Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My Mostly Ugly Bracelet

Two weeks today and I will at my friend Sheri's house in Eugene, Oregon, already working away in her studio. This reality was especially comforting yesterday as I stared out the window at yet still another period of thick snow flurries. I spent two hours on Monday shoveling knee deep snow off the back patio and I am more than done with winter. I think I've said that before. Each time you read it, read it with more emphasis because I AM SO DONE WITH WINTER and really looking forward to my holiday.

After shoveling, I started on the final jewelry piece for The Outfit Project. I wanted a piece that was primarily orange with accents of copper, blue, and turquoise and decided on a bracelet starting with this wooden one I found at the thrift store - 3 for $5.00 - way less expensive than blanks.

I didn't know what to do or how to do what I hoped to do so rather than sit around feeling paralyzed by that fact, I made a decision to just start. I measured the bracelet and then cut interfacing and batting to that width and length and layered those with a strip of the orange fabric. They I played with different beads to see how they looked against the background and right away, felt the work was too flat. I wanted something much more dimensional so I used the sewing machine to make thread scribbles on the orange background and then glued it to the wooden form. Starting is the most important thing and then do one step, and then the next, and then the next, and just keep going until the piece says it's finished. If it's a masterpiece, that's a bonus. Finished is really good. The journey of learning is really amazing.

After gluing, I did a bunch of things without taking pictures. I've been finding it difficult lately to document every step because my brain is in create mode and not document mode. SO here's what happened. I took fifteen 1" wide strips of the orange fabric and tied knots in each one leaving the ends. AND THEN... I used copper paint to touch up the high points of the knots and I thought they looked ugly. AND THEN... I spaced the knots around the bracelet and stitched them in place with the ends hanging out wildly and I thought it looked ugly.

AND THEN... I used orange, turquoise, and pink thread to zigzag over orange cording and blue cording and thought they had potential. AND THEN... I twisted the cords in and out of the knots and tacked them in place and I thought it looked ugly. AND THEN... I twisted and turned the orange ends and tacked them down to the base fabric creating a topography of sorts and I thought it looked ugly. AND THEN... I sewed large orange and blue beads in place and I thought they looked like ugly blobs on an orange background. AND THEN... I wrapped twisted copper wire through the center and around the bracelet and thought it was finally achieving some degree of interest and sophistication. AND THEN... I sewed smaller blue and copper beads in place and thought it was starting to look interesting but need more contrast.

About this time, I thought about how when I create a knitted or sewn garment that I don't like, I just take it apart and make it into something else and I wondered how I'd do that with a bracelet but decided it was actually rather easy - I'd just use a chop saw to cut it in sections and go from there. And so I confidently carried on with my mostly ugly bracelet.

I decided it needed more depth and contrast and that weaving more of the zigzagged orange cord in and around the beads could work for that. About this time, a friend who is also an artist phoned and we discussed it and I drove over to her house and we discussed it some more while both looking at the bracelet and then I came home and worked on it some more. And this is the stage I'm at this morning. There are at least four more stages until the piece is finished, possibly more depending on what comes up, so hopefully I'll be able to show it in Friday's post because after that, I'll prepping for the workshop and starting to pack.

Because I don't want to pack, unpack, and then re-pack my workshop supplies in order to sew at Sheri's studio, we've decided to work on fabric beads. To prep for that, I've been Pintrest-ing and printing out inspiration images and instructions. When I decide to explore a subject, I tend to dive in deep which may be why it can take a while to get going on something I want to do. It can be all talk, no action, for a while because I know that when I go there, I'm going all the way.

While jewelry has been ticking for a long time, it was the wire weaving workshop I took in January 2017 that finally gave me the confidence to move in this direction. It seemed to flip a switch. Last year, I took several on-line wire working classes and made samples as well as pieces of my own. For The Outfit Project, I've made a jewelry piece for each outfit trying different techniques and my mind is bubbling with ideas to explore. It helps that I am seeing more clearly the role of creativity in jewelry as well as the role of jewelry - and in particular statement necklaces - in my fashion personality.

The Outfit Project highlighted - once again - my uniform. Clean lines, architectural interest, prints on the bottom, a relatively plain upper garment, and a statement necklace. I've been sharing with a few friends my ah ha around not wearing even a simple collar and instead wearing huge necklaces. They're shaking their heads in that so Myrna way but they can see why it works. And I did it again. The turquoise vest is hanging up to dry after I washed all the chalk marks out and then I'll add the buttons and then I'll post the finished project... with it's fourth neckline finish... no collar... after I tried three different collars.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the ability to stay with ugly until it begins to shift

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