Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category
As someone who is interested in history, and more specifically historical aspects of beading and other ‘women’s work’ I am always fascinated to learn about different culture’s practices with regards to beads and embelishments. One of the cultures who have had a huge impact on beading and bead embroidery, is the Native Americans. They have made some of the most beautiful beaded pieces and continue to do so! Their work with seed beads is intricate and colorful, and their applique process is intense!
The symbols they use are distinct to each tribe and their beadwork usually holds a spiritual significance which expertly flows through the entire piece. I love it when artists work spiritual aspects into their pieces. It’s something I try to do myself in many of my works. Sometimes with more success than others.
Native beadwork began with natural materials such as seeds, wood and bone. Their most intricate work was quillwork where they wove together quills from porcupines or bird feathers. They didn’t start using seed beads until the Europeans brought them over for trade, but once they did glass beads quickly took over as a favorite method of embellishment over the much more labor intensive quill work.
The best part is that Native American beadwork is still going strong! There are many artists out there today who are keeping their ancestral traditions alive. KQ Designs is where I found the delightful picture of a beautiful crown decked out in some stunning beadwork, posted above. You can find many more Native Artists on Etsy! One of the ones I found that makes some really amazing pieces is LJ Greywolf. Check out his shop on Etsy, you can tell he puts some love in each of his pieces. Beaded Willow makes some great chokers and her barrettes are dripping with beads! I love it!
My great grandfather was a rural doctor in Oklahoma that worked partially for a reservation. Sometimes his patients couldn’t pay in cash, so they paid with some beautiful beadwork. My grandfather’s beloved childhood moccasins are beyond repair, but still maintain some of their beaded beauty. I am currently working on fixing a beaded basket that at some point during the years has begun to fall apart. The basket itself is still very well kept, though the string holding the beadwork on is broken in several places. It is beautiful, and well worth the effort. I just wish I had someone with more experience with the Native American style of beadwork to fix it. I feel like I’m throwing mud at a work of art!
For more information on Native American beadwork check out this article from Fire Mountain Gems. Reading it today is what started my brain processing this blog post. Totally worth it!
I was speaking with a friend the other day, a fellow entrepreneur who was having trouble with one of her employees. Trouble enough that she was going to have to let him go.
She explained to me that she was hurting because she wanted to give this employee the opportunities to shine. She knows they can shine, but they have been obstinate about their work, not putting their heart into things and causing some nearly catastrophic problems because of it.
She is a creative person, like myself. Creative people want to believe the best in folks. Those of us who can see the potential in people tend to give folks more leeway than we should because of that vision of what we know those people can be. But sometimes those people aren’t in a place where they can fill those expectations, they aren’t able to see their own worth around their baggage or even worse, they actively work against the goals of the group.
You can’t help those people. You certainly can’t change someone who doesn’t think they are doing anything wrong. At some point, you have to let go. But let me tell you folks. It’s not easy. It’s not fun, and for those of us who strive to live with compassion, it hurts.
For the health of her business, and inevitably her own sanity, she did what was necessary.
Nobody likes pain. But the pain itself isn’t bad. It reminds you that you still can feel compassion, that you still have a soul to share with folks. There is nothing wrong with that. Just acknowledge the pain for the lesson it brings and continue to do what you need to do. Knowing that you will continue to do it with compassion and soul.
Most of us try to avoid hurting others because we want to do what is right, and we want to see those we love and care for happy. But sometimes that that is not an option, and that pain that we feel reminds us that we are alive, that we haven’t become some soulless automaton that walks this world just doing what it’s told no matter how it effects the people and things around us. It proves to us that we as individuals are still striving to do the right thing, not only for ourselves, but for those we care about.
So when struggling to do what you know is necessary, bare with bleeding heart the storm of doubt, frustration and anxiety, and understand that the pain that comes from compassion is a sign of life, of the struggle to do the right thing.
