Saturday, December 12, 2009

Following the Inspiration: Part 3

Part 3: Playing with Details

It would appear that I am not the only BJPer who has discovered Zentangles and is considering using them for the 2010 BJP.  A shout out to Robbie who has been experimenting with zentangles as well and has already combined them with her quilting,  very cool.

My first couple of Zentangles were just small pieces of paper with simple strings.  Zentangles are easy to do.  You start with a piece of paper, the website suggests a quality paper that they sell but to start I used what I had on hand that was heavy enough to not bleed with the pen work going on it.  To start all you have to do is put small dots in pencil about 1/2 inch in from the corners and then join them with pencil lines (they don’t have to be remotely straight. Yeah!)  After that you draw in what are called strings; these are just lines to divide the area up.  (imagine dropping a string onto the paper and drawing those lines onto the paper with pencil).

Now you just grab a fine permanent pen and start making tangles.  These are mostly repetitive patterns that end up looking fairly complicated but usually consist of repetitive parts.  You can find several tangles on the website in their newsletters and in their starter kit which includes instructions for quite a few tangles and all the supplies to get you started.  Sandy Steen Bartholomew has some on her blog and there are also ones that you can find elsewhere online including YouTube.

Here are a few tangles for any one who wants to try them.

This tangle is actually pretty fun to make and looks harder than it is.  Start with a zig-zag line near one side or bottom of your area. Add additional zig-zags to connect to these.  The additional zig-zags can be completely free of the previous ones, or like these connected on the down strokes.   One of the nice thing about connecting them is that it is quicker and gives it a more organic look.  I like mine to curve a bit to give them more movement.

Originally inspired by a leaf this tangle is very versatile; with some variations it could look more like buildings or parts of a bridge or....   Start with a dashed line (sort of looks like the lines in the middle of the street) and then add more lines that radiate out from this center,  these can be very organic or very structural, thin or thick, or whatever you can think of to do with them.

Inspired by peacock tails this tangle starts off with lines of connected "P" shapes.  Fill up your space with roughly parallel lines of these "P"s.   Fill in each loop of your "P"s with a smaller teardrop shape.  This can be colored in if you like.  add radiating lines out from each line (sort of like the veins of a leaf.)

This pattern has been around for a very long time and can be found on tiles and other media from years ago in part 6 I will mention where I found this pattern and where you can find other patterns to inspire you.  You start out with horizontal lines in twos and then repeat with vertical lines.  Color in the boxes at the intersections and then make elongated teardrops around the center point of each of your squares.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Following the Inspiration: Part 2

Part 2: A New Inspiration

Whenever I get a new issue of a magazine I give it a once through and then read the articles as I have time for them. I seldom read any of the articles the first time though. When the November/December issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors ( this is one of my favorite magazines) came I started to do this as well but got stopped in my tracks on page 80 with the article “Add Pattern to Journals with Zentangles and Transfers” by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.
I have always been a detail person and I love to doodle and this was doodle art. I read the article and then reread it later that night and found some paper, a pencil and pen and got started. Hey I can doodle with the best of them. I thought hey this is great fun, maybe I should find out more so I went to Sandy’s blog and read some there and then went to the Zentangle website and read their newsletters where I found more tangles to use and saw many more ideas on how others had used the techniques and how it had inspired artists to push it in new directions. The original idea is abstract and all in black and white with some shading but people where pushing it into including color and some representational images.
Since I am really enjoying the process which is really relaxing and fun I think I will see where I can take this. Could I use this and combine it with beads? Some of the images remind me of patterns in embroidery (with or without beads).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Following the Inspiration: Part 1

