Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yamka Wuti, part 2

Rings N Things was in town today, so I managed to talk DH into going to town and getting stuff at Costco while I drooled over beads. I didn't get much (it all fits in my hand) but the gemstones always make me wonder what to do with them. I'm never brave enough to buy a whole strand of large beads, I'd never use them all. They did have a table with Czech pressed glass, something different for them. I picked up a few strands of different pressed glass, since I know I'll use those. And some glazed ceramic tiny skulls, just for fun (they cost one quarter of my total purchase!). Some shell teardrops, silver filigree ovals and a strand of moss agate 4mm rounds rounded out my haul.

Carol asked where my embroidery techniques come from. I'm self-taught, being fortunate that I can usually figure things out from a book or magazine. I have some of Robin Atkin's books, the one from Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli, and a trove of magazines with labels for projects of interest. My "style" of beading with felt comes from looking at Lone Beader's blog, where she wonderfully shows her work in progress, and a desire to incorporate my particular beading heritage -I'm 1/64 Iroquois. The Iroquois beaders made trinkets for the tourists around Niagara Falls with raised designs. One way of raising the design was to put something under that part of the design to raise it, like a piece of paper bag. I used a piece of felt to raise part of a BJP piece, and that got me hooked - then I started adding layers, like Lone Beader (she does entire pieces in felt, with loads of layers stitched together). I'm slowly learning how I like to do it for my "style", by beading a layer, adding it to the next, and building it up like an applique quilt. I like doing pieces like that, and I'm hoping it becomes my signature style, something that when someone sees one of my pieces, they recognize it as mine.

These pictures are from June. The phoenix and butterfly are attached to the skirt piece, and the turtle is started on her back. I ended up taking the turtle back off, so I could slip the skirt over her head when it was stitched together. It wouldn't have slipped over her legs, and barely fit over her head! The skirt is calico over artist paper. I stitched the first few rows on top and bottom, then tacked the edges in and stitched over them for the remaining rows. The bottom border of the skirt has rainbow stripes, a stripe of alternating white and purple beads (rain), a bugle stripe (running water) and fans that look like thunder clouds. My original intention was to make feathers from tiny 15's, to put on a belt over the black at the top of the skirt. It would have looked cool, but there just wasn't enough time for me to fiddle with it. I did make up a few samples, and the idea may make it another project.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yamka Wuti, part 1

Now that I'm officially allowed to start sharing pictures, I figured I'd start close to the beginning! These pictures were taken 5/28. The phoenix and butterfly were stitched separately, then added to her skirt. I stitched the phoenix body with additional layers of felt for the body, then did a layer of fringe on the wings and tail. The butterfly picture is before stitching, showing the layers of felt. I'll stitch the outline, tack down the pieces of felt, do the beadwork and remove the outline stitches. I've learned that trimming the pieces with the blade of the scissors against the beads, so it cuts one blade-width away, allows me room to sew one row of beads to anchor the piece to the foundation (in this case, the skirt piece). I cut paper patterns in this case, making sure they fit in the area of the skirt that they needed to.
On my other projects, I was cutting the pieces of felt to fit the design, tacking them on the foundation, and then beading. I've learned that doing it as a separate piece allows me to let the beads dictate the form better, so it's more even. It's also easier to do it in layers than to try to get everything even and then realize half-way through the beadwork that it's off by half a beadwidth on one side.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All Dolled Up press release

It has pictures of all 6 finalists, and snippets of the stories. I am so glad Sulia took so long that I changed tactics, since there's another tree spirit, very well done (Willow). Mine is at the very bottom. I felt a little wierd sending her off, but I'm just tickled that she made the cut!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

skill vs vision

While I was recently sick, I spent some time channel-surfing (the only thing my brain could handle). I chanced upon The Runway Project, where designers compete against each other for a shot at the big time. The particular challenge they faced was to make a costume for an imaginary film, done in a certain genre. And they had to be done in one day! They pulled the best and worst, and critiqued them. The best were really good - they had decided on a story, and the costume fit the story. The craftsmanship was good, and the costume's added to their story. The worst were ho-hum, couldn't tell where they fit in any story. But what struck me was a judge's comment - "She has good skills, but she doesn't have a vision" or something similar. How many times have we made something by following someone's pattern, or while you're making a piece you're just going through the motions? Are those pieces really art? When a piece talks to you, tells you what it's story is, and you manage to make something that really reflects that story, it just sings! It's made me affirm to myself, that what I make should have a story, that everything about it should reflect/add to that story. That my "major" pieces should not just reflect my beading skills, but be able to let someone see my vision about that piece. Skills only get you so far -the vision is key!