We should all strive to do the right thing. So let the pain come, thank it for it’s hard lessons, and then, when it’s time, let it go.
I have been working on a rather large project for the past few weeks and haven’t been able to give as much time to my beads as I would like to. I really need to make sure to set aside time each week to work on creating and designing jewelry, it really relaxes me and boy, oh boy, can I use some relaxation now. Jewelry creation has been a passion of mine for years, and it keeps getting interrupted by all the other things I need to do in life! Luckily, I am blessed by a supportive husband who loves me and wants to see me succeed, so that helps. He helps me overcome my anxiety and frustration and for that I can’t thank him enough.
Even with life exploding all over my creative time, I have been able to create a new piece for stock and wanted to share them with you lovely folks. In the next few days I am hoping to have this bracelet and all the other new pieces in the store so folks can purchase them if they like them.
The first piece is a lovely bracelet that would be perfect for someone with slightly smaller wrists. I can fit it on my wrists but it’s a wee bit tight. Swarovski crystal makes this bracelet sparkle! It was created by me, the pattern is by Ellad2.
I have a bracelet on the workbench now too! I should have it finished in the next few days. Here is a sneak peek. I’m working it in purples as that is my second favorite color!
I have so many ideas for my own patterns, and I am thinking of uploading a few of my own patterns for download here on the blog, what do you think? Would you like some simple patterns to download? I have a few I made for several classes I taught last year. Might be fun to see what you guys can make out of them!
Last but not least, something totally not bead related!
For years I have wanted to add a bit of color to my hair. I used to dye it bright red. But I’m already a bit red in the face so it wasn’t exactly flattering. I wanted something that would take the rosy cheeks and tone them down a bit. So I found a lovely hair stylist and she gave me a few streaks of blue! It’s such a great color of blue too, I absolutely love it. She also added a lighter patch in front, where all my grey is because I love the stripe of white! If it wasn’t such a pain to grow out I would leave that part natural and wear it with pride! Since I have no patience to let the color grow out, I figured this was the next best thing.
Take a look!
What an uplifting article on crafting and it’s worth.
Wait, that’s not right.
No, it’s not just crafting, but the worth we hold within ourselves. Even those of us who have been around the block a time or two, like the author, can read this and get something out of it. The article is about being able to stand tall and proud of our work and not apologize for it’s mistakes. It’s about knowing what you do is worth the money you are asking for it because you deserve to make a living wage too.
Thank you The Pale Rook. It’s totally worth the read.
I hate to see people throw away their jewelry. Even the costume kind. Mardi gras beads are about the only type of jewelry that I will throw away or recycle. Those are less beads and more plastic on a string. Everything else can be remade into something fun and more fashionable. Beads can be restrung, chain can be used in various different ways. It can all be shifted about and made into something you find beautiful again.
Here are some tips for upcycling your old jewelry:Chains can be cut and the pieces can be made into pendants, earrings or used between beads on bracelets and necklaces. Beads can be cut from their original cording and restrung with different beads and findings to create a totally different look. Look for quality components even if you don’t like the original design, you can always take apart something of quality, you can’t make something of quality out of shoddy materials. Be creative! Even if you have something you don’t think would ever look good, think outside the box to make it something fun and funky! Taking a few beads to make earrings is a great way to break up a stash. Try switching from one strand necklaces to multi-strand necklaces or vice versa! Adding or subtracting beads can change the whole look of a piece. Don’t be afraid to combine gold and silver. Done well it’s totally a thing. Be brave! Browse the internet! Get ideas! Pintrest is super fun for feeding your imagination. Just be sure not to copy a design, folks work hard on designing their pieces, be original and create one of your own! Beadweaving can be upcycled too, though it can be a bit more difficult with the smaller beads. Making a bracelet a necklace is always a fun way to spice up a piece! Or if the piece is too plain you can always add more stuff! Check out rummage sales, garage sales, and flea markets for old jewelry. You can find some great deals! Have fun! Designing is all about tapping into what makes you feel pretty, what you decide is beautiful. If you are not enjoying it, you are doing it wrong!
