Wednesday 15 August 2012

Deruta The Travelling Bracelet!

Have you read about The Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets project created by Sig Wynne-Evans?  While recovering from an operation, Sig had the idea of creating 10 bracelets and as she wove she thought only good positive thoughts before sending them out into the world.  Each gorgeous bracelet went to a different destination and the idea is that each recipient will spend a week with 'their' bracelet, absorbing some of the energy the bracelet has already picked up while adding some of their own.  They will then pass it on to a person of their choice who will also spend a week with the bracelet and so on.  Can you imagine the places these bracelets are going to go, the sights they will be shown and the adventures they will have?  Can't you already feel the special power that these bracelets will hold?  This project has apparently received a mixed response, but personally I think that this is a fantastic idea and so when my friend Maureen asked if she could pass bracelet number 7 (Deruta) on to me, I accepted enthusiastically and couldn't wait for the post to arrive.  Here is my report of my week with Deruta:

"When my lovely friend Maureen first contacted me to see if I would like to spend a week with Deruta, I jumped at the chance!  To be honest, this couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I had recently found out that Mum has cancer which has spread too far to be treated and when I read Sig’s blog and learned about her experiences and the philosophy behind the travelling bracelets, I really wanted to be a part of this and I also wanted to slide the bracelet onto Mum’s wrist so that she could feel the love that had gone into it.  I live 250 miles away from my parents and when Deruta arrived I had just returned home for a little break after spending 3 weeks with Mum at her home and in her local hospice and so I thought I would show Deruta some of our local sights before returning to help care for Mum.  I opened the box, marvelled at Deruta’s beauty, slipped her on and off we went!

This region has a rich history and although (even after 23 years of living here!) I am technically a foreigner in these parts, I feel a strong bond with this area - especially Sherwood Forest which, as legend has it, was the home of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  My husband Simon and I often go for long walks in these ancient woodlands and we are occasionally lucky enough to spot a deer or a hare or a buzzard and there is always a feeling of quiet magic about this area which seems to bring us both a sense of peace – and so of course I really wanted Deruta to soak up some of this atmosphere!

After our walk in the woods, we stopped off for a cup of tea and a piece of cake in the pretty little village of Edwinstowe.  Robin and Marian were supposedly married in the local church and there is a beautiful bronze sculpture of Robin proposing to Marian in the centre of the village and so I popped Deruta onto Marian’s slender wrist for a few minutes so that they could connect.

After that it was back to work and the next few days went in a whirl of writing instructions, drawing diagrams and taking photos as Deruta sat quietly by my side.  Mum’s faith is very important to her and when she found out about her illness she asked me to make her a little beaded cross to help her through the difficult times ahead.  After having spent some time in the hospice with Mum and beginning to understand the work that they do, I thought that I would write up the pattern for the cross and donate the proceeds to the hospice to help them with their important work.  Those few days may not have been very exciting for Deruta, but I am sure that she absorbed some of my positive energy as I focused on my goal.

Towards the end of the week it was time for the trip back to Mum’s house (she is now out of the hospice and being cared for at home) and as this is where I grew up, I took Deruta for a little walk along the country lanes to imbue her with the natural beauty and the timeless tranquillity of Romney Marsh.

On the last day of my special time with Deruta I slipped her onto Mum’s wrist.  Mum and I held hands, closed our eyes and concentrated on sending Deruta energy, experience, kindness and love.

Deruta is now preparing for the next leg of her journey and I look forward to reading about her travels around the world.  I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Maureen for filling Deruta with such positive and happy thoughts before passing her on to me and an extra special ‘thank you’ to Sig both for the beautiful beadwork and for turning her wonderful idea into a reality."

As you can see, I had a great time with Sig's travelling bracelet and I also enjoyed pondering about who she would like to visit next and where in the world she might like to go - keep a close eye on Sig's traveling bracelet blog to see what Deruta gets up to next ...


Wednesday 8 August 2012

Pilgrims Cross!

