This month’s learning activity, bead mosaic, lets me practice design, skill and production while indulging my love for all things bead-related.
The dictionary defines practice, the verb, as: perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.
A recovering perfectionist, I know the perils of repetition. Mindless repetition is not only boring, but unfulfilling. Repetition with focused evaluation leads to mastery. Somewhere in-between is the fine balance that contains the joy and the flow of creativity.
I began my experiment with three upcycled tins, birthday gifts for friends. Each tin would capture the thoughtfulness of its recipient.
Success? The tins were well received. So well that a sense of pure joy caused me to commit to a longer term project: a box a day for a month. A friend suggested I name the collection and give it a tagline.
For the Little Things
Hand-decorated in my studio for expressions of caring
Each time I completed a tin I looked for ways to improve it. I worked in multiples of three and took notes. It’s my way.
Come behind the scenes with me and take a look at the process.
Preparation bead mosaic box collection
I gathered a series of focal elements, coordinated matching beads and began work prep: remove the pins or bails, string the beads into short strands if needed. Paint or alter the surface as needed.
Next I thoroughly cleaned the tins. (They were upcycled, after all.) I identified colorful birthday candle quilting material to use as lining, cut it to fit and wrapped it around heavy pellon.
Both confidence and skill increased with practice. I made additional notes:
Notes in Progress bead mosaic box collection
- Use no wrap for the top lining as it gets too big to close easily
- Stitch the liner to the pellon with an X
- If the focal element has angles, be sure that they are bent close to the box so as not to catch upon opening
- Use minimal glaze on the beaded mosaic so it doesn’t impinge upon the box hinges
- Use heavy glue on the lining and leave open to dry thoroughly
- Position the beads closely for a better look.
- String beads in six to eight inch segments order to place them effectively
- Experiment. I used metallic thread and crocheted beads to create additional interest
Final touches bead mosaic box collection
- After more than a dozen completions, I’m establishing definitive rules:
- Pay attention to finishing details
- With up cycled tins, cover the expiration date with a coordinated ribbon
- Make tags to live inside each box
- Order more product
- Play AND Keep Playing
For The Little Things is a collection I’m announcing in this month’s newsletter. It will be the topic of a new class and and might even be part of my next show. As usual, I’m excited about the possibilities.
How are you shaping your learning project?