Monday, December 14, 2015

When Creativity Leaves The Creative

Writers block.  Lost inspiration.  Empty.  When you sit down with everything in front of you and just can't make yourself make something.

No, this isn't yo mama's blog entry about how to find inspiration.  I think we probably all already know several ways to ignite the inspiration bulb.  Thing is...WHY does it happen?  I have been struggling with this problem off and on for a good year.  Its not that I don't have ideas or that I am not excited about my ideas...its actually that I can't make myself DO the things I want to do.
Here is something I have discovered.  Creatives are EXTREMELY sensitive to their environment and emotions.  When something is off, like dealing with an overly stressful time at work or a infuriating boss or internal emotional turmoil, our creative center becomes tapped.  I'm not sure if its because we employ all our creativeness in resolving the situation we are in or if its that it just happens to be the first "extra" resource of energy we tap.  Either way, the first thing that seems to leave is our ability to act upon that which makes us most happy - creating.  This is a vicious cycle and can spiral downward for a long period of time - sometimes taking weeks, months or even longer to kick out of.  Basically, when you are drained in other life-areas...many times you will find yourself drained creatively.
The only real advice I have for these times is to not lose not give up and allow yourself guiltless time to work things out and get back to the status quo.  This is important because it WILL return and to feel guilty about a pause is really counter productive.  All this to say that I had a recent burst of energy.  Small...but enough to FINALLY complete a new piece.

You may recognize that this necklace was my entry for the final Beading Back in Time blog hop.  I am JUST NOW finishing it and I am totally patting myself on the back right now...because it is a small step away from the empty bucket I had been feeling.  It is a bright spot and sometimes you just gotta congratulate yourself for beginning the process back into your creative self.  Finally.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Beading Back in Time Blog Hop - Favorite Time in History

Indecision is the enemy of creativity.

This is my seemingly unscalable mountain in beading.  Indecision has directed a series of challenges that have resulted in a lot of unfinished projects for me.  Many times I knew what I wanted in a general way but I either became frustrated in the process or couldn't decide what to do next.  I was determined that this piece would not end like that.

For this hop, I decided to rummage through some of my stash and let IT speak to me.  I ended up gravitating toward an old German glass pendant I picked up in Nashville while visiting Lindsay Starr (of Phantasm Creations).
I decided to try for a Victorian/ Art Nouveau look for this piece.  I rarely sketch what I want to create ahead of time but I almost immediately know what direction I would be heading in and I needed to get it out of my imagination and onto paper:
I wanted to incorporate the wheat theme that you see frequently in Victorian mourning jewelry (see some examples below: 
Get this...these pieces are made with human hair!  If you have never seen Victorian hair work - you really need to do some google is some of the most incredible/ awe inspiring jewelry, pictures, etc etc.

After hours of embroidering and ripping out stitches, it dawned on me that the only way to replicate the wheat-look I saw in my mind's eye was to use bugles!  I have NO idea why it took me so long to realize this...but you know how sometimes you get stuck in a single vein of thinking and when you finally step back, you realize...*light bulb*!

Here I had already bezeled the pendant, figured out the stupid wheat situation and begun my first row of 15s around the outer edge.  See...YOU get the short painless version of the story - the one that doesn't include all the hassle and frustration and duh-moments.

I continued the 15s around the outside of the pendant until I had encased the majority of the wheat motif and promptly realized that I didn't have enough room for the bottom portion I drew on my sketch.  Oops.  Ultimately. I realized that trying to cut out, back the piece, and finish the edges would have been impossible with the original design.
I ended up with this as the finished pendant portion of the necklace.
Now I am gonna be honest here - I did not struggle with indecision with this piece for 5 seconds...BUT while being away with my aunts and cousins this weekend for a MUCH needed girls weekend and having stayed up till 2:30am having a deep familial therapy session, finishing this blog much less the necklace became impossible.  It is nearly 3:30am as I sit here writing this.  But family...especially these amazing women I share blood and love for must take priority.

I did eventually figure out how to finish the bottom of the necklace before I stopped.  I intend to finish with black faceted beads and silver Czech beads for the strap...but, alas, this must be for another day.  Here is what I have to this point:
Let me tell you...I am slowly learning to trust my gut and not get wrapped up in indecision whether it be from too many choices or being generally unsure.  This is something that is more than just a bead-lesson -- it's a life lesson.  Tonight around a table sat 2 generations of women who descended from Kings and Paupers, Manhattan Project chemists and at-home-mothers, from one of the first women to ever receive a college education to unsung heros.  We have pictures a hundred years old and love letters spanning over a century - we have a deep sense of where we come from and who we are and you know what?  History is utterly priceless - family history, the history of human-kind, the history of beads.  Pardon me for waxing poetic at this late hour but I can't help but look back and realize; choices are the stuff of life and indecision is the stuff of death.  What a privilege we have to work with that small piece of glass with a hole in it - something that humans have used since time began!  How truly incredible it is that this link to our history - that tiny piece of glass with a hole in it - has the ability to teach modern-day-me SO much about myself and life.  Funny how that is...isn't it?

Please check out my beading buddies blog and the time in history they chose!

Sherri Stokey -----Co-Host
Lindsay Starr -----Co-Host
Kelly Rodgers -----You are HERE!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beading Back in Time Blog Hop Reveal!!

