Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Don't Screw It Up!"

This has been my mantra since beginning this necklace: "Don't screw it up, don't screw it up...".

I sold the last bead embroidered necklace I made last month and I've been itching to do another. While searching for a central focal point, I tore my studio apart. Lurking in a drawer were some beautiful buttons I'd bought long ago when I was making wearable art jackets.

This one is a porcelain raku-fired little beauty from Rama Buttons of Olympia, Washington. I picked it up, held it in my hand, and knew: This Was It.

I started this necklace after dinner one night. I stitched down the three main central pieces: button, sponge coral, and carnelian. And that finished bit got me so excited I had to keep going.

Every time I work a new piece, I feel angst at the end of each stage. This time was no different, and it was powerful. After eight hours of work, I finished the netted "wings" around the button and I was stumped. What to do next? Do I leave it like this and turn it into a pendant? Marble Man piped up and told me, "No, you need to keep it going".

I decided I should treat the necklace like a drawing and started "doodling" with the beads.

The clasp treatment in the last piece was such a hit, that I did something similar for this one - you can see it in the lower corner of the picture.

Each stage of this necklace had me nervous. I'd work in 8 hour stretches, complete a section, then walk away for a day or two to think on it. All together, it took about 36 hours, start to finish.

The materials for this project were all things I had in the studio. I've got a lot of beads and I'm conscientiously trying to use what I have and not buy more... yet.

Long ago I accepted that stress and angst are part of "my process". It adds a level of excitement to the work, and keeps me on my toes. I have to push myself out of my comfort zone to move forward, and I think the finished pieces are stronger for it.

All I need now is to find a willing model to wear it so I can get a picture, then I'll be able to list it for sale in my Etsy shop. Any takers?


Anonymous said...

nice job kate!
a live model would be nice. i have the same problem around here- male models just don't cut it for what i do- i did however use my son for my pocket square model on my website!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Wow Kate, it's amazing, really! I'm glad Marble man convinced you to keep going, it's beautiful.

I think we all feel the same way about what we put out. I read a quote something along the lines of art is never finished, but abandoned. I think with each thing I create, I reach a point where I stop yet wonder if I'm really done.

paula l. mandel said...

Kate: This is truly a masterpiece! I LOVE the colors (is that a surprise?) And angst is what keeps us moving forward...let's here it for angst! I couldn't live creatively without it. As for knowing when to stop, it's helpful to have a designated other (marble man?) to tap you on the shoulder when you are "done".

lori vliegen said...

pick me, pick me....i'll gladly model this (and then can i bring it home and treat it to a bowl of ice cream?!)!! a real-life-masterpiece, kate!! congrats on selling your other necklace....i don't think that this one will last too long in your shop either! your workmanship is beyond impeccable. don't forget to submit photos to one of those bead/art magazines....this is front cover stuff, for sure!! :))

p.s. and as for stress and mean some people are able to create without it?!! :)

Snap said...


Your work is incredible! The colors are wonderful, the work is impressive. The whole necklace is stunning ... super stunning! Angst and stress ... yep ... been there and done that!

SweetbriarStudio (Christie) said...

Yeaaa! It looks fantastic! I can't believe you finished it already. (didn't we just have lunch??) Way to go. I'm happy to model if you're desperate :).
It really does look wonderful. I have a new name for you: Bead-diva!

rochambeau said...

Oh wow, Oh MG. KATE.
A masterpiece.
Is this going into a museum?
It needs to.

You have SUch attention to detail!!
You GO girl.
Keep it coming!

Rhonda Roo said...

Crazy. It's like you do some crazy thing with beads, and your work, which is really an elevated art all of its own. And you are doing the equivalent to defying gravity.
Like it shouldn't be possible, but you do it anyway.
I'd offer to model but er...well. I wouldnt give it back. LOL

Gabriela said...

Hello Kate,

These pieces are amazing...
Have you thought about teaching classes or workshops? You should...

~ Gabriela ~

Andrea - Faded Plains said...

It's all about the process...just gorgeous!

Isabel said...

Incredible necklace! That is all I can say after I read your post with my mouth open and chin almost touching the desk...36 HOURS? created this in 36 HOURS? Wow!

It seems so intricate and complicated, I thought it would take much longer, but then is you making it. Anything is possible!

Anonymous said...

I love your work.
I am often going onto Esty and again Love your creations.
CAn i ask you is that leather you are working on and if so is it a light leather and do you use sharp beaded needles?

shibori girl said...

When I made this piece, I was working on Ultrasuede, which is polyester but feels like real suede. Underneath the Ultrasuede is a layer of Lacy's Stiff Stuff.

Recently, I learned that the Lacy's Stiff Stuff can be painted any color using acrylic paints, so I bead directly onto that now.

Good luck,