Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Drawing your own heart

Bernadina wrote me and asked me to give her some direction about drawing hearts to bead--I thought photos would work best--though maybe a video would be even better.

I'll work on that.

In the meantime, here are some photos of how I draw my hearts (for beaded pins). This process can be applied (of course) to anything you want to draw--doesn't have to be hearts. I just have a thing for hearts--I imagine it has something to do with my mom's birthday being on Valentine's day.
Paper: I draw on my thesis bond paper left over from my grad school days at CSU. It has a nice weight, a good tooth, and is archival. It also stands up to beading really well--I've sampled other archival papers and while they have the other qualities, they tend to crack along folds. You can still use them to bead or even just typing paper (it may not last for your great-great- grandchildren to enjoy is all).

Pencils: I like to use quality colored pencils--these are Prismacolor. They are available at most art supply stores and craft stores. They make a nice mark even when you don't apply a lot of pressure. I keep a pencil sharpener handy for a nice point.

The first heart--lop-sided for a little bit of asymmetrical visual interest--drawn with a darker value pencil. It's not perfect--but it will do--I know that it will evolve as I draw.

Then I go over the outline and refine and enhance it.

Change colors and begin the zig-zag line around the heart. I love making this kind of hatching line. I could fill pages just doing this. I love going to restaurants where they provide crayons and a paper-covered table.

I always have a little trouble keeping my lines even when I'm going around the left side of the heart. Oh well--that's just the way it is.

Now I just start layering colors.

See how undulating hearts are created by the layers of colors--just scribbles around the heart shape.

I keep darker values on the outside edges and lighter values on the inside to create a glow.

Every once in a while I emphasize the outline of the heart.

Notice that I'm starting to really overlap colors--that will really make the beading fun as the colors blend together creating new colors.

Here I added the complement to red, green for a little bit of visual interest.

I worked on the outline a bit--fixing the left side of the heart and emphasizing the outline. Now that I'm happy with my heart, I'll cut it out and stitch it to cloth--and it is ready to bead. The colored pencils will transfer to the thread as you're beading, but it doesn't show through the beads. If you don't like that, you can seal the drawing with a fixative or scan it in and print it on your printer. Just know that inkjet inks will run when they get wet--so don't cry too much over your inkjet-printed hearts.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Friday September 7, 2007

I took Friday off of work and beaded all morning (except for the time between 9:15-10:30 when I got Hannah ready and took her to my parent's house for her day with Grandma Pat).

1:08 pm

2:47 pm

4:08 pm

4:38 pm--it's time to go pick up Hannah.

10:34 pm--Hannah and I had dinner with my mom and then Hannah fell asleep on the way home, around 7 pm--about an hour and half earlier than she usually does--though sad to miss our bedtime rituals--it was good to have more time to bead.

Saturday, September 8, 2007
7:50 am

8:29 am

11:13 am

12:51 pm--I took Hannah to the park and beaded for a while as she played in the sand. She took her nap when we got home and I was able to finish beading and frame the piece.

3:51 pm--beading is done!

Now it is time to frame

Stretching the silk noil on the interior frame using a staple gun.

Folding the fabric under at the corners and stapling.

Stitching the beaded piece to the silk noil stretched on the frame.

Very carefully cutting a hole in the fabric that is stretched on the interior frame, but not cutting the fabric of the piece stitched to the top of it.

Stuffing the piece with 100% New Zealand Merino wool to give it a 3-d effect.

All done--framed, now ready to pack for shipping.

Sunday Hannah and I went to Golden to walk along the river and play at the great playground by the river. Kelly's brother Kevin made it to the 4th round in Super Gas (out of 7 rounds of elimination) in the race in Earlville and moved up in their points for their ranking in the division.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Staying home to bead

Well, here it is Thursday and I still have quite a bit of beading to do on Atropos. I've reached one corner--which is good--but will probably spend tonight finishing the second corner (a good 3-4 hours of beading) and then tomorrow I've taken off of work (originally to go to Iowa, now to finish beading the piece) and I'll finish up the last two corners, frame the piece, photograph it, and ship it with the other pieces to the exhibit.
Kelly, my wonderful and talented husband, made the inside frame for the piece last night (see the picture below). I'll stretch silk noil on the inside frame (as you would a canvas to paint, using staples and stretching the fabric tightly around the wood frame) and then trim the silk noil on the beaded piece, turn the edges under, center it on the stretched fabric and stitch it to the frame. Then I'll cut a hole in the stretched fabric on the back (taking care not to cut the fabric on the beaded piece) and stuff the back of the beading with Merino wool from New Zealand (only the best for these pieces). Then I'll staple the ready-made black frame that I purchased from and finish it with a paper backing, tape my business card to the back, attach a hanging device and it'll be ready to go. Yep, I'm going to be lucky if I get all this done on Friday. Yikes! I think Hannah and I'll do something fun on Saturday--maybe go to the Children's Museum or the pool to celebrate getting all this work done. Or maybe on Sunday, depending on how things go.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mountain beading

I've been making progress on Atropos--but I'm getting down to the wire. I've reached one side and nearly reached two more sides--but still have hours and hours of work ahead of me before I am able to frame, photograph and deliver this piece to my alma mater for an exhibit. The plan is to deliver it this weekend while in Iowa for a race. This means, driving all night Thursday with the racers (my husband, his brother, and his dad) in the big diesel truck pulling the 50 ft trailer containing the race car and our living quarters for the weekend. We'll arrive Friday morning--with luck the piece will be done (no chance of beading in the truck--makes me car sick)--and I'll simply take the truck (no trailer) on Friday after the racers are established at the track, back track to Mt. Vernon, Iowa from Earlville and drop off five pieces. Seems like a reasonable plan. Of course--this plan involves driving 13 hours with a toddler and then asking her to get back into the truck and drive some more. We'll see how that goes. I'm hoping that she'll be able to sleep while we're driving through the night. I could always ship them--but it seems so silly to ship them when we'll be driving right by Mt. Vernon on our way to the track. And maybe I'll be able to drop in and see some of my favorite folks while I'm on campus.
I love how portable my beading is (I guess I'd never get any done if it wasn't, though). I was able to work on the piece while watching Hannah play in the pinecones and dirt up in the mountains this weekend at a very quiet and peaceful location.
Hannah and I took a little hike (she fell asleep shortly after this--I guess there is nothing so soothing as being bobbed along on your mom's back). My sister comments that the back pack isn't very flattering--I have to agree--but I guess I never considered it a fashion accessory.