Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fear Has A Name And It Is...

BOB (Beware Of Beading/Being). Oh, it's you BOB.

I was reading a blog entry by Diane, aka The Lone Beader, on fear earlier today and it struck a deep chord with me. I've been fighting a win/lose battle with fear myself that has kept me from advancing in my love of beadwork, as well as other artistic pursuits.

Diane called her's "fear of a blank canvas", the fear of starting something new. Mine is an internal battle over whether I have any talent at all; am I just fooling myself and should just pack up my beads and knock it off. Why suffer rejection and embarrassment? Then I read her comment about that kind of thinking, and I quote: "And, if I am afraid of the world rejecting my work, then I am not creating art for the right reasons. " I took a pause and thought long and hard on that. She's so right! I'm not creating art for anyone but myself. It's my personal happiness that is why I create. Whether I'm beading or dancing or whatever, it's me that I'm doing it for. And if things don't work out just so, well then that was a learning experiencing and I dust off my knees and try it again. Or if it turns out that I didn't enjoy it, I know not to try that again.

I've been taking steps to conquer that fear. Blocking out time for myself so that I can create, participating in group projects to inspire my creativity, and even setting up a shop on Etsy.com to give a shot at selling (nothing in there just yet). No matter what, I'm not going to stop being an artist. The only thing I have to fear is fear itself... and I'm wearing some big boxing gloves!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

One Skein, One Good Time

My mother and I participated in the One Skein Secret Swap, and with some ups and downs, we had a wonderful time. Neither of us have participated in swaps of any sort for sometime because it became increasingly annoying to work very hard on our end only to get something with no thought or effort back (e.g. one or two hastily stamped images on a card for a mail art swap), if anything at all.

But with the One Skein swap, the delightful lady who's been sending to my mom has struck up a wonderful friendship with her. The mother/daughter team I've been sending to are kindred spirits and very inspiring.

Though I forgot to take pictures of the two skeins I sent for June and July, here is the final package I'm sending this week.

The one skein item is the cute handbag that I made for Lucy using Cascade 220. I added a magnet snap and then covered the connections with the shell buttons. The book, "Ella Minnow Pea", is also for Lucy. I picked it because she said she loved to read and loves words. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wanted her to have a copy. The skein on the right is for Kiki for being such a wonderful mom. I hope they like my choices.

Because of the fun mom and I had, we've joined a few other swaps that we came upon while blogging and hope for the same happy results. Crossing fingers... and toes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Funky Scarf Swap In Progress

OK, I can't stand it anymore. I just have to show off how this is coming along. I'm totally in love with the scarf I'm doing for my partner in the Funky Scarf Swap. I went into the yarn store for how-to information on one scarf idea and came out working on something totally different!

What do you think?

I know it's hard to tell what the heck this is but just wait. And to add an extra dimension of funkiness, I've already figured out what embellishments I want to add. This is too much fun. =)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shake, Shake, Shake Sonora

Where's Harry Belafonte when you need him?

The shekere's are done and delivered! And best of all Mike and Whittney love them. *wipes sweat from brow*

Wait, wait, wait. I'm sure you're thinking, "What are you talking about? What's a shekere? Huh?" Let me back up.

Several months ago, two dear friends of mine asked me to make them a custom beaded shekere (pronounced shay-ker-ray) to take with them to drum circles and other similar events. A shekere is a large hollow gourd covered in a netting of beads, shells, or seeds and is used as a musical instrument. I was both honored and shocked but told them I'd love to. After I thought about it though, I felt that it would make far more sense to make them each a shekere rather than have them "fight" over one. So off I went on my interesting journey into gourd shakerland.

First to find a blasted dried gourd in early Summer, in the shape that I wanted to use. Not as easy as you'd think. I finally went with the Welburn Gourd Farm because they had good prices and a good reputation. I'm glad I did. I went with the value pack of large gourds and in a few days 4 really nice bottle gourds arrived at my door.

