Thursday, January 28, 2010

January Bead Journal Project

I mentioned in a prior post that I've joined Robin Atkin's Bead Journal Project for 2010. It's a personal challenge for all participants to create 12 beaded pieces (or "pages") in the course of a year. The only restriction is that each piece is the same shape and size. I'm using a paisley shape, and exploring a different color each month. January's color is white, and I've finally started.

I placed my large bead first. It's a Venetian glass bead I bought many years ago at a gem show in Santa Monica, California. It has some pink swirls that resemble roses, and some gold flakes. Although January's piece is supposed to be white, I actually chose the side that has more pink and gold. Don't know why. In placing the Venetian bead, I just let it go where it wanted. I didn't think about it, I just placed it and sewed it down. I added the seed pearls, then the loop of mother of pearl beads, then the glass beads around the Venetian bead.

I don't know what I'm doing, I'm just doing it. Does that sound strange? It does to me. I'm trying Robin's way of working improvisationally, and it's not easy for me. I'm a "follow the pattern" type of person, although I have altered a pattern occasionally. I love algebra, calculus and geometry. I do like organic and asymmetric shapes, but even when designing my own work, I draw it out, plan it out, know what's going where, and how I'm going to put it there. It's too soon to tell how I feel about improvising. Although I am enjoying it, it's still a little scary. Maybe I'll have a better feel for it when February's piece is done!

Until next time, take care.



  1. My first time working improvisationally was scarey too. But I've since learned that I'm most happy with the result when I do. The element of surprise is so much fun. You wrote you have a hard time doing this, but I think you are doing very well! I love the bead you are building your piece around. Just keep stepping outside your usual comfort zone and it may start to come more easily.

  2. That bead is beautiful and I thin it works perfectly in your plan. Keep at it!

  3. i agree with barbara. i was nervous about working improvisationally too. i'm very analytical about so many things, but once i let the beads take over it was so freeing. i hope you find it does too. now i couldn't possibly think of doing it any other way, and i love it. i love the colors of the bead you have chosen. i'm sure this will look wonderful when it's done! you're off to a good start!

  4. Be brave and continue onward! It looks beautiful so far. (How could you go wrong with such a beautiful bead to begin with?!)

    I love working improvisationally. It's easier for me to do in my quilt making than with beads though. I have yet to do a fully covered bead piece, but that is my ultimate goal.