Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I have another go at Embroidery

For most of this year I have hardly done any beading. No desire at all and surprisingly I didn't miss it.

I was concerned for awhile as normally I wake early and spend 3-4 hours a day experimenting. 
I just didn't have the verve for it. My focus had shifted elsewhere. 

Six months into the year I was thinking maybe I should try my hand at embroidery.
You see I am inspired by the two 'Reginas' - Regina Krawets and Regina Payne.

Having bead embroidered once before I was beginning to think doing another might 'kick-start' 
my beading desire again, problem was I didn't know what I wanted to embroider. 
When you have a blank canvas in front of you the possibilities are enormous AND very daunting. 
So not knowing what I wanted to create, I created nothing - until last month.

I am a member of the Macarthur Bead Society. We meet every third Saturday of the month and each meeting the facilitator - Neva Brown - comes up with a Bead Challenge. 
The challenge for the June bead meeting was "POP Art"

I immediately thought of Andy Warhol, Campbell Soup tins, Wham! Bam! Kapow! etc etc.
I had my embroidery subject, I would try to embroider a "POW !"
That wouldn't be too hard and hopefully would be good fun.

I start by creating the letters in a cubic right angle weave (CRAW) and decided to include an oval Lunasoft cabachon for the letter 'O'. That gave me the size of the lettering. 
Whilst making the challenge my thoughts went to "what will I do with this when finished?"
Can I make this into a necklace - isn't there enough jewellery.
I could sew it to a baseball cap - I would never wear it.
I could sew it on a denim jacket - I am too old to wear a 'noisy' kind of jacket.
I could give it to a grand niece of mine to sew on clothing for her young daughter - hmmm......the embroidery would eventually be thrown away. I didn't like that idea!

So, here you have my finished embroidery. 
I glued the work to one of the bead boards I use when travelling. Now I get to see and enjoy it.

The embroidery is a bit 'rough' in my opinion.
I used some beads I wanted to get rid of, and they were not all that even. Some of the beads sit up higher - that may be over-crowding the beads or my tension.
When glueing down the 'O' ring around the cabochon, the CRAW twisted a little so I wasn't able to further surround the cab.

I have three friends who embroider and they have critiqued the workmanship and made suggestions on what to do next time. All things I will keep in mind for future. 

 I learnt a lot from doing this piece and shall do more in future.  
I like the idea of combining bead-weaving and bead embroidery.

Has it kick-started my beading again??  Yes it has.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"Ananas" - tutorial now released

Announcing the release of the tutorial for my "Ananas" necklace.

This is the largest tutorial I have so far written - 30 pages with 115 full colour illustrations.

I designed Ananas last year for teaching at Beads by Blanche, New York and it is the second of four designs all made for that teaching gig.

The shapes in the rope remind me of pineapple skin thus the name Ananas.

I hope you enjoy "Ananas"

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Pansyface" - tutorial now released

In March 2016, I shared images of my "Pansyface" necklace
 - one of the four classes I was to teach at Beads by Blanche, New York, in June 2016.

Today I am showing the necklace again as I have released the tutorial from my teaching portfolio.

 So if you are interested in making "Pansyface" - a two sided (reversible) necklace
just click on the large image below or on my Artfire link on the right hand side of my blog.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Introducing "Rio"

My first post this year..........apologies for my tardiness.

Last week I released a new tutorial for a fun necklace and possibly the most colourful 
piece of jewellery I have yet designed.

My inspiration came from watching the Rio Olympic games opening ceremony. 
I remember thinking "look at all that colour they used!! Wow!!!

At the time I was working on a multi-coloured design - using six colours - and was feeling 
a bit ambivalent about it. 
Seeing the Rio colours made me put aside the piece I was working on, choose colours
more like the games and begin again. 

I am glad I did and thus I called this necklace "Rio"

May "Rio" put an end to your winter and a beginning to your Spring.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Introducing "KingStar" - a kitted ornament

Three posts earlier I showed you my collection of Christmas Tree ornaments, 
something I really enjoy designing.
I have designed another and I am pleased to introduce my latest tree ornament for Christmas.
I have named this one "KingStar" as I think it is the best I have made so far.