Part 1: Introduction and Unformed Ideas

Have you ever wandered how other people come up with ideas for projects? Wanted to creep into someone’s head and watch how one little bit of inspiration morphed and joined with other ideas to eventually become a piece of artwork? I have always found the creative process fascinating and know that for every artist how they follow this path is different. I have decided to try to share this process for my 2010 Bead Journal Project with those of you who read my blog.
I must admit that I have never been one of those people who suffer from artistic blocks. I usually have more ideas than I know what to do with and since I do a variety of types of creating I find they feed into each other or that I can switch the media I am working in to refresh my creative energy.
I think that a good start will be to look back at what my last two years ideas were. For the first year (2007-8) I chose to combine my photography with beading using at least one photo per piece that was 4” x 6” or larger. That year I explored many techniques that were new to me and seeing what happened when combining photos with beads and stitching. For this past year’s (2008-9) BJP I got more ambitious and although the overall piece isn’t finished yet the individual monthly blocks are. I chose to do a self portrait symbolically using mixed media and bead embroidery. This time I included collaging, painting, thread and bead embroidery and have tried many more new techniques.
Looking back at the two years I have found out much more about myself and have discovered that I really enjoy mixing somewhat disparate techniques and balancing them to make a piece that is uniquely my own. I have enjoyed trying new things and finding the deeper meaning in what I have done.
As I registered for the new (2010) year of the Bead Journal Project I started to consider what I wanted to set as goals and parameters for my next 12 blocks. I knew since we were getting ready to close on our new house and that I would have moving, painting, helping lay hardwood flooring, and have many other projects to accomplish in the next year that I could not take on something that was too big or time consuming. I had tried 8” x 10” individual blocks and 4” x 6” blocks on a larger format. I figured that I would not want to go much bigger that 4 x 6 blocks. So what would happen if I went square instead of rectangular for the individual blocks? Maybe joined blocks or tiles so that the individual blocks were part of a larger whole piece? Robin Atkins included a post about a bead quilt that individual beaders were each given a block of that had lines that were part of the whole picture and when the individual blocks were put back together they formed an over all picture even if the beaders used different colors, images, etc. MMMMMMMM.....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crystals and a Special Offer

Recently I ordered some Swarovski crystals from so that I could play with some new stuff and to try out some of the crystal that my LBS doesn't happen to carry. I made a small order and wanted to choose things that I could relatively quickly turn into finished pieces with the crystal and supplies I already have. has a pretty impressive collection of Swarovski Elements and keeping the order reasonable was pretty challenging since I wanted some of everything. One of the nice things is that they have free shipping on all orders in the USA or $1 to Canada. (More money to spend on crystals.)
The top photo is my order all wrapped up in purple tissue paper which I think I will have to use in a collage once my studio is up and running. The photo below is all of my goodies laid out. What did I order? 100 each of the 3 mm and 4 mm Crystal Heliotrope bi-cones, 12 mm rivolis in Crystal Copper and Crystal Vitrail Light, 14 mm rivolis in Amethyst, 10 mm rivoli buttons inCrystal Meridian Blue, 2 of the brand new Fish Pendants in Crystal Golden Shadow and 2 of the smaller 16 x 26 mm leaf pendants in Topaz.
With my order I got a Share the Savings Card that I would like to share with anyone who would be interested in checking out for themselves. Although I just purchased crystal this time they have lots of other goodies. With the code I am including you can get 10% off your order through the end of the year. The code is SCF10P-ARTBEADS-0424. Now to figure out what I want to get next? Maybe some seed beads for next years Bead Journal Project which starts in January? MMMM.........

Go to my Artistic Kreations and Passions blog in a few days to see what I have done with all of these yummy crystals.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

12 Months Finished

Although it has taken me a while to put this photo up I have had all of the the 12 blocks for the year done for a while. I won't be able to find the time to work on the background layers until sometime next year. I am still planning on joining the new years BJP that starts in January but will try to keep it to a more manageable size so that I don't get behind since I have this one that still has many hours of stitching left to go. Registration is still open for the 2010 BJP for anyone interested. I am really glad that I chose this and am still really excited about where it is going and how it has pushed me to try new things and grow artistically.

For those who have been keeping track you can check out how the house is going on my web gallery and read more about it on my Artistic Kreations and Passions blog. I am knee deep in fabric working on getting the curtains for the new house started. I doubt I will have all of the curtains (18 panels) and roman shades (6) that I am planning in the first wave. That will cover most of the windows I am going to want done in the first few months.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nest Building

There are times in our lives that we all want to build a nest. That place that is distinctly our own. My final block for my 2008-9 BJP is a nest. My magpie wanted to have her own nest so she got it. The idea for the nest came and went as the year went through but I finally went with the idea since it felt right.
The nest was made free form with several cord pieces and imitation raffia I had no idea what it was going to turn out like but it was kind of fun just putting and weaving the branches together into a nest. I made a lining for my nest of feathers and after attaching it to the tree I let the magpie decorate her nest with beads and buttons and more feathers.
For me the nest was very timely since we are building a house and I will get to decorate it in all of the colors, fabrics and other goodies that I want. After years of making other people's houses that we were renting into a home for us, we will get to have our own house and really personalize it. We now have drywall up and the house is really starting to come together. If you want to see the progress we are making visit My Web Gallery. I will be putting a new post of my main blog when I have time this week about how things are going and my upcoming projects to get ready for the house.
Magpies build their nests in forks of trees or thorn bushes, thorn bushes often guard doorways to the spirit and fairy realm. Forked branches represent intersections between worlds (again a doorway.) Birds nests in upper branches of trees are emblems of celestial messengers or souls.

