A Creative Mess…

May 5, 2011

“A creative mess is better than idle tidiness.”      ~ Michael J. Fox

No idle tidiness on my beading table…I am and always will be a creative mess!

 

I was thinking the other day while I was watching my vibrating polisher work on my tarnished Sterling Silver beads.  It’s almost hypnotic the way the process works.  Through the use of stainless steel shot of various sizes and shapes in water (and a little soap), this machine agitates and uses high-speed oscillation to polish the silver clean.  The stainless steel media, some of it pointy and sharp, some of it rounded, works it’s way repeatedly into every nook and cranny of the beads especially the spots where a polishing cloth could never reach.  The process is not a passive one – the beads and shot move continuously and wear on each other during the cycle in a frantic cleansing dance.

We, too, cannot be improved without trouble and agitation.  Trials and problems wear on us like the polishing media does on the beads.  Sometimes we may get pulled under the surface and feel like we’ll never surface again.

But we do finally emerge, shinier and polished – and better for having made it through the polishing process as shinier beads and stronger people.

 

We had a great time making beaded snowflakes at yesterday’s class held at The Old Church Gallery in Cedar River, Michigan.  Carlyn Lynch opened up the gallery for us to have our classes and we soaked up the heat while beading lots of wonderful snowflakes. 

The interesting thing about these classes for me is how much I learn from the students.  Sometimes I think I have seen every possible color combination of beads possible, and then you see what other people put together and get inspired all over again!  What fun.

 

di-and-karen

Karen and I got together to do art again tonight.  Actually I made jewelry and she strung the beading on her daughter’s bridal veil.  We had to laugh and preserve for posterity the picture of us in our “cheaters”…did we ever laugh!  We’ve been making art together since we were teenagers, and when we get together we still act like them! 

Even if our eyes aren’t what they used to be…!

Make Sure To Sparkle!

March 13, 2009

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I finally had to surrender to the inevitable…I need reading glasses.  I’ve been fighting it for awhile now, but I put on a pair of the lowest “cheaters” and WOW!  It was no longer so difficult  to read.  All the letters were larger and clearer.  Figures it took me until my last semester of college to accept this!…all those headaches and all that eye strain for nothing! Not to mention how much easier it’s going to be to make jewelry…I will be able to see the small bead holes again!

Aren’t my new glasses cool?  I only paid $18, but they make me feel better than a lot of the checkout counter pairs.  I’m going to get a whole wardrobe of them and put them everywhere.

So, even though I’m bowing to the inevitable changes by accepting this, I have a new motto.  If life gives you reading glasses, make sure they sparkle!

The Un-Tidy Truth About My Studio!

The Un-Tidy Truth About My Studio!

I have a poster that says this above my work table.  I love it, because there is nothing tidy about the way I work…or play.  I am the painter who loves to do abstracts with pallette knives so I can smear paint around.  I am the beader whose table is strewn with beads and treasures of all sorts.  I am the student whose desk is piled high with books, binders, bills and laptop all mixed together.  I am the mom who has saved every scrap and photo of my children’s lives…in boxes, but not in books (this is a goal before I die). 

I love the magazine “Studios,” a special issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine (clothpaperscissors.com) by Interweave Press.  I love to look through them over and over and covet other artists workspaces.  I love the organization!  Look at all the stacked bins and trays and cubbies.  Look at how it makes a statement about the artist…mine just says I’m a creative slob!

I want to be more organized – I really do.  I just don’t create that way.  Maybe instead of trying to change myself, I should embrace my slobbish ways and glory in the creative process, messy though it may be.  I should just celebrate that I can make beautiful things out of all that chaos!

So, in an effort to celebrate this epiphany with you, I am showing you a photo of my work area.  This is like standing naked on Main Street, let me tell you.  But I am going to risk it because I am trying to accept myself more for who I am.  And who I am is an artist.  And my mind is rarely tidy!

My Worktable Looking Tidier Than Usual

My Worktable Looking Tidier Than Usual

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I admit it.  I am a total bead shopping junkie.  If I can’t get to a bead store, I’ll be on a website looking for my next big thing.  You  know, that thing that will inspire you, drive you to creative heights you’ve only dreamed about, make you rich and famous…THAT next big thing.

So what do you do when the economy pinches your pocketbook?  When a new bead order is just not in the stars for you?  How do you stay creative in times like these? 

Today I had a creative awakening when I took a new look around my studio.  There are drawers I haven’t opened in months.  There are piles of idea sheets I haven’t gone through in years.  Stacks of old bead magazines with sticky notes hanging out are piled in the filing cabinet.  I literally have hundreds and hundreds of dollars in beading supplies just existing all around me while I always gravitate toward favorites.

But what if this economy forces us to take a second look?  What about that bead strand that looked so cute in the catalog but wasn’t what you thought it was once you got it?  What if you took another look with new eyes?  As for me, I have a huge bin of tarnished and broken jewelry that only need to be cleaned up, taken apart and sorted.  Voila!  Beads again!  I have a treasure trove of tarnished silver that would probably pay for a year of college just sitting around unused because it’s – gasp! – tarnished.  Well, this bead chick is getting out her cotton gloves and getting down and dirty!