Here are some ideas to get you going!
Here is an example of a piece I repurposed from two different necklaces. It was fun and I can’t wait to wear it!
How has winter been for you? We have had a massive amount of snow here and I for one will be glad when it gets warm enough that I can open up the windows and air out the house. Not to mention seeing the grass again! I am so used to spending at least one weekend a month out in nature, camping or hiking. Something where we can get out and stretch our legs a bit. Sadly we have been so sick the last two months that we have had to skip our nature weekends! I miss it terribly! I would love to get back out into the wilds and breathe deep. It’s so relaxing.
Despite the wave of illness that has kept me from heading outside, I have been able to work on several crafty things lately. If I can’t get outside, I might as well make the most of the time I spend inside! I figured I would share a few of the projects with you to let you know I am still alive and kicking. Life has been super busy here at The Jeweled Heron and once the sun returns I will take pictures of my new creations and post them in the store! As always if you see something you like, let me know.
Seeing as how I love lists, (Big shock coming from the girl who likes to organize her beads eh?) I am going to organize my thoughts into a nice list for you all.I finished organizing my beads! It was great! Then I found another hidden stash of beads that has yet to be organized by the new organizational system I am using. I’m not sad about this. I’m actually looking forward to trying to fit them in. Does that make me weird? I have finished another pendant. When I was working on this one I was certain I wouldn’t like it. However, now that it is done, I’m actually liking it quite a bit. I am going to do it in another color to see if I _actually_ like it or if it was just a fluke. Till then, here is a picture of it. I tried my hands at another pendant pattern and realized I actually DO hate it. I won’t be posting a picture of that one. Seriously, it’s terrible. I’m trying to figure out how to save it. The more I think about it, the more I want to tear it apart and use the beads for something else. Ugh. I finished a necklace and matching earrings! They were super fun, and made up for the last pendant’s disappointment. Every failure deserves a win. This duo is my win. I found a fun blog post about jewelry inspired by books. It was cute! You should check it out too. This blog is just one aspect of the Jeweled Heron’s public face. Don’t forget you can find me on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook too! They are a great way to keep up to date with what I am working on as I am working on them! You don’t have to wait for me to write up a formal blog post like you do here. Likes and comments remind me that I am not alone with my beady obsessions. *laughs* Just in case you missed it on the Facebook page. I love skulls. My little jewelry loving heart loves gemstones. You put the two together and I can’t help but want them all! Check out these amazing gemstone skulls! So realistic and so beautiful! I need to start a collection. *drools*
Welp! That is everything for now! I hope you folks have a great and crafty weekend!
One of the things I struggle with in my life is my need to help people. I have seen people suffer, I have felt suffering myself, and knowing how destructive it is, I have always strived to help people move beyond that suffering.
I had begun to work with beads very early in my life, my family is very artistic and my counselors encouraged me to seek emotional outlets in safe and healthy ways. Beads allowed me to work through my depressions and sort out my frustrations. The repetitive nature helped me to focus and calm down when things got too intense. I had worked my way through drawing comics to crochet and painting, but when it all comes down to it, it is the precision and color of beads that drew me to bead work. It allowed me to satisfy my need for ‘perfection’ by being perfect for me. You can count on the shapes of the beads and plan your pattern around them. All it takes is some thread and time and eventually you will have a thing of beauty.
The problem quickly became a question of how did creating jewelry help others? Let’s be honest it’s an expensive hobby and not nearly as important as food or shelter when it comes down to basic human needs. Many of the people I found myself surrounded by early in my life were struggling to make ends meet. They couldn’t buy jewelry and it was selfish to want something pretty when you had to save up just to pay rent. Believing I could make a living by creating jewelry was a dream that I couldn’t afford to strive for. So believing beads held no value for anyone but myself I pursued a career in the medical field. It fulfilled my need to help people, but at the expense of my own sanity. The hours were long, the work thankless and dirty. While I enjoyed helping people, I burnt out quickly.