In the past I have only ever made kits for classes I am teaching. 
This is my first kitted design for immediate release. The kit contains everything needed to make one KingStar.

I have kits already in USA so clients can have a faster delivery and save on postage - go to my ArtFire store - see link on side panel.

I also have kits in Sydney, Australia, for other parts of the world - go to my Etsy store - see link on side panel.

I released the above KingStar kit about a week ago and I am most grateful and thrilled with the response.

Alongside is a colour variation with slight changes to the original design. 
So I wrote a KingStar addendum tutorial - three extra pages - and sent it to all those who bought the kit as a Christmas gift from me to them saying thank you for buying my first kit.

From now on, anyone who buys KingStar will receive tutorial instructions for both.  

I intend having this design in my portfolio for some time and will continue to
make and kit colour variations.
NOTE: the tutorial is NOT available without the kit.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

In another magazine and on the cover too

My latest published design - a pendant called 'Rosette' - first time something of mine is in Bead & Button Magazine and first time my work is on the front cover - only a small image but still the front cover - see the pendant on the bottom left of the cover.

It is very rewarding to finally see your work published and I am thrilled.

This was designed almost 18 months ago, and it takes a very long time for everything to be placed with publishers, tutorial to be written, contracts sorted and signed and then the long wait for it to be published.

You get to the point when you forget about it but when it finally happens it is great.

So, if you would like to check it out you need to get the latest Bead & Button magazine December 2016.

It is a very feminine, pretty pendant, using a Swarovski rivoli, crescents, triangles, and Czech fire polished.

You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Inspiration - what inspires me !

This week my friend Regina Krawets and I went to the NSW Art Gallery to see an exhibition of Frida Kahlo's art, along with some Diego Rivera pieces.

I was very glad I went as in 2008 I visited the San Francisco MOMA to see a Frida Kahlo exhibition and saw a lot of her artworks, so I wanted to see what else was being shown here in Sydney.

This exhibition was more about her life with Diego, having lots of photographs but not a great deal of her paintings. There certainly were things I had not seen before and some lesser known drawings of her early work. I am glad I went.

Frida Kahlo is an artist that really inspires me. I guess it is the ethnicity of her work along with her choice of colours and inclusion of pattern in her artworks. Not to mention her own attire. Her floral hair adornments really inspire my beadwork and I love her quotation. "I paint flowers so they will not die"

I can certainly live by that quote when beading flowers.

Another of my favourite artists is Matisse. In particular a period in his artwork where he depicted a person in a room with colourful backgrounds and lots of pattern, one example being Matisse's "The Red Room."

I have done a drawing of a nude with a Matisse influence (on the right)

If you google Matisse you will find lots of his images and it is obvious I am not the only person he inspires with this period in his artwork.

I then remembered seeing some modern day photographs of models in colourful settings with a Russian ethnicity about them.

These images inspire me enormously. I love their vibrancy of colour and revel in the play of one colour against another colour.
Look at that blue in her dress against the cerise of the wallpaper. Look at the lines of yellow, green, hot pink, blue of the eggs in the foreground. This makes me sigh with awe……Wow !!

I love the inclusion of many patterns as it makes my eye travel around and around the image, noticing not just the model's face but what else is there.

Look at all those patterns in the image on the right - too many? - are your senses overloaded? - are you inspired also? - does it work for you? - are your eyes travelling around and around to take it all in?

Mine are.

Here is another image (on the leftt) with an even greater abundance of pattern to delight in. The colours are not excessively bright. The wallpaper is muted in tone, and yet her apparel more rich and lush in colour. The reds of the skirt make it come alive !!

Having said the above I also find inspiration in an image with more simplicity, like the one on the right. Here we have no pattern, just a reliance on the colours and the image itself. The luscious vibrancy of that red against that blue - the Wow! factor for me - set against the monochrome of the remainder of the picture.

This image looks so tranquil and her expression so pensive,
yet the image is pregnant with the symbolism of the eggs. What symbolism comes to my mind with an egg are

Birth, new life, fertility, new ideas, creation continuing, life goes on, sustenance, hard shell, containment, just to name a few.   If you google "symbolism of an egg in art" you will get a gazillion explanations…….what comes to your mind?

