Kudos to Liz, who recently finished the fourth in a series of bead embroideries depicting religious icons. You can see the first four here. Ganesha, pictured below is her most recent piece.
Kudos to Linda, who is working on a series of embellished, fabric ATCs. Notice how they have a unique style, and how each one develops one aspect of the same theme. Aren’t they great? My favorite of them, so far, is pictured below. You can see other cards in this series here and here and here and here.
Kudos to BeadBabe, who is in the process of making a series of 44 beaded squares on the theme of 17th Century Japanese poet, Bashō. This is not her first series. Read about the impact of working in series during her 16 years of beading here and here and here. Each of the series became a new milestone in her development as an artist. To me, this is fascinating stuff! Below is a bead-embroidered depiction of a friend’s hand, one of 13, “a beaders dozen.”
Kudos to Juju, whose work inspires me in many ways. She paints, draws, collages, sews, beads, and quilts… all of them beautifully. Recently she’s been making a series of fabric bags. With each one, she refines the technical process and develops embellishment variations. You can see some of them here and here and here. I particularly lust for the one shown below because of her fabric choices.
So, What Are Some of The Benefits of Working in Series?
For the past two months I’ve been creating a series of small bead embroideries, each an example of a different technique. So far, I’ve done 18 of them. I’m not quite ready to post pictures of them yet, because they are examples for my new book. (And, I’d like to get a little closer to the print date before I spill the beans about it.) But working on them is clearly beneficial in several ways.
One interesting thing about this process is noticing rapid improvements. If I were to graph the out-of-the-box factor for these 18 pieces, the line might have little dips, but in general I perceive a nice upward slant. Ditto for technical proficiency and design complexity factors.
Part of this phenomenon may be explained by the adage “practice makes perfect.” However, I believe working in series, making several to many pieces with some elements in common, one after another, increases the depth of expression and speeds the journey to excellence.
Let’s say, for example, that you set yourself the task of making 100 drawings of a tree.
What would that be like? Can you imagine that by the 10th drawing you might start seeing something new about that tree? By the 40th drawing, might the distinct personality of that particular tree be revealed? What about drawing number 75? Maybe by then you’d be drawing the inside of the tree, or perhaps the whole life of the tree on one page. Would your drawing eventually become the tree? Might you and the tree, through your drawing process, develop a profound inner connection?
Yes, I believe working in series promotes a deep spiritual relationship between artist and art, one that can be life changing, healing, and extremely satisfying. By creating many variations on a theme, we can get under the mundane and trite to a place where we can explore and embrace the depth of a subject, and the process of creation itself. Beyond that there is a place where we can find peace and self-acceptance.
The memory doll, pictured below, is a good example. When my Dad died last July, I was devastated and stuck in my grief. Using the fabric from his neckties, I began making a series of memory dolls, one for each member of the family. By the end of the three months it took to make the dolls, the repetitions and the process brought me through my self-pity to a serene feeling of affinity with my Dad. If you missed my post on this subject, you can look here.
What about you? Have you attempted this journey in your work? What did you notice about yourself and your art during the process?
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On a different note... do you know about this????
Bellingham Bead Festival - 5 stars - check it out here
When - March 30 through April 1, 2007
Where - Semiahmoo Resort on beautiful Birch Bay (north of Bellingham, Washington)
Classes - 5 stars - new event, small classes, great teachers, an Ott light provided for every student!
Vendors - open Saturday and Sunday - workshop students get free admission to show!
This is the first annual bead conference in the NW corner of Washington state, a location easily accessible to Canadians from the Vancouver area. It is sponsored by the Puget Sound Bead Festival.
Because it's a new event, classes are not filling as they do at more established events. This is your chance to take workshops from me, Tracy Stanley, Mark Lareu, Kriss Silva, Jeannette Cook and others in an intimate atmosphere, where you can receive lots of individual attention.
Even if you can't attend this year, please help me spread the word... this is a great opportunity!