HOW I DO IT:
After getting a couple of comments about the organization going into this piece and I realized that now would be a good time to look at how I approach my more elaborate projects.
I also just read Robin Atkins "One Bead At A Time" and was inspired to share what I do to create art.
I start all of my larger projects with a sketch book. How I start there depends on how I am coming at the project. Sometimes I have a theme in mind; a season, trees, ponds, crystals or purse and I just start sketching ideas. This stage can take hours to weeks depending on how quickly a sketch grabs my attention and says "work with me." I will often refine my idea with more sketches until I have a good idea where I want to go. I go by what feels right and although I know all that goes into "good" art I tend to work intuitively, if it feels right I am less likely to have problems later.
An important consideration for me is that I don't design with the idea of how I am going to accomplish something. I start with the idea that I like and figure out how once I have a good idea where I am going. For me I really enjoy figuring out how to accomplish the idea. I have learned new beading techniques, tried new supplies and made myself stretch creatively this way.
At this point I gather supplies, again I go a lot by what feels right for the mood, season or whatever I am trying to convey. I tend to collect supplies so quite often I already have something that will work, occasionally I will need something more (mmmm more supplies, yeah!). Quite often I will not be sure how I am going to execute my idea so I may end up with supplies I don't use and have to get others later.
For a project this big I work full scale for finishing the design. It helps me to see where I want to go. I do not consider a design finished until the piece is finished and the whole process is fluid, ideas come and go. Some ideas get used others go on to the back burner for some future project.
I am a detail loving person (probably the reason I love working with 15/0 seed beads). I tend to take detail photos of nature and like to draw/paint things like lichen, and other small things. I don't work improvisationally. I almost always have a plan of some sort, I have not found that this limits my creativity because I tend to work very intuitively so that I go with what I feel like doing as I work on a piece letting the piece evolve as I go. Of course after reading Robin's book I am tempted to try something completely without a plan, pick a fabric some beads and just go. I have a feeling for me this would be very challenging, way outside my comfort zone.
IT'S A SECRET:
As I was playing with the idea of my tree and I knew I was going to use my animal totems and animals that have personal meaning to me I decided to re-read the information that I had on them. I have Ted Andrews "Animal Speak" and have found it really useful source. One of things I noticed in reading about the animals again is that a number of the animals that I am including are guides or guardians to the other side (spirit realm, fairy realm however you want to look at it). One morning after this while I was out walking I realized that what the piece needed was a doorway to the other side. I am still working on the idea of how I want to have through my secret doorway. At the moment I am leaning toward mirror tiles that would have beaded bezels. When you opened the door you would see yourself in a mosaic of mirrors. The other side is in essence already inside of us. I would love to hear any other ideas people have.
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