For anyone interested the registration for the next years BJP is now open. We will running the new years from January through December 2010. If you are interested please go to the registration page for the Bead Journal Project website. Registration runs through December 15th 2009.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

July Dragonflies

It is kind of interesting that I included Dragonflies and Butterflies both last year in my pieces and this year as well. Last year the dragonflies were nearer the beginning and the the butterflies nearer the end. It would seem that transformation is a very strong message in my life these last couple of years.

July's block comes with 2 dragonflies landing in amongst the flowers on my sacred tree. The number 2 is important to Dragonfly, so think in terms of two year periods when you begin a change. Their heads and main body segments are heart beads both to represent my love of dragonflies but also my love with Wayne. The paired bodies of mating dragonflies form the shape of a heart, perhaps being the source for the modern symbol of love; it is believed that if you see two dragonflies paired together that they represent love and maturity.

The dragonfly is a symbol of growth and development. Her life begins in water, but as she matures, she moves to the air yet always stays close to the water. She reaches her strongest physical point during the summer months as she gains optimal strength from the warmth of the sunlight. Her brilliant colors result from reflecting and refracting the radiance of that light. As a result, they are associated with color magic, illusion in causing others only to see what you wish, and other mysticism. Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. “Let there be light” is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life.

When Dragonfly enters our lives, it is time to dig deeper, lift the illusion of suffering and believe in our limitless divinity. They are the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment; and the communication from the elemental world. Dragonfly is a magical totem, signifying our ability to transform ourselves as we travel our path of self knowing toward enlightenment. It's iridescence and shifting colors lift us into dreamtime, where we can come to see that what seems to be "reality" is actually the illusion. The dragonfly symbolizes going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing. Call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation.

The dragonfly inhabits two realms: air and water and the influence of both these elements will be felt by Dragonfly people. They will be emotional and passionate during their early years (the influence of water) but as they get older they achieve balance with mental clarity and control. They gain an expression of the emotional and mental together.(the influence of air). Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity.

It is said that Dragonfly was once Dragon, covered with beautiful, shimmering scales and wielding great inner strength. It could change form at will, and light the darkness with the fire of its breath. Coyote tricked mighty Dragon into changing form and into believing itself to be tiny Dragonfly. Dragon got caught in this illusion of its own making, just as we can find ourselves forever mistaking our facades for who we really are. Too often we believe our failures, our shortcomings, and our limitations are real. We have forgotten that we too can change form at will, wield great inner powers, and can light our darkness with our faith, hope, and determination.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Finding a Voice

Although she has been done for a while now I am a bit behind in blogging about my beautiful magpie friend. She is bright-eyed and happy to finally get to meet you all. Life seems to keep getting in the way of my blogging and I am sorry that I have been so preoccupied with life.
Seeing a magpie is good luck. This member of the crow family teaches communication and the use of your voice. Understanding the balance of light and darkness, they help one see in darkness. Magpies are highly adaptable and have strong social organization skills.

Curious and somewhat impudent those with the magpie as their animal have a will of their own. Magpies will steal anything they can carry off and teach us the skill of using what ever you can find. The use of what is on hand; may reflect in a ‘dabbling’ pattern in your life.

Magpies symbolize intelligence showing the proper use of knowledge and intelligence and how to use what you have. They help you advance your knowledge although the knowledge is often incomplete. You may gain what you desire from the use of knowledge, but it may come in an obtuse or unusual way.

Magpies show us how to use ritual in everyday life. They help us to understand messages from spirit and the proper use of animals as familiars and occult knowledge. If the magpie is your animal you can use whatever metaphysical knowledge that you have and are able to open up as a person to new realms as simply and quickly as possible. You should not look for quick easy methods of attainment through occult knowledge. Seeing or dreaming of magpies usually indicates that you are going to encounter the spirit realm and metaphysical world in a different manner.

The flowers in this block were to represent my love of lilacs, my favorite flowering tree. In my mind they will always be tied to my Grandmother who had beautiful full lilacs in her front yard. The smell of them when they bloomed was amazing. As I write this she has just recently passed. I am so glad that I included a memory of her in BJP while she was still alive, her love of plants and knowledge were always inspiring. Once we start landscaping for our new house I will try to include lilacs because they always remind me of her.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

June Magpie takes flight

June goes to the birds or in this case to one bird. The magpie is one of my spirit animals and she has decided to visit us on my sacred tree.

