Sunday, February 9, 2014

Memory's Forrest

To continue my journey with the Bead Journal Project, I decided to dip into my hoard of beading treasures and create one more piece for January.  I'd completed the pendent before the last week of January, but the actual necklace portion kept eluding me.  Finally, I decided to finish it off with rings connected with rings.  I then began to let my mind take steps backwards discovering why I'd chosen these hoarded objects, and why they had to all be used into making this necklace.  It all reminded me of walking through Shawnee Forrest trying to find my way back onto a familiar trail that would lead me out to a clear path.  If you are unfamiliar with Appalachian forest let me tell you that off a beaten trail there are brambles and stray branches trying to deter you from certain pathways.  You weave around finding a safe road, and along that meandering path you can experience sensory emotions that will stay with you for you life.  The smell of wet leaves, the smell of bogs, the smell of hidden wildflowers are within you.  The sound of the winds blowing the heavy trees to and fro, the slithering of snakes hidden among the leaf covered floor, the screech of birds of prey in the tree canopy, the gentle foot falls of your own feet.  Shawnee Forrest is a part of my family as we were one of the first families in the Ohio River Valley centuries ago.  My Father's dying wish was to step one more time into the forest and walk among the trees and skies. 

I think it is the thought of my Father's last wish that originally made me pick up the ceramic owl that I'd gotten from Marti Conrad, the gemstone donut I'd gotten from Lora Tobias, and the crystal Rivoli that I'd gotten from Byzantium.  Each of these pieces brought back memories of loss.  The rivoli along with so many other items that I hoard are from Byzantium bead store which closed years ago in Columbus.  It was there I first discovered my love of creating with beads.  It was there that I was allowed to teach my first class and learn that I loved to teach and share my ideas.  It is gone, but the items I brought home with me that last day and the people who still are a part of my life keeps Byzantium alive.  The donut I received from Lora was at the Beading on the Beach Retreat my friends on Delfi Forums and I created and keep alive to this very day.  We all became very close that weekend filled with joy, beads, and friendship.  Lora is gone.  She passed away from cancer, but I when I touched that donut the memories of that week came back instantly.  It still centers me. 

I have never seen an owl in Nature.  I believe I've heard them before, but never seen one with my own eyes.  But when I chose the ceramic owl, it wasn't the owl that I thought about, it was the kindness a stranger showed to me on Facebook when Arwen and Frodo died in 2012 less than two weeks apart.  Marti Conrad was that stranger who sent me a heart with pawprints embossed in it to help me with my grief over losing my two Scotties.  She is a stranger no more, and I enjoy seeing her work every single day.  I am also lucky to have gotten some of her original pieces.  I bought a grouping of these ceramic owls just wanting them because they were unique and lovely, but also because they reminded me of her kind heart.  It also gives me a physical object to see how grief can inspire love from others.
Me, Daddy & Jerry 

As I put all these pieces from my dream state journey through memories wandering from one piece to another it all came fluid to me that we need not feel grief for loss as though corporal bodies are long gone, the memories of those others are still with us.  We reach down inside and they are still there.  Rings of love are inter mingled together creating strength and structure out of chaos.  The beaded rings in my necklace are the image of all the rings of friendship, love, and desire that have found me along my path.  I might think certain distractions are not part of the plan, but it is the distractions that cause me to stop and just BE!  As in my other January Bead Journal Project necklace, it is the times that we are silent that we are the most alive.  Stopping even for a second to look with inner eye at where I am and those who are still with me give me strength and joy.  Each step, each click of a key, each word creates more rings of love, friendship, and loyalty that strengthen and harden my endurance to live on.  Each are with me still and until I breath my last breath.

My Five Scotties who are long gone but still with me:
FalaPink, SkyeBlue, Frodo, Arwen, and Fiona
SkyeBlue and FalaPink
SkyeBlue, Fiona, and Frodo

Baby Arwen

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 2014 Bead Journal Project

Bead Journal Project created by Robin Atkins moved over to Facebook which makes it so much easier for people to share ideas and display their Art.  I hadn't participated if over two years so when I saw the jump to FB, I decided that it was time for me to take some time each month and create something special and meaningful for each month of 2014.  Though members don't have to chose a theme or a format for each month, many do chose both or just one.  Some focus on ATC size portraits of their inner self or special journeys of self discovery.

