Friday, 14 December 2012

Not Beady...But Definitely on My Mind

It never fails to horrify me, the lengths people will go to to hurt others.  To damage -beyond repair- 27 families, is just incomprehensible.  And children to top it all off.  I can't help but wonder what leads to these events.

Is it a mental disorder (I am thinking yes)?  Is it an anger management issue?  Yet, there are also differences between Canada and the US and their respective fire arms laws, but it has to start somewhere else.  This person did not decide to pick up a gun and ruin 27 families BECAUSE he could get his hands on a gun.  Sure that facilitated the tragedy, but is not the ultimate cause of it.

This kind of behavior, if not caused by a severe mental disorder, must stem from something or sometime or somewhere.  Is it because of the feeling of entitlement that all of our youth exhibit in this generation?  I see it in my own teenagers.  As parents, it is our job to ensure our children understand why this is NOT the way go about life.

Increasingly, this becomes more difficult  for us as parents.  I worry what will become of future generations, if we as parents of this generation can not get a handle on this attitude. 

You can roll your eyes, and shake your head when I mention kids, we were not allowed to have this kind of attitude...but it is so true!  When did this feeling of entitlement become the norm, the standard, and the expected?

In the grand scheme of things, I have good children, and my husband and I work hard to keep it this way.  BUT there are still these feelings and attitudes from my children that we try and discourage.  What did we do as parents, educators, doctors, psychologists and politicians to enable these thoughts and behaviors?

Is it because we empowered them, gave them the tools to stand up for themselves, and taught them how not to be the little guy anymore?  I shudder to think that this has caused such evil and tragedy.

Or is it because we stopped having them take responsibility for their own actions?  At some point, we shifted the onus of responsibility away from the self and onto someone or something else.  I believe this may have played a huge part in some of the evil we see today.  Maybe not all of it, and maybe not this specific instance, but definitely a large part. 

We will probably never know what was in this young man's mind today as he went about his evil chores, but at the very least, can we as parents, educators, politicians, psychologists, and doctors at least do an assessment of what we have taught our children, and how it may have played its own part in some of these horrifying events?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My Beady Friends :)

I have made some new friends, and some new pieces, but let's talk about the new friends first!

If you haven't joined Artisan Whimsy yet, you should be ashamed of yourself!  This is a group of jewelry artisans from all over the world, who can come together to learn new methods, blog about their craft "envy", and chat with others who feel the same way about making jewelry that they do.

Visit Artisan Whimsy

Not only do they consist of wonderful personalities, but the wealth of knowledge that must be contained within those virtual walls must be tremendous!  Imagine a place where you can go at any time of the day to find an answer for a whole beady host of questions!  How do you finish the back of a bezeled cabochon?  How do I choose the right colors for my piece?  I need motivation, someone help me?

Sure, you can find some of these things on YouTube.  However, when you visit Artisan Whimsy (as a member, of course) you have access to real time people; whoever happens to be online at any point in the day.  These people are fantabulous!  I have made many friends in the first two weeks of the site being up and running, and have learned some new things, and also been handed some confidence by strangers!  What better place can you find to do that?

I live in the north (and there aren't too many beady people around up here), and let me tell you, it is such a breathe of fresh air to be able to log on and find one or two ladies already online and ready to say good morning and have a beady chat over morning coffee (or hot chocolate in my case).  I love this, and it makes my day every morning.

So, in my search for a bead swap partner, I have found two groups that I could now not live without.  Operation Tackle That Bead Stash and Artisan Whimsy are two of the most inspiring and motivating groups for me on the web.  I love all of you ladies! Keep up the great inspirations!

Ok, so on to new pieces...

When I joined the OTTBS group on Blogger and Facebook, I found out that they have some amazing challenges going on.  A new challenge every month, and every two months, a new book challenge.  So, in September I managed to get a small piece done for the September Challenge:  use green and gold only.  WOW!  That is a bit of a challenge!  But here it is:

OK, so it's not the most impressive thing I've done, but I only had a couple of days, and I thought why the heck not?  What have I got to lose?

Challenge number two:  Bead, Book, Bounce.  Every second month the ladies choose another book for us to complete one or more projects out of.  Since I came in near the end of September I figured I had enough time to complete a book project.  My first BBB book?  Little Beaded Boxes by Julia S. Pretl.  SNAP!  And I thought the first one was a challenge!  Well, needless to say, the challenge reveal date is November 6, so I still have time.  But in case you're curious, here is a WIP picture:

I am attempting the triangle box from page 43 of the book.  It's a challenge because I have never attempted a three dimensional piece before  now.  It's coming along, and I will have it finished by November 6th.  I promise.

Challenge number three:  October challenge.  Make a piece or component of jewelry from this picture:

This is an Alice in Wonderland photo (that I do not recognize) but look at the possibilities.  And there are no limits!  So, if the colors or designs on her tights inspire you, then go with it.  If you are inspired by the mirror in the background or by the trees standing behind her, go with it!  Cool, I like this kind of challenge, well, because anything goes! Here is my October challenge piece I called "Alice" (go figure...):

I think I was inspired by the contemporary but old world feel of the picture. 

And lastly, a personal challenge.  I challenged myself to make one of Sherry Serafini's contemporary corsage cuffs to wear at a wedding.  At the time I had three days to make the cuff.  Needless to say, I did not make the deadline, but I did complete the challenge!

