and pretty. OK so the idea is... I wanted to try some new ideas but working in a set of colours outside my 'comfort zone' to see if different things would happen.
First is Acantha (Greek for thorn, the nymph who fended off Apollo too).
The Acantha is a divining rod, a dowsing for happiness lariat. Part of the symbols series, and using lots of lovely Albion Stitch. I also used some adorable 2mm Czech glass pearls and some of the Silver silk chain. Always good to add in new products... plus some of the lovely Czech spikes too.
Go back, 'Symbols series'? yes, a new adventure in Albion and combined stitches is the Symbols series, a kind of continuation of my Treasures and talismans classes. My love of antiquities and story telling combined into one new exciting project for which Acantha, The Time Traveller's Compass, and a few more pieces are a little part... 'exciting no?
Estelle bracelet, sparkly arm candy for fun.      
So having started thinking about what workshops I'd like to be teaching next year, I carried on playing with the pink and pretty idea and came up with (hopefully not too similar to anyone elses?) a really quick and easy bezel that can be worked to capture Swarovski stones of different sizes.... so far a cute little bracelet and necklace with a pendant set, but bound to be worked on some more...
Mostly though I'm happy that the experiment worked, I'll be happy to go back to my preferred colours... but pink is definitely the new accent colour... or maybe a dark plum...
Estelle pendant, variable bezel to fit
different size Swarovski stones.