Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Choosing the first bead

For Robin and those who do improvisational bead embroidery, do you start with an idea or a selection of beads and then go from there listening to your inner self. How do you choose your first bead? Do you look through your stash and just pick? Does this make sense? I guess I'm wondering if you have an idea to start with and then collect the beads for that? Do you work with a palatte (sp) of colors and just go? Thanks


abeadlady said...

Most of the time something triggers an idea. Sometimes it's a focal cab or a particular color. I just collect a selection of beads in those color tones and go from there. Even on my dolls, the process is much the same. I often get color ideas from magazines like Quilting Arts, etc. When I did my June page, I chose the colors of rage. I hope this helps you.

freebird said...

I was wondering this too. And some of the artists on this BJP are trying to use special or favorite beads on their pages. Does someone dare to put a favorite bead down and hope it turns out or put down other beads and if it's looking good, add a favorite bead?

Sunni said...

Another great question. I love questions like this and finding out what everyone does.
As for favorite beads. All of my beads are my favorite..lol..
I am really trying to remember that if I don't use my materials, beads, etc ... someday someone else will be sorting through them and have no idea how special they where to me. So I have decided to use use use.
But that didn't answer the question but again, I am only just starting with bead embroidery so I don't have an answer for that.

Trilly said...

I am very new at this, but this issue came up for me with the first month. I only knew what color I felt drawn to and from there I went through my collection to see what felt good. I picked a bead that was very special to me, given from a very close friend, and started there. I have to say I was really nervous about it and had no idea where I would go with it, and did just hope it would work out. I am so pleased now and am feeling much more confident about using any bead I feel drawn to.

Robin said...

I always start with a piece of fabric I love. I have to feel very strongly about the fabric, because it has to keep me going for a long time. Then I pick a bunch of beads and stuff I love, and put them in a project box. Most of the time the fabric influences my bead choices. Once in a while, I do it the other way around, starting with the beads (or a bead or a button that is calling my name so loudly I can't ignore it).

When I'm ready to start, I baste my fabric to acid-free interleaving paper and spread out some of my favorite beads from the box on a beading cloth. Now the first bead moment has arrived!

I dive in ~ sploosh! I pick up the most compelling thing on my beading cloth and sew it on. Often it is a button, a charm, or special bead. Sometimes it's just some seed or bugle bead that seems to attract my attention. That get's me started. I work with that first bead for a while, until some little area seems finished and I feel that I'm back on dry land again. OK... not to worry... Sploosh! I pick up something else that seems particularly compelling and dive back in somewhere else on my fabric. Eventually all the parts connect, although I don't really know how or why that happens. It's a leap of faith, I guess.

My June BJP (picture) happened as described above. But interestingly enough, July took a different path. I was in MN when I finished June, and I had purchased some fabrics while there (shopping with my sisteer-in-law, you know how fat quarters can just leap into your hands!). So I decided to layer three of them and start July. Fine, but the beads I had were for June's piece. Ok, well I loved them for June, why not for July? So be it. Now the two pieces are linked because of the beads.

I've gone overboard with this comment... did I answer your question, Heidi?

artandtea said...

Hi Heidi! I usually start out with sitting with my feelings for a little while. Then I choose a fabric which then leads me to choose some beads. I go with what I'm feeling very drawn to at that moment which I think is a reflection of my feelings and anything I'm trying to work out internally. I found that my July page started out a little differently as I had an image that kept coming back into my mind of a little face that called out to be created in polymer clay. So, this month I started out by creating that first and then continued with choosing fabric and beads. That little face has started the page for me! Isn't this a fascinating process? I'm finding out so much about myself as I go along. How about you? -Karen

Robin said...

I forgot to mention above that I generally don't have any idea in mind, none at all, when I begin a piece. Once in a while, I know there's a technique that I want to try, or a shape/purpose for my piece before I begin, but usually it's a completely blank slate.

Mary Tafoya said...

My motto is to choose your favorite bead first -- not to save it for later!

I also try to set an intention before I start. "In this piece I am going to..." Usually that means responding to what is attracting me the most at the moment (like my favorite bead).

I always have lots of ideas, too many to bead. So I pick the thing that has the most compelling energy for me at the moment. I think it helps me stay motivated through the long beading process. 8-)

Lora said...

I often call myself Random Beader, LOL! I work on the basis of inspiration. What moves me at the time is what winds up on my journal page or other bead embroidery piece, whether it's a doll, a wall hanging or what. It is very surprising to me what shows as I move toward finishing the pieces, and how much they reflect my feelings at the time I worked them.

Sometimes, most often on dolls, I will start with a color scheme and work from there. The first doll I ever made is shades of pink and white with touches of gold. The current one is shades of purple and blue, titled Sometimes I Get the Blues (but I Still Love Purple!).

Hope this helps you decide how to proceed with your journal pages. It's a very subjective thing, and the really good thing about it is, there is no wrong or right way to do beady things. There is only the way that feels right to each beader. Good luck!

beadbabe49 said...