For 2014, originally I wanted to try my hand at painting pictures with beads.  I had taken two classes from Rena at Byzantium years ago and loved the technique.  I've seem some fabulous pieces done by bead embroidery artist out there that just make my fingers itch.  But then I thought that instead of doing twelve individual pieces each month, bead painting needed more commitment and time.  I'm not throwing this idea out for 2014, but I decided to delay this project for later.  I went down to the Art Cave and started opening draws of beads and supplies.  Then I walked over to my wall of seed beads trying to get some inspiration.  I walked back to my work desk, and randomly started opening draws handling some cabochons that I'd hoarded over the years.  As if a spark bit my finger and coursed up my arm, I had the inspiration to take some of my prized cabochons, lampwork beads, seed beads, and other items I'd bought and lovingly put away for that "rainy day".  How many of us have tons of beads or fabrics or fibers hoarded away locked away in drawer, boxes or closets saving them for a day when our skill level was good enough to justify their use?  I know I am guilty of that.  Cyndy Sieving and I talk about this sometimes about why wait!  Why indeed?  Will our skill levels ever be good enough in our own minds?  We are our worse enemies when it comes to doubting we are good enough.  She always encourages people to open up and use those items you had bought and then hoarded away to use another day.  Use them NOW!  So I decided that for 2014, my theme is NO MORE HOARDING.  Each month, I'm going to take a special item from my hoarded stash and create something from it.

Hoarded gemstone cabochons

Hoarded seed beads I bought at Fusion my first trip to Seattle
For January 2014, I made a bracelet and matching earrings using some of the prize stone cabochon's I'd bought at the first Bead and Button show in Milwaukee I attended.  These colors of the stones just pulled me to the booth, and I wasn't satisfied until I left with at least a few of these clutched in my hands.  I hadn't used any of them until last month when I created a special necklace to wear on my birthday.  Plus, I hadn't realized that I had not made a bracelet in over a year, and I can't recall the last time I even attempted to make earrings.  I just love the colors on these stones.  Every time I picked them up, I would be whisked away to our trip to Canyonland in Utah.  We went on a private trip out of Moab with a guide and four other guys in an old VW bus.  Since I was the only woman in the group, I got to sit up front with the tour guide.  We climbed cliffs, we hiked, we talked, we all had a marvelous 8 hours driving the back roads deep in the canyons carved out by the Colorado River.  I can't forget one snapshot of that day, when all the men decided to go out and hunt for dinosaur fossils.  They left me all alone with the VW bus.  I heard their voices diminish as they climbed down the trail.  Then their voices were gone, and I was all alone with all the spectacular colors washing over me.  I turned my head up to the warming Sun and watch as birds circled over head.  Then a big wind roared through the landscape and throwing my arms I felt as is I was flying over the canyon.  The quiet was filling me with such a sense of peace.  I know it was probably less than an hour before the men all came back, but to me it was a eternity of inner peace and contentment.  After that trip, whenever my life would get stressed or insane, I'd picture myself standing there with my wings unfurled flying like a raptor over the canyon thinking of nothing but the joy of being PRESENT. 

I notice that I do use this color palette in many of my works, and now I realize it is because of that moment in Canyonlands when I was focused on the moment.  Perhaps I try to recreate that image constantly so that I can whisk my way back to that time of inner joy.  You?  Do you have any colors that thrill you and take you to a place or a time that is special?  Please share with me if you have.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sixty! Whew...I made it.

Yesterday was my 60th birthday.  Lots of things I had planned on doing over the years didn't materialize such as losing 30 pounds (!) or waking up on Maui.  But still it was a wonderful day with my family and friends.  It started out a day early as my friend Cynthia sent me a package & I just could not wait.  She sent me the best Birthday card.

And she just SPOILED me rotten.  I'm so blessed to have such a caring and loving friend who made sure my Birthdays are always special.  

Then Sammy let me sleep in.  YEAH!  He had some loving to give me on my birthday after he'd had his cookie and I had my first cup of coffee.
I had been working on a special necklace to wear on my birthday.  It is called Canyonland Sunset.  Years ago we went camping out at the Canyonlands National Park in Utah.  Each evening we sat on a cliff watching the Sun turn the Canyonlands into the most amazing colors that still are a part of me to this days.  Oranges, greens, and browns flow out through my work and make me thrilled.

For dinner, Chris and I went to Lola & Guiseppe's Italian Trattora in Gahanna Ohio.  It was delicious.  I'd been there in November with the Ohio Beaders and always wanted to go back.  I was NOT disappointed at all.  Everything was fresh, delicious, and Lola was there making sure everyone was served and happy.  It felt like being in your Italian Aunt's kitchen.

