Symbols

My search for symbols was lots of fun, and also quite enlightening. I selected a Hawaiian symbol that means ‘light that makes you gasp’ and fell in love with the meaning as much as the symbol. I might have to change the title of my piece, which currently is You Cannot Constrain the Light. I’ve been using Instagram and FB quite a bit lately, and sometimes that makes me forget the details when I write a blog. Therefore, to make sure it’s all covered, when I’m old and looking back on my memories….

Symbol–beading started.

Symbol–on the background.

Where I’m at now…

Need to add the rest of what are turning out to be background beads, rather than the main story. Then I think I need to continue the dark of the symbol out into the ray area. After that, I may consider some rays in different colors, or it may be done. I’ll decide that when I get to that point!

It never ceases to amaze me when a piece takes off in an unexpected and unplanned direction. But then, when I listen, I am usually pleased with the outcome. Sometimes I find myself resisting because I don’t want to do that much work. I’m usually sorry when that happens, so I HAVE learned a thing or two over the years.

Listen to your ‘instincts’. It is usually your years of study and experience whispering into your heart to help you create art that makes you happy.

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Back to the beginning

Updating you on my progress—great lack of! I thought I had a solution and added some very light colored beads to one ray of my picture.

Those beads did absolutely zero to portray light. So I took them off and went back to the beginning. Tried ALL the colors, ALL the shapes, ALL the sizes of ALL the beads and came back to my original size and color.

Light beads in the circle and out to the tips of the turquoise rays, then turquoise beads through the rays. I have decided to add the darker beads around the outside and far ends of the rays.

Nothing is going to be dramatic and none of it is going to be a glaring standout. A simple progression of small sparks of light and subtle color. Sometimes the original plan works the best.

There is still the possibility of adding more color. I’ll see what it needs after I get the basic beading done. So you probably won’t get another update on this particular project for a little while—there are a LOT of little beads to add!

A little help from my friends…

When I am working on a piece, I often ask you all for advice. I ask everyone I see for advice. Having different opinions makes it easier for me to clarify what I really want to show. I certainly didn’t think I’d have any time to work on this piece, what with so much hockey going on this weekend! However, there was certainly down time, and I didn’t do anything else that might have needed doing!

So, here’s where I’m at…I did not think that I would be adding beads to this piece at all, but as I was working on the French knots, the piece told me that it needed more! Where I need your input is in a ‘focal point’ area.

I have knots and beads flowing from the lower left corner to the upper right, out into the turquoise rays. Do you think I need to concentrate the beads in any ray area, more in the bottom corner, or what?

This is the way I’ve started into the rays.

And here is the starting corner.

Any opinions or suggestions are very welcome. My beads and I are eager to continue!

More bits and pieces

As promised, here is a pic of the finished turquoise beaded piece.

Way different than I originally imagined, but that’s what happens when your art tells you what it wants!

Had some down time while I was deciding what to tackle next, so I deconstructed a collection of neckties that I had. There really is an unbelievable amount of fabric in a necktie. I’m always surprised. Anyhow, now I have a pile of necktie fabric sitting in a drawer, waiting for inspiration.

Let’s see…I’m putting a sleeve on an older piece and looked at the pile of canvas pieces that need hanging hooks and wires. I walked away from that chore!

Basted a quilt…wonder how long that will sit before I get around to the quilting.

And when I put it on the pile of basted quilts, I selected one to start working on. And it, too, sent me in a direction I was not expecting.

I had a plan to quilt an uneven grid, reflecting the uneven grid dyed into the fabric. And I started out that way, but instead did a random assortment of partial grid sections. Then, this happened…

It’s difficult to see in this next pic, but all this flower stuff is on the left side.

It doesn’t show up all that well, but…I’m toying with the idea of micro lines from the flower part to the other edge. Maybe a bit more of the flowers, first.

And if I do that, should it be the navy thread that I did the partial grid sections with, the variegated thread that I did the flowers in, or something else? Time to step away and let that decision float around in my brain for a while.

As I’m writing this, the weather tomorrow is supposed to be a real killer…high humidity and 90 degrees…and I’m teaching a dye class out in my garage. Hydration–move slowly–take breaks in the air conditioning as needed–right? There might be more breaks than usual……………..

