Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bead Mosaic

So, in April I went to Florence, Italy. (I specified the country because upon googling "Florence" I found a number of cities of the same name, but on the wrong continent.) Florence is incredible! It's beautiful to look at. The bridges, the architecture, even the people are beautiful to look at. The river Arno, which runs through Florence, is not so beautiful, especially with a rat swimming in it:

However, I digress. I was transfixed by the art in Florence. Sure, they have paintings by the Masters and sculptures...some wonderful, some which make you wonder:

But nothing that struck my fancy like: mosaics. They sparked my imagination and delighted my eyes.

Since then, I've been trying to recreate mosiacs in materials other than stone or glass. Naturally, I turned to seed beads. So far, I've created the following:

This is the top of a paper mache box. I'm working on the sides now. I used some round beads square stitched together and some square beads stitched together to make "tile. That worked pretty well. Between and around the "tiles" I glued rows of black square beads as "grout." I intend to perfect the techniques for bead mosaics and create more.

Here I am beading the roof of a paper mache house box. I started out with twisted bugle beads, but realized they were not flexible enough or big enough to do the entire job.

Here I am using peacock-colored square beads to cover the roof. I did square stitch some of the beads into tiles, but it was just as fast to glue them on one at a time. This portion took me about 4 hours. Not a fast process, but it is rather relaxing.

The bottom picture is Jazzmyn checking out my latest creation.

Seed Beads

I buy LOTS of seed beads! For those who have seen my bead stash, you already know that. For most of my seed beads I prefer buying Miyuki or Matsuno beads. They are the best seed beads I've found. I have a few sources for most of my beads. I like using businesses that provide good service and good prices. When I find businesses like that I stick with them.

When I want to buy in bulk, there is nothing like Fire Mountain Gems . For large quantities of seed beads, especially square beads, they are the best. But, sometimes I don't want large quantities. For smaller quantities, I like to buy my beads from an Ebay store called:
Miyuki Gal Beads . The first thing that caught my eye about MGB is that you can buy beads in groups of coordinated colors. You can also buy the beads in mixes of fringe, cubes, round and cylinder seed beads. And Sue at MGB provides great service. Whether I'm living in Hawaii or overseas, I get my MGB packages in a week or less.

And speaking of Sue at MGB, she was kind enough to feature my beading efforts on her blog: Seed Bead Sue . You should check out her blog. There are other really talented bead people featured there.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is Finishing the Point?

Is it? Is finishing a project the point of the project? Or is the creative process, the journey, if you will, the point? For me it's the creative process. Most the time I couldn't care less if I "finish" a project. I enjoy creating it. Sometimes I feel sad when I declare a project finished because that means its evolution is over. The growth process for the project and for me has ended.

I work on several projects at once because sometimes I run out of creative ideas for one, but I know it's not finished. I don't know what's next, but I know there is a "next." For some people their projects speak to them. The project tells the artist what it wants next. That doesn't happen for me. Objects tell me things. I can pick up a button, a piece of polymer clay, fragment of fabric and it occurs to me that it would be perfect for that little piece I started two months ago and put aside for lack of inspiration. My projects WILL tell me when they want to be left alone; when they want to rest and be what they are for a while. At that point, I put them aside and leave them until something tells me to pick them up again.

I guess I am envious of people who can get inspiration that goes from beginning to end uninterrupted. My inspiration doesn't work like that. That's ok with me. I think I'd be frustrated if my inspiration got interrupted because I have to go to work 5 days a week. For now it comes in spurts and that suits my time to be able to create. It does, however, mean I don't finish as much as those with continuous inspiration. I'm ok with that, too. :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quilting, Quilting, Quilting

The weather is getting colder here in Bavaria. I think we might have much more snow this year than last. We got barely a few inches last year. But, it did snow on Christmas Day and New Year's Day and, after not seeing snow for 4 years, it was kind of nice.

With the colder weather, my thoughts turn to quilting. I've finished more quilts in the first year I've been here than I did in 4 years in Hawaii. Bob finally has his very own BIG quilt and I pin-basted a smaller quilt for him yesterday. Shouldn't be too long before that quilt is finished.

I have a HUGE quilt to pin-baste and and quilt in a month or two. It's a bed-sized monster.
Maybe I'll have a quilt basting party and get some help doing that.

I have more wall-quilts to work on, too. I'm going to bead some and applique pretty flowers on others. Hopefully, I have some pretty flower wall quilts to decorate the house for spring :)