Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Finally finished December's piece. December is a month of renewal for me...the winter solstice is just a date, but I KNOW that more daylight will be slowing accumulating. There is darkness and there is light. I crave the light.

Two days ago we had almost spring-like weather, and the ice on our driveway (curvy and uphill) melted. (We've had more than a foot of snow so far this winter!) I spent time outside cleaning up 'presents' from my dog Lucky. It was wonderful.

The other fun part of this piece was getting to use charlottes. These little bitty beads are so beautiful. I collect them with no idea how I will use them. Not many bead projects call for charlottes...but I wish they did. So tiny, so fascinating. After working those tiny wonders, even 11's and 8's see HUGE. That might be my challenge next month!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

This is my finished November piece. It will be joined to the bottom of the September and October pieces, essentially completing the fall season. It is the most representational of my 3 pieces so far, which has gotten mixed reactions from people. Some like it best of the 3, some like it the least. I'm in the latter group. I had fun practicing (not making perfect yet by any means) satin stitch, and placing the leaves. My inspiration was the view out of our breakfast room window, looking at a 22 year old crab apple tree. The window frames it like that, with the trunk off center, which I really like. My husband also built me a compost bin for leaves, which will break down into little bits and enrich my gardens next summer.

November is a bleak month, but we've had some unusually sunny days, which makes it much more tolerable. The short days are really hard, but at least it's only 21 days to the winter solstice. (but who's counting?) I try to remember to live in the present, not the past or the future. I think the journal project has helped me be more aware of the joys in each day, even the little ones.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not a great photograph, but something I started before the BJP. My first bead embroidery, a purse with input from many beloved people. My sister Teresa helped me pick out the fabric, the french bead lavender flowers with help fromSylvus Tarn, the green ribbon from Anne Sheppard, the ideas and embroidery help from Hollie Archdale, sewing help from Pat Chipman. I've made a kumihimo handle, but am not happy and will try to make one with more weight. It is such a girlie purse, and very unlike me! But I love the design. Thank you for looking!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm working on my November piece...but haven't had a chance to get on my torch and make the required focal bead, so I'm not finished. But, I have managed to back, edge and join my first 2 pieces for September and October. I backed them with the same color ultrasuede and joined them with a picot in ivory, hoping that color will work for all 12 months. Then I joined the 2 pieces with right angle weave. Amazing how picot edges are just ripe for right angle weave! It isn't difficult to match the picots, even if there are an unequal number. I may eat those words when it is time to join 3 pieces to another 3 pieces!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October Bead Journal piece

I'm really enjoying this Bead Journal Project, even more than I imagined. It is an opportunity to do something with no specific goal or obligation, expressing something that is usually beyond words. This piece has a spiral lampwork disc in brown as the focal, with circles and vines flowing from it. I like the pumpkin color and the various shades of brown, beige and orange. I have no formal training in design, but lots of art history classes many, many years ago! So I think about balance, contrast, texture, movement--but visually, not with words. What a wonderful way to explore!

Monday, September 22, 2008

September's piece is finished, and I'm really looking forward to starting October. I used pale green ultrasuede with a variety of seed beads in my stash. The glass leaf in the bottom left is one of my lamp worked beads, and I think it turned out pretty well. Obviously I'm still a beginner at bead embroidery, but this piece did teach me a lot. It was fun making the outline stitch curve, and the netted bezel for the glass beads. I'm planning to stich the pieces for each month together using some sort of seed bead stich, maybe right angle weave. Still to be determined!

My friend Sylvus photographed this for me. My goal is to read the manual to my camera and see if I can't start to take a few pictures myself. Another challenge!

Friday, September 19, 2008

September Progress

September is rushing by, but at least I've been able to spend a little time each day working on September's piece. I am really enjoying the rhythm of this project. I usually try to work on it early in the morning (7 a.m. at our house) for 30 or 45 minutes, before the day gets busy. This is my meditative time, when I really appreciate the journal part of this project. I think about the themes I'm trying to illustrate and what is going on in my mental landscape.

I've adopted a few strategies. I have several books on bead embroidery and am trying to focus on a few pages each month, really learning the stitches and techniques I might have just glanced at before, thinking 'I get that'. But you don't really GET it until you do it, several times. So I'm really learning at a basic level.

Also, since I like to make lampworked glass beads, I've decided to incorporate at least one bead each month, and am trying different bezeling (sp?) techniques. I'm focusing on netting this month...who knows what I'll try in October. Also, I'm finding I don't won't to fill up my entire square (3.5 inches). I like the negative space, especially since I'm using ultrasuede and the colors are beautiful. This month my color is a light pear green.

Finally, a fun story. I was meeting a friend for lunch yesterday. Coincidentally, Susan, who has an exhibit of her 2007 project at Findings in October was there and stopped by to see what I was working on. I told her that her project had inspired me to sign up for the 2008 project! What a thrill!I'm looking forward to October...theme will be circles.

I'll post a picture next week, when I expect to finish this first piecel.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

BJP 2008 begins

This is my first post. The Bead Journal Project for 2008 was a welcome opportunity for me. I love the idea of journaling without words (so why the blog? lol). The upcoming year will have many personal challenges for me, family and close friends. I'm hoping the time spent letting the beads talk to me on my little 3.5 inch squares will help me sort them out and understand them. I'm about half way finished with my first piece and find the time I spend working on it very meditative.

I'm not an experienced bead embroiderer, though I am experienced with most seed bead stitches and always have several projects underway. I also make glass beads, work with PMC and wire and hope I can incorporate some unusual components as the months go by.

September's theme is leaves, since we start to notice that the leaves are changing and starting to say good-bye to us, just as we have to say good-bye to many of life's best treasures, friends, relatives, youth. The flip side is that this is also a time of beginnings. I'll see how that plays out.