And I have to say, I am very pleased with myself!  I think this is one of my most favorite pieces I have done.
Let's hope I did Sherry proud!

New friends and new challenges.  What a great start to the new school year.  I find the challenges are motivating, and inspirational, and also a challenge in the way that it is a challenge to complete a challenge without going to the bead store to purchase new beads for said challenge ;P

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Find Motivation and Inspiration Wherever You Can!

Sometimes for us creative people, motivation and inspiration are difficult to come across.  Think of it as a "writer's block" for artistic people, for lack of a better term.  It is also important to remember that inspiration and motivation are two entirely different and separate things.

At the same time, we must also keep in mind that inspiration can be used at any time, on its own; however, motivation must have inspiration if it's to be acted on.  Yes, it is sometimes confusing.
I have been inspired many times to start a specific project, but lack the motivation to dive into it!  I have also been motivated to complete a project, but am not inspired by the materials enough to finish it.  Sucks, I know, but this is the way the creative mind works.

You will often hear artisans speak about their materials and how the material 'speaks' to them.  This is true in a way that to a non-creative person will sound like a  bunch of  gobblety-gook.  As an artisan myself, I know that the material does not speak to me in the literal sense of the word, but rather in a paradoxical way.  The colors may remind me of something important that has happened in the past or something that I want to happen in the future.  The shape of my beads might resemble something funny to me.  The mix of shape and color could inspire me by making me smile.  Sometimes it's as simple as that.  Sometimes it is not.  Sometimes, especially on a bad day, inspiration is impossible to find.

How do I bring myself out of the gray on a bad day?  Well, let me tell you.  I have an amazing group of friends (web or in person) who have been my inspiration at many a times.  I also know that to climb out of a bad mood, it is important that I find something creative to do, even if it is the most menial, arduous task, such as sorting out a bead soup mix and putting them back in their proper places.  Sometimes I can bead myself happy by picking up a really simple project or by using a purchased pattern.

Another huge thing that I find inspiring and motivating at the same time is teaching someone how to do what I love to do.  Not only will you have a partner 'in-crime' (so to speak) that you can bead with and talk to at the same time, but you will also find pleasure in teaching someone else how to make beautiful things, how to use their own creativity, and how to use that creativity to bead themselves out of a bad day.

Creative Genious or Slight Insanity?

They say there's a fine line between genius and insanity.  I wonder if this applies to creative people as well?  I know that many creative people throughout the ages have been found to have mental issues.  Does being hyper aware of everything count as a mental issue?  Does it come from being creative and having a penchant for detail?  I don't know, but I do know this:  if a creative person is not mentally ill then the creative process could drive that person to insanity.

Make sense?  I thought so.

So, I found this awesome beading group on Facebook as I was looking for some kind of bead "community".  Operation Tackle That Bead Stash is a group of wonderfully funny people who love to bead!  Every month there are different challenges posted and you have the option of participating in them and posting pictures of the outcome.  I was originally looking for someone to commit to a bead swap, but as most of these people are across the world in the UK, I guess that's a little out of the question.  In my first 12 hours as a member of the group, I joined a challenge, saw some absolutely stunning pictures of completed jewelry projects, learned a couple of tricks of the trade, and had a wonderfully hilarious conversation about Jaffa Cakes (?), sea sponges, and taxed/non-taxed items across the pond.  What a great group! I have come to the conclusion (tentative) that if one must be a little insane to be creative, then why do it alone?

Speaking of insanity, I wonder how many other creative people are out there at 4:30 in the morning blogging because they have worried a thought to death when they should be sleeping?

It's a Beadiful World!

Welcome to My Beady Little Eyes.  Not only do I love to bead, I love color, and shape and anything to do with color.
I have started this blog to give an accounting of my foray into the wonderful world of beads and all things pretty.  I love to make pretty things, and besides making jewelry I am also a painter, knitter, crocheter, woodworker, and crafter.  Let me see, have I forgotten anything?  Oh yes, I LOVE to learn!  I want to learn everything and anything I can.  For example, I am currently in the process of taking courses to complete my Early Childhood Education Diploma, even though I already have my Human Resource Professional Certificate.  And for fun?   Well, that includes many creative things as well as dying arts.  I recently found a friend who has an old shorthand textbook.  Hee hee, I am so excited!
Oh, one more thing, my family is very musical.  So, I also tend to enjoy learning new instruments.
So, now that you know a little about me...lets discuss the beginning of my beaddiction and how I got to where I am today.
After being under the weather for about 8 years, I discovered beads through a long time friend.  On a beautiful (and typical) northwestern Ontario May long weekend, she taught me how to make my first beaded bracelet using pearls, seed beads, and a circular Russian netting pattern.  Well, I was hooked!  To this day pearls remain my favorite beads to work with...thanks Di!
After the long weekend, I couldn't wait to find a beading store and get started.  The only store around is in the city an hour away.  So, I called up the owner of this store, Jangles in Thunder Bay, Ontario and asked the owner if I described a few things to her if she could put an order together and I would have a friend pick it up for me.  Sure, she said!  Well, I described the book that my friend had and what colors and sizes I was hoping for.  She was great!  She sent me everything I needed to get started, including her very own (and last) copy of the book I had described her.  For the first few visits/orders, she even sent me some surprises, and that lent to my venturing into different kinds of beads and techniques.  Oh, what fun!
So, here I am, two years and many patterns, beads and techniques later, and I still love to make pretty things!