Next my husband asked a friend of his with a power saw to lop off the top of each gourd for me. Afterward I proceeded to clean out the dried crud inside each gourd. WARNING: Do this outside and with a particle mask on. Ack, cough, GROSS!

Then things got much easier. Two coats of shellac on the insides, two coats of tung oil on the outside. Once all was nice and dry, it was time to bead. But of course that required... BEADS.

I checked with the guys as to what they wanted to use and they both said, "NO PLASTIC!" Not a problem, what do you want. Whittney asked for Amethyst and Malachite. Mike, Malachite and Lapis Lazuli. Uhmmm guys, you're kidding right? To make my life easier I took them to Accent Beads because I knew they carried a large selection of stone beads at great prices and I wanted them to make sure they wanted to spend that much money on the beads. Of course oogling the wall-o-stone, ideas changed and they left pleased with the choices they made (Whittney still got his Amethyst though he picked a lower grade to keep cost down).

I began work, starting with my own shekere so I could get the kinks out as it were.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I showed the guys how it came out and adjustments were made. Denser spacing, adjustment of "slop" and then I was off and running again. I enlisted the wonderful husband as I wanted to finish these both in a realistic time frame. We delivered them yesterday when we went over for dinner and though they both said they were pleased, the giddy looks on their faces convinced me I'd done a good job. What do you think?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I've got one more full-sized shekere, the hubby's, and a smaller one from a long gourd my mom brought over to see if it was usable. These are fun if not a little time consuming unless you don't care about the spacing of the beads.

So now it's time to shake, shake, shake my shekere!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It's Just Like Starting Over

That is one thing that I love about beadwork, it's an art that can be recycled into something even more wonderful and grand. Maybe even more than one thing.

I was going through my box of "fix me's", things that needed repair, things bought to be taken apart and turned into something else, or things that just didn't come out the way I'd hoped. I pulled out a necklace that I'd had high hopes for at the time but the more I looked at it the more I just didn't like it. And that little kink in the wire didn't help matters.

It sat in that box for a year waiting for something to happen to it, and that time was now. I pulled out my trusty snips and... several bags of wonderful NEW beads now sit before me to play with. I wonder what new works will be born from this necklace's ashes?

I mentioned to someone that I recycle my beads and they didn't understand why, beads were so cheap. Not to put places like Michaels and JoAnn's down but all beads don't cost $3-4 a tube. And what's the point of having something lying around collecting dust because it's not being worn when you can turn it into something that will?

This is another piece from my attempt at stringing days (I prefer beadweaving) that lasted until I realized it just wasn't right.

Now I've finally come up with what I want to do to make this one live up to it's original name: "The Coffee Angel Understands".

Snip! Snip! Snip!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Me Into Art, Art Into Me

Thanks Robin for posting yet another great article.

1. Which of the characteristics on Clark’s list seems most important to you? Why?

- "A masterpiece does not aim at art, but at truth." Those things that I create, represent me and the spirit inside me. My desires, my feelings, my personality. To create something that is anything else can be seen for what it is. Lies, vanity, hollow.

2. What is the human element in your current project?

- I'm currently putting the final touches on two shekeres that dear friends asked if I'd make for them. Though they selected the beads and pattern that I've used, there is a lot of me in these as well. Not just the sweat, but my inspiration, thought, determination, and joy. I hope that when they use them, those parts of me will sing out for them.

3. What does spiritual energy mean to you?

- It means the energy of the universe, of the past and present, of every living thing: swirling inside my head to form ideas, flowing out of my fingers to be manifested, and being seen born by my eyes.

4. What are some of life’s great themes? Is there one which is compelling to you at the moment? How could you work with this theme in a future project?

- Life is too short to squander foolishly and "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

I've come to realize over the last few days, that doing what's best for me is terribly important. Taking chances, being honest with my real self, and knowing who matters to me and who doesn't.

Though I'm not exactly sure how to work this directly into a specific project, I am in the midst of working this into motivation for all my upcoming projects.

Stay tuned.

