Beading as Therapy
I suffer from chronic depression and a disabling panic condition, which resulted, years ago, in needing to have a case-worker help me out each week, so that I could go to the grocery store and so on, as I could not go alone. (Thank God, I am better than that now, and am able to get out usually without help.)
But she did more than help me with that, and this lady was SERIOUSLY cool!! Janet was her name, and she was fun and funky and just the most cheerful woman I had ever met. She seemed to love her job, and I know for a fact that she must have helped out more people than her employer ever knew. She wore great printed dresses and birkenstocks and socks, and wore her black hair long, sported gorgeous jewelry and hummed Grateful Dead songs when she was thinking. Her jewelry, as I am sure you can guess, was mostly beaded - and mostly beaded by her!! One day while we were visiting, I asked her about a pair of particularly long and elegant earrings she had on, and that's where it started. Janet took them off and handed them to me, and then explained that she had made them herself, and how. They were brick stitch dangle earrings with long fringe, ending in pretty iridescent blue drops. Before the week was over, I had purchased seed beads, bugle beads, drops and earring findings, and Janet showed me brick stitch. I was completely blown away and lost forever into the bead world.
I don't know if she knew, but she started much more than a hobby for me. I hope she knew - I tried to tell her, but before I knew it she was gone. Apparently she had left work in a hurry, and no one seemed to know where she went from there. Beading became my passion, my calling, and the most effective tool for therapy that I had ever had before. The calming, methodical stitching eased my panic and helped me to escape the long depressions. Not only that, but I was then left with a beautiful result - something pretty to wear!! I determined that I would learn as many stitches as I could, and that I would get GOOD at something. If I could, I would get GREAT at something!! It was wonderful to have a goal. Being able to attain that goal, learning more and more, and getting better as I went, went a LONG way toward helping me along.
One of my main aims was to get great at peyote stitch. I LOVED that you could shape it, that you could get beads to hang together ON THEIR OWN, and stand as sculptures, or beaded beads, or fabric, or...anything!! I worked and worked, and boy was I bad at it at first...but it got better, and better, and before I knew it, I HAD it!! And loved it. I still adore peyote, but these days the tension seems to get to my tendonitis (in my working thumb, of course), and so I am working mainly with other stitches. And now, low and behold, there are MORE stitches that let you make and shape sturdy beadwork sculptures, and I am getting good at those! It seems that the things you can learn are endless...the combinations are endless...and the things you want to make are endless. Beading makes every day an adventure, whether it is a good day, a bad day, a sad day, or even an angry day. I bead through whatever I am feeling at the time, and sometimes come out with some surprises for myself.
Two things that were beaded during different moods and times in my life:
The first image is a vessel, and the second is a paperweight. I had fun with them both, mostly because I had no plans to conform to- they could turn out to be anything they wanted to be, I was just beading to feel better!
So....my little story on how it all started, and how it continues.
Beaded Bangles & EBW Friends
I started with two ropes of cubular right angle weave, stitched them together with a strip of right angle weave, finished the other side by adding another row of right angle weave, this time of beads AND swarovski crystals, then joined the ends, and VOILA! a beaded bangle that keeps its shape really well, and is flexible enough to slip over the hand without stretching out. (I used fireline for the whole project, which means people would really have to TRY to break it!!) I really enjoyed the process of creating it in my head first and thenn translating it into beads. Since I am sharing my technique - if not in detail - I ask that anyone who tries it out, please give me credit for the design in your description of your piece.
I also decided that I would really like to include some of the members in my Etsy Beadweavers Team in my posts, so I am going to add in a few things here and there this year about their designs and shops. We have the most incredibly talented group of beadweavers EVER!!
This week I would like to introduce those of you who aren't familiar with her, to Patricia at Silver Dragon on Etsy.
This is just one of her lovely designs, I encourage you to follow the link above to her shop!
And I just have to include my friend Linda Jones in this, as she is a huge inspiration to me and has been a great support through some hard times in the last few years. She has the most amazing color sense, and stupendous amounts of creativity. You can find her lucious work at:
And a tease; just a sample of what she is capable of:
I am hoping that the coming week will yield much more time to bead, I am starting on a new right angle weave collar, which I have been thinking of for awhile. I also have a bead embroidered collar in the works, and have almost collected all the various beads and cabochons to start on that one. (Think of woods, forest, cool, quiet, shimmery woods in the late evening...)
I wish beady blessings to everyone, and hope that the coming week brings you everything you need! See you next Wednesday!!
New Custom Order Done
The first photo above is of my first right angle weave collar. I loved the bead colors and was trying to think of what I wanted to use them for, and then suddenly I found this lovely honey onyx cabochon on Etsy, and HAD to get it; this was the result!!
I have been working away trying to get an order done for two months now - it took longer than usual because of the holidays, and having to find time to make a few gifts as well. My customer is fantastic, and a very sweet person. She sends cabochons that she has collected to me, along with a few beads that she would like included in her jewelry, and then gives me complete license to make whatever I feel looks good. Who could ask for more?! This time, I am making something small to give to her with her other items as a thank you for all of her business and for a gift she gave to me with her last order. The cabochons she provided this time were really gorgeous, and her color choices were terrific! Usually she prefers the asymmetrical look to things, but one of the cabs just screamed at me that it had to be symmetrical, so one cuff sports the same design on both sides. I made up for it by making sure the other was as she likes it and that the necklace was as well. I am a little nervous that she may not like the symmetrical one as well as the others, but I just couldn't get it to work any other way. When we were finally able to get some photos of finished work, I was SO pleased to be able to share them at last!! I named this one Painted Desert: