Saturday, June 23, 2012

Adventures in Freeform!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!Link
In this post, I shared my first experiments in freeform peyote stitch, inspired by the wonderful Karen Williams. In this post, I explored the technique a little further, trying out a multistrand necklace and some beaded buttons.

Today I'm going to share my latest freeform creations and talk about a part of the creative process that can be frustrating -- that phase where we're not sure if we like what we've made.


Here's another multistrand piece, completely different from the one I made in blues and greens. As I was working on it, I wasn't sure how I liked it. I loved the colors -- I always love black and red together -- but I wasn't sure about the shape. Was it too crazy?



Because I'm stubborn, I kept working on it in between other projects. And I'm so glad I did! On the display bust, the shape is just the right amount of crazy to be interesting and wearable at the same time.

That was a nice surprise! I'm hoping that the same thing will happen with this bracelet, which I made using my favorite oceany bead soup mix:



I love the colors. I love the play and improvisation in the beadwork. And I'm crazy about the freshwater pearls and faceted glass beads! One thing I'm not sure about is the shape. Again, I'm worried that it'll be too crazy and lumpy for a bracelet.

But I'll keep working on it in between other projects! I'm stubborn, as I said before, but I also know that I can't really judge a project until it's finished. So I'll keep adding beads and trying to cinch in the corners of this piece so it's more circular. And if that doesn't work? Maybe I'll turn it into a beaded bag or basket. There's no rule that says a piece can't become something else completely.



But what if I finish a project and I'm still not sure what I think about it? I am so excited about the colors of these freeform rings. I also love that I created rings! And the little sequin I sewed to the ring on the left is adorable.

Still, there's the shape issue. The sequin ring doesn't quite fit my finger, and it would have if I'd made it less elaborate. The ring on the right is a better fit, and part of me loves how different it is from any of the other rings I've made. But it's not that comfortable to wear because of all that texture, and I don't know if it's because rings make my fingers itch in general, or because it needs to be simpler.

So I'll let these rings sit. And I'll look at them again later, once I've had some distance. And if I don't like them? I'll have to realize that they weren't a waste of beading time. Because making things that don't quite work is an essential part of the creative process as well as the learning process!

As artists, we're also creativity scientists. We try a lot of different things, we test out hypotheses, we push our boundaries. We do this because the very best way to learn and improve is by doing. As I've said before, something that seems like a failure is actually a stepping stone to an even greater success.

Now it's your turn: Do have have a project, or projects, that you're unsure of? Tell me about it, and even better, show me! I love links to other people's work.

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and have a sequintastic day! <3

20 comments:

  1. I really like your freeform designs! And your views on freeform, processes and results. A really good read!

    Freeform feels like it's especially easy to be self-critical about (or perhaps it's only so for people like me, used to symmetry and order -- whether we like it or not). But in a way also a type of design that can be tweaked and improved a lot if unhappy with the outcome.

    I've never tried freeform peyote (because I don't like peyote at all), but other types of freeform really interest me. Mainly RAW and brick stitch. This was my first try: http://wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.se/2010/06/doodling-with-beads.html While the process -- the no-pressure, improvisational, go-with-the-flow, planless process -- was a great experience*, the finished piece probably looked uninteresting or so-so to others. Maybe it wasn't finished -- in a way I still regard it as a UFO -- and as you say: it's better not to judge until seeing the final product, not critize too much while still in process.


    * = having just read Robin Atkins' A Bead at a Time, I see some similarities between how freeform work felt for me and some of the things she talks about (healing and therapeutical aspect of bead embroidery). It was pure meditation and focus on process -- being in the moment, creative flow, the relaxing work of the hands -- rather that critical thinking, planning, result orientation etc.

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    1. Thanks, Maneki!

      I'm glad you had so much fun with RAW, and I like the piece you made. It doesn't look like bacon at all to me. :)

      I read and loved One Bead At A Time. I love the idea of beadwork, or any kind of art, as a therapeutic/healing activity.

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  2. I agree totally with your thoughts that bead weaving is a process and often a test to see if the finished project works or feels right or looks right. Sometimes it is a disappointment to find out that we should have doubled our thread because the stitches aren't strong enough or used a different thread. That is what I found when I made rings.... They stretched and were too big thereafter. Oh oh! Lesson learned. I couldn't agree more that bead weaving is therapeutical. I am a different person when I am working with seed beads than when I do wire work or stringing. Much more relaxed and stress free.
    I have no links at the moment but lots of unfinished projects. Thats life as a jewelry designer!

