Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not easy and another sneak peak

I'm back from a 4 day class on Tambour beading with Bob Havens who teaches costuming at the University of Kentucky. If you are like me, after watching this YouTube video on how Bob does this incredible beading stitch, you'll think...oh I can do that. I thought that, so when I signed up for the class and headed down to Kentucky last Tuesday afternoon, I was full of excitement in learning a new beading technique. The first day we spent the morning mounting our piece on to the frame, drew out the pattern, and was introduced to the tambour hook. It was all downhill after that. I became so frustrated trying to work the hook, that I was almost in tears. The second day wasn't any better after Bob tried to help me get the mechanics of the hook. I could feel my stomach aching so around 11am, I left the class and went back to my hotel. I was ready to go home and just say forget the fact that there is 2 1/2 more days. I didn't go back to the afternoon session, but instead took a nap & drove around Lexington checking out the bead store (okay, don't bother) and the thrift stores (again, don't bother). I had a nice dinner all by myself and slept 9 hours. I dreamed about that tambour hook. I dreamed about holding it, manipulating it, and trying to work with it on the frame. I woke up with an idea, but since I left my frame back in the class room, I couldn't experiment. So on the third day at around 10am, I had that "aha" moment when it all clicked. So I spent the rest of the day just practicing with the hook doing rows and rows of chain stitch. I hadn't even picked up a bead or sequin at this point. Bob was happy that I the "slow" one finally got it as everyone else was just speeding along. He then tells me that it took him 10 years to figure it all our & that most of the other students had taken a 2 day class with him in Chicago the previous year. Then one by one the other students told me they had taken many embroidery classes. Me? This was my first. Bob then noticed that I sew left to right. I've always sewn left to right for bead embroidery, cross stitch and crewel. Well, I guess to correctly be able to securely hold the beads/sequins to sew them down using the hook, I have to sew right to left. Talk about trying to teach an old dog new tricks. So, then I had to practice trying to do chain stitches right to left...it was hard! I did get some fibers out to play around with as I need to relax so I wouldn't feel so frustrated. I enjoyed this, and Bob thought it a great new way to use the hook. So the question that everyone was asking me...did you have fun? No, not really as it was frustrating and hard. Will you do it again? I am not giving up on tambour beading, but I see that it is going to take many many hours of practice before I can even get to the point that the other students were when I left Saturday. Will I ever get to the point that I can make something using the tambour hook...after 10 years, maybe? So all in all...valuable lesson....if you are going to take a class that falls out of your comfort zone...ask more questions than I did and be prepared to struggle before you finally get that moment of "yes, I got it".

To keep myself from totally getting to the point where I would break down, I sewed on Mother's Love to keep my fingers nimble and to relax my screaming mind. Didn't I say how much bead embroidery is a therapy? It is! So here are a couple pictures. I have not done any surface embellishment and the face needs more work.


Bobbi Ann said...

Hi, Oh my goodness, she's so beautiful...I love her so far! I have to tell you that I've been following you and you're a very talented person and I'm so amazed at all of your pieces...very stunning and so impressive! Thanks so much for the sneak peak! I hope that you have a wonderful rest of your evening.
Hugs and happy beading...

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

So, will you pursue Tambour further? Since you got the hang of it, did you enjoy it?

Love the doll. Glad she soothed your soul while waiing for the AH HA moment.

Silver Surfer said...

I love your post about the tambouring. I have bought a hook to try it on my own.Ofcourse I know I am setting my self up to fail When beader such as your self finds problems I will try.. I have Bob's you tube video on my bookmarks..I like to look at it occasionally.
Your lovely Doll is something else.. Love her to bits

Unknown said...

Dot, I look at your work and despair that mine will ever measure up! Sigh. It's already beautiful and you aren't even done yet!
What a wonderful piece to work on to regain your calm.

Joann Loos said...

Kudos to you for trying something new! I tried to do tambor embroidery with a crochet hook. It worked for me----somewhat LOL. I hope you don't give up on it.


Penny said...

Grrr! How frustrating! I've been to classes like that where they take more out of me than they put in. At least you have the fundamentals and perhaps can practice in private. 'Mother Love' is beautiful and looking at her should bring your self esteem right up to where it should be. You are a beautiful beader.

Pierrette =^..^= said...

Tambour beading seems deceptively easy when watching the video.

I had no idea that this technique was thought here in the USA and not any farther than Kentucky too.

I had seen work done by French stitchers who were just learning the technique and thought it beautiful.

Not sure that this is for me though, but something to think about.

I sure can understand your frustration during that class.

Again, it was wonderful reading about your experience trying to learn this technique.

Pierrette =^..^=

flyingbeader said...

My tambour hook & frame are still in the box out in the garage. I just haven't had the energy this week to get them out & work on it. I do think I needed some written instructions. I'm not giving up on it...I just want to give it a vacation so when I reintroduce myself to the tambour hook, I'll have a better feeling about it.