Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Butterflies Spring Up

Here it is April already and only this page and one more to do before this year of the Bead Journal project is over.

My April page is very similar in feel to my September page, this time it is Butterflies that are showing up as a symbol of transformation. The photos are from our trip to Montreal and the butterfly house at the Botanical Gardens there.

It was an amazing experience to be in and among all of the butterflies. One of those times when you step out of yourself and become one with nature. I have found that all of what I consider my most spiritual moments have come from being with nature. Swimming with dolphins (in the wild), Honu (green sea turtles) and other fish; watching lava flow yards away from me; and other experiences like that.

It is kind of funny that I find nature and the earth my greatest inspiration and yet if I mow the yard I itch from head to toe, I have a brown thumb, and bugs absolutely love me. Sometimes it is strange how life works out.

The red stylized butterfly was a piece that I started when I was teaching a class at Turquoise String Beads in Massachusetts. I had never gotten around to finishing it but as I started thinking about putting this page together I thought of it. I liked that the red of it picks up the red in the flower and the top-left butterfly.

One of the early decisions for this piece was to pick what I wanted to do for the border, after some discussions with Wayne and pulling out my bin of ribbons, I chose to make the border from some thin ribbons and threads couched onto the piece. I used a jade ribbon for the main edge and used a metallic variegated thread to attach it, outside of that is a heavy metallic thread that is couched on with a rayon thread. I have repeated this on the back. Once the whole piece is glued together I will put a thin red ribbon on along the outside edge attaching it to both the front and back edges.

This piece will have less thread work than any of my last few pieces. After attaching the borders and finishing the beading on my abstract butterfly I attached it to the piece, I had originally intended to bead the whole surface but I liked the way the red Ultrasuede looked so I left some of it showing. I used beading to edge some of the leaves and flower petals and extended the lines so that they brought the fabric more into the design.

Next came some dark green metallic thread to trace the edges of some of the leaves in the lower right photo. As of these photos, this is where we stand. For some reason this piece isn't coming as intuitively as the last couple did but I am very pleased with it's bright happy feeling.

I haven't mentioned it yet but there is good news on a couple of levels for the Bead Journal Project. First we will be doing it for another year (YEAH!!!) The 2008 BJP will start in September and if anyone is reading this who isn't already involved in the current BJP the registration is open until August 15th, 2008. You do not have to have any experience in bead embroidery, although the pieces do need to include some beading. We had some absolutely new beaders do it this year and they all learned a lot and got to try out new things. Probably just as exciting is the fact that Pink Moon Hallow has created an incredible website for the Bead Journal Project. Each of the participants from 2007 who finished 8 or more pages will even get their own page with photos of them and links to their blogs, websites etc. I just need to get my act together and get all of my photos the correct size etc.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Beach Combing

I continued to work on this piece layer by layer. Next I added more stone chips to the piece. Now it was time to add what Wayne calls my sea weed ( the fringing with seed beads and pearls that come out of the openings in 3 of the larger shells.

At this point it was time to add the KEY to the piece. If you read the posts for my July piece with it's gate with lock, I said that I expected that somewhere during the year a key to that gate would show up. The actual key came from Marti (my mother-in-law) when I visited in November. This page seemed to me to be the one calling for the key. Now I can open my gate and go on the journey. I have already grown so much in the last year with this project that I can't wait to see how it all ends up.

The piece was now ready for a sprinkling of sand. I used 15/0 seed beads in several shades of creams and topazes for the sand and also used some small MOP (mother of Pearl) heishi beads and some small pearls. The sand was almost as easy to add as if I had indeed just grabbed a handful and sprinkled it on, it felt right.

The last addition to the page was the border. I decided to go with a cord made with Kumihimo braiding. This is a Japanese braiding technique that I have played with but this is the first time it is actually being used on a piece. I used 12 cords of hemps and waxed cotton. The nice thing is with the new foam kumihimo "looms" you can do the braiding anywhere including on car trips up to DC to look at new seats for the car. After sewing the cord onto the front and back I added a band of peyote to cover up the ends and Viola! another page I am thrilled with. Very me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

At the Beach

This piece is actually finished and was my fastest finished (only 9 days). I started it on the last day of March after I had finished my Pond Necklace. I haven't taken photos of it finished yet, but thought I would share these and some of the process now. Last March when Wayne's folks came for their visit we explored some of St Mary's County and one of our stops took us to a beach were I collected a few treasures and took some photos. I love beach combing and Wayne knows that I will always be coming home with "treasures." I have even made small watercolor paintings of some of my treasures that became cards.
Once I knew that I was going to use this photo for March I kept an eye out for shell beads to include and found some interesting shells here and there. I started this piece by adding straight embroidery/stitching with threads to accentuate the pine cone, pine needles and other small bits. The next step was adding the cords for the sticks. At this point I decided that I needed to choose where I would place my "treasures" so that the rest of the piece could flow around them. I chose pieces that weren't too deep and that I could add with some invisible thread and glue since I didn't want them to be bezeled.
I laid out stone chips and some of the shell beads and started adding them to the piece. I chose the smaller chips to go further back (toward the top) and larger closer to the viewer. That takes us as far as the photos go so I will talk about the rest once I get my other photos taken.

I find it interesting how I work in a couple of different ways depending on the piece. Some of my pages I will work on one area and then another on the piece. Pages like this I work in layers adding one type of embellishment and then another working on the whole piece. In ways I find this more satisfying, I think because I see the whole page developing as I go and not one area at a time.