Posted on Leave a comment

Adventures in Negative Space

Apparently, I’m still on a cuff kick. I’ve made a couple new ones since my last cuff post, and I have more in the works. Not that I’m cranking them out or anything. If you’ve ever done beadwork, you know — it is simply  impossible to “crank out” quality beadwork.

These are a bit simpler than my filigree cuffs. I’ve been using them to explore my aversion to negative space. To be clear, it’s not that I dislike negative space… it’s just that when I get in the beading groove, sometimes it’s hard to stop myself from filling everything up with color and texture.

So I’m consciously trying to leave some open space with these. It amuses me to notice how challenging that can be. It takes conscious effort for me not to bead every square inch of the cuff!

I suppose that I’m improving, though. This brown and green cuff is my second attempt at deliberate open space. The smaller purple & teal cuff below was my first try, and as you can see, the ends are really the only areas that leave any open space.

The one that I’m still working on is primarily open space, with just a beaded focal and edging. I like it, but I’ve got the nagging feeling that it isn’t finished. Once I complete the edging, I’ll post a picture here and on my facebook fan page. It might be interesting to see what kind of response it gets. Maybe that sense that’s it’s incomplete is just a manifestation of my compulsive desire to bead everything? 😉


Posted on Leave a comment

Rainbows and Sunshine…

While my photography skills are (still) in need of improvement, I had fun with this one … adventures with negative space. I’d love to pretend that the little sun shape in the center was an intentional effect, but honestly? I had a small working area, and I was trying to fit as many masks as possible into a tiny space. I was pleasantly surprised with the results, and I may try a do-over at some point when I have better light to work with.
This is the first year that I’ll be making these basic little leather masks available for sale. I used to think that they were too simple to sell as is, but I’ve had many requests from DIY folks so I’ll see what happens.
I usually use these little half masks as bases or building blocks for more elaborate pieces. Sometimes I simply paint them, as you can see with this little rose gold and  tourmaline colored mask. The pattern is a simple free form floral & sunburst design in burgundy and tourmaline green, and it’s been accented with vintage Swarovski crystals. 

Another way that I like to decorate these simpler masks is to embellish them with sculpted leather shapes, like the little flowers shown in this “Skyblossom” mask (my take on a spring sky as seen through the branches of a cherry tree)

My all time favorite use for these masks is as a base for elaborate beadwork. I really hope to find some time to work on a few of these heavily beaded masks this fall. Fortunately, I now have a whole bunch of bases ready and waiting!


Posted on Leave a comment

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.