Sunday, September 27, 2009

lessons learned

I made a start with my beaded version of Staphorster Stipwerk. In anticipation of the Bead Jounal Project 2010 I ordered some Lacy Stiff Stuff. I have read many beaders work with it, mostly to make jewelry so I wanted to give it a try for my bead embroidery.

When the shipment arrived I was surprised at how litterally Stiff the Stuff is. I didn't expect it to be for some reason. But hey, maybe there was an advantage that I didn't know of. My first piece I made with a square of 100% woollen felt that was very flexible to work with, had a nice, comfortable feel and was easy to handle.

Because I wanted my backing to be black as most of the background is for the Stipwerk, I simply dyed the Stiff Stuff with aquarelle paint that I bought once for the children. The Stiff Stuff absorbed the paint quite well, but took very long to dry. The result was not an evenly coloured piece of material, but I didn't mind too much since it is meant to become filled with beads and I have decided earlier that I just have to have the courage to try and fail.
So I went on and started beading with beads that I found last year and date back from when I was a kid - which means they are at least 30 years old! I liked the idea of working with those old beads in trying to replicate an ancient Dutch technique. While beading I realized that the production of seedbeads must have improved since then, because I simply wasn't able to pull the thread through all of the beads as the holes weren't equally big. Neither were the beads for that matter, which makes it harder to lie them down nicely on a flat surface. How fun the idea of working with my age-old beads might be...It wasn't an easy start.

As I mentioned earlier, the Stiff Stuff lacked flexibility. It didn't feel comfortable to hold and wouldn't bend in my hand to make holding beads to the backing any easier. I am not giving up though. I have beaded some and like the fact that with each series of beads attached, the work seems to come alive more and tickles me for more! Opposed to my demons that want to keep me from my trying and the possibility of not achieving a perfect result, a little angel is awakening that wants me to keep trying. My journey has begun!

Even though my piece is not finished by far, there are lessons learned:
  1. It is important to me to have a backing that is flexible, feels good and comfortable
  2. It helps if the beads are of good quality
  3. you never learn as much as from plain trying!
I did sign up for the Bead Journal Project this weekend. Although officially, registration is open from october 1st till december 15th, you can send in your application already. The reactions I have had so far are heartwarming, so I can encourage anyone to please sign up. It will be fun to travel parts of that road to discovery together.

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