Monday, April 2, 2012

Which Creative Type Are You?

I like to borrow various bead / mixed-media books from the library because it gives me an opportunity to see the book content without having to purchase the book.  Some books I really, really like and I'll extend my borrow time frame or reserve it to read again.  And a lot of times, I will purchase books that I think I can't live without.

I recently brought Margot Potter's "Beyond The Bead" book home from the library and have already reread it twice now.   Margo starts her book introduction by saying "Creative types tend to be extremists.  Either they zero in on one art form with an unrelenting focus or they endlessly seek new materials and techniques to add to their repertoire."  Wow, I really felt like she was talking to me as I am definitely in the latter category.

When I first started working at DesignGroup (my day job), I was competing in ballroom dance competitions and did well in the Pro-Am Competitions that my dance instructor and I participated in, we actually won the first one that we entered.  Then I started cake decorating and ended up teaching cake decorating classes at JoAnn Fabrics for a period of time.  While taking my classes and later teaching, I also entered the state fair over a couple of years time and came home with Best in Show ribbons for my decorating level and also received the People's Choice award the last time I entered.  My co-workers all joked that they wondered what I was going to take up next.  Beadwork, of course!

I have taken many beadwork classes over the last couple of years, learning new beading techniques and was fortunate to place as a finalist the first year I entered Bead Dreams.  The following two years after that, I was teamed with two fantastic lampwork bead artists and those collaborations were accepted for juried traveling shows.  But the last year or so, I've been wanting to do more.  So I've taken bookbinding classes, lampwork glass classes, a steampunk art class, and collage classes to name just a few.  And, I keep trying to figure out a way to incorporate any and all of those with beadwork.

Maybe I'm really in the first category mentioned in Margot's introduction and I simply haven't found my niche yet.  I guess only time will tell ...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Laura Mears Challenge (Beyond Beads Gallery)

I love Laura Mears porcelain pieces and have bought a couple of her pieces in the past.  When I saw that Beyond Beads Gallery was going to have a bead challenge with a kit that included a Laura Mears totem piece, I had to participate.

The rules of the challenge were that all beads provided in the kit had to be used in the finished piece (or at least enough that they could tell each bead had been used).  The Laura Mears totem was selected at random and everyone received a unique piece (no duplicates).  And, participants could add up to 5 additional components.  The kit provided included a teal 11/0 seed bead, a cream lined clear 11/0 seed bead, green peanut beads, matte bronze drops, and a blue/green bicone crystal.  We could also use more of the beads included in the kit so I added more drops and bicone crystals to my design.

The totem I received was the elephant.  At first, all I could think of was how in the world was I going to be able to come up with something that incorporated an elephant head.  But, as I kept looking at it, I remembered how the elephant is treated like royalty in India.  And, I really wanted to do something that honored the majesty of the elephants.  So I started to google images of Indian jewelry and got a couple of books from the library to research.

I actually started off imagining a different design for the bead embroidered pendant part, but as I started working my design evolved to become the star flower shape instead.  The head dress for the elephant was to help incorporate the elephant into the design (plus it covered the hole that runs from top to bottom). And I ended up coming up with my own version of right angle weave for the chain portion of the piece.  Because I wanted to use as few additional components as I could, I also made the toggle clasp.  In the end, I added three additional components; a brown 15/0 seed bead, the burgundy pearls, and the brass filigree piece.

In Honor of His Majestic Wisdom

I really like participating in challenges because, in a lot of instances, it forces me to work outside of my comfort zone.  I LOVED how my elephant turned out.

In the end, my elephant pendant ended up receiving the most votes for a first place finish and I was extremely honored to learn that it also received the Artist Award from Laura Mears.

My friend, Helen O'Donnell was gracious and took a photograph of the pendant before I shipped it (and I need to get it off my computer but click the link above and you can see the overall picture that Beyond Beads took for the website and the online voting).  The link below will take you to the announcement page of the three finalists on the Bead Beads Gallery website.

Laura Mears Bead Challenge