Notes to Self: A New Direction

Well, I did vent some hot air in my last Notes to Self: Bead Journal Project. I felt better after doing it, so the venting did some good. I still don’t apologize for the bombardment. If anything, I am grateful for the individuals who challenged the worthiness of my September bracelet submission.

The Spanish Bracelet that WON

The Winning Bracelet

The bracelet that didn't pass

The losing bracelet


It made my brain work ~~ always a painful process. Well, for me it is.

I have over 40 years of experience in the needlework arena. I don’t sew, and it takes me months to get around to replacing buttons that have disappeared into the recesses of coat pockets. But I do use needle and some form of ‘thread’ and I embellish, using many different techniques.

An embellishment in its own right, glass bead artisan jewellery when well done invites compliments and conversation. And it takes humble things, like wire, and makes something beautiful using many different techniques.

It is the marriage of embroidery techniques and my version of glass bead artisan jewellery techniques. What is born of this union is the Tips and Techniques thread I started some little while ago and have been ignoring shamelessly. It has been given a new lease on life.

So. I’ve decided to thank the naysayers for shedding light upon my path. They gave me lemons and I’ve given you lemon meringue pie.  MMMMM~Good.

Yours in beads ~~Helene


Notes to Self – Bead Journal Project

I’m about to step onto my soapbox and get mouthy. You are forewarned.

I signed up for a year long challenge: Bead Journal Project 2008-2009. Each month of the year you make something that has beads in it. The size and style and methods are my own decisions to make. The only  rule is that beads are used somewhere in it, that it reflects myself and the month in which it is made.

The term goes from September 2008 to August 2009.

It’s a great way to bring like-minded people together.

I chose jewellery as my overall theme. For my September piece, I chose to make a bracelet. It’s inspiration came from my sister who wants to travel to Spain but can’t afford it. The bracelet, her request, was to be worn when she goes shopping or mall crawling and it was to be a reminder that she is saving her money for her Spanish trip. Thus the name of the September project: Spanish Bracelet.

I made several different bracelets that have beads in them. But I made 1 bracelet with coiled wire and no beads. And it is this bracelet that has made a tempest in a teapot.

I documented my creations through pictures: both the wirecoil Spanish Bracelet and others that had beads.

And I received a couple of comments suggesting I had not followed the rules of the Project.

Yes, I know I am venting.  And I’m not finished.

The September project was a piece using memory wire: that was explained early on: I was having an awful time constraining the memory wire. I even broke a filling through clenching my teeth.

I finally through it on my workbench in disgust. And that’s when I made the Spanish Bracelet of coiled copper wire. I know – no beads.

Well, shortly after giving up on the memory wire, I noticed it had coiled itself in a rather interesting manner while is was sitting in disgrace on the workbench. It had redeemed itself.

And that picture was added to my Journal notes.

It was suggested that I should not be making beaded artisan jewellery as it did not fall within the parameters of the rules. And that the wire coiled Spanish Bracelet had to be removed because it had no beads.

I defer to the last comment but certainly not to the first. The rules say beads must be used. But it does not say anything anywhere that it must be embroidery with beads.

But if an argument must be made with embroidery in mind, then here it is.

On the memory wire bracelet I made wrapped beads in the stumpwork fashion: embroidery floss was wrapped around and through a wooden bead. That was then added to the memory wire.  Wire springs were coiled to make wire beads and then added to the memory wire.

The Phoenix Rises

The Phoenix Rises

 What was so clever was that the end curls, one small and one large, wrapped around themselves, making an unusual form on the wrist.

It had beads.

The whole lot of beads was strung on a copper wire which then worked back on itself spreading the beads and wrapping the copper ‘thread.’

This wire wrapping is used in jewellery making, yes. But it is also used in embroidery. It’s called ‘couching.’ And you will find couching in needlepoint, Japanese silk embroidery, stumpwork, surface embroidery, and other techniques.

Having said all this, I still affirm that what the beads is carried on is not up for discussion. Only the use of beads is a requirement.

I used beads.

And that’s what I think.   Helene

Note to Self 4 – Bead Journal Project

Bead Journal Project 2008Hiya. I am really sorry that I can’t remember the person on whose website I discovered the Bead Journal Project. But, happy I am for having discovered it.

This will be the 2nd year for the Project and the 07-08 participants are just finishing up their works.

And the rest of us who are waiting to start our first experiences with the Bead Journal Project are chomping at the bit, keen to get started.
It is suggested that you have a theme in which to work and this theme is the unifying link through all 12 months.  I didn’t have a theme until I was sitting in the cancer clinic’s waiting room, leafing through some magazines. All of  a sudden I saw all kinds of shapes that would be perfect for glass bead jewellery. Yes, I did. I did make notes and after we got home and before I forgot, I scribbled my notes down.
I have to wait until the beginning of September to get the first challenge. Our kids are not looking forward to the start of school but I am: that’s when I get the first challenge.
A little secret about me: I am great at charging into something but, once my curiosity is sated, I have very poor staying power and I have lots of WIP’s (Work In Progress) to prove it.  It is my hope that making jewellery the theme of this Project I will be able to finish each month’s challenge. I might even end up with a whole line of artisan jewelry based on each month’s challenge.
That’s what I think.  Helene