Saturday, December 28, 2013

Back to Beading!

December actually saw me in the studio many times (stringing beads, making earrings, repairing jewelry, making micro-macrame bracelet/earrings), and finally got to what should have been on the top of the list - bead embroidery! I just finished this:

"Friends" - ATC by Robin Atkins

It's an ATC (artist trading card), originally planned as one of my Bead Journal Project pieces for 2012. Even though I'm thinking of it as a BJP piece, I'm still going to send it to Karen L. Cohen, who sent me one of her ATCs many moons ago, and who is patiently waiting for me to send one in return. I hope she likes it.

"Friends" is 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The hands are cut, one each, out of sterling silver and brass, and the "crown" on the heart is 22 gauge gold-filled wire. The beading, done on cotton fabric, is laced over a stiff water-color paper card, and lined on the back with Ultrasuede light, which is sewn to the fabric around the edges using a simple, single-bead, edge stitch. Let's see, what else... the heart is crocheted, and is a little lighter/softer color peach than it appears on my monitor. Some of the sequins are vintage. Most of the beads are size 15s, which is the only way to get this kind of detail on such a small piece.

ATC by Karen L. Cohen
Here's a picture of Karen's ATC, the one she made to trade with me. She is an enamel artist, and has included one of her enamels in the top left of the piece. I'm very pleased to have a piece of her work! If you have an interest in learning enameling, Karen is the author of a very lovely book on the subject (here).

I'm of mixed feelings about ATCs. I love the idea of them, the initial idea that artists could paint/draw/make a small version of their work to trade with another artist. But these beaded ATCs (mine anyway) take many hours to create (I'm guessing about 9 hours on this one, maybe a bit more). I probably won't be making very many of them to trade.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Art in Pairs ~ Same Theme, Different Approach

Once again the quilters have turned on the light, illuminating the benefits of working in pairs. Take a look at the following pairs of quilts. In each pair, a single theme has been explored by two different quilters, one taking a representational approach, the other taking an abstract approach.

These and many more pairs are exhibited currently at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum in a show called "Abstracted" by the Fibre Art Network in Western Canada. It's a not-to-be-missed show in my opinion, because of the amazingly high degree of creativity in all the quilts. But hurry, the show closes December 29th.

Why, I wonder, why are they all so incredibly dynamic, compelling, interesting, and in many cases, touching? I think it's because the quilters worked in pairs, agreeing on a theme or subject and approaching it either realistically or abstractly. Obviously they inspired each other. Obviously, their combined creativity is greater than either manages alone.

Ding. Ding. Ding. Immediately I'm thinking about the BJP (now on Facebook), wondering if some of the participants might want to work in pairs, deciding for themselves on a way to do it that would be beneficial to both. It's an idea to consider!