I started working on her on our way back from Boston in the end of July. She wanted nice feathers so using feathers I had purchased years ago at Michaels I couched her feathers down. I am sure there were people in the airport and plane wondering what in the world I was up to.
Although a magpie's tail is not so fluffy and fanned out she liked hers that way so they will stay a burst of blue to help us steer and balance we go through life.

I used a crystal sequin for her eye and then beaded her head in blue to black size 15 seed beads.

Friday, August 28, 2009

May Iris Blooms

I finished this block on our trip to Boston but haven't gotten around to blogging about it until now. I chose to add the Iris because it is a flower I love and it tends to bloom around our wedding anniversary.

The Iris symbolizes faith, wisdom, valor, hope, light and power. It leads us to higher inspiration and psychic purity.
At the root of the Iris I added more treasures for the bounty the ocean can bring to us with it's life giving nature.

The photo below is the background with the first 9 blocks on it. I still have a lot of work to finish the background for the piece but I really love how it is all starting to look.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Love and Irises

I am still behind but I finally got some time spent working on my May block. Since we are leaving tomorrow for a trip to Boston I will keep this note pretty short and will look at any symbolism in post with the finished block. The first photo show the background painting and the stitching getting started.

The second photo shows the piece with the thread embroidery done and the piece ready for some beads.

The last photo shows the piece after I added the stiffened Iris to the piece. The only part I needed to stiffen was the petals so that they would stay upright on the piece. I added leaves and sewed the roots down and spreading to get their moisture and nutrients from the world around them.

I do realize that Irises do not grow along salt water beaches but that is what Artistic License is for. These are primordial waters that give life to us all.

Wayne said that he really likes it so far. I still need the surf, sand and shells and then we will be finished and ready to move onto June.

If you want to see all of the photos of my Sacred Tree so far this year please visit my Web Gallery.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

May Brings Love and Irises

Life has seriously gotten in the way of my art lately and I am hoping that things will now start to settle down a bit so that I can spend some quality time creating. If you want to read about all of the hub-bub in our life you can read about it in my Artistic Kreations and Passions blog.

May always starts out with our wedding anniversary on Cinco de Mayo, lucky for me that is also when the Irises around here are blooming. Wayne bought me some creamy roses that he thought would look good with the Irises we had.

I have always liked Irises and they are one of my favorite flowers and I have used them in y art before. I made a 3-d iris for my Pond Necklace. When I wanted to include irises in my Tree of Life I knew that it would be for May and that I wanted to make a 3-d iris for it.

I did get this much beaded in May but haven't had the time and energy to post the iris until now. I made each of the petals separately and then sewed them all together. The stem is made using herringbone stitch. I have also stiffened the iris with acrylic matte medium so that it will not look like it is dying with all of the petals about ready to fall off. I am planning on adding a leaf or two as well but will wait until I know how it is going to sit on the block.

I have the background painted as well and will try to get that up on here in a few more days. Once I get to work on the piece I expect that it will come together fairly quickly.

Although we have some stuff on the schedule for the month I am planning on spending some time just making art and trying to regain my sanity. I really feel like I loose that when I go too long without making art.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Goddess in Us All

This first photo shows the block that my tree spirit was going to go onto. I did most of stitching on it while on airplanes and in the airports on my way to Iowa. Very productive use of my time. I had figured out approximately what she would cover so that I didn't stitch where she would be sewn on. The halo is a piece of metal that I found one time on a trip to DC. I cleaned it up a bit, filed sections to get some of the shine in areas and added a bit of paint lightly to add more color. I top coated it to help keep it from tarnishing any further. I like the idea of having a slightly tarnished halo. Once I sewed her to the block I added the stars around her for my twilight sky.
Here she is in her full glory, the goddess that is inside each of us. She made get her hair trimmed a bit but I haven't decided yet on that. I still haven't found what I want to put in her hands. I feel that I will know when I find it. I have considered giving her a charm bracelet to hold between her hands but am not sure if that is the look I am after. When the time is right I will know what she wants.
While in Iowa I also spent some time working on my background a bit. I have not put any time into that in a while so I was glad that I had the time to do so. I wanted the biggest impact for my time spent so I chose to work on the ivy that is climbing up the tree. I wrote about it's symbolism with my October block (Ivy speaks of attachment, eternal friendship, fidelity, and wedded love.) The first step was couching down the cord which is a green cotton cord that I added values to using permanent markers. The ivy climbs up over the door, up the tree and onto my butterfly and cougar blocks. The next step was to add the leaves and the tendrils from the main vines. I didn't finish all of that in Iowa but worked on it some at the Wire Fest- Bead-In night and finished the leaves. Getting the Ivy on helped make the tree seem even happier than it was already.

