Thursday, January 15, 2009

thing a week two: wool and coral ring

this project percolated for several days before i poured it out. as with all new designs which eventually become production pieces, the planning took significantly longer than the making. i knew that i wanted to make something out of my large collection of coral beads. i was drawn to the idea of wool felt; Nepalese gold necklaces are traditionally strung with wool spacers to protect the soft gold beads from wear. i considered making a large, heavy necklace with wool beads between the coral.

when i was last in Turkey, i photographed some antique Ottoman belts stitched with coral and silver coins. they were on display along with many breathtaking pieces of jewelry from Gönül Paksoy's personal collection. she made many of the pieces with old beads and findings, while others were objects that she'd collected and displayed as found. the exhibit coincided with the first (and probably last) Istanbul Bead and Beadwork Conference.

i liked the negative space between the coral beads on the belts, and the fact that they were tipped over on their sides. i played around with the idea of a rectangular wool and coral pendant, but preferred the look of it on my finger.

thing a week two
wool and coral ring
1.12.09 - 1.14.09

antique coral beads
fine silver Thai beads
wool felt handmade in Nepal
stitched together with Fireline and size 13 beading needle

antique Ottoman coral and silver / coin belts from the Gönül Paksoy collection

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

week two: done.

this thing is far simpler than the last - sometimes it's the idea which takes a week to come to fruition, rather than the actual labor. i like this one and imagine i'll be wearing it quite a bit. pictures / description to follow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

individual mythology

as i worked on my first Thing a Week, i did a lot of thinking about personal mythology. everyone seems to have touchstones - lucky numbers, colors, songs which are deeply personal, objects of significance. when i was younger, i used to carry around personal talismans. sometimes they were interesting stones or shells, sometimes pieces of metal. often they were books. i still collect physical objects - i have boxes full of evil eye beads, chinese spirit locks, metal findings from antique jewelry, lucky swastikas from the 1920s, kohl pendants from india, chalcedony, coral, bone, ancient glass. i hope to photograph and catalog the most interesting of these.

what's most fascinating to me about objects with history is not their physical beauty, but rather the significance with which they were imbued. i don't believe in auras or 'vibrations' - an object on its own is inert - but objects which carry a cultural meaning invoke a response in the observer. a gold and diamond ring says nothing unless one is from a culture which values gold and diamonds. in the US, that ring means wealth, commitment, fidelity; to the socially/politically aware, it may also indicate armed conflict, poverty, greed, mercury poisoning. the ring doesn't speak, but meaning is communicated nonetheless.

i'd like to know about your personal talismans, objects or more abstract concepts of import. why are these things meaningful to you personally? i'd prefer to learn about idiosyncratic ideas rather than concepts with a broader cultural importance (such as lucky pennies, rabbit's feet, traditional 'totem animals' or religious charms). thanks in advance for your responses - i don't anticipate many at this early stage in my blogging career. "we've played to bigger, of course, but quality counts for something."

Monday, January 12, 2009

autobiography of

this piece had multiple sources of inspiration. i'm half-turkish, and in Türkiye, the evil eye is everywhere. many cultures share this tradition; the evil eye - generally seen as a bead or amulet - is pinned to babies' clothing, hung above doorways and worn as jewelry. it should rightfully be known as the anti-evil eye, as its intent is to draw the evil eye (jealousy, envy, ill will) away from the intended recipient and to itself. if one's baby is especially beautiful or one's house particularly well-appointed, many envious eyes may that way turn. the evil eye provides protection and insulates the bearer from those who wish to possess or harm.

Türkiye also has a beadworking tradition, mostly (now) practiced by prisoners. you can find beaded amulets proclaiming 'maşallah' ('allah has willed it,' or more colloquially, 'how wonderful') hanging from the walls of restaurants and on the rear-view windows of taxicabs. my baba bought a maşallah amulet for me when i was in high school, and it hung on my wall for many years. this piece became a wall hanging largely because of my affection for that style of beadwork. anatolian turkish knitters have traditionally stitched gorgeous geometric patterns into their stockings, and the main motif of my piece was adapted from a pattern in Betsy Harrell's _Anatolian Knitting Designs_ (now sadly out of print).

i wanted to make a piece which used only the colors red and blue, inspired by the personal mythology of a friend. i don't generally use primary colors in my work - i tend toward the tertiary - so liking this piece was a bit of a struggle at first. but i'm ultimately quite pleased with the result. i started stitching with only the vaguest idea of what i wanted to make, and the piece took shape as i worked. the photos aren't excellent; i'm still learning about blogger and will probably convert them to thumbnails at a later date.

thing a week one:
autobiography of

1.01.09 - 1.09.09

size 11 czech white heart seed beads
fine silver thai eye charms
stitched with fireline and size 13 beading needle

Friday, January 9, 2009

week one: done.

first thing a week completed. photographs and description to follow. now: onwards and upwards.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thing a Week

i've created this blog to serve as a record of my work and inspiration. i plan to use it as an archive of that which i would otherwise forget, as a tool of personal accountability, as a way to mark time and achievement. to that end, i've launched it on the date that most people regard as the beginning of a New Year.

in 2009, i will be working on a Thing a Week. not an original idea, but it serves as a useful tool for centering the mind and creating discipline. i resolve not to censor or impose arbitrary constraints on my Things a Week, but to follow that which holds my interest, and complete each piece even if it's crap. deadlines and finished work are essential to my sense of momentum: objects in motion tend to stay in motion. i may or may not present pieces in their nascent state, but i will photograph and post each piece as it's completed.

happy new year - mutlu ve kutlu olsun!