It's 20 degrees this morning in central Vermont and lightly snowing. I can see my snow-covered meadow from the window above my workbench, where there are a number of projects in various stages of completion-- Valentine's presents for the women in my family, a funky little heart framed in wirework with its patina curing, lots of pairs of earrings that need finishing.
It may seem chaotic but I find working like this to be the best way for me to let the lessons learned from one project spill over and influence others I'm working on. Since I've become a serious, every-day-at-the-bench artist, I need to put myself in the way of design problems to solve-- they don't just show up in my workspace. As I've mentioned before, the Art Bead Scene challenges are very stimulating and I've followed Michelle Ward's challenges as well. Now I've got a new “design addiction”-- Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Party!I know several beaders/designers who have done a couple of these with Lori and loved them so I decided to jump in.
Lori asked each one of us to define our style so she could try to pair us with someone who was the opposite of that style. The method in her madness: “to get you to challenge yourself, help break you out of your design rut, so to speak”. And it works.
I was so fortunate to be paired with a very talented lampwork craftswoman and designer, Lyn Foley, from Texas. We immediately e-mailed back and forth and checked out each others photos and in a few days I received this bountiful box of loot from Lyn.
The only rule is you have to use the focal and the clasp your partner supplies in your creation. You are free to use any of your own stash for supplemental beads or the ones that your partner sends. I had immediately admired Lyn's ruffly flower beads and was so happy to see some arrive for me wrapped in palest turquoise tissuepaper! But then I noticed the nifty Steampunk-style found object focal in bronze that she had included. How to make a harmonious piece out of two dissimilar styles? Well, that's the whole point, isn't it? To give your creative problem-solving muscles a challenge, to jog you out of familiar paths and ways of working.
I'll be teasing you with some little glimpses of work in progress in the next few weeks-- the big Reveal Party will be on February 26 and all 210 (yes-- you read that correctly!) of us intrepid designers will be blogging our results at the same time. Fireworks in midwinter!
For more information on the Bead Soup Party, go to Lori Anderson (Flickr group http://www.flickr.com/groups/1290276@N25/)