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Self Taught Bead Artist

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Winter Wonderland...in the middle of Summer...

Ok ok, I know this is a bit late, but I'm writing to you today about The Etsy Bead embroidery Guild (EBEG)'s  first Bead Fest- "Winter Wonderland" (a bit stange for me, as I'm currently in the middle of Summer here Down Under). All the entries were submitted by January 1st, and may I just say that they're all absolutely WONDERFUL entries. :D You can view them all on our team blog. Please take a moment to head on over and check them all out. :)

(collage of all our pieces)

And now I'd like to talk to you about the thoughts and ideas behind my piece- Winter's Fingerprints.

I suggested the theme "Winter Wonderland" for the Bead Fest, and when the team voted, most of us voted for this one. Which was sort of perfect for me, as I now had an excuse to make a piece for Winter for my "Season's collection," to go with my Autumn piece. I was asked to find an inspiring picture and give a description of the theme. As I was trying to find a suitable image on Google, and writing my description, I kept coming across snowflakes. I think they're even mentioned in the description I gave. And suddenly, snowflakes were all I could think about...

It is said that each and every snow flake is different; each is an individual. This thought got me thinking... I was studying for a biology exam at the time, and we'd done a huge section on genetics. Genetics, huh? Genes, inheritance, all the things that make us different, individual. And I thought of our fingerprints: how each is different; each is an individual. You cannot find a single finger that has the same print as another finger, not even on your own hand (I bet you just looked :P ). Pretty amazing!

I knew I wanted to make a necklace, that much was clear. And as I was thinking about snowflakes and fingerprints, ideas started to flash across my mind. What if I made a whole heap of snowflakes...joined them together...like so... gradual size decrease...that one can be the fanciest...I'll have to research this...like a collar, almost!!! (and there you have it, my crazy brain in thought process :P ) I sketched a basic design and went back to studying.

This was an unuasual piece in that I had decided the name of it well before I'd even begun stitching, something I don't usually do. I love giving my pieces names, it makes them so much more alive and special, and person. For this one, it had to be something to do with Winter. And snowflakes. Fingerprints. Snowflakes. Individual. Special. Different. Could Mother Nature have her own fingerprints? Hmm... Mother Nature's fingerprints. Snowflakes. Mother Nature's snowflakes. Winter's snowflakes. Winter's fingerprints. Aha! "Winter's Fingerprints." It fit perfectly, even if I hadn't even cut out fabric or picked my colour pallette. It was going to be perfect.

I did  a lot of research on this piece. I had no real idea what a snowflake could look like. And I wanted the biggest one, the "focal," if you like, to be the most special, fanciest one. So I set out to find the most beautiful and appealing (well, to me) snowflakes online that I could. Here was the inspiration for the big one (the latter is also shown on the right):
I love this one, it's just magical. :)

I came across more snowflakes, some of which were inspiration for the others-

And then after about 2 or 3 snowflakes I couldn't find any that I thought were absolutely brilliant that were, at the same time, simple enough to be able to be stitched at a small scale. So I started trying to make up my own. Which I found to be rather difficult after a while, because I couldn't make them really complex looking because there just wasnt enough ROOM, and there's only so many tiny snowflakes you can bead all differently before they'll begin to start looking the same. So it's a good thing I found I only needed to make 5 in all...

 (close up's of each side)

Snowflakes are typically displayed/shown/photographed on black, to show it up most clearly.  So this is what I did here: beading on black material, yet not filling in the background, to give an impression of the snowflae being momentarily "caught" on the fabric. The largest one was big enough that I could cut around it's whole shape proerly, but the smaller ones were not big enough for this. So I settled for cutting them out in hexagon shapes.

I chose a very simple colour pallette: opaque white, metallic silver, pearlized/milky white, and silver lined clear (silver). I wanted to make it simple to show up the snowflakes properly. But it wouldn't be truely Winter if there wasn't the faintest hint of blue, now would it? And this comes in in the attachments between the snowflakes, and in the ribbon, which finished off the piece.

I used 4 different ribbons in finishing: pale grey, white, silver and pale/ice blue. The clasp is a simple toggle. This finishing is quite simple as I wanted to keep the magic of this piece in the snowflakes; the magic of Winter. I almost added a fringe, I'd always intended to have a fringe, and lots of bling. I even went and bought the beads for the fringe! But then I found it didn't need one. It's beautiful as it is: just snowflakes.

And there you have it: Winter's very own Fingerprints; the snowflakes that will never melt. :D

Keep beading!