Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Work, or Fun... Why Not Both?

When I was growing up, adults would groan and talk about work as a grueling thing to be endured for 8 hours a day. Work was work, then they'd come home and play. I feel lucky to have work and fun... at the same time! Especially these past two months, when I have the time, patience, and supplies at the ready to learn new techniques.

This week's endeavor: bead embroidery. Hot damn... This is seriously fun. I've had this book for about 6 months now.

I take it off the shelf periodically to swoon over the color pictures, but haven't had the time to do something with it until now. Last weekend, as I passed the bookshelf in my studio, there was a pulsing soft yellow glow emanating from the binding of the book, and an electric harmonic in the air, a bit like a wet finger running around the top of a wine glass. I pulled the book down, and it opened on its own to a necklace page. I thought, "why not?" I have a new charoite (SHAR-oh-ITE) oval focal bead from my favorite store and I'd been thinking hard on how to use it.

A beautiful mineral, fairly new to the bead market, charoite comes from Russia. It has layers of color running through it ranging from lavender, pink, brown, and black. Gorgeous!

I anchored the focal bead down, and flanked it with a couple of muscovite ovals for interest. Very pretty!

My original plan was to make a sort of beaded bib which would hang from bead strands. I didn't want to be too ambitious for a first project, but the thing is growing as I work. You can see from the black lines how the design is changing from stage to stage.

Once I had the stones in place, I needed to start filling in the spaces between them with more beads and patterns.

This morning, I changed my mind... again. I decided to go full-hog and make the piece a fully embroidered collar. So, I needed to add some more of the foundation ultra-suede, which will be reinforced in the beading and final construction phase. It'll be just as strong as if it was one piece of cloth.

So far, the piece has taken me 15 hours to get to the stage in the above photo - that's counting all the time to sew stuff down and then take it off again when I don't like it. I think it will probably take me a couple of weeks to finish it. So stay tuned...


Rhonda Roo said...

Kate dearest,
I'm gonna have to come up with more adjectives for incredibly gorgeous and mind blowing to describe your work....
I may also need a second job, tee hee.
I am so staying tuned!
xoxoxoxox Groupie Roo

Snap said...

Oh, wow, Kate! Stunning -- just stunning!

lori vliegen said...

well, rhonda roo took the words right out of my mouth (although you've left me speechless again, so there weren't that many words to start with!). this is looking fantastic! while you're finishing this up, i'll be hunched over my leather bound thesaurus/dictionary set looking up some appropriate words that might possibly do your incredible talent justice.

hugs, :)

Andrea - Faded Plains said...

I don't know how you do it...but with each new piece...you completely amaze me.

Isabel said...

Just looking at that book cover got me out of breath...then I scrolled down and saw you did ACTUALLY start one of your own...

Where's the oxygen...gasping for air...


3rdEyeMuse said...

when it's a labor of love, sometimes the hours sort of melt into and out of each other ... this is a really, really special piece.

somepinkflowers said...

15 hours!!!!!

good grief
that would take me 15 days
if i was having a Lucky Steeek!


saw your wonderful
work/play at Roos'
and Knew it was Yours
i did
really know...

High Desert Diva said...

Amazed, as usual.

rochambeau said...

Interesting to see how your FUN WORK during the process. Bon chance to anyone trying this that is not YOU!!

SweetbriarStudio (Christie) said...

I am trying to catch up from what seems weeks away from blogging and those who blog. This collar is beautiful. What a neat technique. You have reeeeeally gotten into some heavy beading (that's probably literally and figuratively true!). It's wonderful - way to go!

Amybeader aka Fractaldragon said...

Hi Kate: That Bead Embroidery book is one of those books I could hardly wait for! (Note I found you through your Etsy shop, and convo'd you; I'm Fractaldragon on Etsy). I've done one massive collar so far, with lots and lots of plans in my head, collections of cabs and so on. Very nice images of how you work.
I've had the wonderful privilege of meeting Sherry Serafini at the 2004 Bead and Button Show. What a lovely, friendly bead artist! She told me she has been so delighted to be such an inspiration to so many beaders.
And I have to say, you are an inspirations as well.