Although this post is seriously overdue the block was done in January and finished on time. March and April won't be but I will get to them soon. The good news is that we have gotten a lot done on our new home (still plenty to do.) My studio is ...

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AKP Bead Journal Project - 5 new articles

January Dragonfly

Although this post is seriously overdue the block was done in January and finished on time.  March and April won't be but I will get to them soon.  The good news is that we have gotten a lot done on our new home (still plenty to do.)  My studio is coming along nicely,  I am sure it will be an ever evolving thing but hopefully it will get to a more finished state soon.

If you read my Following the Inspiration series you saw the ideas that lead up to this piece and pictures that show what the whole piece will look like at least as far as the overall design.

Each of the blocks for this year are five inches square.  They will all be done using Zentangles in pen and beads from Artbeads.com that I got from their Blogging For Beads program.  I reviewed the beads that I am using in Part 8 of my Inspiration series and here in my main blog.

If you are interested in seeing more photos you can visit my Web Gallery.  I will also be posting photos occasionally on my new Facebook page.  If you are interested in becoming friends due to this blog please put BJP in the request (Thanks).


Here you can see the basics of the block.  This is the main part of my dragonfly,  the rest of him will be on the block above and below in the finished piece.  I have already inked in the lyrics on the blocks before I cut them into the 12 blocks.


Here you can see the beginning of the pen zentangling.  This fabric is a bit more course than the fabric I used on my other fabric zentangle but I am getting more used to that.  The really fun thing is figuring out how best to  incorporate the beads into the zentangles so they look like they belong together.

This far I have used some Jet/Picasso Daggers which are really cool looking (it hard to see all of the detail and variation in this photo) and some Jet AB Glass Roundels which add to the look of the dragonfly eyes.

I started the body section by figuring out where I wanted the beads and then designed a tangle to go with it so that they would look incorporated.  In some case I will be adding beads first and then tangling around them and other cases like this I will add the beads afterwords so that it is easier to tangle.


Here I have added the Jet w/ Picasso  and Crystal w/ Dark Picasso  10 mm x 10 mm lentil beads.  In this tangle they look sort of like the center of flowers.


Here you can see that I added some additional small circles to the body's tangle.  Here I have started to add more tangling.  Here I have done my first section that has no beads which I will include here and there.  The head has Toho Bead Round Hybrid 8/0s in Jet/Picasso (are we sensing that I like this finish?)
The other seed beads are from the Amber Blues Toho bead mix.  I can already tell that I am going to love the mixes I got  since they have bugles, 8/0s, 11/0s, and 15/0s in them in multiple colors.  Gives me a lot of choices.

This is January's block finished.  Here I have added the border of the piece along the left (the head will extend beyond the border.  The lower section of the body uses 1.5 mm cubes in Transparent Smoky Topaz AB.  I love the baby cubes for bead embroidery, it gives a very neat look.  It is especially good for using with the zentangling since there are several tangles that incorporate small squares in the design.

I will try to get Februaries block up with in the next week and hopefully I will get to March's block soon.


Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at Artbeads.com, I receive the Glass Beads above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Artbeads.com for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

    



Following the Inspiration: Part 8

Part 8:  The Beads

This fall Artbeads.com contacted me about their blogging for beads program. Every few months they send me products to sample and ask that I review them on my blog.  Last time it was Swarovski Crystals this time it was Silver and/or Glass beads.  Since I am at heart a seed bead lover and I had been spending the last month or two working on ideas for my 2010 BJP I thought I would combine two different things and get beads that I could use on my BJP project.

Since I went with glass beads and seed beads I got a fair number of different goodies to play with but even then I couldn’t just stick with what they were sending me so I had to add an order of my own to get more.  I am sure that the artists and beaders out there will understand you can never have enough.  The joy for me is that I had two orders to open up and play with.

Since I got so many goodies I will mention the ones in this review that I loved the most and review more of them as I use them on my Zentangle BJP.  All  the beads were wonderful and my only complaint would be that the packages of seed beads were not big enough ( I don't think they could be ; > ).  They do have the advantage of if you don’t need a lot you don’t have to order a big tube and use only a hundred or so and have tons left over and you can always order more packages if you want more.  Most of the non seed bead glass beads were available individually so you could order as many as you needed and ordering more means more discounts.

I admit I was really struck with some of the finishes on the Czech beads.  I ended up ordering more than one size/shape in Picasso, Picasso Brick, and Blue silk.  I really like the variety you get in the beads so although they are the same size and color the finish makes them just enough different to lend them some wonderful uniqueness.  I ended up with squares, daggers and lentils in Jet with Picasso and even some matte lentils and I love them all.  The matte ones have a really old earthy feel to them like they could have been around for a long time. I may have to order some more of some of these beads since I can see them as really cool bracelets and other jewelry.

