I had a good time at the Farmer’s market yesterday. It was a cloudy day with lots of mood and atmosphere, a little wind but no rain. The afternoon was more about feedback and visiting with friends, talking with some tourists.
It was great to experience the calm of the event after my frantic preamble. I had finished the little beaded piece above the night before and I really wanted to work it into a necklace in time for the market. Which I did. Barely.
The little 1.5 x 2 inch beaded collage is something that I had started and abandoned a couple of years ago. The little girl is part of a cover for a vintage Chinese scout handbook. It is protected with a surable coating and surrounded by beads, sequins and a button. The colors are way outside of my normal palette and I think that might have been what led mt\e to set it aside. On Friday I arrived at the 15` acid green seed beads to finish it off with. Green! Why didn’t I see it before? It’s stuffed with felt on the back, so it has dimension, but not too much dimension.
I’ve really been into making the paper beads and making super-primitive wire necklaces with them. How does a fifth grade craft project turn into a compelling art expression? I use almost exclusively vintage papers and maps. I regularly haunt the free book stacks at the Friends of the Library. I add other papers, fabrics, glitters, threads, Tyvek, metallics pearl-X until they feel just right.
There is something about taking modest materials with a history and making something beautiful from it that just gets to me. I think of all the fabulous fabrics we have today and the amazing quilts being created as an art form all over the world. Such variety and innovation, the fabrics of today represent an unlimited treasure chest of possibility. But- the quilts that make my heart ache are the ones made from scraps and rags, created with what was a available to make a blanket. not just a blanket but a beautiful blanket, really a form of textile alchemy, that ability to make it beautiful, to make it matter. The regular-day expressions and little decisions that reaches us, here in their future. This just slays me.
I like to make paper beads because they preserve the little mundane element of another time, plus a slice of the day I make them. I think of them as small collages, and, once they are created, they in turn become elements of a bigger collage. It’s different somehow than creating with beads I have purchased.
This isn’t to compare simple paper beads with the amazing quilts of the past. I’m just explaining my addiction of the moment.