Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Many Suns--May BJP

For me, the Bead Journal Project really is a journal.  But what exactly is a journal?  What is the purpose of a journal?  What is the function of a journal?  How does writing (beading) a journal affect the writer (beader)?

A few weeks ago I attended an artists' event at the church where some of my beaded dolls are exhibited.  I shared two years of my bead journals with those who came by my table.  I explained that each piece represented something happening in my life during that time or something that I wanted to think about more deeply. 

But sometimes, the beads just take over.  And that's what happened this month.  At the end of April, I decided that I wanted to do a yellow page for May.  I have no idea why.  I was just in a yellow mood.*   So here is my yellow page.

 Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with yellow Memories Mist spray.

There are 21 different kinds of beads in this piece.  Two kinds of larger beads, 6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, bugles, and cubes.

Only the backstitch was used in this piece.

The size is 2.25 inches by 3 inches.

I used size A yellow C-lon  thread.

What I Was Thinking:

When the beads take over, I'm not doing much thinking.  The beads are in charge.  But behind the scenes, I wondered about journaling.  What is the relationship between the writing (beading) and thinking?  How does what one writes (beads) influence what one thinks?   Should the purpose of a journal be to get whatever is in one's mind down on paper (in beads)?  To understand one's feelings?  Or can writing (beading) a journal be a way to change the writer's (beader's) mindset, mood, opinion?  And how are all these things combined?

What do you think?

I had no idea what the name of this piece would be until it was finished.  It looks to me like many suns.  I like that image.  I think the beads wanted many suns.

Issues That Came Up:

I mentioned in the description of my April piece that I've been using size 11 John James Sharps as my standard needle.  I do find this needle harder to thread, especially with the C-lon thread.  That's easy the first time I put a piece of C-lon through the needle.  But if the needle comes unthreaded a couple of times, it gets harder and harder to get that thread through the tiny hole.  It's as if the thread starts to unwind.  GRRR!  I had to resort to a needle with a larger hole a couple of times so I could tie off the thread.  Maybe I should use Thread Heaven when I use C-lon thread.

*Yellow mood:  Think sunshine, not chicken-hearted.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Always Growing And Changing--April BJP

Another month when what I thought I was going to bead changed during the process...

March seemed to be an extremely busy, somewhat stressful month. Ok, I admit I volunteered for all the time-sensitive obligations. All were fun and/or worthwhile, but I did not have enough time to think carefully or ponder deeply. I decided that my April BJP would be something soothing and calm. Maybe even bland. Well, maybe not bland.

Knowing that being near nature can improve one's physical and mental health, I decided that a green piece with some glass leaf beads would be just the thing for a calm, soothing page. What I neglected to take into account was that my green beads and leaves would begin to grow and change on their own.

And I finished it April 30!

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a dilute mixture of yellow and green Dye-na-Flow.

There are several large pressed glass leaves, a few large cylindrical beads, 6/0s, 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, Delicas, and triangles.

The size is 2.25 inches by 3 inches.

The stitches used are the backstitch and the stop stitch.

The thread is both Nymo B and C-lon A in gray.

What I Was Thinking:

Very early on in the beading, it became clear that what I had envisioned was not going to happen. This piece grew and changed. I wanted to be soothed, but instead I was challenged by something growing. This is a journal piece so did this mean that I no longer needed to be soothed? That I was ready to be challenged?

Issues That Came Up:

While I was working on it, I did not find this piece lovely--and that bothered me. If I'd had more time, I might have ripped everything out and started all over. Not until I had stitched the very last beads did I decide that this page worked.

Most recently I've been using John James size 11 sharp needles instead of my usual size 10 short beading needles. The size 11 sharps are stiffer than the size 10 short beading needles. They seem to work better with the Lacy's Stiff Stuff and other firm foundations than the bendier beading needles. But the sharps have a much smaller hole and are harder to thread, especially with the C-lon thread.

Robin commented that my March BJP shouted unity. Maybe what I meant is that I wanted to make a piece that looked unified. I describe myself as a monochromaticist. (I invented that word. It means that I work in one color at a time.) I feel I have to go beyond the color of the beads to make the piece look unified and complete. It holds together. Everything belongs. There are no extraneous elements. Do I achieve this? Maybe sometimes.

My May piece is finished, too. I'll post it in a day or two.