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Remembering September 11th

My travels with The Bead Quilt Project have introduced me to some of the most inspiring people. At the top of that list are the families and rescue workers of 9/11, who remain resilient, hopeful and proactive in the face of tremendous loss. I’ve learned (and grown) so much from knowing them.
We weren’t able to bring the quilts to New York this year for the annual Voices of September 11th memorial… but I’m thinking of all those people, and holding them in my heart today.
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Long lost box of beadwork unearthed!

We recently cleaned out a storage unit that had been untouched for some time. I was psyched to find a box of beadwork that I thought had been lost in a move years prior!
I’m guessing this work is circa 1997-2001, and it’s in various stages of completion. There are some pieces I’d still like to finish … like these two necklaces in the upper right:

They’re from a “goddesses and angels” phase I went through. In 1999, a dear friend of mine died. I can’t help thinking that if she’d nurtured herself as much as she did everyone else, she might still be around. It became really important to me to remind my women friends that they’re amazing — divine, even — and to honor that. These necklaces (and brooches) were the result. It’s nearly 10 years later, and this sentiment still resonates with me.

Besides, they’re almost done! The bright blue one below is worked in microbeads (mostly 16/o to 18/o) and features firey opal and rainbow moonstone cabochons. I have her pictured above her big sister there for a sense of scale. All she needs now is some arms (or wings) and to have the neckline polished off:

Other pieces will probably remain unfinished, like the multitude of amulet bags. Below are just a few. Some are pretty cool — but it’s been more than a decade since my big amulet craze, and I’m still burnt out on making them! 
I think the little dove amulet is the most recent work in this box. It was a sample for a pattern Julia created as a Bead Quilt fundraiser in 2002. At that point, the quilt kind of took over my creative/beady energy and I didn’t bead again for quite awhile.
This box runs the gambit from “wow, I need to explore that idea more!” to “OMG, what was I thinking?”. Some pieces will be finished, sold or gifted, while others will stay as they are. All of these pieces are special, they represent a piece of my past — of myself — that I thought I’d lost long ago!
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2007 BJP – June page

This is a picture of my June 2007 bead journal project page.

It’s about 3 & 3/4″ round, and it’s about my daughter. It uses her colors (which are SO opposite from mine!) and the words describe some of the traits I enjoy and admire most about her: compassionate, brave, curious, silly, resilient, insightful & wise.

It incorporates Czech glass flowers and firepolish, 2mm Swarovski crystals, and seed beads ranging from size 15/o to size 18/o. The colors look washed out in the pic — it’s much louder & brighter IRL.
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2008 BJP musings…

I’ve been assembling my 2007 BJP pages, and thinking more on what I’d like to try with my 2008 journal. My primary goal with last year’s journal was simply to get back into beading regularly. Beyond that, my “rules” were pretty flexible … try to work outside of my comfort zone in terms of color & technique, explore negative space (I always want to fill the page!) and give myself room to play. I opted not to look at other artists work along the way, so that I could reintegrate beadwork into my life without too much outside influence.
This year I think I’d like a bit more continuity from page to page, so I’ve chosen a reoccuring image/theme. No funky shapes this time (last year’s pages were round) but I’ll work a bit larger at 5″ x 7″. The “empty spaces” idea was challenging for me last year, so I think I’ll keep working on that one.
These are my ideas right now, but they’re flexible. I’m not going to start my new journal till I’ve made more headway in finishing the first one … but I think once I start the first page, it will set the groundwork/tone for the year to come.
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Diamonds on the soles of her shoes…

My to do list is trying to swallow me whole this week, so no long rambles today … Instead, I offer this pic of some lovely mocs we saw on a recent road trip.
They’re antiques, done in “lazy” stitch (LOL, what a misnomer!) and a sweet example of traditional beadwork. Not sure if these are plateau or plains work? Either way, I love these old time colors — check out that greasy green & the Cheyenne pink. IIRC, the red beads are old Venetian whitehearts as well
I’m intrigued by the fact that the soles are completely beaded. I wonder what it would feel like to walk in these shoes?
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Studio overhaul, take 52

This weekend’s big project has been to give my studio a much needed overhaul — again. It’s a familiar dance, we do it every 6 months or so. The beads start threatening to take over the house, and we high-tail it to the hardware store in search of new ways to corral them.

Our condo has great space for a family of 3 — but we need space for a family, an art studio AND a bead business. Moving is not an option for at least a few more years, so we’ve learned to be creative & maximize our space as best we can. Thankfully, my family is very indulgent 😉

This makeover will provide a third work table — devoted exclusively to packing & photography — and lots more shelving (“More shelving!” is like, my battle cry). I’m so excited by the prospect of being able to see my desk again! Maybe I’ll even post some pics when we’re done.

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Blog etiquette questions

Mary Tafoya’s post about “blogging what you do” has some good ideas for how to make blogging easy and habitual. I was psyched to see that, as I’m still new to this blogging business, and it feels a bit awkward … My inner critic is constantly telling me that the things I want to write about are dorky or boring (“gosh, Dre — who really cares why you like orange?”). I’m also unsure of how the whole blog culture works.

So rather than continuing to feel awkward & confused, I’m going to throw out some of my “stupid questions about blog etiquette”:

a) I’d like to write about other artists that I find interesting or inspiring. What’s the protocol on this? Is it cool to just write what you like & then drop them a note to say “hey, check out my post about your work”? Or is that a big faux pas? Should I ask permission first?

b) what about pictures? I can see where direct linking/bandwidth theft would be uncool, but what about uploading the pic myself & providing a link to their site encouraging readers to go check out more?

c) thus far, most of the folks on my blog roll are people that I know. I’ve stumbled across a few others that seem cool or interesting, but I’ve hesitated to add them cause I don’t want to come off like some weird scary stalker. Or is that normal in blog world ?

I think that’s most of it. Any answers or ideas are much apreciated!