Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where are you in your 10,000 hours?

Anyone who has read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers will know what this means. And if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, it’s a fascinating theory, especially when applied to skills where we hope to gain mastery….. like beading. My brother, Paul, invited me to guest blog and this was one of the first things that popped into my mind. In a nutshell, Gladwell offers examples illustrating that mastery at anything requires at least 10,000 hours of practice. And, if you’d like this translated a bit, this comes out to 20 hours per week for at least 10 years. So if you are doing something for your full-time job, I guess you have it licked in five years. But if you are building a skill as an avocation, then it all depends on where you can find the spare time! I find this daunting when applied to my beading, which I try to do most week-ends but sometimes life gets in the way! Anyhoo – that  will be the subject of my guest post and I will let you know when it hits the web-waves.

But back to my brother, Paul, and his wife, Cathy. This summer they started a new blog to focus on something that has been a passion for years – their painting art. But their posts touch on life in general, filled with the same good humor and witticisms that you hear when you are sitting with them in person and lots of amazing pictures. Since we are on almost opposite sides of the country, we see each other rarely so their blog is the next best thing to them, along  with the Facebook posts from their kids. What would we do without technology?

Back to the point. Their blog is One Creative Couple and I encourage you to check it out. Paul and Cathy are both skilled and beloved teachers in their Community but, by night, week-end and all summer, they turn into painting fiends, traveling about, giving and taking classes and finding just the right found objects to turn into their next treasure.

Some of us would be proud of one successful career but they have two, well four! To Paul and Cathy: best of luck with your blog and with your next artistic challenge!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day of the Dead Interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody

When I saw Christine Wilson's Bohemian Rhapsody pattern in the July/July issue of Beadwork Magazine (page 53), an idea immediately hit me to modify it in a Day of the Dead design. In case you think this is overly morbid, Day of the Dead is a holiday, accompanied by music, food and dancing - in addition to remembrances of loved ones who have passed on. (Apologies if you already know this; I was a Day of the Dead neophyte before moving to the Southwest.) I think of it as a somewhat Mexican equivalent of the New Orleans-style funeral processions. More on topic, Day of the Dead inspires some terrific creative interpretations. You've probably seen the exaggerated colorful skeletons. So I went on a search to find some Day of the Dead theme fabric and below you see the results.

I had the Day of the Dead cabochons on hand from an interrupted project several years ago. But I had to buy an eyelet installer and eyelets, which were new skills in my creative vocabulary. In fact, I found the whole eyelet business pretty tricky and had many failed attempts before arriving at the final installation! I made two sizes of the bracelet and while Christine's ribbon closure sure adds to the cute factor, it makes it really hard to put on the bracelet, especially if you don't have help! So I think I am going to buy some pretty elastic ribbon and use that instead. The pattern itself is a bit time-consuming to cut and prepare the fabric, prepare the cabochon and install the eyelets. But it is so unique and well worth the extra time.

Christine's Etsy shop, Brewed Adornments, offers a pattern and kit for the exact bracelet shown in Beadwork and also offers some other terrific patterns and kits. She is also fine with selling work you create from her patterns so long as you don't take credit for the pattern. I also feel a kinship since she is a refugee from corporate America where she was a financial analyst. I'm sure glad she discovered her creative passions!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bead Goddesses: Jamie Cloud Eakin

Anyone who's spent any time reading about bead embroidery has come across Jamie Cloud Eakin's books. Several years ago, I purchased her book Beading with Cabochons and the necklace below is a testament to the clarity of her directions. This pattern was on her book cover and I was amazed that I could actually complete it. I was hooked!
Jamie Cloud Eakin Pattern
Jamie teaches techniques that you can use for your own inspiration. But sometimes, her patterns just can't be beat. Last year, I purchased her new book Dimensional Bead Embroidery and was stunned at the new stitches and techniques she shared. Here is a link to Jamie's web site with more information about her books. She offers a PDF download of the various stitches, which is a great reference when you are in design mode!

Below is my rendition of her pattern Classic Chic Earrings. I had to order the mother of pearl flat oval beads but had everything else on  hand.
Classic Chic Pattern, Dimensional Bead Embroidery

I just love the texture of the chocolate beads, created using a picot stitch. Jamie is a truly gifted bead artist and she has given me hours of reading and beading pleasure!
© Cave Creek Beads