Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seed Beads-Why?

First off, my computer is on the fritz! poor ole eMac has been with me for awhile, and I'll miss it when it is gone. Chris worked on it, but he thinks the power supply is dying on it as it gives me this zap/blink every so often. I totally freaked out the first time it was zapping at me. I actually woke Chris up from a nap begging him to help me to back up on this system. I admit that I'm such a procrastinaLinktor & haven't done back up in over a year. I was so scared that I was gong to lose not only images, but the articles I've written for magazines and class instructions. Thank goodness it is all now on CDs & Chris even did a backup to his hard drive & burned a DVD of everything for me. I'm computer shopping...again! We bought Chris a new system in May for his birthday present, and now it looks like it is my turn. I think I'm going to get an IMac.

So I finally got time to look at the blogs I follow. Marcia asked a very interesting question on her blog "why seed beads?". I got to thinking about why I love working with seed beads so much. I have one word...coloring! When I 4 years old, my Mom bought me the biggest box of Crayolas that you could get back then and a large coloring book. I have no idea if it was a Mickey Mouse coloring book, or a Bugs Bunny (Mom can't remember either), but she laid on the floor with me & taught me to color in the lines. I spent hours and hours coloring in books that I got for presents. Times when we had no money for coloring books, my Mom would take some butcher paper and scribble designs with a big black crayon and let me fill it in with different colors. Even to this day the smell of crayons takes me back to that time when she'd hand me a crayon, and then show me how to shade by simply pushing down harder onto the paper.

Then when I was 10, my Grandmother introduced me to embroidery with floss. My Grandmother loved to do designs on pillow cases, scarves and towels. From her, I learned how to thread a needle, do flowers using satin stitch, back stitch, and make those French knots. I would practice on scraps of thrown away materials. I found myself making doll bodies and using French knots for eyeballs. But for some reason, I lost interest in sewing...until I went to college. I needed to make a little extra money for fun things, and found that I could make really elaborate patches for jeans. Also, I liked to split the seams in the jeans and add colorful materials to make the really have big gigantic bells. I actually had guys bring me their pants just to patch with my funky designs. I also would doodle constantly with colored pencils my parents got me for Christmas. I had my whole dorm wall covered with these doodles.

When I started to work, I found I had plenty of time waiting for the bus so I started to sew again. This time I found crewel to be the perfect fit. Remember all those crewel kits with owls, and landscapes? Those were my favorite! I'd have my yarns all sorted out by color, and spend hours/days/weeks working on a project. My Mom & Grandma still have a crewel painting I'd done for them. Then I met Vicki Brooks who turned me on to cross stitch. How my mind just went crazy with all the patterns, and the choice of colors of DMC floss. For the next 20 years, I spent all my spare time exploring cross stitch. I'd buy magazines, books, and patterns not only to work on new projects, but to just look at the patterns. (I still have all of these). Then one day, I bought a kit from the local Cross stitch shop called Cross My Heart (might still be in town, but not sure). This kit only only blended the DMC floss to make unique colors, but it had beads! Mill Hill beads used to embellish the cross stitch samplers...I was hooked.

My best friend who I met through a Scottish Terrier group asked me to take her to the local bead shop in town on our way to an antique convention. I didn't really want to go, but as soon as I walked through the doors of Byzantium, I was enthralled with all those colors of beads winking at me. I didn't immediately get into beading, but it was always there calling me. I got tired of most of the American trade cross stitch magazines who were mainly printing patterns for country style or flowers. I wanted something different, so at a Barnes and Nobles bookstore, I found this magazine called Jill Oxton Cross Stitch and Beading. This was only the third issue where Jill had included beading. It was called square stitch. I fell in love. Once again, I dived in and became obsessed with square stitch and bought all the Delicas I could find. I made bracelets, earrings, and amulet bags. It was like coloring all over again, except this time I was using needle, thread, and beads!

During this time, my friend told me about this beading group on Delphi Forums. I joined & here is where I met someone else who'd change me so much. It was Cindy McCormick. Cindy did beaded dolls. I feel head over heels. I got my nerve up and wrote her an e-mail asking how I would start. She, Cynthia and all the others on Bead Art taught me how to bead a doll. What to know about that first doll? I was so proud that I made my own design and beaded both sides (I was doing the flat version that Cynthia and Cindy were doing at the time). Imagine my extreme disappointment when I put both sides together and the DIDN'T match! I was so frustrated. I wrote Cindy. She told me that they were TWINS and it just meant that I needed to make another doll. NO WAY! I wrote her & Cynthia that I was through. I was never going to make another beaded doll again. I almost threw away both the pieces, then for some reason my stubborn side turned on & I decided that by crackers, I was going to finish this doll. Don't ask me how, but I managed to get both sides put together, stuffed & finished. Twins is definitely a very ugly doll, but she is my first. I took a picture, scanned that picture, and sent the image to Cindy. She thought it delightful.

Well, that was a very long time ago. I've come so far since that day. Now I "color" with beads. I've been asked why do I do it, and I just laugh and say because I'm still a child inside enjoying colors. Hey, sometimes when I really wax my Nymo thread and whiff the wax smell, I'm back there on the floor with my box of 16 colors and Mom beside me.



Marcia DeCoster said...

Thanks for sharing Dot, it's clear that you always liked the color and then the needle and thread, seed beads was a natural!

freebird said...

It's all the colors and the sparkle. I liked crayons and then floss too. They didn't have the sparkle that beads have though and I know how crazy people are for the crystals right now but they cost too much where seed beads come in at a decent price.

I made my first (and only so far) beaded doll by sewing, stuffing and then beading all over. That way I guess I lucked out as the sides couldn't NOT match.