Welcome back for Part 2! I left you yesterday after describing the importance of laying a good foundation for each new piece of art work. To be honest, that is not my favourite aspect of the process, but it is an extremely necessary one.
By sewing in and securing all the structural elements you then get to disguise and beautify them with the next stage. I always get excited when I can move on to the beading and embellishment phase. It is now that the full character and personality of the piece will develop. As I have discussed, I will have chosen the colours I want to feature by this time. For the butterfly, I chose tones of red and blue. I have often used these colours together in my work, to the point that it became a bit of a running joke.
So here they are once again. This was a very involved piece of beading. I generally have quite a free-form approach to it. I will lay my materials out in front of me and intuitively or instinctively pick colours and sizes to go together.
I wanted to mirror the pattern or design on each wing onto the other one. I broke down the wings into eight different panels, four in the front and four in the back. I worked a pattern into one side of the wing and then worked it into the opposite side. I mainly used sequins and seed beads. Seed beads are tiny but when grouped together, they give such a beautiful varied and textured finish. Every single bead was hand sewn into place. The flat design was quite straight forward but the edging can be complicated. You are really filling in any gaps that are evident and making such all the backstage workings are not showing through.
When I have given a bug a lot of legs, long antennae or pointy wings this part can have its nightmarish qualities too though. Imagine lengths of thread getting caught in some appendage every time you go to add some new beads to a section of the piece. If you are at all cranky or irritable the whole thing may end up in the bin with frustration.
I remember when I finally finished this butterfly that I felt a huge sense of satisfaction. It is heavy in the hand, the weight of time, effort and energy can be felt. The glass beads dance in the light and the feathers add a touch of whimsy.
For me, the feeling of wonder when you can think of something in your head and then set about making it with purpose and conviction and then you get to hold it in your hand never gets old. I love to create things rather than destroy things. Make art not war, man! That’s what I say. What a kick!