Then I ended my birthday with a marathon viewing of Star Trek the Next Generation and a Sammy Doodle cuddling up next to me in bed.  I can't believe how many birthday wishes I got on Facebook.  Definitely a warm and fuzzy day.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

I'm so happy that you've spent a few moments with my ramblings this past year.  It has been a pretty wild one for me.  I got to spend the first 6 days of 2013 as a retired person, but then started up my new job a Nationwide Children's Hospital on the 7th.  About the only thing I miss from my former employer is the 4 weeks of vacation, but I'm adjusting.  It was hard year to start with Fiona's passing after losing Frodo and Arwen in less than 6 months in 2012.  We were so lucky to add Sammy to our household in April.  He made a big change in our lives with his gentle and loving personality.

I got to spend time in San Francisco this year with some of the wildest craziest and talented bead artist I've ever known.  We shopped China Town until we dropped!  I've taken some wonderful classes at 1 Stop Bead Shop with Leslie Frazier and Tracy Stanley.  I spent a wondrous two days with Ute Vasnia at Artistic Figures in Cloth & Clay letting myself just soar while making Stanley.  I developed a few new doll patterns & even was challenged by an old friend to come up with something completely new in a doll pattern.  I've reconnected with my fellow doll artist here in Columbus by now having every weekend off with my new job.  I was able to get together with fellow Ohio Beaders after an 8 year hiatus which felt like no time has passed at all. 

I've gotten to review some wonderful books from Lark Craft that has really helped me develop and challenge my bead weaving skills.  I even broke through the peyote block after reviewing Diane Fitzgerald's latest book. 

I've beaded, I've sewn, I've painted.  I walked the dog.  I even fused some glass.  It has been a very full year.  I don't make resolutions as I'm the first to break them.  So instead, I'm looking forward to 2014 and expect it to be as exciting and challenging a year as 2013. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lark Book Giveaway: Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects

Dixie Hamilton! 
Random Number Generator chose you!
I'll be sending you an e-mail to get your mailing information.
Thank you to everyone who commented. 

 I'm going to be giving away one copy of Jamie Cloud Eakins' book Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects: Design And Construction, Ideas and Inspiration.  Lark Craft generously donated one copy to me so that I can share my delight with Jamie's book with you.  I've been using this book since the very first time I opened the package and dived in head first.  I've learned so much from the book, and actually began to look at some of my previous necklaces to see if I could change their design to make them more stable and physically appealing.  Jamie has really made me go into a tail spin with new ideas and indeed more inspiration.  Click HERE to see my review on Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects.

I am going to be giving away one copy to one person who leaves a comment on this blog post.  You need to make sure I have a way to contact you to get shipping information from you.  I have chose my birthday January 4th to be the date of the choosing of the winning name.  Please check back here on January 4th to see if you are the lucky recipient of Jamie's newest book.  Don't worry if you don't see your comment show up immediately as I have my blog comments set up so that I myself have to approve them after being spammed once.  Thank you for you patience.

After reading Jamie's book, I took apart a necklace I made in August 2012 after my Grandmother's Death.  The necklace was named Awake in the Dragon's Lair.  Here is a picture of what the necklace looked like back in 2012:

And here is a picture of Dragon's Lair after reconfiguring the component pieces and working on making the piece more stable and not twisting and turning all the time

Of course, now I am bound to complete other necklaces after being influenced by Jamie's book and have even gotten out older projects wondering how I can construct them into a better configuration while not disturbing the original design.  This is the next group of beads that are on my beading board:
I actually as of today gotten most of the component pieces completed and now am arranging and rearranging them trying to get my Muse to tell me that the design is first off doable and second off strong enough to support the weight.  Join me back on the 4th to see my progress and to also see if You are the lucky one to win Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products from Lark Books, I receive the book above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

From our house in wintery Columbus Ohio to your house where ever you are enjoying the Holiday.

Daddy and Grandpa are always on my mind at  Christmas. We miss them.

I can't remember who made this for us, but I can't believe our Retreat was back in 2004

My old homemade ornaments with some Scottie flare

When I bought this ornament it reminded me of all us kids singing Christmas carols.  I bet my Mom still has ear aches.

This one reminded me of FalaPink

A dear friend gave this to me years ago.  I believe it is a Radko

Made 20 years apart. Guess I've always been drawn to beads

My two Scottie angels.

I just found this in a box.  I had forgotten all about it.  It has other pieces to it.  Hand painted and MADE IN OHIO

My dear friend Pam made this Christmas Tree doll.