I make jewelry because I have walked through darkness. I have felt despair like ice beneath my skin. Whether it be negative criticism about the quality of my work, or complaints about who I am ‘supposed’ to be or even the isolation of being in an abusive relationship. I have felt the deep depression of one who has spent way to much time staring into the abyss. I believed the lies that because I enjoyed girlie things I was lesser in some ways. I believed that by wanting beauty in my life I was selfish and greedy.
The thing about the abyss is once you are in ensconced in the darkness, it’s easy to remain there. It’s misery can be deceptively comfortable. The idea of hope suddenly becomes foolish because the bullies tell you it is. The darkness becomes your new accepted reality.
“Creating beauty isn’t helping people.”
I believed that for a very long time.
But for me making beautiful things allows me to drive away the sorrow and pain of daily life so that I can see that the world isn’t a horrible place. There is beauty still out there, there is still a reason to hope for the best, even if it is just for today, even if it is for just one, more, day.
If my jewelry can do that for me, then perhaps it can do that for others. If it gives even one other person the ability to hope for a better day, then surely that person sees it as helpful. Surely it can be their talisman for hope in a better life.
Through all my careers, through a failed marriage, through the ups and downs in life, beads have helped carry me over the troubled waters. They have become an armor I wear against the darkness, who’s hateful lies tell me that suffering is the only thing I can do in this life. It drives away the thought that being called ‘girly’ means you are weaker, dumber, or of less value, that seeking out positive things means you aren’t focused on ‘the reality of the world’ when, in fact, reality includes those positive things too. Creating jewelry, for me, drives away the thought that I am not good enough to be loved for who I am simply because I don’t meet some ephemeral set of societal ‘standards’. I wear jewelry because it makes me feel pretty in a world that says I am not pretty enough.
For me, life has gotten so much better. I have beauty I can wear on the outside that reminds me that it is the light that we have on the inside that makes us truly beautiful. I have someone who loves me to remind me that I had to love myself first. I have compassion for those who suffer because I have suffered and seek to ease their pain in the best way I can.
To you who read this I want you to know: It is not foolish to hope. No matter what society says, you don’t have to focus on the negativity in the world. Bad things happen, but they aren’t the ONLY things happening. Good works are going on all around you, they are just quieter and usually more humble. I want you to know that you are beautiful and it is okay to think yourself as such. Even if your hair isn’t the right color or your teeth don’t line up or your ‘too fat’ or you don’t make enough money. If you are constantly working on who you are as a person, your light will shine through.
In this world, hope is not a luxury we can take for granted.
And that, my friends, is why I create jewelry.
We moved into this lovely new condo several months ago, and as we get settled in I find myself trying out different work spaces for when I work on my beading.
I have found a set of bead organizers that I absolutely LOVE and I am slowly moving all my beads over to this new system. Sadly, this system is a bit more expensive than I would like, which means I can’t move them all over all at once. Still, while slow, this process has me rethinking how I organize my beads.
Mainly I work with seed beads, delicas and Swarovski crystals/pearls. Smaller beads that fit perfectly into the organizer’s tiny boxes. I haven’t even started on the larger beads I use for stringing. Though I have to figure out a better way to store my chains. They are one of the odd ball things I don’t have a really good way to store. I’m pondering using old spools to wind them on, but don’t actually have any old spools to try it out. So winding the chain on cardboard seems the next logical step. Hm.
The organizer that works wonderfully with these smaller beads would be the ones from Bead Storage Solutions. I get mine from Fire Mountain Gems and have had no problems with them at all! They have several options with regards to size, so you can definitely work with the larger beads, but for my purposes I stick with the smallest and have been quite happy with that choice. They even come with their own little labels that you can affix to each container so you can keep track of color, size, price, whatever you need to keep track of. These are my only complaint as the glue they use doesn’t stick well to… anything really, so you are going to have to make sure it stays put. A minor inconvenience to be sure, but one you should be aware of.
