Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Artful Memorial

My mom was born on St. Patrick's Day.  She always considered herself "honorary Irish." We always celebrated St. Patty's Day, because of her birthday, and so it has a lot of fond memories.  Shamrocks, in many ways are symbols of love and affection to me.

Mom always accessorized for the holidays.  St. Patrick's Day was no exception.  Since we almost always went out, she would dress in green and add her various green bracelets, shamrock pins and earrings.  She had a beautiful gold claddagh ring she would wear and I made her a pin that said something about how lucky she was because she was born on St. Patrick's day - she usually wore that, too. My mom was big into bracelets.  I don't remember any specific St. Patty's bracelets, but she probably had one of those, too.

Mom died a couple of years ago, but even before she passed away I had begun planning a memorial St.  Patrick's Day art project.  Of course if it were completed while she was alive, it would have been more of a tribute project. While I thought of creating this project EVERY year, it never materialized.  I couldn't decide on just what form it would take.  Somehow, even while she was alive, I knew I would never finish it while she was living.

Last year I started to create a project, but couldn't get into it.  I don't know why, but the project itself didn't inspire me.  I may post it was a corrugated cardboard shamrock book.  I got that part completed, but it was the actual decoration of the inside pages that lost me.  I set it aside and never looked back.

So once again this year, at the beginning of January, I began thinking of my tribute project again.  As you may have seen in my last post, I've really taken off with bead embroidery.  I totally love it.  After I finished my second beaded project, one that I created for a class proposal, I decided that I would make myself a St. Patrick's Day bead embroidered bracelet. 

As I embarked on this project, I kept telling myself that I was making the bracelet for ME...not for a class, not as a gift.  I also told myself that it did not have to be THE tribute project. It was for ME.  Therefore it didn't matter if it was perfect.  It was my piece, but as I created it, it became my tribute to my mom.

As I may have mentioned before, the beading process itself is VERY therapeutic and cathartic.  As I beaded I would think of my mom, of things she used to say and do.  A lot of love went into my bracelet.  If mom were alive, I would have given it to her, and I know she would have loved it and worn it EVERY year.  I love my bracelet, and every time I look at it I think of my mom.  Good and happy thoughts.

I hope you enjoy it, too. 

This picture was taken before I added the edge trim.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There Are No Mistakes in Art

After teaching myself how to anchor a cabochon using bead embroidery, I decided to try my hand at a larger, more free-form piece.

I started this piece with no pattern and no preconceived notion of how I wanted the piece to look. I took out my bead box and started with the first bead that "spoke to me."  That was the round metal bead.  I decided to anchor it with brightly colored orange beads.  At this point I wasn't sure where I was going to go with the piece...the circle could have been a sun, too.  Oh, the possibilities!

One of the things I like most about bead embroidery is the amazing fringe.  I LOVE texture!  So, I decided to add some fringe to the round circle.  After adding the fringe, it was obvious to me that it had to be a head with hair.  From there the piece took on it's own life.  I kept adding just by pulling out a bead that I liked.

After two hours of work. The piece decided it wanted to be a person.

This piece took about 23 hours to complete.  It wasn't laborious.  The stitching was actually kind of therapeutic.  I spent about 2 hours a day on it until the final day when I was snowed in and just had to get it finished.  I truly enjoyed the process.  I enjoyed it so much that I'm working on another piece.  I see a lot of possibilities in this art form.

This was after about six hours of work.

The finished piece.
I titled this piece: "There Are No Mistakes in Art."