Monday, March 23, 2009

thing a week eleven:

this is a Thing not yet fully realized.

i've been thrilled by the changing season, by its tender budding life and growth. spring is erratic here in portland: this week has been alternately chilly and wet, bright and warm, sunny and rainy at the same time. this is the time of year in which i long to have a garden, have my hands in good black earth, set down roots and reach for the sky. it's also the tentative kick-off of bike season, at least for those who aren't hardcore winter warriors. it's been lovely these last few days to feel the muscles in my legs working hard again, wheeling by bright streams of crocus and daffodil. i feel good, fresh, ready for the beginning of something new. huzzah to spring!

the piece i've been working on this week attempts to translate that feeling into beadwork. not so much for the edification of others - i doubt that anyone would look at this piece and think, "ah, spring!" - but for my own self, a touchstone of sorts to fix this fleeting moment in time.

i'm using herringbone stitch, a technique which i seldom employ. it's slow going, especially since i've had other creative projects simmering this week. once again, i started working without knowing where the piece would go or whether i'd like the final results. i'm pretty pleased so far. it's a work in progress at this point: pictures to follow in the next post.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

thing a week (embarrassingly) ten: dolmuş!

it's been far too long a time since i updated this blog. rather than feeling flustered and ashamed, i'll quickly gloss over the lack of updates. i learned that lesson from college - not finishing the assignment is not a sufficient reason to skip class. it only puts me further and further behind while making me feel worse about not working. so: i'm back in the saddle (so to speak) and have a new piece to talk about.

i've worked in many different creative disciplines over the years, achieiving at least a moderate level of competence in each one. i've done metalwork, strung jewelry, beadwork and wirework; i made glass beads (lampwork) for many years; i dabbled in precious metal clay; i'm a hardcore knitter (though that's just a 'hobi', as the turks say). rather than abandoning each of these skills as i moved to the next, i think of each of them as being tools in my kit. i do regret not having a lampworking studio at the moment - i miss working with glass and fire - but there's something very deeply satisfying about small needles and tiny beads.

since i spend so much of my time around yarn and fiber, i've been thinking about ways to incorporate it into my work. with these earrings, i've used needle-felted wool as an armature of sorts. when done in layers, right-angle weave is self-supporting - adding new beads is like adding bricks in a wall being build from the ground up. rather than create such a rigid structure, i made the beads in these earrings as empty ovals and stuffed them with wool to give support and a flash of color.

you've probably eaten or heard of dolma - rice and herbs rolled up inside grape leaves - but the word 'dolma' refers to anything stuffed. in turkish cuisine, stuffed peppers, zucchini and eggplant are all called dolma. the 1950s cars which have been tricked-out to accomodate more passengers are called 'dolmuş' because they're stuffed with people. the green of these beads makes me think of grape leaves and peppers, so:
dolmuş earrings. they're not my favorite pieces of jewelry - i'd like to take this idea further - but it's good to have something completed and recorded.

thing a week ten
: dolmuş earrings :
3.8?.09 - 3.12.09

fine silver Thai beads
size 10 Czech glass seed beads
nedle-felted hand-dyed wool
sterling silver findings
stitched together with Fireline and size 12 beading needle

next week: black and green. earth, growth, rebirth. the start of something new.