Tag Archives: creativity

Learning Something New

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.

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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.

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B.O.T.B ’15

Lately there seems to have been a rash of beaders suffering hand injuries or surgeries, it’s all a bit tragic. I, myself have been no exception. With the prick of a small, insignificant rose thorn, my beading has been greatly stifled. Two weeks and a course of antibiotics later, and it has again flared up and is causing me grief. I’ve now started my second course of antibiotics, and am hoping that they’ll do the trick. By the time evening rolls around (my traditional bead therapy time) my thumb has little range of movement left. Bit by bit, I am managing to add to my first ever bead embroidery… broach?… pendant?… whatzit? Something.

In the meantime, I’ve been awestruck by the incredible talent participating in this years Battle of the Beadsmith. Every year this competition gets better and better. Anyone can thread a bead, but the vision, and the execution of these pieces is astounding. I am not even close to having seen them all, but of what I have seen, these are amongst my favourites.

“Self Portrait” by Kris Empting-Obenland.

“Francesca’s Farfelle” by Patrick Duggan

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“Diva” by Aldona Pintea.

“Élan” by Erika Bita-Simon.

Taking a Nap on the Orient Express

My new household is up and running at a hectic pace. My leisurely mornings are now full-on as I try to get myself ready for work as well as get the kids ready for school. Work is physical, but enjoyable; then it’s home to catch up on the days housework and feed the family before falling in to bed.

I’m still finding my groove, and working out how to fit everything in, but somehow I did manage to squeeze in time to finish a new bronze schemed Orient Express Bracelet. I do have to admit though, I may have nodded off once or twice towards the end of making it. There is a tutorial for this bracelet over on my Etsy page.

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I have no idea what I’m making next, or when I’ll next be able to open the bead cabinet, but I hope it won’t be to far away. For now, though, my pillow is calling. Night all.

Onward and Upward

I’m happy to announce that I have my inspiration back. The last few weeks have been full of emotional ups and downs, but we’re on the right track and, most importantly, so is my beading. I’m super busy, but I’ve managed to keep my needle ticking along and it’s been a wonderful creative outlet for everything going on in my head. First I made myself a pair of sparkly earrings to cheer myself up, then I made three more pairs just because. Next, I decided that dark times called for neon colours and chained a bunch of beaded beads together to make a fun necklace with Superduo’s and O-beads.

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Then, near tragedy struck, when I ran out of Fireline and had no money left to buy any. I have a policy that (ex) Husband’s earnings don’t pay for my jewellery materials, so I have to sell things to buy things. Considering our current situation, it would be a little too cheeky of me to break that rule now.  It’s been a long time since I sold anything; the coffers are bone-dry.

Then a most wonderful, amazing, generous person, surprised me with a deposit in my bank account. I actually cried. Not over the Fireline, although it is pretty amazing stuff, I cried that someone cared enough to do that for me. My day had been horrendous, and this gesture reminded me that the world is full of good people who care about other people.

Feeling inspired I immediately rummaged through my stash and found beads and crystals that reminded me of my Fireline Fairy, who by all accounts, has the most gorgeous blue eyes. With my newly purchased Fireline, I managed to pull them together to become this silver and blue herringbone necklace with Bermuda Blue Swarovski Cosmic Crystals and a peyote bail. I’m slightly hesitant, as it may be a touch too long for her, but I can alter it if necessary. I just hope she likes it.

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But it’s onward and upward for me. I’ve been applying for jobs left, right, and centre, looking at houses to live in, working and reworking my budget over and over to try to make it tell me something different, and just generally swinging wildly from stress to elation. I’m happy/nervous/scared/excited and I don’t quite know how things are going to work out, but I know that with a little time, work out they will.

Getting Back My Mojo

Creativity doesn’t always come easily to me. Sometimes I go through phases where ideas don’t flow; my guiding force has come up lame and I feel stifled. There’s a sense of claustrophobia that comes with being unable to create successfully, it’s like an external force bearing down on me, preventing that something from getting out. Luckily such phases are relatively shortlived, and once they pass, I can get on with enjoying the process.

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Success with Miyuki beads

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Christine necklace Version 1.0

My most recent phase of creative constipation, I dealt with by weaving a length of plain, single-colour crochet, which I turned into a simple necklace. Once it was finished, I still felt un-enthused. I persevered because of a secret unreasonable fear that if I “take a break”, I may not ever start again. A new bracelet design eventuated, which I loved, then I added a circular peyote stitched button clasp. It was my first attempt at circular peyote, so I thought I’d try it again, but my second result was wonky. Still not out of my slump, I felt disheartened, even though I was aware that my failure was most likely due to the use of Czech seed beads, whereas my initial design was made with the much more consistent Japanese Miyuki beads. My supply of Japanese seed beads is very limited, with the vast majority of my stash being Czech, so I took to the internet and ordered a modest amount of Toho seed beads in delicious bright colours. When they arrived, I felt rejuvenated. I’ve never worked with Toho seeds before, but they are my new favourites. They’re perfect little units, and the hole on the 11/0’s is wide enough to slip a jump-ring through, which is a huge bonus for finishing all manner of trinkets.

With my new loves at the ready, I quickly whipped up a necklace in Hot Pink, Lemon, Lime and Sky Blue, using the same technique as my bracelet. But found that the chain twisted  when worn. But my creative flow was functioning again, and a simple solution was quickly found and I began stitching my final design. I intend to try that bracelet again, I’m determined to conquer circular peyote, this time in Tohos.

(Edit: I originally named the necklace Candace, however I have now renamed it Christine in honor of the woman who was the receive the pink version for her birthday next week. Christine tragically passed away as the result of an accident on Saturday night after spending the evening babysitting her grandchildren. Much love to her family.)

Completed Candace necklace, available at http://jsjewellery.storenvy.com/

Completed Candace necklace, available at http://jsjewellery.storenvy.com/

Custom Work and Wire Fun

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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.

2013-11-30 23.10.37My 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.

A Time to Grow

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Pink Cadillac by Marsha Wiest-Hines. Image published with permission.

I often feel rushed when making jewellery. I’m never going fast enough for my liking and I feel that if I don’t churn out a finished piece every few days, that I’m somehow letting someone down. I seem to have developed this notion that I need to make a certain amount of things that people will want to wear every day, then I feel like a failure when I see how few people are actually buying my beadwork.  I look at the amazing project pieces by beaders such as Marsha Wiest-Hines or Eva Maria Keiser, and think to myself “if only I had time to experiment more so I could learn to make wondrous creations of my own”.

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T-Hex by Eva Maria Keiser.
Image published with permission.

Then a short while back the talented Patrick Duggan, posted something on Facebook that resonated with me. I won’t write it word for word, but to summarise: ‘don’t get hung up on sales, bead for the love of beading, sales mean nothing and thinking about sales will stifle your creativity’.  Of course, the way he said it was much more eloquent and inspiring. He also said that when he dies, his family will be left with a house full of beautiful jewellery, which I think is a lovely image too. What a legacy to leave!

In two weeks time I have the Hawera Ladies Night market to attend, so right now, I’m playing catch up on earrings and memory wire bracelets, but once it’s done and dusted I’m changing my focus. I’m going to create the jewellery I want to create, instead of feeling obliged to meet an imaginary expectation.  I’m going to work on becoming the artist I aspire to be. Creating should not be about catering to the market, it should be about inspiring wonder, the kind of wonder that I feel when I see the bead work of the masters.