Saturday, April 10, 2010

Meditations In Shades Of Gray

I finished my March BJP in March, but I am tardy in posting it.

When I started thinking about working with gray beads, I wondered what people would think this color--or non-color--symbolized. Much of my thinking took place on a long car trip. That's a good time to think about beads. It keeps a grandma anxious to see her grandsons from asking, "Are we there yet?"

I see the sparkly gray beads as understated sophistication. I'll wear a gray, bias-cut evening gown and carry a gray beaded purse when I go out dancing with Fred Astaire.

I did love working with these gray beads. Who knew there would be so much delightful variation in what many people regard as a non-color? I loved the way the beads took off in their own directions, seeming to weave in and out, over and under.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a blend of black and white Dye-na-Flo.

The beads are the usual combination of 15/0, 11/0, 8/0, and 6/0 seed beads. There are some cubes, hexes, triangles, and niblets.

The only stitch used in this piece is the backstitch.

The page is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used Nymo D thread.

What I Was Thinking:

Gray, in all its variations, is beautiful. To smile when looking at so much gray is the triumph of an optimistic outlook and a cheerful demeanor. I smiled when I sewed these beads.

Issues That Came Up:

The beads wanted to do Art Deco instead of the swirls I imagined. I love Art Deco, so that was fun.

I felt so smart that I mixed black and white paint to make gray instead of using just watered down black. Maybe I'm learning something!

Part way through the project, the page looked like an aerial view of a rail yard. Yow! Interesting! It may mean that I'm going on a trip!

What in the world am I doing with about forty kinds of gray beads? I only used about thirty. Get a grip, Marty! Keep that bead budget under control!

After using C-Lon thread for February, I went back to Nymo (because that was what the gray thread was). I do like Nymo better than C-Lon. For some reason, it feels better in my hands.

In response to comments in my (long ago) previous post:
1. Carol gets the extra credit points for explaining grey as "tomahtoish." We midwesterners think of it as gray.

2. Carol and Barbara and Arline commented that this angular design was out of the norm for me. I did not think of that until they mentioned it. No kidding! I didn't even know I had a norm! They challenged me to look at all of my own work to see what kind of beading I usually do. What a treat to be encouraged to look at your work as others do!

3.In February, Bobbi asked if I were planning to work in a monochromatic color scheme for the rest of the pages. The answer is probably yes. I love working this way. I like to focus on the shapes, the sizes and the finishes of the beads. Plus I find combining colors very difficult. Of course, if I worked with a variety of colors more frequently... I have a friend who has a living room that is all in shades of beige and tan. I love going to her house. It's so relaxing to sit there, with limited stimulation.

I should also note that She Who Shall Not Be Named (See below to find out if you are She.) has been harassing me about the monochromatic color schemes for a year. Ok, maybe harassing is a strong work. She challenges me to move out of my comfort zone. See, dear, no bugle bead paths for February or March.

How to Tell if You Are She Who Shall Not Be Named:

Did you call me Shrimpmom when you were in seventh grade? If the answer is Yes, you are She.


beadbabe49 said...

Well, however the heck you spell it, your march bjp is lovely...and art deco is one of my all time favorite styles...

Anne Marie - Toronto said...

I'm loving this one as well. Grey (see we spell it that way in Canada as well) is one of my new favourite colour combinations and it certainly suits art deco. Of course your dress will need to be a beautiful dove grey, bias cut silk, worn with a long strand of creamy, natural pearls.

robin michelle said...

This is lovely! I wouldn't have imagined there could be so many shades of gray.

Carol said...

First let me say that I knew right a way that I was not SHE for I absolutely love the way you work in monochromatic colors. You are one of my beading idols and I have saved many of your past pages as inspiration. You see, I find it difficult to put different shades and sizes of the same color beads together ...pleasantly to the eye... I have been working on that.

I recently grouped all my beads together by color and was amazed to see how many different shades of gray beads I have. I don't like gray solo, but I LOVE it in color combos especially with pink.

I like this piece a lot. It may not be your norm of mixing curves and spirals, but it is just as wonderful.

xx, Carol

Lisa Criswell / Indigo's Beads said...

you said you thought of a train yard. i thought of an aerial view of a downtown city. i can just imagine all the tall buildings in between the streets criss-crossing through. i think you did the color gray great justice in this piece. lovely!

Robbie said...

Keep meaning to ask but where in SW Michigan are you? You can email me offline/offpost. We're in Goodrich, Mi.

Judy Alexander said...

I am such a slow beader that this would take me forever. The colors really matches the design so well. Love it!

Cyndi L said...

So pretty!!

Susan said...

Gorgeous! I gotta start beading again.

Kali said...

When I first started painting, I only worked in monochrome -- it felt like such a rich environment, and forced me to think a lot about subtleties. Your work is wonderfully painterly -- such great abstracts. And when I imagine that dress... stunning!

Robin said...

I'm all smiles... reading your "what I was thinking"... about your LARGE stash of gray beads, about grey vs gray, about letting color be the constant while you focus on shape, size, form, etc., and the thought of your Art Deco handbag carried while you dance with Fred Astaire! Not only that, but I love your piece - gray IS beautiful!!!!

Robin A.

a2susan said...

Marty - this isn't related to your march bjp, but I don't know how to email you separately. I was reading an article in the NYT online about zippers, and I remembered you had a post about zippers. You might be interested in looking it up in the Monday, April 19th issue. I'm sure you'll enjoy the article.


Magpie Sue said...

Okay, I'm seeing this for the first time here in May. Your bands of gray lines and the story you told about going to visit the grandsons put me in mind of the highways you were most likely traveling to get there. My dad was a highway engineer so where you saw rail yards I saw a freeway map! Love the piece; it's beautiful. (I happen to love Art Deco too.)