Friday, April 26, 2013

Color Play

I finished my Battle piece this week. Or, at least I THINK I finished it... some tweaking may be required between now and May 11th, which is when I scheduled a professional photo shoot to immortalize the piece.

Today I moved onto something that has languished in my project graveyard for at least a year. I've put off starting it because I want it to be a statement piece and up until now it seemed like it was going to be a "big project". That is, until I made my Battle piece, which is a heck of a lot bigger than anything I'd envision before!

I dug out the box of supplies I'd set aside and got to work.  So far, it is a symphony of subtle colors in bronze, gold, teal blue, and olive green. The focal bead is a glorious Labradorite teardrop cabochon which shimmers with all of those colors I mentioned.  I foiled the cab before glueing it down and those colors shoot right out of the stone now. Wow. 

My current plan is to flank the center stone with gray mother-of-pearl beads and seed beads. I also would like to incorporate some lovely blue and green dyed pearls a friend gifted to me last Fall.  When I laid the pearls down near the work this morning, I felt all sorts of warm sparkly feelings.  It's going to be a gorgeous collar when it's done.

Stay tuned...

copyright 2013 Shibori Girl

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Power of Alternative Thinking

It's now Day 18 into the Battle of The Beadsmith 2013 and things are happening.

 Before I began stitching beads down, I had a drawing showing the basic layout of the components and how they should fit together.  After I finished a few of the pieces, I laid them out according to the drawing; these didn't fit properly at all. When one edge lined up, corners splayed out and looked awkward. The bottom piece was HUGE, not proportional with the top. Well, isn't this SPECIAL? Nope.

I pouted about this new wrinkle in my plan as I played with the pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. I moved them around, turned them on edge, upside down, etc. With each new configuration, I took pictures so I could  compare them side-by-side. A new plan took shape. This new arrangement is even more interesting than the original! How about that?

While this competition pits artists against each other, I'm learning that the real battle is with myself. Through the execution of my piece I have gained flexibility in my thinking. Once  upon a time, I would start work and couldn't envision any other way of proceeding. If the plans went awry, the unfinished piece went straight into the Project Graveyard. That can't happen this time: I made a commitment to participate and I have a deadline. I HAD to make it work somehow. The result? I have a piece, my best to date, which has tested my endurance and skill. If you asked me a year ago if I thought I would make something this dramatic, I would have laughed.

Now I'm designing the next eye-popping piece in my head.

I am still not allowed to post pictures of the Battle piece, but here's a little taste of what is on my work tray:

Until next time...

 copyright 2013 Shibori Girl

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Take a Step Back and Breathe...

Today is Day 10 of the Battle of The Beadsmith. I've been bent over my table, nose in bead bowls, since April 1st: string a bead, stitch a bead... over-and-over.  With myopic vision, literally as well as figuratively, I work the tiniest details of my piece according to plan. Or so I thought.

This morning I realized one of the sections got away from me and developed a plan of its own. Large. Sparkly. Explosive color. Apparently my Bad Angel is perched on my shoulder again and she's whispering in my ear "More is more".  Well now, THAT wasn't what I had planned at all.  How to proceed?  I think I will listen to that naughty girl and expand the rest of the piece to match because that center piece is AWESOME! That's my trouble when I start with a plan: usually the piece takes a left turn halfway through and decides it wants to be something else entirely. Well, OK then. In the meantime, I need to step back and think for a day or so, to see if that's where I want to go with this project.

I wish I could post pictures; if I did you'd be as excited as I am!  In the meantime, I soldier on, bead-by-bead, consuming mass quantities of Fireline and sparkly goodness until the Big Reveal.

Stay tuned...

If you would like to follow the Battle on Facebook, let me know or contact The Beadsmith so we can add you to the group roster.

copyright 2013 Shibori Girl

Friday, April 05, 2013

Battle Ready and Rarin' To Go

Last summer I was honored to be asked to be a judge in the first Battle Of The Beadsmith, an international beading competition on Facebook. There were 80 worthy competitors and judging was challenging. Only one beader could win and sometimes the choice was painful. The winner wins nothing but bragging rights and the respect of beaders around the world. The winning piece is by Alla Maslennikova of Russia and is an amazing combination of design, beading skill and beauty.

2012 winner
This year, I was invited to be a competitor in The Battle Of The Beadsmith 2013. The event has expanded to include 192 beaders representing 40 countries. The competition is a series of tournament-styled mini-battles pitting two randomly selected artists against each other. Each pairing is judged and the winning piece moves onto the next round. At the end one piece, and its beader, is selected as the winner.

I was assigned my first round with Svetlana Hackl of Austria. Since the main purpose of this competition is to meet other beaders from around the world, I look forward to getting to know Svetlana.

I've been thinking about how to design my piece for months now. After seeing the intricacy of pieces from last year's competition I knew I would have to step far outside my comfort zone. I hope my entry will be a masterpiece, the culmination of all my experience, influenced by the works of other artists I admire. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to post any photos of my work-in-progress until the deadline of June 1st, but I will try to post regularly to describe how the piece is coming together.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck!

copyright 2013 Shibori Girl