What about a new line?  What about that technique you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t take the time?  What about incorporating the beads you already have and aren’t using into a new type of craft project?  I’m looking into incorporating my collection of old jewelry into some new purposes – collage, sculpture or wire working.  I took a basketryclass once and loved it…can I somehow use that?  How about practicing soldering like I always planned on but never took the time to do? 

And, with those things I can’t use, I can always bag them up and sell them on Etsy or eBay, because I’m sure someone else out there can use them.  Then I can use the extra cash to put gas in the tank or something. 

I will keep you posted on my new visions, and I’d love to hear about your ideas for stretching your beading budget during these tough times.  We can all share and help each other out, which is what makes the tough times bearable.

Artist In Residence, Old Church Gallery

Artist In Residence, Old Church Gallery

I don’t know why being called an artist always surprises me, or makes me feel all funny inside.  Does it sound pretentious?  Is it wishful thinking?  I don’t know exactly, but it still gives me a thrill and yet makes me feel like a phony at the same time! 

This past weekend my good friend Karen and I were the Artists in Residence for The Old Church Gallery in Cedar River, Michigan.  We brought our respective work and spent the day there, meeting the customers and having a ball together.  Karen Brabender and I have been friends since grade school, and we are each other’s inspiration for artwork in a lot of ways.  Karen does gorgeous mosaic glass paintings under the business name Re-Creations Mosaics.  She takes a lot of old windows and does mosaic work on the glass.  Anyway, the day was a great success and they have already asked us to do it again next year, and they are going to be having a lot more artists come in also.  People seemed really excited to see us working on our things right in front of them. 

I love the contact with people – I have always been very outgoing and I love to socialize, so these kinds of events are something I really enjoy.  I hadn’t had enough beading time lately, so it was nice to get back to designing and creating jewelry.  I have been so busy with other things that I have been neglecting my creative side – my internal artist – and that has to change.  That artist inside is important and I need to let her out to play more.

 

Cedar River Gallery with sign

Cedar River Gallery with sign

The Mother Bead

June 11, 2008

The Mother Bead

One of my favorite bead stores of all time is The Mother Bead in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  When I first began beading and I had no idea what I was doing, I would spend hours prowling around the small yet overwhelming shop, looking for beads to strike my fancy.  I would buy a couple here, a couple there, and then I never seemed to have enough to finish a project I started.  Thus ushered in the times of excess – buying tons of everything “just in case.”  Now I am a much more disciplined shopper. 

If you believe that I have some swampland to sell you!

I can never go into The Mother Bead without seeing it all – no quick stops in this store for me!  They have also recently expanded the shop to hold even more beads and supplies (yea!) and they also have more room to offer classes.  The staff are all passionate about beads and jewelry, and the atmosphere is contagious.  And don’t you just love the photo?  To me it captures all the excitement and passion of beading.

The Mother Bead has a sister store in Ephraim, Wisconsin called The Bead Bucket.  This shop is set in gorgeous Door County, and I have visited that store as well when I am over in Door County for classes or events at The Peninsula Art School (www.peninsulaartschool.com).  Even though it’s small, it really has a terrific selection of beads…I fell in love with some antiqued czech beads there last summer, and they are still one of my favorite beads to work with.  I have had to stop in the Green Bay store several times to pick up more.

Check out their website sometime at  www.themotherbead.com.  I think you will be as impressed as I am.  Maybe I’ll even bump into you in one of the stores!

Crystal Kaleidescope

I absolutely love bead shopping.  I love to click around, filling my cart.  I discover a great price on the amethyst shape I love to work with…yea!  There’s a special on the wire I use…double yea!  I see the items multiplying, the discounts piling up. I only need 5 more items to reach the next discount plateau…then I’m at that point…does it get any better than this for a jewelry designer?!

Then comes check out.  Oh-oh, I can’t really afford this large of a bead order.  But just think of all the money I’m saving on quantity discounts!  And I know the sales will be high, so that justifies the cost, right?  Right.  And anyway, I’m doing all this marketing and my website is going up, so my demand will increase, so I’ll need more inventory.  And anyway, all these beads are so INSPIRING! 

With the click of a mouse the order is on it’s way.  A BEAD ORDER IS ON ITS WAY!  I love the anticipation, knowing it’s on its way to me.  I wait impaitiently until the day it arrives at my door.   Now comes the real fun…looking through all the fun stuff I ordered.  Oh, these are even better than I thought they’d be!  I can’t wait to make something with these.  Hmmm, these are smaller than I thought they’d be.  Oh, well, I’ll find something to make with them. 

Gee, I don’t have enough room in my trays…I’ll have to buy a couple more containers.  No problem.  With the shows coming up, and my website going up, and the marketing I’ve been doing the orders will be coming in and it’ll all be worth it…

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