Monday, October 25, 2010


Ode To Project Runway
I enter bead related contests every so often.  I find they keep me fresh and push me outside my normal creative process.  On a recent episode of Project Runway (a favorite show of mine), Gretchen lamented (okay whined really) that the challenges stifled her ability to be herself and create her best work.  What???  Hmmm, did she miss the fine print about what a "challenge" meant.  Ah well, I shouldn't scoff, there's no way my creativity would flourish under all the pressure.  Fortunately, beadwork challenges usually involve a bit more time and fewer restrictions (not to mention no hidden cameras in the bathroom).

Artbeads has a contest at the moment "What Inspires You."  A couple of entries have been posted and as I consider entering, I realize my inspiration is not so easy to describe in a picture.  When I create something for a challenge, it's a methodical (and somewhat painful) process starting with color and experimentation.  I'm not one of those artists who look at nature and a vision of beadwork comes drifting into my conscientiousness.   It may be due to lack of fine art training, but more likely my personality.  I think I've quoted this from Anne Mitchell before, but I'm more of a technician than an artist (her words borrowed here).   I'm not being modest (nor was Anne), I know there's artistry in what I create, but there's much more building and tweaking from what I've learned.  Much of my inspiration comes from the structural building blocks of the beadwork pioneers before me.   I see components of a piece and pull it apart and utilize sections or adapt it to fit my end goal. 

The piece above was created for the Use the Muse IV contest.  I challenged myself to create a versatile piece (the two side straps can be worn as bracelets).  The wheels connecting the centerpiece to the straps was adapted from a pattern by Cindy Pankopf.  I'm not sure how I would show that inspiration.  The wheels did not inspire the entire piece, they were a solution to a technical and visual puzzle I had created for myself when I made the straps.  The beading in the center of the wooden focal point came about when the colors of my strap need to be carried downward for balance (I was originally going to leave it bare with the stamped copper image I had added for depth).  I'd love to be able to pre-plan and sketch a design, but, at least for now, that skill (patience) eludes me and perhaps always will.  It's not a necessity, just a wistfulness "would this have been easier if I had sketched it?"  I've never created a piece based on a visual inspiration, perhaps that's a challenge I should tackle.

So for now I'm not sure how or if, I'll tackle this particular challenge.   I'm inspired by problem solving.  How do you define the indefinable and, harder yet, how do you provide a picture of the elusive?  I'm feeling more sympathy for Gretchen than I was a few days ago.  At least I can walk away from the challenge and no one will know (well, except my readers, but you'll keep my secret).


Beadwright said...

I love project runway and as I type this I am watching a show from last year!!! All that aside your piece is fantastic!!

Releases by Rufydoof said...

Ahhh I remember your piece from Use the Muse... it was beautiful then and beautiful now.

I am still debating whether to enter the Artbeads competition too. Good luck if you do enter!!


KRDesigns11 said...

My experiences of taking inspiration from a photograph would include painting/drawing from one where at some point the artist is no longer an illustrator. The photo is put away so it is not copied. Fashion designs are sketches/illustrations. Also, in weaving with fiber, I painted the warp with dye based on a photograph; the scarf ended up taking the colors from it. It was a leap to say the weave structure came from the photo. Margie Deeb's last book explains the process of ratios of colors if you need help with that. In beading, the photo could have a shape that we'd repeat in our jewelry. It's a feeling that is "copied". Art is a process which evolves, so keep at it. Thanks! I need a contest to enter....

Robbie said...

I LOVE this piece and so glad you are back 'posting'!

Christine's Beadworks said...

Thanks so much everyone for stopping by. Your words of encouragement and advice were all wonderful. It's good to be back posting. I may have an a project in the pipeline that fits the bill, now I just need to finish it.

shibori girl said...

Wow, I really like this piece. I especially like the toggles on the sides. And that focal piece, well, just "wow!"


mariola said...

Wow ! I've just become interested in beaded jewelry and I'm shocked to see how beautiful pieces you create, it's really amazing!

Christine's Beadworks said...

Thanks so much! My daughter gave me a hard time about the toggles, but I love them too.

Thanks so much! You might want to look at the contest site:

The entries were just incredible. I'm amazed at the wealth of talent out there. Once you start with beading, it's hard to stop.


Cristina said...

Amazing!!!! wow i love it!!! your work are spectacular!!!!