Saturday, January 30, 2010

A New Year--January 2010 Bead Journal Project

My January Bead Journal page has been completed. And, yes, I did edit my improvisation. If you look two posts below, you can see what the page looked like before I edited it. I'm pleased with the changes.

I had decided to do a page about the new year. I started with the assumption that I would use white beads--clean, fresh and pure. A new start. But then I realized that none of us start a new year without bringing our pasts along. The new year is colored and shaded and toned by the previous years, even before it starts. While we may not be able to erase those previous years, we can use our crayons and markers and paints to change the appearance of the past years.

What I mean exactly is that by the way we think about and talk to ourselves about the past, we can change the way we see it. We can change the way the past affects us. In fact, we can actually change our brains--physically--by the way we talk to ourselves.

And so if we can change our brains, it was fitting that I change or edit my improvisation.

Since I would be entering the new year with both the richness and the detritus of the past, white would not do. Ecru was my color of choice. Included with the ecru is a tiny bit of grey and some not-quite-pink. Not-quite-pink has a great deal of meaning for me. If you want to know more about it, read this post and this post, which contains the entire rant.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with titian buff acrylic paint.

The beads are 6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s and 15/0s. There are some drop beads, bugles, triangles, hexes, and three larger beads.

It's almost entirely sewn with the backstitch, but there some beads sewn on with the stop stitch. There are three rows of a twisty stitch, two tight and one taller. I don't know the name of this stitch, as I saw it in a Japanese beading book.

The beaded page is 2.5 inches high and 3.5 inches wide.

I'm not exactly sure what kind of thread I used. It looks and feels and sews like Nymo, but the tiny print on the bobbin says Belding Corticelli. I got several bobbins of it at The Dumpster Diving Place for 10 cents each. They were dirty, so I had to throw out the first layer of thread.

What I Was Thinking:

I found ecru to be a very pleasant color to work with. It's tranquil and relaxing, and there are a surprising number of variations. About halfway through the page, I found myself thinking, "This is pretty. 2010 will be a pretty year." I was a happy beader, and I could embrace and cherish the things that make my new year ecru instead of pure white.

And now for the editing business: First, thanks to everyone who offered feedback, encouragement, and suggestions in response to my question about editing improvisational work. As the page neared completion, I felt the diagonal lines on the left side weighing the page down. Weighing my year down. I decided I could take action to prevent that. So I edited my page the same way I try to remember to edit my thoughts. I didn't erase it; I edited it.

Issues that Came Up:

I had a terrible time deciding what size to make my pages this year, so I decided to go with a 2.75 inch square, the same as last year. I cut the Stiff Stuff, painted it, and basted the outline on the Stuff. When it came time to stitch, I couldn't do it. I needed a new size for a new year. A rectangle 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches fit on the already cut piece of Stuff. So that was it.

Every time I use acrylic paint on fabric or Stiff Stuff, I am reminded that it makes the fabric or Stiff Stuff harder to needle. You'd think I could remember that.

Thread Update:
According to this website, Belding Corticelli makes Nymo thread.

I'm excited about starting my February page next week. I've already picked out the colors, and this afternoon I'll paint the Stiff Stuff. But this time, I'll dilute the paint first.


Anonymous said...

Editing has made you feel better about this piece, so it's good you did it, but to my eye -- it was, and still is, very beautiful!

Lois2037 said...

I really like what you came up with, the idea that the new year starts off new, but we carry some of the old year in with us. The colors you chose are very creamy and calming. Just lovely!

I always edit, because things just change as I work on a piece. It's the joy of freeform, I think.

Lisa Criswell / Indigo's Beads said...

the changes were so subtle i saved both pics to my desktop so i could look at them side by side. i love your original, and i also love your final design. i really liked the story behind the colors, too. i think it is really beautiful!

Holly B said...

I glad you followed your instincts. The changes you made are small, subtle and just right.

Kelly said...

Amazing! I really love the piece and the meaning behind it. I agree with you on bringing our pasts with us and on how we can change by the way we talk to ourselves. Well done!

Penny said...

What a beautiful outcome your editing produced. Sometimes the beads don't exactly 'speak' the way we want them to the first time -- this is a beautiful piece.

Magpie Sue said...

Excellent solutions! The wisdom of your life shows through in your reasoning. The changes you made are not readily apparent but I'm glad you made them so you are happy with the final product.

Robin said...

I'll have to save both before and after pictures and compare them side by side to be able to see the difference. I love it that you could identify what was wrong, and how you could change your self-talk by changing your heavy diagonal line, thereby changing the future! That is precious! So are you and so is your ecru piece!

BTW, you changed my year too... I linked to your post on my current blog entry. You'll see what I mean!

Robin A.

Anonymous said...

I already commented on this incredible piece, so an additional quick note here since I don't see your e-mail anywhere on your profile -- I'm interested in your bifocals you mentioned on another blog comment. Do you wear them just for beading, or all the time? I just got new ones...wondering if I need something else.

Kali said...

So beautiful, like an ornately decorated, rich and delicious cake. (I've had dreams about eating my beads.) And I like your descriptions and commentary as much as I like the piece. Thanks for sharing your work and your process.

GraceBeading said...

I really like this one Marty, it's so rich looking and I LOVE that your photo lets me really zoom in for a close up look at your beading and the colors. Really nice work.

JoTee said...

Very lovely

beedeebabee♥ said...

My goodness, this is stunning! I love your color choices too, and the "not quite pink". I read you related posts, and totally understand your feelings. My mom is a 27 year survivor, and even though pink is my very favorite color, I don't like seeing it all over the place in October either. It's unsettling....I loved your pink piece also. You do such lovely work! Hugs, Paulette

Shirley Cook - Jumping Jack Glass said...

Marty, I loved reading your narrative on this piece! And the piece is absolutely wonderful. The changes you made are subtle, but I think you really nailed it. I find the piece relaxing in an upbeat way, as well as very very pretty. Great job!