A few beads

For some reason, unknown to myself, I have not done much beading lately. This week I’ve managed to get back to it. I also realized that I often show you in-progress work but sometimes forget to show the finished product!

The black beading definitely rescued this piece.

And I decided that beading was necessary on this piece, too.

Even though the thread was shiny and metallic, it wasn’t quite enough to stand out from the busy background.

Plain turquoise beads seemed like they would fill the bill. And it is too small a piece to agonize over beading decisions!

And as I added the beads in little staggered rows, I was distracted by my container of ‘leftover’ miscellaneous beads. So I added some.

I couldn’t decide if the plain dangles were enough or if I needed to emphasize them with more turquoise.

And neither was correct! I will end up continuing the staggered rows all the way to the tips and incorporate the dangles between the turquoise beads.

I was kind of surprised that the dangles looked so good, since they are totally strung by random selection. But my hindsight tells me that it makes sense, because of all the colors in the background. I may experiment with dark leaf shapes behind the ‘flowers’ before I call this one finished. And I will try to remember to show the finished piece!

I’m getting the urge to start on a BIG beaded project again, but don’t have one shaped up in my imagination yet. It may be that one with the rust fabric circles, but that one is still in a time out right now! I have even looked through my rarely used sketchbooks, but found more piecing ideas than anything adaptable to a beaded project.

It’s wonderful to have too many ideas and not enough time. I cannot imagine the horror of a creative block and hope I never have to work through one. For now, a bit of each of my loves–beading, quilting, embroidery, dyeing–makes me very happy!

Failure—is not an option!

Sometimes when things seem too easy, I get a bit suspicious. That was the case with this last string pieced background.

When it came time to add the design, I traced on my stencil design and decided on a simple black outline. And I continued stitching from the back because it’s really easier to see it that way on these type of backgrounds.

Looked good–nice and dark–couldn’t be easier. That is when I started to suspect that something might not be quite right. I turned it over and–

whaaaat?! You could barely see all that stitching through the fabric and color on the top! I was quite disappointed and couldn’t see a good fix right away.

I tried to add an outline stitch with black embroidery floss, but the background is too dense to get a needle through without a tractor pulling it! That’s why I do these with the machine in the first place.

However, I found that a beading needle is much thinner and goes through that fabric pile quite easily.

Back to the old standby, but it works for the desired effect. Fabric and thread will NOT defeat me. And I now have a handwork project…all is well.

Always something new

It doesn’t matter how often I work on finishing a project in a particular way, there is always something new to try.

I like to mount my small pieces on canvas and I most often simply glue the piece to the painted canvas. Couldn’t be easier. Sometimes I mount the piece on a background piece of fabric and stretch it around the canvas. That’s what I decided to do on the small piece I was working on.

And then I decided to try something new. I had read that some people use a fusible web to attach their pieces to the canvas, so I thought I’d try it. I ironed a line of fusible to the back of the canvas, right on the wood. One example I saw used fusible on the sides of the canvas as well, but I decided to start with this little strip and see how it went.

The rest of the process is usually to pull the fabric to the back and staple it down. The difference here is that I could pull the fabric to the back and iron it in place! I finished the corners with staples and I think I could leave it like this.

However, my motto is never trust the glue, so I’ll add the staples around the sides, too. This made the process much easier and faster though, so I think I’ll be using the fusible again.

Here’s how the piece ended up, with a close up of the beads.

On another project, I also used up every scrap I could to piece the back of the hockey quilt. This little scrap is all that is left of the darker blue hockey fabric.

The other chunk of lighter fabric that I had, I simply centered it for the back and built around it.

It’s ready to be quilted, but the urgency to get it done has abated now that I’ve actually used up that hockey fabric. As long as I get it done by the time hockey starts in the fall, I’ll be satisfied. Oh, and AJ was quite surprised. He said, “You never told me anything about a hockey quilt. Cool.”

I think I have to give up sewing for a day, though, and take care of some necessary chores in the yard and in the house. Boooooring, but must be done!

Wonder what will jump out at me for the next project…hmmmm!