Taking a Break With Some Beads

b_beading_7726 aThe knitting order is done. A painting has just been finished (post to come soon!). Panels have been primed with gesso. It seemed like a good time to mix things up a bit and spend some time on fibre art.

b_beading_7727 aI’ve taken a different approach to this piece compared to everything I did in 2014. First, this one is small; 10 inches by 12.5 inches or so (unmounted). Secondly, it is completely unplanned, it was a case of drawing out the image with stitch. I needed to loosen up the pieces to enjoy working on them and let them evolve and not have rules. I needed to shrink the size of the pieces as on large works the bead work was being lost in the scale. The beads worked wonderfully when viewing a piece in person (lots of “wow” factor), but on a computer screen the detail was completely lost. Unfortunately the reality now is that work needs to look better on a screen than in reality, that is how shows are chosen. So in keeping with “playing the game” I am going small with the fibre art pieces so that the beaded detail shows.

Now I am starting to flesh the image out with glass seed beads. Each bead is about 1mm in depth. Time consuming work. Last night I sat down to work on the piece, BBC documentaries playing in the background (slightly addicted to BBC docs!), and when I finally looked up at the clock it was 4:00 am. What is more, only a small portion of the area is done. Slow, slow work…and morning comes way too quickly when you work until 4:00 am or later.

b_beading_7728 aThe piece is again made of naturally dyed threads and fabrics that I have hand dyed in micro batches. The base piece is cotton dyed in marigold, the blue thread in the image above is indigo. There are also, to date, appearances of logwood, cutch, and a funky lac/madder combo (seems to be a weird personal favorite on cotton….no idea why).

I am using up bits and pieces from my stash of naturally dyed materials; making what I currently have work before I end up with an unmanageable amount of naturally dyed fabrics and threads. Next in the “stash busting” will be using some of the eco-printed fabrics, perhaps incorporating stitching and beading (of course!), and maybe going with creating functional items for a change.

Fibre art by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com
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Also check out the project I am building at
www.handmade-canada.com .

A project being built for for Canadian artists, artisans, writers, musicians and growers.

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Beading Again

beaded sun blogThis piece was originally going to be more about the naturally dyed silk and less about stitching and beading. Once I started on the sun I knew the whole focus of the piece just had to change. Even though this piece will probably take me 100 times longer than my original plan ( or at least feel like it is taking 100 times longer! ), beading is exactly what the piece is calling for.

( Need something to read? I also blog at www.debrahunter.wordpress.com and at www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com . My work with Hunter Photographics can also be viewed at www.thehuntergroup.ca or on my Facebook page . )

Beading Four At A Time

beading 3In the beginning of March I naturally dyed up a batch of silk. It was dyed in strawberry, cranberry, blueberry, blackberry, marigold and turmeric. I pieced a few strips of the silk together with an idea in mind, but as the weeks went on I realized it wasn’t quite right. The piece was too big, over 4 feet long, and just awkward when it came to my original plan. Two weeks ago I had my “A-HA” moment. First I came across an exhibition looking for submissions that would suit the idea of the piece well. The next day we were leaving for the coast so I had to make an immediate game plan. I chopped the original silk piece in half, backed it, and took the piece on the trip with me with great plans to spend a lot of time working on it.  Well working on it ended up being maybe a half hour in total as things such as golf and beaches interfered with my plan.

beading 2Home I came and I realized I had to get busy as the submission date was near the end of April. Now I spend hours each day stitching and beading. I am beading four tiny seed beads at a time; the beads are 1mm in depth and 2mm in diameter. It is time-consuming work, yet peaceful in its repetitiveness at the same time. My guess is the project is nearly half way finished; it is at the stage where I can see it all coming together and know that I am on the right track. In between the beading I am natural dyeing tiny batches of silk, cotton and wool threads to be used for the stitching. It seems like everything about this piece is tiny. Tiny beads. Tiny dye batches. Teeny tiny elements all working together to make one very textured and patterned piece.

beading 1

Flower Garden (2013) – Update

Flower Garden (2013)

Flower Garden (2013)

” Flower Garden”
(2013)

dimensions : 16 inches by 20 inches

media: silk hand dyed with hand-crafted natural dyes, embellished with cotton, bamboo and silk thread, and accented with glass beads

Several weeks ago I posted about finishing ” Flower Garden “. It had been a crazy time finishing the piece before the submission date, to the point of finishing up the beading in the car as my husband drove to the West Coast and back again.

It turns out that it was well worth my while to go above and beyond to finish the piece in time. Last night I received an email indicating that “Flower Garden” had been accepted to be shown in the “Rooted in the Arts” exhibition.  “Rooted in the Arts” is a juried fine art exhibition that is being shown in conjunction with the 2013  Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artists Awards. The exhibition will run from May 13th to June 22nd, 2013 at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer, Alberta.

Flower Garden, 2013

flower garden blog” Flower Garden”
(2013)

dimensions : 16 inches by 20 inches

media: silk hand dyed with hand-crafted natural dyes, embellished with cotton, bamboo and silk thread, and accented with glass beadsflower garden detailWell ” Flower Garden ” is finally finished, and finished before the submission date…some how.

It is a fun piece, a little folk-artsy, a little child-like, and a whole lot of beads. The red beads in the border total just under 2800 beads alone….I didn’t work out how many beads the whole piece contains, I’m not quite that insane. Unfortunately the little pictures in the blog don’t really show the texture, the shimmer, and the detail the piece contains; it is a piece that really needs to be seen (and touched) in person.

 

Lured by shiny things.

beads

I will admit that I have recently been lured by shiny things. This is how it happened:

Last Friday I took out  a naturally dyed and stitched piece I have been working on, to mount. For about three months I considered the piece finished except for mounting, so today was the day to finish it off. I took a final look at the piece and decided it needed more than just mounting, so I decided to add a border. Sounds simple. Well it actually meant spending Friday and Saturday twisting and tying and dyeing silk in marigold and strawberry hoping to get colors that would go with the original piece. The colors worked, the border was added, but it still needed MORE. Now I could have taken the easy way out and cut back the border to make it narrower and called it a day….but no. My answer to the problem was BEADS.

beads

Now I do enjoy working with beads. I like the sparkle. I like the bling. I like how they sit above the surface on a stitched piece. The downside is beading takes time.

beads 3 blog

The beads I am using are roughly 1mm in depth by 2mm in diameter. Teeny.

6.5 cm by 9 cm corner detail of "Flower Garden", currently a work in progress.

6.5 cm by 9 cm corner detail of “Flower Garden”, currently a work in progress.

 

I am hoping I made the right choice to add the beads. A “finished ” project is now a long way from finished, and I have hours and hours of beading ahead of me. I originally had a plan for this piece and needed it finished by the 14th. Clearly that probably won’t happen now, but it will be pretty when it is done.