Welcome to the Beading Back in Time Blog Hop Challenge Reveal!  Well…at least I am revealing what I can.  Deadlines being what they are and life being what it is, sometimes things just don’t get done.  That is not to say that I haven’t poured into this challenge!
As I mentioned in my previous post, the theme for this round is “Pre-Human”.  I spend a lot of time working to make sure that every design component honored my beliefs.  I am so excited to share with you my process and the meaning behind each component and ultimately what the finished piece will look like.
First I wanted to create what is represented in Genesis as “before”.  Before there was something…there was nothing but God.  (For those interested:  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.  Genesis 1:2) This representation of emptiness kept presenting itself to me as a cone shape – a sort of cyclone of blackness.  In working through how I wanted to create this, Lindsay Starr (my beading buddy extraordinaire) of Phantasm Creations reminded me of the Kate McKinnon book Contemporary Geometric Beadwork in which cone shapes are explored!  Perfect!  Not only was I able to utilize this book as a resource to explore my own beadwork…but it gave me EXACTLY the look I was going for.  This is what I ended up with:
I used a bead mix I created using matte & shiny blacks and greys to give my “nothing”-cone texture.  I also wanted to somehow represent God’s existence even before creation…within the “nothing”.  Every time I type, “The nothing” I am reminded of The Neverending Story.  Atreu!!!!  But, I digress…To represent God’s presence, I created a purple spiral around the cone.  Historically the color purple has been worn by royalty and those with riches and power.  The primary reason for this is the process for making purple dye was not easy to do, lengthy and pricey.  Interestingly, before Jesus was crucified he was mocked by being made to wear a purple robe. (John 19:5)  This is how the cone turned out:
The first act of creation was the creation of light and the separation of light from dark as seen in Genesis 1:3-4, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good.  And God separated the light from the darkness.  In order to represent this, pouring from the cone of “nothing” is my interpretation of light using silver lined Czech true cuts.  This was the first act of creation and completed the first day.  While I haven’t attached the “light” to the “nothing”-cone, here is a picture to represent what it will look like once done:
The second day of creation is harder to interpret but essentially God created the heavens and the earth but the earth was basically water.  (Genesis 1:6-8)  My first step in creating early earth was to create the waters.  So I applied a technique I had used in an earlier piece I constructed and made a circular disc with clear beads using blue thread.  I used this technique instead of just using a watery blue bead because I think this creates more depth and a much more realistic interpretation of water.  What do you think?
The next step in my process is to add land and plants, which were created on the 3rd day.  (Genesis 1:9-13)  This proved to be a pain to make.  My intent was to create Pangea as a separate beaded layer.  While trying to figure out how on Earth (pun intended) to do this...I decided to make a graphed out version to use as a template.  I love that beading Pangea as a separate layer allowed my creative process to follow the timeline of creation but it also gives my beaded earth dimension!

On the 4th day the Sun, moon and stars were created.  (Genesis 1:14-19) Originally I was going to skip beading this, I’m not sure why…maybe because the 5th day is so exciting.  But the more I thought about it, the more I think it would be a mistake to skip a WHOLE DAY (I mean, I am already super limited on my timeline)!  So…staying true to theme, belief and medium…I will be creating a sun & moon.  I have already started the moon (see below).  Once both are done, I will attach them to the Earth.  I intend to make the sun with the same circular beading technique I have used on Earth and with the moon...but I will be using a mix of reds, oranges, yellows and whites and will attach loops representing solar flares.  Once the sun and moon are created, they will be attached to the earth and start the upward slope on the right hand side of the necklace. 

Last but not least we have the beginnings of the explosion of life on earth – the 5th day – which is when the beasts of the sea and the birds of the air were created!  (Genesis 1:20-23) Because my piece is so abstract, I didn’t want to bead an entire fish and bird.  I chose instead to bead elements of each – a fin and feathers.  I have finished both of the fins I will be incorporating however I have not begun my feathers.  Here is a picture of the fins!

 Once all my pieces are constructed I will begin the process of assembling.  Here is a pic with all of the pieces I have made thus far and how they will lay when I am putting them together.
 This process of exploration thru time in beadwork has really been challenging for me and I am so excited to finish this piece and post later.  I really hope that you enjoyed seeing my process and perspective...and don't forget to check out all the other participant's designs...everyone did such an amazing job!

Co-hostess:  Lindsay Starr of PhantasmCreations
Co-hostess:  Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame
Kelly Rodgers of Beadin' Black & Blue - You are Here!
Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio
Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads
Melissa Trudinger of Boho BirdJewellery
Sue Kennedy of SueBeads
Stephanie and Chris Haussler of Pixibug Designs
Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wow, so I am not really great at blogging. What a shame! Well, I thought I would re-try my blogging in order to post about the up-coming Beading Back in Time Blog Hop Challenge!

This challenge is to create something that represents the world at the Pre-Human stage.  When the theme was revealed I was a tad nervous.  I have a very unpopular belief about the beginnings of the world & universe.  Without getting too deep into the religious aspects, I am a young earth creationist.  I love science, I love the fossil record, I am DEEPLY interested in the creation timeline vs. the evolutionary timeline.  This being said, with a Pre-Human challenge, I have literally 5 days to work with!

 I decided that in order to stay true to myself, my beliefs and my beadwork, I must stay within the guidelines of my views on the way the world was formed.  So...coming at the end of this month, I will be posting about my journey thru this challenge and my beadwork!  I hope you will come and enjoy this journey with me January 31st!