Since I wanted to use the beads I got for my BJP project I chose seed beads that I thought that would go well with the zentangles that I am doing for my 2010 BJP.  I thought some 3 mm and 9 mm Toho bugle beads might be “just the ticket” since there are quite a few zentangles with straight lines. The Metallic Blue/Purple Iris are my favorites with the Dark Rainbow Iris coming in closely behind.  I must admit I do love metallic beads and choosing from the many colors was really hard for me.

I realized that the easiest way to give myself more of a selection without getting a lot more beads was to buy a couple of Toho Seed Bead Mixes.  I tend to love mixes anyway and when I don’t buy them will often make my own mixes for certain projects.  I ordered 4 different mixes and was quite pleased with them.  They included bugles, cubes and a range of different sizes of round seed beads.  Each mix was in a theme ( I chose Amber Blues, Blue Water, Grays and Blacks/Crystals). I could really see some of these mixes as really cool freeform peyote bracelets or something.  These will definitely come in to play a fair amount on my different blocks for 2010.

My other favorite beads (from both orders) were:

The Toho 8/0 round hybrid Jet Picasso; like the larger Czech bead these had the same finish in a smaller size and were really cool, need more of these beauties.

The Toho 1.5 mm cube Metallic Amethyst Gunmetal; it’s like they mixed gunmetal and purple and wow if you love purple these are a “must have.”  These baby cubes also make really cool bead embroidery to fill in an area. The other colors are almost as cool.

The Toho 11/0 round Matte Nickel-Plated Plum/Teal Iris and the 8/0 Matte Raku Nickel-Plated Plum/Teal Iris;  not sure what the difference is with the raku on the 8/0’s is but this is a color bomb that has lots of Wow to it.  It is a mix of fuchsia, teals, purples, and copper like colors in it.  Will have to make sure to pepper these around here and there for some fun sassy color.
 After receiving my orders and after I had my sketch for my Zentangle BJP done I decided to lay the larger beads out on the sketch so that I could make sure that I had them spread out on the piece.  I didn't want to end up with all of the larger beads in one block or one area.  I still have all of the seed beads that will be spread throughout the piece as well.


I am including more photos of the beads in my Zentangle BJP album on my web gallery.  If you are interested in knowing more about a specific bead leave a comment here I will get you the item number.  I will also have more photos of all  the beads in use every month in my Zentangle BJP.




Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at Artbeads.com, I received the glass beads above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Artbeads.com for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.
    



Following the Inspiration: Part 7

Part 7: Ideas coming together/The Plan

So where does all of this process of saying what if and combining different ideas from different sources?

At this point several ideas are coming together and different things that I like are going to be included.  For anything that I wasn’t sure about I did some samples or trials (just another excuse to play).  So what have I ended up with so far?  I really like the Zentangles and am planning on using that as the basis of my BJP this year.  The graphic nature of the black and white would be a new direction for my BJP and combining that with stylized images would make it more “me.”  After making the original dragonfly zentangle I liked it so much that I decided to make a companion piece for it.


 I have decided to go with 12 tiles that join to make a larger piece.  I will be making the whole group as a zentangle in pen and ink and using beads and embroidery to add color and dimension.

Size: 5” square fabric blocks some of the edge blocks will probably have tangles that leave the outer edges.   The 12 blocks will join to form a total piece approximately 15” x 20” which I will probably mount on a canvas.

Techniques: This year I will be experimenting less with new techniques but will be mixing embroidery  and pen and ink work.  All the pen and ink will be black with the fabric being white.  The only color will come from embroidery.

I really like quotes and enjoy when I can bring quotes, lyrics or poems into my work; I really don’t do it often enough.  The big question would be what words to use.  I have been listening to a fair amount of music while working on the house and think that maybe one of the songs that I have been drawn to lately might have to come into play.

I have chosen my inspiration pieces; I will not be using every word.  Here are my choices:

Nickelback - If Today Was Your Last Day Lyrics
Songwriter: Chad Kroeger

My best friend gave me the best advice

He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind

And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late

Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had, if today was your last day?
What if, what if, if today was your last day?



Against the grain should be a way of life

What's worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts 'cause there's no second try
So live like you're never living twice

Don't take the free ride in your own life



If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?



And would you call those friends you never see?

Reminisce old memories?

Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of?
Swear up and down to God above

That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?

If today was your last day

Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?

You know it's never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are

So do whatever it takes
'
Cause you can't rewind a moment in this life
Let nothing stand in your way
'Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?

Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?

And would you call those friends you never see?

Reminisce old memories?

Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you're dreaming of

Swear up and down to God above

That you'd finally fall in love if today was your last day?