I wanted to share how something as rich as these images influence my own creativity.

Have you found what makes you go "oh…WOW!!"

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Collection of Christmas Ornaments

It is a pleasure to introduce the most recent addition to my Christmas Collection of ornaments - "Starlight so Bright" - above.

I had fun designing this one and was happy to play with the new Swarovski fluoro pink rivoli, combining it with hot pink and orange seed beads.

As usual I like to make more than one and wanted to do something I hadn't done before - an hombre colour palette - different for me and one I will repeat. I hope you like them both.

I thought I would do a much needed blog post and share all the Christmas pieces I have done over the last few years.

These two images are the front and back of my "Anahata" Star. One of my favourites.

Then there is another one I did around the same time in gold, red and green - on the right.

I made these Christmas Trees last year and they have been a tremendous success with customers.

Lastly, my seven point star "Stellar Australis" also successful with customers and continues to sell well each year.

I am sure I will design many more. I have so many ideas in mind and every year we celebrate Christmas.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gratitude and some soul searching

I have just watched the movie "Julie and Julia" for probably the fifth or sixth time. I do enjoy this movie and the characters are so well played by Meryl Streep and Amy Adams - if you haven't seen it make the effort, it is a "feel good" movie.

As I watched Julie writing her blog, it occurred to me how irregular I have been in my own blog writing. When I first began this blog I went from 29 posts in 2010, to 95 posts in 2012, to only 12 posts in 2014. So far this year I have done 13, certainly an improvement on 2014. I ask myself what happened with my regularity?

I can account for some drop in posts. In 2012 I didn't write tutorials. In 2014 I started writing tutorials.

Writing tutorials takes a great deal of time. Every step for making the beaded item needs to be illustrated, along with the instructions being concisely worded for ease of understanding. It can take a whole week to complete a tutorial. The tutorial for 'Ananas' pictured alongside took me 46 hours to illustrate and write. That is a weeks work for some. And to think I have done all that work and not been paid - at least not been paid yet!!

So writing tutorials takes you away from beading/designing and accounts for some of the drop in my blog postings.

What else has contributed to fewer postings? I look at all the posts in 2012 and notice I was sharing all the items I made as well as sharing the "works in progress".

I no longer share my W.I.P. and the reason being - I was copied ! - before I even had a chance to write the tutorial. That tends to put a sour taste in my mouth and has made me a lot more guarded as to what I share these days. So now I make a design, write a tutorial, then share what I have made - the spontaneity has been taken out of my passion!!  and the passion has been taken out of my spontaneity!!
I am sad this has happened.

I started beading with the idea that maybe I could earn a few extra dollars to subsidise my retirement. I didn't know I would be okay at it, I didn't know I would write instructions for creating my designs and I didn't know these instructions would be sold around the world. I also didn't know I would be in demand to travel and teach.

All these things contribute to a new career for me, one I never expected to be living.….at this late age!!
I know, I know, you are only as old as you feel. I don't feel old, I still feel spritely and have a good outlook on life. I am now approaching 66, an age I expected to be slowing down, an age for pottering around the garden and maintaining my home. Two things that have sadly been neglected for a couple of years.

I have worked for 49 years - that is a lot of working!!

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love beading, I love getting up each morning and I love sitting in the quiet and playing with beads. My love of beading will never change. The dilemma I am facing is "Do I want a new career?" "Do I want my life to speed up when I expected to be slowing down?"

So now that I have poured out my thoughts, I am asking what is the point of this post?

I am wanting to share with those aspiring designers/teachers out there in cyberland that there is a LOT of things to come up against, to learn, to process through, to decide, to consider, to define and a lot more work than I ever expected. Some of it is fantastic, some of it is exhausting and time consuming.

I guess I am trying to communicate that when you fall in love with something that you are passionate about, the Universe supports passion!  I honestly can affirm this. My passion has been supported every step of the way and has brought me to this stage in my life….and a pretty good stage to be in!!

I am most grateful for this journey. I feel the next steps are just beginning. But!! where do I want them to go? How do I want them to be?  Faster or Slower??

Only time will tell.