Saturday, January 7, 2012

Experiment In Not So Dark--BJP December 2011

In December 2008 and December 2010, my Bead Journal pages were made with shiny, dark iris beads. You can see December 2008's The Longest Night of the Year Sparkles here and December 2010's The Garden at Midnight here.

Since I enjoyed working with these dark, sparkly beads so much and since they were blue, I had earlier decided to use the same beads in my December 2011 page. But when I began to dig through the bag of dark beads, the matte finished beads spoke to me. They wanted to be used. So I decided to experiment with a combination of matte and shiny beads. This page is the result of that experiment.

Technical Details:
The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a dilute mixture of Azure Blue and Black Dye-na-Flow.

I used 6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, Delicas, Toho Treasures, hexes, 3 mm bugles, 9 mm twisted bugles, 3 mm cubes and 4 mm cubes.

I used the stop stitch, the lazy stitch, the backstitch, and couching.

The piece is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used Nymo size B navy thread.

What I Was Thinking:

When I started on the page with the matte beads, I was not thrilled. They looked dull. Then when I added some shiny beads, the real challenge began. How would I give the piece unity? I'm not sure I succeeded, but this experiment was an experience in determination dominating artistic judgement. I was going to finish this, if not on time, at least close to on time. I finished it January 2.

Issues That Came Up:

The matte beads looked lovely and sophisticated spread out on the tray. But when I stitched them to the foundation, I wasn't so sure. I had painted the foundation with the intention of using the dark shiny beads. The background color created a visual dissonance with the colors of the matte beads. That was distracting. Folding the edge of the background back helped, but I couldn't stitch that way. Now I know why I paint the background to match the colors of my beads.

The colors of the beads and the background changed depending on the lighting. The piece-in-progress looked much better in natural daylight than it did with the overhead lights or with my not-Ott full spectrum lamp. I was surprised at how much difference the lighting made.

I did not go back to look at my earlier dark, shiny pieces until I'd finished. Compared to the other two, this page seems flat. I know which of the three pieces I like best. Which one do you like?

Not So Dark Experiment #2:

Before I put the beads away, I decided to make a small piece using only the matte iris beads. It's pictured below. It's 1 7/8 inches square and stitched on a dull blue quilting cotton backed by lightweight sew-in interfacing. I like this look very much.

1 comment:

Robin said...

What a great post and what an amazing beader you are!!! Look at all you learn by using similar beads three years in a row... and us too!

No question, although I love them all, 2010 totally rocks my boat! I love that the matte beads give my eyes a place of rest and calm; yet the sparkle of the others brings life and energy into the mix (unlike your sample in all matte beads). it is magical!

I hope you'll continue to give us the info (what I was thinking, etc.) again in 2012. It's fabulous!