Following on from my previous post at the end of June, I can tell you that the reason I had to postpone or cancel so many beady engagements is that my lovely Mum has cancer and it has spread too far to be treated.  Mum would like to be able to end her days at home - in her garden, surrounded by flowers and holding my hand.  Friends and family are all doing their best to make it that way but at one point at the beginning of July the pain became intolerable and Mum had to go into the Pilgrims Hospice .  Up until then, I had no experience of hospices and I had no idea of the wonderful work they do - they worked hard to get Mum's pain under control and to make her comfortable while respecting her wishes and they continually supported the family, patiently explaining the situation to us and answering numerous questions.  Some nights I slept in a chair by Mum's side and the staff would tip-toe in and out to check on us, sometimes using a torch rather than switching on the electric light so that they didn't disturb us.  Often I couldn't sleep and I padded down the corridors in my slippers to make a cup of tea or to spend a few minutes watching the rabbits nibbling in the garden in the moonlight - those quiet times, seeing things, hearing things - that's when I understood the work of the hospice and the angels that work/volunteer there.  After a 2 week stay Mum went back to her beloved house and garden and the hospice arranged for a hospital bed to be delivered to the house together with all the medical paraphernalia she requires and she is still there now, with nurses and personal care staff popping in throughout the day to make sure that she is as comfortable as possible.  Mum's faith is important to her and when she first found out about her illness she asked me to make her a little beaded cross so that when times got tough, she could either look at it or hold it in her hand.  I did this gladly and as soon as I understood the work of the hospice I decided that I would make the pattern for the cross available and donate 100% of the proceeds to the hospice.

I am telling you my story, but I am very much aware that it is my story and that everyone has their own stories.  I have spent my time designing this cross and writing this pattern because I want to donate something to the hospice that has done so much to help us - but if you buy this pattern you are free to raise money for the charity of your choice.  Make as many of these simple little crosses as you wish - sell them, donate them, auction them and use the money you raise for whatever purpose you see fit.  All I ask is that you do not copy this pattern, do not share it and do not teach it because every penny I manage to raise from the sale of this pattern will be going to help the Pilgrims Hospice continue their amazing work.

The pattern for the Pilgrims Cross is available to purchase HERE

Thank you;

Kerrie ♥

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Into each garden some rain must fall ...

Of course I have corrupted a line from Longfellow's 'The Rainy Day' in the title of my post today, but it perfectly expresses my feelings.  Due to family illness the Midnight Garden exhibition has had to be cancelled - but that does not mean an end to the Midnight Garden!  Unexpected and disappointing things happen.  In my real life garden a cheeky little mouse has made a tasty meal of my baby carrots and voracious slugs and snails have made short work of my runner beans - I was looking forward to eating those homegrown vegetables myself, but it was not meant to be this year and it does not mean I will not plant new ones.  The walls of the Midnight Garden are still firm,  the twisting twirling leaves and vines are still thriving and the owls, hedgehogs and turtles are still watchful and waiting for a time when new creatures will join them.  The garden was already beginning to take on a life of its own and new ideas were starting to take shape, so perhaps this change of direction was always on the cards - the gardener just wasn't aware of it!

So, although I cannot go through with the physical exhibition in September, I will continue with my personal colour challenge (albeit at a slower pace), I will still be the caretaker of the Midnight Garden and I will carry on with my freelance work.  Talking of which - I have just managed to complete a couple of new Thorn Flower bracelets in different colourways!  These will join the existing bracelet at the York Beads booth at Bead Fest in Philadelphia from August the 17th to the 19th.  And don't forget that you can purchase the pattern for the Thorn Flowers via this page of my website!


To round off today's post I would like to thank everybody for the wonderful support the garden has received so far.  I would also like to reassure you that although my work will no longer be displayed at Stitchncraft in September, I will still be working hard on creating this body of work and I will of course keep you updated with all news on my blog or Facebook page.

Bye for now!


Thursday 14 June 2012

From the office to the garden!

I used to have a normal 9 to 5 job - it paid the bills but it made me miserable and every day I would gaze out of the window longing to be on the other side.  So now I work from home and nearly every day is different.  Some days I work from 7am until 11pm and weekends are very often cancelled to enable me to meet a deadline, but other days I can skip off into the sunshine and go and talk to the trees.  Some days I spend quietly beading, lost in my own thoughts and not talking to a single person until Simon comes home.  Other days are a flurry of non-stop calls and emails with my mind whirring as all sorts of possibilities and ideas unfold - a far cry from my old life and most days I can hardly believe the transformation.  The last few weeks have been particularly surreal and as I made the collage below I had to pinch myself to check that I really was looking at pictures of NanC Meinhardt and Marcia DeCoster holding my work at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee.

