This week we are fortunate to look into someone's process from inspiration through planning and beginning. Jan Atherton has shared with us her creative journey for her Bead Embroidery project. Her project starts here but will continue on through the year when she'll be sharing progress as she goes. I think it's delightful to see how other people work, don't you ? Marcia DeCoster
When I first found out about the Bead Love project, I thought about what I wanted to make. I don’t often design patterns, unless I’m working out something for my own use, that needs to be repeatable. I do love to make things using a variety of beading techniques, especially bead embroidery and freeform beadweaving. I decided that I would combine the two techniques, plus some thread embroidery to make a beaded panel, which then became 3 smaller panels at the sketchbook stage.
The title for the piece comes from the song Anthem, written by Leonard Cohen:
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
Leonard had died at around the time the project started and his music was being played frequently. Recent events in both the UK and US had been playing in my mind. I’m still trying to process them, but I’m not sure how much I want to go into it here, it is complex, but the words resonated with me.
The other influence on the design was this photo of a fogbow, taken by Melvyn Nicholson. Fogbows are formed in a similar way to a rainbow, however, the water droplets are smaller and you don’t see the brighter colours. They appear as fog clears, giving way to brighter skies.:
Once I had a workable idea, I started to lay out the composition. I started with an 11”x14” piece of 14 count Aida as my base fabric.
I started to paint, working out the shape of the crack and the lighter fogbow sections.
The colours of the darker sections will be dark grey, blues, greens, purples and bronze. I want those sections to look like rocks and trees. Most of the painted areas will be covered, some by bead embroidery, some by thread embroidery and some by small pieces of freeform beadweaving, so what is there is really more of a guideline for me and doesn’t represent the final colours in those areas.
This photo shows some of the small sections of bead embroidery that will we stitched to the piece.
The lighter blue fogbow sections will mostly be thread embroidery, using blackwork style embroidery, which will allow the underpainting to show through. The fogbow will be worked in cross stitch, with seed beads to highlight the fogbow and there will be some smaller beads here and there, in this area, which represent human rights and compassion.
This is just the very beginning of a piece that I will be working on throughout this year, in between other personal projects. I hope to be able to post 2-3 updates during the year, on this blog. Bead with love, with kindness and with hope…let the light shine through! - Jan