I am very happy to be a Bead Mavens guest blogger. I wondered what to write, in particular what would be of interest to you, dear reader, and then a friend from Canada visited me, and she said to me: "Cath, you really have no idea how much I wish that I could open your little head and look inside your head, watch how your creations are born and developed." Mikki had already suggested me to write something about my creative process and even a third person said on Facebook that my creative mind is a complete mystery. Let's take a tour of my 'mechanism' - you might be surprised that it is not that mysterious and maybe some of my crazy 'rules' will bring you further on your own creative journey.
Honestly, I had to sit for a while to look at my 'way of functioning', because I don't really think in a specific order. Ideas and inspiration flow through my head and heart in every direction, and I simply give in... I didn't think of it as a process, but after this closer look, I must admit that it can be described as such.
I can play with beads in various manners (yes, play, that is the most important), but I do mostly beadweaving.
|Sauron's Eye in progress|
When things go well from the start, I know that it will be ok. If it doesn't feel good, I simply stop it. Generally half-way the work, unpleasant things happen (fraying of the thread, needle falling on the ground and even beads spilled all over the place, etc.), but it feels like some kind of spirit warns me, because if I watch carefully, it always appears to be the moment to stop and look back because I made a mistake. When the mistake is corrected, everything goes really well again. I happen to shout at the spirit, though... Hubby is used to it.
When the shape I plan to bead is not a challenge on its own, 3 requirements rule my designs:
1) The jewelry or object has to represent something (water, fire, greenery, witchcraft, history, queens, godesses, ecology - anything that resonates inside of me). My beadwork is either a tribute to something or someone I love, or simply an ode to the beauty which surrounds me. So I am not really a creator but more a transformer, a storyteller. Mother Nature is the best muse, followed by geometrics, history, love, books or films; not necessarily in that order.
|Kanagawa Wave Bangle,|
Geometrics, Nature, Art
3) The colors must 'work' together. Ah, color! This is very difficult to explain and I can only say that it is very personal. Picasso said "Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint." In other words: what feels good for you is good!
But that doesn't help much to pick a range of colors for a new project, doesn't it? So let's talk about it a bit more.
|The incredible Mandarin Fish|
Image courtesy Technical Prowess
I generally use only 2 or 3 complimentary or complementary colors. Sometimes only one color, but with matte and shiny finish. However, I love rainbows too and tend to use more contrasting colors now, because it brings depth and rythm. Like music.
Did you know that a particular finish can determine the 'main' aspect of a piece? I used a lot of colors in the necklace 'Connectedness' (based on an original idea by Nan C Meinhardt, Izzy and Lucy Bracelet) and they work even better together because all the cristals have the same 'Champagne' finish and I chose 15/0 with a gold luster finish, very close to the champagne effect.
So this is the base of my 'creative process'. There must be a story to tell or a song to sing, and the challenge is to do it with not too many beads, in a harmonious color way.
Now the next level of my creation process might seem a bit strange: restrictions. To make the challenge more interesting, I challenge myself to
A - Sometimes try to make jewelry without clasp
Isn't that an interesting challenge? It made me play with ribbon, Memory Wire, lariats, loops and twists, etc. Below you can see 3 examples. Left: a Yukka Flower wedding collar made with 2 memory wires; Middle: Rippled Water twisting around itself; Right: Ishtar Collar with slips for ribbon or chain.
I love the look of open necklaces, it gives a feeling of freedom. And ribbons and chain are so sexy...
B - Try using the same number of beads, or multiples of that number
Examples of beadwork made with this idea in mind: there are 11 beads on the side of the pepper, the fork and the yukka flower. The cabachons in 'Splash' (picture left - a design based on Shelley Nybakke's Ruffles) were bezelled with 44 seed beads, same bead count for the ruffled rings.
|Venus of Willendorf|
I could mention half my portfolio, this crazy number pops up everywhere in my work.
I stopped using it on purpose, but it tends to come back naturally, like in my petals, pods and soliflore - my floral designs for which I wrote a few patterns. 'Souls' - my BOTB'13 piece is based on sections of 22 seed beads. I now have a new magic number and hope to make many more nice things. Ishtar's Collar is based on it.
Shapes, repetitions, repetitions of shapes. It brings rythm, balance and flow. I like shapes, twists, texture, bumps and valleys, wings and horns. It makes beading more interesting, funnier. People are intrigued when they see my work and some pieces, like The Blues, have been seen as "fractals".
Last but not least: except if designed for very special occasions, the jewelry should be wearable in many occasions, and have a little touch of elegance. Not that I don't like the funky, groovy, Bohemian, punky, rock, carnaval, steampunk, metal, gothic styles. Not at all: I like nearly everything plus that little touch of elegance.
|Little Rainbow |
When I get tired from geometric beadwork, I like to make organic beadwork. Read: freeform peyote. Which I still tend to try to control, but generally, the beads are the boss.
Thank you for reading me. I hope that you will find this useful to build your own signature work. You don't necessarily need to invent new techniques or designs. You can take existing things further to make them special, give it your own touch.
I hope that you enjoyed (re-)discovering my work and that you will visit my galery and/or my blog and eventually my Etsy Shop.
Btw: The Blues is a free pattern! Visit my Facebook page to download it!