Sunday 31 May 2009

Hello Yellow!

Jean Power has recently started a new blog called Colour Challenge in which she plans to spend the next year exploring individual colours, their historical and social aspects and then experimenting with them in her beadwork. Jean's first colour choice is yellow, not because it's a particular favourite but because she thought it might be the most challenging colour to use in beadwork - kind of 'in at the deep end'!

I'm really enjoying following Jean's adventures with colour as I've been learning a lot about colour myself ever since I started beading. It's shown that my favourite colours in real life are not necessarily my favourites in beadwork.

I love a lot of colours, but if pressed, I would say that yellow is my favourite colour. My studio and my kitchen are both painted yellow and I find them cheerful and uplifting even on the gloomiest days. I also have lots of yellow flowers in my garden, ranging from soft yellow petunias to citrus yellow flag irises and laburnum. Yet I think I have only ever made two yellow items in beadwork; my Primrose Pin and a yellow dahlia pendant and both of those use soft yellow rather than the more vibrant shades.

I don't think I have ever made myself a piece of yellow jewellery to wear either and I'm not sure exactly why that is. It looks like I have sadly neglected yellow for no particular reason and I may just have to do something about that ...

Monday 4 May 2009

United Hearts

Last year, some of my fellow Etsy BeadWeavers team members volunteered to take part in Jeanette Shanigan's 2009 Breast Cancer Donation Project - "Bead artists have the heart to take on breast cancer". Each year a theme is set, this year it's hearts, in 2007 it was butterflies and the 2008 theme was roses. Jeanette collects all donated beaded squares and stitches them into quilts which are then auctioned off at the Bead & Button show to raise money for charity. Fifteen EBW members from four different countries donated a total of 35 squares and team member Susan Clinkscales did a magnificent job coordinating our efforts and sending the finished squares on to Jeanette. Susan also took photos of each square and created the mosaic below – please note, this is not the actual quilt, but a digital photographic version. For more information about the auction, please visit the Bead & Button show website.

I talked about the thought process behind the creation of my four squares in my 'Beading Hearts' blog entry back in September, but as a reminder, here are some close-up shots of my squares.

United Hearts uses three-drop brick stitch with a square stitch heart attached.

Hearts and Flowers is woven in two-drop brick stitch with size 15 seed beads and a freshwater pearl.

Look into your Heart uses herringbone stitch with a small acrylic mirror in the centre.

Ace of Hearts uses square stitch throughout.

Once again, I am reminded of how powerful beads and beading can be and how fortunate we are to live in an age when the internet makes these international projects possible. I hope the auctions raise a substantial amount of money for the designated charities and my thanks go to Jeanette, Susan, my fellow EBW members and Bead & Button for all the hard work involved.