A little while ago, Claire from Beads Direct asked if I would be interested in being part of a ‘creative challenge’. The idea was that myself and two members of staff from Beads Direct would all be sent an identical ‘mystery pack’ containing a selection of beads, and we each had to come up with a design based around those beads. Our usual styles of work are all very different from each others, and so the challenge was intended not only to stretch us individually but also to show what diverse designs can be created from the same set of beads. I received my envelope just over two weeks ago, and this is what was in it …
When I first opened the envelope, I was very relieved to see lots of seed beads. I was also thrilled to see the labradorite, I have never worked with it before and often heard about ‘the flash’ but never actually seen it for myself. I looked at the pearls and the silver beads and thought that they shouldn’t present a problem and then I noticed the huge bag of extension chains! I think you know by now that I like to escape to fairyland whenever I can, and so first of all I created a piece inspired by the labradorite and the pearls that also incorporated the extension chains. I imagined a very rare moonlight night, a warm still night, a night full of magic. Only on a night like this, if you are very lucky, something special happens and ‘Under a pearly moon ... the labradorite blooms’.
No sooner had I landed from that flight of fancy and finished this piece, when I thought that perhaps I had not fully entered into the spirit of the challenge as I hadn’t used everything in the pack, and I had also substituted some of my own beads for the seed beads sent to me. It was the last day of the challenge by now and I knew it had to be something relatively quick to make – something that didn’t involve 8 feet of peyote rope! I began looking at the labradorite again, and in the sunshine, it reminded me of the colour of the sea, deep swirling sea with mythical creatures beneath the surface. The pearls seemed to complement the marine theme and yet the seed beads whispered that they would like to become flowers, fantasy flowers. I imagined a Selkie, trapped in human form as her husband had hidden her sealskin. I saw her standing on the shore, looking longingly out to sea but unable to return to her home, and that is when ‘In a Selkie’s garden’ came to life.
I hope that you like the new pieces, but please do let me know what you think (and whether you think I really ought to be locked up!) and I would also love to hear what you would have done with the wonderful contents of that pack. Don’t forget to take a look at the Beads Direct website to find lots of beautiful materials just like these!