Have a Happy New Year

Dot Chris & Sammy

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dot's Book case: Diane Fitzgerald

 Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork & Beyond

Have you ever experienced a mental block?  I'm sure you have. We are human and sometimes this phenomenon disrupts our happy go lucky life.  I must be very human as I've had many of these.  What is a "mental block" you say?  Here is one definition from Wikipedia:

A mental block is either a repression of painful thoughts, or an inability to continue a train of thought, like in the case of writer's block. A similar phenomenon occurs when one cannot solve a problem in mathematics which one would normally consider simple. In the case of writer's block, many find it helpful to take a break and revisit their topic. Another tactic that is used when people with mental blocks are learning new information is repetition. Mental blocks can be caused by physical disabilities or simply a lack of focus. Mental blocks are also often used to describe a temporary inability to recall a name or other information.[1]

 My mental block has been with the bead stitch peyote.  I've taken many classes with so talented teachers hoping that the intense focus of class would help me get over my mental block to enjoy and embrace peyote stitch.  I CAN do peyote, but it does not come naturally for me.  I stumble, I focus, and then I just find myself putting it aside.  I tell myself "oh it is years of doing cross stitch and viewing charts that are straight up and down instead of charts and angles".  I've tried tools to help me read charts.  I've bought patterns with word descriptions along with the charts.  And finally, I've just told myself "I CANNOT do this".  I gave up and politely find myself struggling with peyote stitch while other stitches just come naturally to me.  I've had friends and teachers scratch their heads as they see me doing peyote and wonder why I can't learn to just relax and just enjoy it as much as they do.  It is a block and nothing can make me feel relaxed and successful doing peyote stitch.

That is until NOW.  What has broken through the block and made my fingers dance and twirl as I construct intricate designs with peyote stitch?  A book has been my driven through the block and let in the bright creative light behind the sculpted peyote stitch.  Diane Fitzgerald's latest master piece has been that tool that has given me the insight and joy of being able to understand, appreciate and enjoy peyote stitch.  Diane's newest book, Shaped Beadwork & Beyond: Dimensional Jewelry in Peyote Stitch by Lark Jewerly and Beading, has opened up a new world of sculpting and creating pieces of art that before I'd only pushed away due to my thinking I could not understand it.  I embrace this book and am working my way through the projects learning and enjoying each and every chapter.  

I've decided to do something a little different with my newest book review and show my own work of her projects.  It is still slow going as I have to constantly push back that nagging voice that tells me I'm going to fail.  So I just push that voice back and push on discovering that I can.  Shaped Beadwork and Beyond's chapters take me closer with each project built upon the other and then expanding for more dimensional peyote challenges.  The book starts out with understanding the basics then moves on to succeeding with Triangles, Teardrops, Beaded Beads, Bezels, Pointed Ovals, and then to a combination of Potpourri.  Each chapter and project has excellent bead diagrams and written word instructions to help succeed in completing the work.  If you follow me on my Facebook page you will have already seen some of these projects and my joy in learning them and conquering my block.  

I first learned to make triangles and zipped them together

This project is from the Bezels chapter and Pointed Ovals
After feeling confident in making triangles and peyote bezels, I went on to create the Temari beaded bead and create a little fun sparkly flower.

A close up view of half a Temari beaded bead with peyote bezel to create a flower type structure

My version of the Eye to Triangle Necklace piece using techniques in the Pointed Oval chapter and the Bezel chapter.  I actually had a friend on Facebook tell me this looks like something a Star Fleet officer would wear (you have to be a Trekkie to get this).

Here is two of the Pointed Oval projects on my beading board.  The blue pointed ovals are from the Pirate Eye Bracelet turned into a necklace.

Each of these projects have made me feel so confident that I can really say I'm over my mental block with peyote.  I haven't mastered this stitch, and I still have so many more projects to attempt and succeed, but I know now that I CAN do this with Diane's book on my work table being my go to book and Muse in learning to master and enjoy peyote stitch.  Theses next are projects that I have on my to do list. 

Diane taught this at 1 Stop Bead Shop in Dublin.   Because I was so afraid of Peyote, I did not take this class when I had the opportunity to learn it from Diane, but now I KNOW I can do this after completing the other projects and throwing over my mental block.  

I'm amused now that I actually think in peyote.  Imagine that?  My brain has decided to throw out the block and embrace the intricate patterns and projects that can only be accomplished with needle, thread, and peyote.   Next time I see Diane anywhere, I'm going to give her the biggest smile and thank you for helping me break off the yoke of "I CANNOT do this".  I'm not done with this book and a journey of discovering and creating with sculpted peyote.  I can't wait to see what I can do now that I have a firm grip on this stitch.  

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products from Lark Books, I receive the book above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.