It sounds like we're all over the board here, so I'd guess the message is to trust your little voice that keeps says, "pick that one!" and pretty soon it's done!
I start with the fabric myself, although sometimes it is one that fits an idea I have, and then I pick a focal piece...sometimes it's a bead, but for the past few years it's often been a face cab...the cab has to go with the fabric, the fabric has to go with the idea, and then I collect a bunch of small beads and components and start from there.
Any thing that FEELS right to you, will most likely BE right for you.

matilda said...

in genere c'è un immagine che si insinua nella mia mente...
dapprima non riesco bene a vederla, ho bisogno di un poco di tempo per metterla a fuoco.
a questa immagine si associano lentamente colori e forme. piccole perle dorate o lucide couvette o piccole baguette luminose.
a questi colori devo legare dei punti e delle tecniche perchè mi piace il lavoro misto.
poi tiro fuori i tessuti che penso possano essere utili a rendere l'immagine e poi le perle e i fili.
devo dire che spesso, durante il lavoro, tutto cambia e si trasforma e in genere la perlina scelta per prima è quella che attacco per ultima.
nella pagina di giugno, avevo quest'idea della silouhette lilla, ma non veniva bene con il tessuto, allora la luce lilla gliel'ho data con le perline.
per la pagina di luglio ho suggestioni africane nella mente.
vedo una madre, dei colori vivi e forme sinuose... simboli della terra e dell'acqua, dell'origine... dove mi porteranno?

Robin said...

I think Matilda is saying that she has an image in her mind, that it takes a little time for the image to be clear. Often, while beading, the image changes because of the influences of her beads. For her July page, she has Africa in mind... a mother, lively colors, sinuous shapes... symbols of earth, water and the origin of life. She wonders where this image will carry her....

matilda said...

grazie, Robin, è proprio ciò che intendevo.

thanks Robin, are just what I meant

Lin Moon said...

Thanks so much for asking this question, Heidi! I, too wondered how others "do it", since I seemed to just flounder on my June page.

Lois B said...

I have to say, I would check the box marked "all of the above!" My June page started out with the big round spiral bead, and grew from there. I had no plan. Sometimes I'll get an image in my head and start from there, sometimes a special color or texture will come to mind, and I go with that. Every once in a while, this luscious piece of fabric just has to be part of the artwork. Whatever gets me started, it never goes in the direction I thought it would, and the ending is almost always a total surprise. Needless to say, I LOVE working with beads like this!

Nancy K. said...

I had a big long comment then my computer locked up! I have to say I do all of the above too. June started with a face. July is starting with something I have wanted to bead for awhile and using some of the material I bought for this project. Then I will go from there. And I agree with Robin, those fat quarters do leap into your hands sometimes!

madness said...

Wow, I've never had an idea where I was going with ANY project, especially jewelry and no one ever seemed to believe me that I bead "off the top of my head" ... it's like a totally foreign thing to them. It's great to see I'm not alone! I start with beads sometimes, sometimes fabric... it's more of a "wandering around through my stash" and picking up anything that strikes me at that moment, and then going from there. It usually starts with a color for me.

Any Smith said...

I tend to get a concept for the piece first or choose a focal point that I want to work on. That concept may be a palette (maybe I'm trying to challenge myself to work outside of my comfort zone) or an image that I know won't turn out exactly as I had envisioned it because they never do in any media I use. But that's okay.

I agree with people who say that they use beads they love - don't hoard, waiting for that perfect project for that bead - the perfect project is here! It's so easy to set aside beads that you find special. I know - I have a bunch myself and I'll try to use some of them in this project.

Angela said...

Thanks for asking the question, I love reading all of the responses. My bead embroidery pieces are so not done this way that it is really neat to read about how others work. Some of my jewelry projects are done more this way and my collage work definately but I am very figural and tend to have a plan of an image in mind for my piece with the bead embroidery before I start it. I haven't palnned out where the beads are going in my BJP pages and have let them let me know where to put them as I go which has been a new experience for me.

Sheep Rustler said...

I start with the fabric - I like to bead onto plain acylic felt, doubled for weight - and I choose a colour that jumps out at me. Then I choose a colour palette that works with the colour of the felt, and then ... it;s intuitive from there on. I did have to do a piece for class (I am studying textile art) that had to have a particular theme, and I drew the shape of the thing (it was a pear) on the felt and beaded it then filled in around it as I felt like.

Katie B said...

A great quote often directs me:
"A good navigator nevers knows where he is going until he gets there, and even then he isn't sure."

That's what happens to me.
I start, I stare, I start some more, I stare some more.

It just goes.

It's too hard for me to conform to anothers conformity.

Keep going -- you'll be surprised where you end up !

Teresa said...

I am a free form beader. I usually have a spark of an idea. That spark is more of a diving board where I make a leap into my bead stash. I pick the beads as I connect with my idea. I will write down ideas, and a "map" of where I want to go but I never make or follow a pattern. I admire structured beadwork, but my eyes an brain go blurry with even the thought of "exact directions" :)