I don't usually buy patterns anymore as I prefer to create original work, and also because, after almost 20 years of beading, few patterns are unique enough that I haven't seen them before or something very similar to them.
But Laura McCabe, of Just Let Me Bead, has an "ultimate bead" that really intrigued me since I couldn't figure out, by looking at it, how it was made. Luckily for me, she sells the pattern for that bead on beadpatterncentral.com and it's downloadable....so I bought it and downloaded it and as soon as I saw the directions, I "got" how it had been done....it's one of those things that become inevitable in hindsight...but kudos to laura for all her hard work in figuring out all the bead counts, etc. that go into designing a pattern this complicated. Well worth the money to me! Laura asks that you only make the bead for your own use, and that you not copy her instructions....not to sell or trade or loan out according to her copyright. That only seems right too, as it is illegal to copy someone's work without their permission.
If you'd like to see Laura's patterns plus some other wonderful designers work, I've posted a link to bead pattern central on my links list...
And now that itch has been scratched, I can get back to baskets, I hope!
The moon and sun are eternal travelers.
Even the years wander on.
A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years,
every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
From the earliest times there have always been some who perished along the road.
Still I have always been drawn by windblown clouds into dreams of a lifetime of wandering.
From Narrow Road to the Interior by Matsuo Basho...translated by Sam Hamill
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. (Vincent Van Gogh)
I love this quote....it seems like a great fit for beaders, who certainly put a series of small things together!
And this next one which is what I aspire to...
I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. (Vincent Van Gogh)
And a special thanks to a fellow blogger from Australia who sent me this lovely gift!
One of my favorite off-loom stitches...I've been working in RAW for years and have designed many bracelets and necklaces in it...it's fun to see it apprearing in the magazines more often...It is a challenging stitch, but not beyond anyone's ability and the flexibility of the woven bead fabric is awesome.
This is one of my all-time favorite pieces...I made it with size 13 charlottes (I now use only the 11 true cuts, but they weren't around when I made this piece) and 3mm nailheads. With the cost and scarcity of nailheads these days, I don't think I could afford to make it again unless I charged about 3 times what it cost then. This was all done in brown iris finish, both the beads and the nailheads.
I have been invited to show some beaded baskets at a local gallery, so I've been playing with a herringbone basket this morning....unfortunately, off loom work requires a lot more thread tension than bead embroidery so I'm finding I can only work for about 10-15 minutes and I have to take a break....still, I have until March, so I'll probably manage to get a few done by then...
As you can see, I'm a bit further along in this first piece. I've added a bit (including a small asian pendant with MOP writing...don't know what it says though) and hope to have the rest done in a couple more days. My hand is healing and the stitches will come out on Friday, so I'm also a bit further along the healing road as well...
People often wonder where artists get their ideas from. It's a question I've been asked a lot and rarely have an answer for.
But I was thinking last month, that after the last few years of dealing with breast cancer and recovery from the treatment, and the attendant "brain fog", which made larger work almost impossible; this year I was feeling more normal and needed something that would stretch me in various ways. I wanted to expand my bead vocabulary, of course, but I also wanted to do a piece that would explore some of my spiritual views and perhaps also work as a vehicle for healing. Pretty large burden to put on a bunch of tiny beads, but they came through for me as they always have.
So, that was my state of mind as I was surfing along the web for inspiration (as I do almost daily) and I was led by a friend to the website of a Seattle painter named Michael Schulteis and I was reading the small statements he made to go along with each of his paintings in a show at the National Academies (of Science) in Washington, DC. I really like his work and artists' processes have always been an interest, so I was reading along and came to a quote from the Japanese poet, Basho. I liked the quote, so when I was done looking through Michaels exhibit, I googled the book he was quoting from, Narrow Road to the Interior. The quote from Michael (just a sentence or two) was expanded and I found that this small book was considered Basho's masterpiece in Japan and that I could read a bit of it on Amazon. It really grabbed me and I decided I needed a copy. Naturally, it's translated from the Japanese, but what I didn't realize is that it's been translated several times, by different translators, into English. A friend sent me to a website where there were 4 different translations, along with commentary but none of them were the translation I wanted, nor were any of them the same! This was something I hadn't really thought about before, but, it's certainly obvious when you do, that each translator brings his own interpretation to the translation! Wow, that blew me away! I also realized that if I had come across one of the other translations, it wouldn't have caught me at all. Only the translation by Sam Hamill turned Basho's words into the poetry that grabbed me.
By reading about it, I found that this little book, which is basicly a travel book about a jaunt that Basho takes into the northern interior of japan is also (according to Sam Hamill) "a long journey to the soul's interior"....now that really hooked me! Sounded just like what I had been thinking about exploring myself.
So, I thought about using this small book as inspiration for a beaded piece....but, although it was a small book it had a lot of "meat" to it, so maybe a series of pieces? Then, in one of the online commentary sites, the parts of the book were described as "stations" (one for each of the places Basho visited, plus one for a prologue and one for an epilogue); and there were 44 stations in the book.
At that point I thought of a glass "quilt" that a local artist makes of glass....she does many small glass squares, ties them together with wire and hangs them as a single piece, a glass quilt. I thought I could do 44 small pieces and at the end put them together some way as one large piece, inspired by and honoring the book.
So, that's where the idea came from...there are still lots of decisions to make about connecting the pieces, how to back them, what size, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention how to do my own translation of Basho into Beads.
I do know I'm using both meditation and personal imagry and that so far, it's a much slower process than I expected. I was thinking about doing a piece a week, but this first piece isn't even close to being done and the first week is over.
I started this piece, in terms of putting beads and thread to fabric on January 1, 2007.
When I finish this first one, I'll post the station of the book that inspires it and add a few more words about process.
These are some old friends I keep in a knicknack cupboard...they're tiny little beaded baskets I made many years ago....and one tiny bottle I beaded around. A friend just loaned me her copy of 500 Baskets and I'm thinking of doing some new baskets, so it seemd like a good time to revisit the old ones.