The Road Not taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, 

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black. 

Oh, I kept the first for another day! 

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
 
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
 
I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

If you wish to see all of the photos for all of the inspirations, trials, and the start of my BJP for 2010 you can go to my Web Gallery.  You can also see photos for the building and decorating of our house.  If you want to read about any of that you can visit my main blog.
    



Following the Inspiration: Part 6

Part 6: Where to get more tangles?

Once you get started where do you go to find more tangles?  As I have mentioned just by doing a cursory search on the internet for “Zentangles” you can come up with plenty of places to find new tangles.  I have mentioned  Sandy Steen Bartholomew, the Zentangle website, and fellow BJPer Robbie as places to start but what if you want to look for your own sources; where do you go.

The good news is that inspiration for tangles can be found around you in your everyday life.  The basket you keep your favorite crafting supplies in, your favorite rug, a stack of CD’s sitting on your desk.  In their basic form tangles are repeating patterns.  You can take them beyond that but finding repeating patterns just takes a look around and inspiration hits.

Another place that I found amazingly interesting for inspiration was an art museum.  I trip to DC to see an exhibit that I was really interested in and I ended up full of ideas for tangles.  The inspiration doesn’t have to be something new.


The exhibit I had wanted to see was “Falnama: The Book of Omens” at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. The Falnama’s are rare 17th-century works of art, pictures that were used for prognostication created at the end of the Islamic millennium.  After preforming ablutions and reciting prayers the person would open the large manuscripts to a random page to answer a question.

I really love illuminated manuscripts and miniature paintings with all of their elaborate details.  I try to get to any special exhibits that I can that feature this kind of art as they truly speak the detail part of me.  I really lucked out as we visited this show shortly after I had started tangling and I saw right away that there were loads of patterns within these wonderful, colorful pages.

 I just had to buy the book that went with the exhibit so that I could take these home with me and poured over the pages finding different patterns that I could use.  I added couple of dozen new patterns in just my first times through the book and when things get more settled I will look for more inspiration from these pages.




Another source for some unexpected ideas came from The Washington Post.  They have a magazine each Sunday and when I saw the cover done in black with zentangle like images in white on it I was struck how if you are open to it inspiration for art can come from the most unlikely places.
When I ordered my Zentangle Kit I got a zentangle legend with 20 different zentangles on it.  I thought that was a great idea and so started making some more with ideas I got from their newsletters, other blogs, and other images online as well as those I pulled from the Falnama book or came up on my own.  I have fallen a bit behind and need to work on adding more ideas to the cards.

Since we have been so busy with the house and decorating and I am behind with my posts so if you wish to see all of the photos for all of the inspirations, trials, and the start of my BJP for 2010 you can go to my Web Gallery.  You can also see photos for the building and decorating of our house.  If you want to read about any of that you can visit my main blog.
    


Following the Inspiration: Part 5

Part 5: Trying it on Fabric and in Tiles

At this point I think that I want to see what happens if I combine beading and the black and white pen and ink look of zentangles.  If I go this direction though I don’t think I am going to want to bead through paper the whole time.  If I use acrylic matte medium on paper can I prep fabric to accept the pen without having to worry about bleeding and will the surface of the fabric work with the fine detail work that I would want to include?  The only way to find out was to try it.



 I used a few coats of acrylic matte medium on a scrap of leftover lining fabric from the curtains that I am currently sewing for our new house.  The medium has the advantage of keeping the fabric from fraying so I thought I would also try out the idea of making a piece that has a larger image and then cut it apart and work on the tiles individually.  This would allow me to see if I liked how this worked and looked when I put it back together.




I really enjoy working representationally more that abstractly so what did I want to use as an image?  Since Transition has been a big factor in my life these last 2+ years I decided to go with a dragonfly and since they are connected to both air and water I gave him some water and some cattails.  I also gave him some flying loop to loops that join the whole piece and further divine the piece up.  Once the pencil lines were done I cut the piece up.



I chose five inch squares for this project which pushed the size of the piece up to a total of 15 x 20 when it is together and some of my images and loops go off the border a bit so it is a little larger.


Working on the fabric was easier than I thought it might be.  A finer weave would probably be even better but I only get hung up on the weave occasionally.  I have enjoyed working on the fabric and can see where some of the tangles would look cool with some beads and others could be completely beaded.

Now I just need to come up with how I want to finish the piece.

Since we have been so busy with the house and decorating and I am behind with my posts so if you wish to see all of the photos for all of the inspirations, trials, and the start of my BJP for 2010 you can go to my Web Gallery.  You can also see photos for the building and decorating of our house.  If you want to read about any of that you can visit my main blog.
    


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