The last picture is of my tree spirit block pinned onto the background. Her fringing will overlap the door but that is fine since it is a secret doorway anyway and she will help hide it a little bit.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's all in the Details

I had thought my life was a bit crazy before it has become more so in the time since my last post. We were originally planning on moving near the end of this year but that has been moved up twice in the last couple of weeks first to mid-August and now the end of June. Looks like we may end up in temporary housing until we find the house we want to buy, we don't want to settle or rush our decision. I have been busy and will only become more so in the near future. Luckily we can put our stuff in non-temporary storage with the Navy until March or so of next year.

I expect the craziness to mean that my blog entries may be a bit delayed and that I may fall behind on some of my blocks. The background will likely be delayed and I won't be able to work on the quilt part of it until we have a home probably. Who knows maybe it will give me more time since I won't have busy work around the house to do and we won't be living in a house that is on the market all summer.

One of the things that I knew I wanted for my Spirit was for her to have beaded jewelry. Since I make my own jewelry and have entered pieces into contest how could she not be adorned in some beaded finery. The photo above shows one of her peyote stitched bracelets. The photo below show her in all of her jewelry. She has CZ teardrops for her earrings and a small rivoli was used for the center of her necklace.

These two photos show where the bulk of my time went on this piece. I made lots and lots of vine fringing. I used 3 different type of flower beads and made slightly different fringes for each type of flower. I spent many hours at my parents home and at Mayo working on all of her fringe. My poor doll spent most of that time upside down since it was easier for me to work that way and I didn't get the tread caught so often that way. I found I couldn't work on it for hours straight because holding it the way I had to made my wrists a bit sore so I broke it up into smaller groups of time. I was amazed that it went quicker than I thought it would. I considered doing another row of fringing but she disagreed with me so I didn't argue with my muse.
In my next post I will show you her block in progress and then what she looks like all done on her block and pinned to the background. I won't sew her on like I have the other blocks because I won't be able to roll the background up with her on it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tree Spirit Comes To Life.

Although my April BJP was finished in April on schedule I haven't taken the time to do any of my blogging about her yet even though it is almost half way through May. I am afraid that getting everything ready for my two and a half week trip to Iowa in late April kept me busy the first half and while I was there I kept busy with shopping and visiting etc. If you want to know what I have been up to please visit my main blog (Artistic Kreations and Passions Blog) Since I got back to the east coast I have spent time in Philly for Wire Fest and then trying to catch up after being gone. Wayne and I also celebrated our 19th anniversary.

I thought I would start with my sketch of this my block that I expected to take the most time and that really thinks outside the box. I found it interesting while I was researching trees and the tree of life how many early civilizations believed in sacred trees and how many had Gods and spirits that lived in or where part of that tree belief. My Tree Spirit is symbolic of that connection to the tree and our connection to the Earth. She is a tree spirit, earth mother, goddess, creative muse and so much more rolled up into one. She also represents all of those qualities that exists with in me since my whole project this year is about a self portrait of who I am.
I knew this project would be a learning experience since I wanted my tree sprit to be dimensional and so I needed to make a doll that I could attach to the block. I haven't made many dolls and I wanted this one to be somewhat realistic so I got to try things to see what would work. I used a pattern that I had kept from a Sew News from years ago for making a mini dress form. I scaled to what I needed and used just the front pieces and attached them to a pice of EZ Felt so that she would have a flat back. The head I just needed the correct size so that I could glue on the face piece that I got at a bead store in Maine a few years ago. The arms I made with pipe cleaners wrapped together with thread so that I had a hand shape. I did flesh gloves for them and put the wires inside of them. I did the main body piece in muslin and then once I had attached the arms I gave her skin over that stitching that to the backing.
First I attached her underskirt gathering it and stitching it to her wait and then I stitched sleeves and attached those. I must admit the little bit of clothing sewing I had done helped when trying to figure out how to make her clothing.
Her dress was made as a wrap dress with 2 separate pieces that I made the with the same pattern just flipping one of them. I sewed them on one at a time.
This last picture show her after she had gotten her hair. I used my hair that I had kept from a hair cut some years ago. It was challenging to work with it and figure out how to attach it to the doll. I ended up with some of the stitches showing so I gave her a bead cap to hide the stitching. My goal before leaving for Iowa was to have her ready to add beading to and of course have all of beading stuff ready to go with me to Iowa so I could work on her. I am glad that I managed to fit it all in.