Many moons ago I purchased, with good intention, a piece of Nicole’s Bead-backing along with a square of dark blue ultrasuede. Having spent countless hours sitting enchanted at the amazing examples of bead embroidery on my computer screen, I decided to give it a crack. But before I started, I became distracted with a gazillion other shiny projects and my plans were forgotten.
Not so long ago, I found those two enticing pieces of fabric, and so put thread to needle. With out any clear planning of what I was making, I sketched a design on the bead-backing, bezeled on a cabochon, completely ignored my design and made a thing. It was pretty rough in places, and a poorly placed pearl came loose, but as I progressed, my stitches improved.
In my next piece, I was confident enough to use a pretty copper Swarovski Cosmic crystal. I only use my crystals if I’m confident, because wasting crystals is an unforgivable sin. With the addition of some turquoise, orange, dark brown, and copper, I turned it into a super awesome unique necklace.
School has finally returned from the Christmas break, which means everyone is now ill. It’s a predictable pattern, after the first week, the class numbers start to dwindle as the children succumb to colds, tummy bugs and chicken pox. Then the wee darlings bring it all home to Mum and Dad.
I’m finding it difficult to self-motivate with my foggy brain and sleepy eyes. Beading is happening in fit and starts. It would be so bad if I could sit comfortably with my beading tray across my lap, but alas, I was cursed with thighs about three inches too short. This makes tray balancing in front of the television a precarious sport, and comfort is not an option. The soft contours of the couch beckon to me, and while I try to resist, the pull is getting stronger.
Another thing keeping me from achieving my beading goals, is the ruthless and cunning Joseph Stalin. In the evenings he’s at his most demanding, plucking my work-in-progress off my bead mat and hurling it across the room. Pressing his face against mine and forcing me to give him my undivided attention. Melting my heart with his endearing face and loving cuddles, then driving me from the room with his rancid flatulence. In Just a week, Stalin has the entire household under his full control. But we love him anyway.
Stalin, pictured here in the SPCA shelter with his brother “Jerry” or as I like to call him “Lenin”.
This year, in a move completely out of character, I got organised for Christmas early. All of my shopping is done, dinner is going to be a casual summer barbecue; all I need to do is wrap the presents and I’m done. It’s a good thing too, because my little Facebook Christmas sale seems to have ramped up interest in my artisan jewellery and custom work has been pouring in this last week. I’ve never had anything like it and I’m utterly thrilled. I’ve had to order materials from the same store three days in a row and must offer my sincere thanks to the gracious Queen Bead from The Bead Hold. In the midst of her big relocation, no doubt the last thing she needed was picky customers (me) constantly amending orders.
My main focus over the last week or so has been wire. Once I find something that works, I often have trouble breaking away from a method to find new ways of doing something. In an attempt to stretch my creativity, I’ve been practicing making free-form pendants. I’m quite pleased with what I’ve come up with; they’re not as flawless as I would like, but hey, what is?
One great bonus to working with wire is how much quicker setup and pack up is. Everything goes in one box, all I need is a few simple tools and I’m good to go. Beading is a little more chaotic. I have numerous boxes and compartments, inside which are many more smaller containers containing hundreds different beads. Finding the right combination of beads for a project can be tedious. At the end of the night I have to painstakingly return each container to its box or drawer and find any needles or beads that I may have dropped. I guess it’s a small price to pay for doing something you love.
The manrobe belonged to my dear Nana. It’s blonde oak – not a wood I’m particularly fond of, but it was Nana’s so I love it anyway. It has six drawers up one side and a big cupboard. The drawers are empty except for the occasional toy – things of importance can’t really be kept in drawers that toddlers have access to. Last year the drawers were used as stairs for my little boy to climb to the top of the manrobe. I removed them and stacked them in my bedroom, along with all of the other bits and pieces that I try to keep from his busy hands. But he outsmarted me anyway, the gaps left by the drawers were now the perfect ladder.
The cupboard is where I keep my beads. It’s lockable and big, but not big enough. Finding the correct bead is difficult in this lost game of Tetris, the one I want is often at the back and on the bottom. My wires and completed pieces no longer fit and room has been made for them in the increasingly cluttered bedroom. The thin hardboard that comprises the back of the manrobe is losing it’s grip; the tiny nails that tack it into place are giving up the ghost. I will have to replace them soon before all of my beads go spilling out of the back.
My perfect world includes a room solely dedicated to my jewellery, complete with a display area for finished pieces, a large work table and an extensive and organised storage area for tools and components. I’m fiercely jealous of artists who have studios in their homes. One day I will too, but probably not until the kids have grown and abandoned us. In the meantime, I can dream. Dreams of longing, of workspace and storage solutions.