They even have a larger tray that holds all your tools and spools of thread and one that is supposed to hold your work in progress. I don’t use the last one because I have something else that works better for me, but as you can see, it’s a really great system.
I am currently working through each of the trays, putting like beads with like, and then sorting them by color. This will take a while, but it will be really helpful when I am looking for that one specific bead that I need for a project.
Another thing I am planning on doing with the seed beads and the delicas is creating a color rope that I can take with me when I go shopping so I don’t purchase the same color twice. (or if I need more of the same color I can match it to the new beads because sometimes the dye lots just don’t match up.) This will take some time, but will be totally worth it in the long run. Buying duplicates is always frustrating and while I will ultimately use the beads, it is rather wasteful.
I am going to use Herringbone I think, it works up fast and makes a wonderfully flexible rope I can keep with me pretty much at all times. Granted, I will have to see how long the sucker gets, but I’m certain I won’t mind keeping it on me even if it is a little longer than I expect. It’s beads, not much can go wrong with that. It’s a project I’m looking forward to for the mindless enjoyment as well as the organizing aspects.
How do you keep your beads organized? I’d love to see it!
I originally posted this on my other blog, the one I keep for keeping tabs on pretty things I come across, my writing and personal bits. I felt that this post spoke to my creative process enough that I should post it here as well. Enjoy.
First dream of 2015.
I am trying to protect my family. I am also trying not to kill the asshole who broke into my house, however in this kindness, I end up just torturing him for an hour to keep him down and I end up feeling really bad about it. He is relentless, he does not stop striving to do damage to those I care about no matter how many wounds I give him. I end up killing him anyway. It is the only way to stop him. My blade is dull and I waste precious seconds trying to find one that is sharp while he looms ever closer to those I hold dear. His death is messy and needlessly painful.
This is not an auspicious omen.
Lesson learned #1: I really need to sharpen my knives. Lesson learned #2: Bad dreams on the first of the year do not have to be bad omens for the rest of the year but they sure do start the day like shit.
At he urging of one of my friends I looked up information from Clarissa Pinkola Estes regarding ‘bad man’ dreams. She has written a book that I did not immediately have access to, but I found this blog post that gives me the gist of her work. Enough for understanding to dawn on me.
From Christina Lay of Shadowspinners: ” The Dark Man is no stranger at all. He is a force from within, a manifestation of our animus (Jung‘s term for the masculine part of a woman’s personality) gone horrible awry. The part of us that seeks to act out in the world has been locked up, for whatever reason, and essentially, is damaged by our neglect.
This holiday season has been flooded with illness. The last two months has seen no less than two bouts of sickness that has forced me to slow down and put off things I had hoped to complete. Even as I write this I am recovering from the flu that has swept the country so viciously this year. I have put off doing so much it is no wonder my mind has sent yet another reminder that my creative time is not a suggestion, but a requirement of my existence.
I tell myself I do not have time, but that is a lie. I do not have the motivation to set aside time. I wish instead to be lazy to focus on idle hobbies rather than things that challenge me, things that keep me on my creative toes.
Even my writing has become stale, my beads unorganized and uninspired.
I can do better. Even my subconscious knows this. It also knows that every so often I need to be reminded of this fact. I wish to be happy with who I am, which means I need to be a person I can be happy with. I have hopes and dreams and while I accept that I may never truly achieve all that I have set out to do in this life, it would be a poor choice to do nothing at all.
I will never truly be happy unless I am creating. Something. Anything. So it is time to begin creating again. It is not just what I do, it is who I am. It is who I wish to be.
It will be a slow process, and evolving process and yes, I will falter in my steps, but when the dreams return to tell me I have stumbled on my path, I will know what they mean and will thank them for the reminder.