Harlequin Romance-February BJP

The idea for this month’s Bead Journal Project came to me on a visit to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to catch the Modern Art: Picasso to Warhol exhibition. I turned a corner in an exhibit space and was stopped short by a Picasso painting, rather dreary at first glance, until my eye caught a tall figure on the right edge wearing diamond patterned multi-colored tights, and my February idea was born: a focal heart (this one by Susan Barnes of Fire Goddess Beads) against a harlequin background.

We’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel and have been evicted from our house for a couple of days while our floors are being refinished. So my piece was finished today in a hotel room, photographed on the window sill with the air conditioner going full blast to minimize the fumes from the drying E-6000. The things we beaders will do to keep from missing a deadline!


Choosing Hope

Watching a child suffer through the challenges of an illness is so difficult! Thanks go out to Erin Flickert-Rowland and Christine Altmiller who are hosting this blog hop and spreading the word about 7000 Bracelets for Hope. An opportunity from the Global Genes Project, jewelry designers are asked to donate a denim-themed bracelet to inspire hope and offer support to the families and caregivers of children affected by rare diseases.

I am sending this macramé bangle that sports 12mm druzy stones in denim shades from classic indigo to light stonewashed and a larger wooden focal bead inset with abalone. The slide closure makes it adjustable to any size wrist. I hope it will bring comfort to a family to know there are so many of us praying and pulling for them.

Please take a moment to click on the links below to see the designs that other jewelry artists are donating to show their support for these children and their families.

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. -Christopher Reeve



February Art Bead Challenge – Conference of the Birds

My favorite thing about Art Bead Scene’s current challenge was not the lush painting, a page of magical elegance from the manuscript of poet Farid al-Din Attar. My favorite thing is that it led me to discover Peter Sis’ adaptation of the 12th century Persian poem, in which all the birds of the world get together for a conference and set off in search of the world’s true king. A great read, it’s a book written for adults, but one I can’t wait to share with my grandchildren.

With the poem’s many life lessons in mind, I wanted to design a piece that would capture Attar's idyllic riverbed at the moment the birds are beginning their adventure.

I immediately thought of a string of triangle-shaped druzies I’d been saving, in shades of warm khaki and freckled with the metallic golds and deep browns of the illustration. They reminded me of the painting’s many rocks that emerge from the water’s surface, providing landing places and a moment of respite. They would also give my piece the repetition of geometric shapes common to Islamic art at the time Attar was writing his parable. I paired them with SueBeads’ Southwest Raku lampwork beads that echo the freckles in the druzies while adding the blues, purples, creams and oranges of the landscape around the riverbed.

The elements are linked with herringbone chains of seed beads, capped with large fresh water pearls. This challenge piece will serve as a reminder that each stage on the road to self-discovery can find us at times battered and beleaguered – the beauty of the journey is to enjoy the sanctuaries along the way.


Ups, Downs, and Beautiful Spaces

A new year. The chance to start fresh. Start over. Keep up. A burst of hope, and then we find ourselves in the thick of things, living a life and here come those ups and downs!

For my first Bead Journal project (first ever!), I chose a small section of Georgia O’Keefe’s Evening Star IV because I saw it as a colorful representation of the peaks and valleys that await all of us in the 366 days of 2012. Quiet stretches of calm purpose, surges of renewed energy, periods when new ideas are born and puzzling times when our creative process seems fallow.

Georgia O'Keefe's Evening Star IV
Georgia O’Keefe had not painted in several years when her sister persuaded her to visit an old friend and teacher, Alon Bement. Georgia considered him a very poor painter, but a brilliant teacher, and was much influenced with an idea he gave her: “The idea of filling a space in a beautiful way - where you have the windows and door in a house, how you address a letter and put on the stamp, what shoes you choose and how you comb your hair.” Her examples are very much of her generation, but still a valuable idea for us today. It sparked Georgia to say things with colors and shapes that she couldn’t say in any other way.

My first pendant, based on her painting, will remain on my bead table - a reminder to stay in balance with the rhythms of life – and to create beauty in the spaces.