Bead Journal Project

Monday, July 2, 2012

June Bead Journal Project.

Kay's Necklace - June BJP
This is the second in a series of three necklaces.  The first one I made for my colleague Jane who was retiring.  This one is for me.  I am working on the third one for Nan.  We all taught together for 15 years.  Each one of us is so different that it is appropriate that the necklaces be drastically different with the common square bone face in common.

We are all creative and intuitive.  A fact I suspect drives our students crazy.  I tend to wear the brightest richest colors and am a closet hippy.  I was too conservative to be one in the 1960's.  I had to wait until I was in my 60's.

Here is the original necklace in the series.  This is the one for Jane.  She is always classy.  I thought she needed a simple necklace that also had a creative edge.
Jane's Necklace

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May Bead Journal Project

I have about depleted my cancer experience ideas.  I am ready to move on.  I  do think it has been a good thing to turn some not so pleasant memories into something beautiful.  One of the last things I wanted to portray with a necklace was the whole issue of chemo brain.  When several people start a conversation with "I don't know if you remember..." you know you have a problem.  I confess to be a little dingy at times before chemotherapy but this took it to a whole new level.  It was like a severe case of attention deficit disorder.  I started collecting elephants and had a whole variety of different types and sizes.  Elephants are usually associated with wisdom and good memory.  I thought they were a good symbol of my lack of either one.  Once again some ideas didn't work.  I will have to consider that I may be too picky. 

The choker is a Russian spiral.  I really like the stitch because it provides a lot of opportunities for color play.  Once I had my new photography space set up I decided to try different types of props.  The wooden bowl was from a gift from a friend in Africa so I thought it was appropriate.  I intended to put more elephants on it but I seem to have forgotten..

April Bead Journal Project

I guess it is appropriate that I have had such a difficult time completing this necklace.  It represents the chemotherapy experience.  The problem with telling stories with beading is that the symbolism is so clear in my head it is hard to realize that in the project.  I wanted to convey the increasing burden that chemotherapy puts on the person as the effects of the chemicals accumulate.  In the beginning it was not so bad but 4 months later I could barely move.  And yet as far as the oncologist was concerned I was doing brilliantly.  His criteria was that there was no interruption in the therapy, no hospitalizations, no plummeting platelet counts, and I could still walk into the office for treatment.  My criteria was if I could continue any portion of my life without assistance.  Not so much.

I started this necklace so many times and took it out again.  I just couldn't get it to look the way I wanted.  Along the way I learned a couple of new techniques which was a good thing. I ended up using a St. Petersburg stitch.  The dropped beads gradually got longer and heavier to represent the cumulative effect of the chemotherapy.  The first visual you get is of the heavier middle of the necklace.  That is also my lasting impression of the chemotherapy experience.

I am not totally happy with the way it hangs but so far am resisting the impulse to take it apart again.

I have had this completed for a week or so.  My younger cat Bob knocked over a lamp and broke it and it has taken me a little while to set up another photography space.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March Bead Journal Project

Finally I have finished my friends and family necklace.  I was so frustrated with my inability to make a piece that mirrored my image.  Every time I got started it didn't look right and I would take it out.  My friends and family were so incredible to me last year I wanted to be sure it reflected their care.  They cleaned my house, did my shopping, brought me food, called, visited, took me to appointments.  They were the shiny part of my life. 

This is influenced by the work of Kay Adams.  She does these incredible, layered, textured necklaces.  She gave me my direction.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Working on March

Kay Adams
I have been working on March's necklace for two months now.  This is an important necklace to me because it honors the incredible support of friends and family during the last year.  My image in my head was a bright, outrageous, colorful necklace with hearts and hands.   I have started so many different versions and taken them out again.  Nothing matched my vision.  Then I stumbled across the work of Kay Adams.  She is an antique dealer from Richmond, VA and does these outrageous, wonderful, layered necklaces. 

Finally, something that matched my vision.  I am almost finished but am waiting on some additional hearts.  I ended up not having enough after I decided to go with her style.  Here is what I have so far.  I was showing it to some friends when we went out to eat this week.  The waiter said it looked like I had raided King Solomon's Mines.  I liked it so that is the temporary name.  I have more hearts and hands to put on it to make it rich and totally awesome.
King Solomon's Mine

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February BJP

 The biggest challenge of this project was to create a necklace that was visually substantial enough to support the 6 mm lapis lazuli beads and the pendant while still looking feminine. I tried many different techniques and thicknesses of necklaces. I finally settled on this Nbele herringbone technique. It looks a little different than usual thanks to the inspiration of Beth Stone in her book More Seed Bead Stitching: Creative Variations on Traditional Techniques.

During this last year when virtually my whole life was out of my control the one thing I could control was my response. Buddhist philosophy and practice was my lifeline. It encouraged me to stay in the present, deal with what was immediately in front of me and let the rest go. This necklace is symbolic of many elements of Buddhist practice.

The pendant is of Quan Yin, a Buddhist holy woman, or bodhisattva. Her name means "She who hears the cries of the world." She is considered to be the embodiment of wisdom and compassion, the protector of women, children and fishermen. For some reason it has always delighted me that fishermen are included with women and children as being under her special protection. The four lapis beads on each side represent the Four Noble Truths. Together they equal the Eightfold Path. The three beads at the bottom of the pendant symbolize the Three Precious Jewels. These are all core Buddhist concepts. I chose the lapis lazuli beads because they are representative of healing.

I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. It is much more simple than my January necklace but that is also appropriate to the Buddhist theme.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flaws and All

I have worked all day on my February project and have ended up pretty much right back where I started from. My original idea was to treat the jade Quan Yin pendant like a cabochon but I didn't want to mount it on anything. Attempts to free-form the backing with beads were unsuccessful so I went on to other approaches. I didn't like any of them. In the process I discovered a hairline crack in the jade. I don't know how fragile the crack makes the pendant. At that point I had to decide if I still wanted to use it. I decided that the flaw was pretty realistic of where I am at these days - not what I used to be but still going. It is the support of others which makes the difference. So I will provide the jade with support by mounting her on a piece of suede and using that to anchor the beading. Symbolically and technique wise it works.