Of course I wasn't at the show in person, only Midnight Garland and The Thorns got to travel and to meet all those amazing beady people while basking in the limelight.  I stayed at home, quietly tending to the Midnight Garden and gradually four flower pins with four different petal shapes and four different centres, bloomed from my fingers ...

 Bye for now!


Wednesday 30 May 2012

Hedgehogs in the garden!

Well here I am ... already 8 months into my beady experiment of using one colour of beads for a whole year to create a themed body of work - Midnight Garden.  I am quite pleased with the meandering route the garden is taking with lots of twists and turns and the occasional unexpected but welcome nocturnal visitor.  So I was very happy when Perry at York Beads sent me some dagger beads because when I saw them my first thought was 'hedgehogs' - and really, what self-respecting rambling midnight moonlight garden would be complete without a couple of magical hedgehogs snuffling around the place?  And so here we have Mr & Mrs Prickles - she is a little smaller with a lovely shiny body and a playful twinkle in her eyes and he is larger and sort of dull (and a bit camera shy!) but he's solid and dependable and I think you can tell that they are very much in love ♥ ♥

Bye for now!



Monday 21 May 2012

Midnight Garland!

After my last post about the new Thorn Flowers, I thought that my work with 'spike beads' was done and that in true butterfly style I could flit on to another shape, another bead, another flower.  But then Perry at York Beads offered to display a couple of pieces of my spike bead work at his booth at the Bead & Button show in June and it seemed like a wasted opportunity to just send what I had already created and so another idea started to form.  After ten days and many hours of making lots of intricate heart shaped leaves, some twisty vine and a few thorn flowers and thorn flower buds - Midnight Garland is ready to be packaged up and sent off on her travels.

And if you were hoping for a Midnight Garden story:  Deep within the Midnight Garden an insignificant looking vine appears.  As the moon waxes the stem begins to grow, small tendrils sprout and uncoil into tiny heart shaped leaves that twist and creep along the ground.  Little buds start to form and as they swell the petals begin to part showing glimpses of an inner light.  The Midnight Garland grows and grows, climbing and spreading throughout the garden, gathering strength until gradually the petals unfurl revealing the centre - and at that special midnight full moon moment the powerful silver spikes point moonwards ...

Bye for now!


Thursday 3 May 2012

Thorn Flowers in the garden!

Things are still growing very nicely in the Midnight Garden but I have to be honest with you and admit that I have no real garden plan mapped out.  Beyond knowing that everything in my beaded garden has to be in shades of grey with a few sparkling glints and highlights, I have no idea what might spring up next.  And perhaps that is just the way it should be?  After all, if you ever find yourself wandering around a real (or fantasy!) garden at midnight with the silvery full moon high in the sky, you never know what you might see or hear next, whether real or imagined - a glimpse of this, a hint of that, a rustle of leaves, the beat of swooping wings, the blink of an eye in the shadows ...

I am not too concerned about the lack of a plan because my garden is not a formal one, it's a wild garden where anything could happen - perhaps a reflection of life.  So when Perry at York Beads contacted me out of the blue and we started talking about his new 'spike beads', I knew that I would easily be able to make room for them in my garden without being tempted away from my chosen colour scheme.  These spikes come in a wide range of delectable colours and finishes and as my grey beads have a beautiful AB finish with hints of lilac and turquoise and gold, I decided to make several different pieces with the same grey beads but using different coloured spikes.

The spike beads can look quite threatening on their own, so I wanted to tame them a little while still allowing them to shine and I thought that giving them petals would be the perfect thing.

From a distance, these Thorn Flowers look quite innocent, but when you get a little closer you can see the warning sign!  They remind me of some of the flowers from the nightshade family - all of which look perfectly harmless despite some of them being deadly!

If you would like to create some of your own Thorn Flowers, the pattern is now available from my website.

Bye for now!