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    1. Thanks for the tip on the rings! I used Nymo for them, and I've heard that it stretches. Maybe next time I'll try the FireLine I just bought.

      I hear you on the unfinished projects! I have a box full of them. :)

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  3. In my work I refer to that extended period of uncertainty as the "ugly duckling" stage. I think it's more apparent with freeform simply because we're not following a pattern.

    More than once I've nearly abandoned a project in the middle as being "unworkable" that I later picked up and finished and most surprisingly of all, found that I rather liked it once complete. Here's a piece I finished just recently after letting languish for the better part of a year, year and a half:
    http://baublicious.blogspot.com/2012/05/brown-what-boring-name-for-interesting.html

    I used Sally Russick's One Color challenge as the impetus to actually finish the project.

    I love your red and black necklace; reminds me of a coral snake!

    And like you, I find that while I love making beaded rings, I have trouble wearing them. I think the problem is actually the way that they grip my finger. No matter how loose they feel when I put them on, they seem to tighten up when I wear them (or they're so loose they fall off).

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    1. Ugly duckling stage! That's a perfect name. :)

      I remember that choker. I still love it, and it still makes me want to give the brown/tan family a chance.

      Great minds think alike! I ended up naming the necklace Coral Snake on Flickr and included a little snake poem in the description: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saturdaysequins/7430226702/in/photostream

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  4. Love your freeform work! Great colors. The black, red, yellow and orange piece made me think of a tiger.

    I also love how you give yourself time to play with new techniques and forms. I don't think I do that enough, tending to stay with the tried and true. But when I do add new stitches or material, I'm always so much more invested in the piece.

    I've done some "dammit" necklaces - mostly ones with fringe. So many broken needles and frayed thread! I also have a piece of bead embroidery in my box that I've been working on for 6 years. Stupid thing. Based around a vintage piece of bakelite. It'll be pretty if I ever get it done, but every time I work on it, it seems something else goes wrong with the piece. Dammit. :)

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    1. Thanks, Skylar!

      I have one of those Scanner/Polymath brains, so play is the most important part of jewelry making for me. If I don't do lots of it, I get bored and cranky, and I'm no fun to be around. ;)

      I hope you can make more time for play. I read in your blog post that it's hard to do once school starts, and I can understand -- when I was going to school, I hardly had time to breathe! You do fantastic work, though, regardless. I still drool when I think about the necklace with the dichroic fragments.

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  5. You are a beading queen. Love your free form. I am just about done a free form bracelet and I think it's turning out ok. I love your blue bracelet, just gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I love your freeform work, too. <3

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  6. Love that blue and purple bracelet!

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  7. You are really doing some beautiful work with the freeform! It's so fun when you start incorporating the Czech glass and other types of beads along with the seeds.

    I had a crazy thought (there's a surprise!) If the rings are really to itchy or uneven feeling to wear on your fingers, could you turn them on their broad side, slip a headpin through a gap in the beadwork, make a wrapped loop, and connect them to earwires for earrings? They're too cute not to wear somehow!

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    1. Thanks, Bobbie! Those other types really do put some fun and some life into freeform.

      You're a genius!! I love the earring idea. When I think about it, I could also string them on a cord or a multistrand necklace as pendants. :)

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  8. *love*the necklace. I actually like creations that begin with no intent, purpose, or clear direction and just come about on their own. They seem to have a uniqueness about them and the fun part is, you never know what the end result will be...good or bad! I've been toying with the idea of some creative projects for our wedding...just trying to figure out if I will really take the plunge and just do it! I think the thing holding me back is the response and how well it will/will not be recieved!

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    1. Thanks, Chandra! I like improvisational pieces, too. It's almost like the materials tell the artist what to do instead of the other way around. :)

      Creative wedding projects! I'd love to hear more about those. I love it when weddings are full of interesting little touches that set them apart from other weddings.

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  9. I have a commissioned painting I am so unsure of! I've finallly finished that after 5 months of procrastinating! Now I don't know how to make the words look like notes! Patsy

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    1. Making the words look like notes... I'm intrigued! I'm glad that you're making progress on the painting. :)

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  10. Your work is lovely! Freeform is freeing! I make crowns with electrical wire and all kinds of things. They are definitely freeforem! I make wire shapes and sew them together with more wire and add beads and handmade elements. It eventually takes on a life so it can guide me to the finished crown.

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    1. Thanks, Candace!

      I love the description of your crowns. I took a look at your site, and wow, they're pretty! There really is something about freeform anything that's so relaxing, isn't there? It really helps me get in touch with my creativity. :)

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