As I write this, I am experiencing a rare solitude. This morning I took my 3 year old son to kindergarten for the third time, and then I took my 6 year old daughter to her first day of her second school year. My boy tells me “I luff Kindy” and “I luff my fwiends”. In his eagerness to get in the door he fell over three times, found the nearest toy truck and shouted “BYE MUM!!” It’s a good thing it’s only twice a week or he would explode from the excitement. My daughter faces a slightly more daunting day, a new teacher, new rules and a new classroom with children aged 6 to 8 years old. It’s a scary thing when your last class was exclusively 5 year olds.
As is a mother’s prerogative, I still feel a little anxious about them being away from me; more so for my daughter, who is a born anarchist. This is not helped by the fact the school is ever-so-slightly within earshot of my house. Random shouts, screams and wails are carried through my windows on the wind throughout the day and I find myself listening for the distress call of my cub.
Cup of tea and a sit down with Shaped Beadwork and Beyond by Diane Fitzgerald.
When I returned home, the silence was deafening, so I listened to two Slayer albums in their entirety while I done the housework in record time (no interruptions!) and then sat down for a cup of tea. A cup of tea in the middle of the day, how novel! I often boil the jug, but I never get as far as actually drinking tea.
After an un-rushed lunch I even sat down with my beads – will wonders never cease? I’ve been playing with circular netting lately, and after some experimentation, I’ve come up with a very simple bracelet design that I really love. One day I’ll develop it further, but for the moment, I’m just enjoying the simplicity of making them. Now it’s nearly time, to collect my boy, and the peace will be broken for the day. I’ll be glad to see him, but it sure was nice having a break.
In bead work, as in life, things often take unexpected turns and end up very different to how you imagined. My Fortune Teller is a Fortune Teller no more. I was expecting to be working on it for another week, but last night as I began decreasing the horns, it abruptly informed me that it was headed in a different direction. I obliged, because I believe that creativity is all about giving in to whims and seeing where they take you.
The resulting object is a little mysterious. I don’t quite know what it is. It’s not jewellery, so I guess it must be art. I can not call it a Fortune Teller, because it’s simply not. So I’m calling it a Fortune Keeper, as it is a secretive creature. For the moment it is poised on my dresser, looking like a menacing spiked sea-star and intimidating my blown-glass perfume bottle. Soon, I will turn it over so it can mimic a great big daisy, and let the neon yellow petals brighten up this gloomy foggy excuse for a summers day.
My new Fortune Teller is taking an age to complete. All of my little variations have added up to create an enormous piece, I’m still not really sure what it’s final incarnation will be. Will it be a bangle or a bowl, a crown perhaps? I’ve clocked up 35 hours work so far and I’m still increasing the horns.
While weaving, I take care to treat the work lightly, gently cajoling beads and thread in to the correct alignment; never using force. It dawns on me that potential buyers, may not understand the delicate nature of beadwork and I find myself unsure how to address the issue without giving the impression that the quality is somehow substandard.
Bead weaving is basically threads of nylon or polyethylene which have been spider-webbed together – under tension – using tiny pieces of glass as connection points. As with anything that is under tension, these threads and beads have a breaking point. Bead work should be treated with great care. Contraptions like the Fortune Teller with it’s horns, spikes, and thin walled cylinder beads, even more so; such pieces are art and not for mere casual wear. Take care not to twist or squash your beadwork from it’s natural form, treat it like you should a living thing and it will reward you with longevity.
Being utterly in love with my first Fortune Teller I did something completely outrageous for someone with my short attention span: I started another. Of course doing the same thing twice is dreadfully dull so I had to make some changes.
My first change would be my thread choice. I am usually faithful to Fireline, it’s robust and foolproof and can deal with the abuse of my high tension. I had intended to experiment with different threads several moons ago when I purchased some very cute little bobbins of nylon thread. The trouble is, I can no longer remember just what thread it is. I had thought that it was Silamide, but it would seem that Silamide isn’t sold on bobbins like this. My next best bet is C-Lon; I know that it’s not Nymo as I’ve worked with it before . However, because C-Lon purportedly has “almost no stretch”, I remain flummoxed. To me, this mystery thread has plenty of stretch. I guess elasticity is a matter of perception, I have after all, been working exclusively with a zero – stretch product.
A close-up of the famous MRAW band.
I’m now 16 hours in to my second, much larger Fortune Teller. Progress is slow as I adjust to the delicate nature of nylon thread, a much softer tension and the extra length I have added to each peak. One thing that I can say for certain, I’m missing using Patrick Duggan’s miracle Fireline joining technique, it is a huge time-saver but it can’t be done with this thread. It’s difficult to tell just how the changes will affect the finished piece this early on, but I’m expecting it to be a vastly different result.