Funky Scarf Swap Questionnaire

To my secret funky scarf friend, here are my responses to the questionnaire:

Let's get the allergy part out of the way. Are you allergic to any fibers?
- I have no allergies to fibers but I do have issues with cigarette smoke and pet dander.

Do you prefer any fibers over others?
- Not really though I'm not a fan of acrylics.

Thinking back to Scout's post about what funky means to you, post an image of something that you think is funky!
-For me, funky is something that you don't realize is anything but "normal" at first glance. Then you do a double take and realize you didn't see what you thought you did. Typically you end up grinning from ear to ear.

Example: Duct tape + ingenuity+ prom = FUNKY

One of dozens of fantastic entries in this year's Duct Tape Prom competition.

Would you prefer funky yarn or a funky pattern?
- Funky yarn!

What are your favorite colors?
- Uber favorite are: blues, orangey corals, and greens. Otherwise, I like most colors.

What is your favorite piece of art?
- Just about anything by Claude Monet, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, and Heather Baeder.

What colors would you never have up close to your pretty face?
- It's not the colors, it's bad combinations I run from. No purple and red, black and yellow, green and orange, things like that. EEEEK! Funky is one thing; ugly is another.

Would you prefer an actual scarf or a cowl?
- Knitter's choice. I like both.

When you wear a scarf do you prefer a wider/shorter scarf or a thin/long scarf?
- Thin and long. I can't seem to keep the short and wide ones on me. Maybe I just need to make or buy a pin to hold them closed.

What is the climate like where you live?
- Right now it's warm and humid. Humid is the key word here. HUMID. Winter iicyey and wet. Spring and Fall brings rain. Summer can get H, H, and H (hazy, hot and humid).

Would you prefer a functional scarf (to keep you warm) or one just to funk-up your wardrobe?
- Again, knitter's choice though I lean toward functional.

What else would you like your partner to know about you?
- Read my first post in this blog. That should sum me up pretty well. =)

Hope that helps!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Time To Get Funky!

The Funky Scarf Swap has begun! I've got my partner information; now to get the questionnaire so I can send it out and then KNIT, KNIT, KNIT! Oh, and of course buy some truly funky yarn. Mwahahahaha!

Alright, I'm still sleepy so I'm a tad loopy. Work with me people! =)

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Truth and Nothing But The Truth

I was attempting to write a short post in response to an entry in Beadlust's journal but it quickly grew and grew so I figure I'll post my response in my own journal as a reminder on the topic of personal authenticity and truthfulness. Here goes:

1. What do you think about the concept of personal truthfulness and authenticity in your art work? Is this something for which you consciously strive and plan? If so, how?

While chatting with a jeweler at a show, I revealed that I hoped one day to sell my work, even if it was only here and there on the side. He looked at me seriously and I thought he was going to be annoyed with me for taking up his time or something. Instead he asked the following of me: "My dear, there are 3 types of artists in the world. The talented who are confident in their abilities, showing the world their stuff. The determined who are not there yet but keep working at it. Whether they ever truly get better or not, they never lose sight of the fact that they're doing something they love. And there are the prostitutes. Those who don't care if their work stinks or not, they just want to make a buck. Don't ever be a prostitute."

To be an artist, you have to be true to who you are and what you create, regardless of your medium. It shows in the work you produce, as well as the way you talk about it and the look on your face when you think about it.

I can't say I plan for authenticity and truth or that it's always in the front of my mind... "Be truthful to your self! Be authentic!" It's just a personal belief. If I can't make myself happy with whatever it is, what's the point of making it at all?

2. How is your subconscious truth revealed in your art work?

I don't know if anyone can see it it but I can see it once the piece is completed. In the choices I've made along the way, the little unplanned adjustments here and there that struck me at a specific moment. Even when working from a pattern or basing my work on another that inspired me, my subconcious takes over and even I'm surprised at the end results. =)

3. What is your experience with fear of criticism or self criticism blocking the expression of your personal truth?

This is my biggest fight: criticism and self criticism. Mostly self criticism. I tend to worry that something I've done, though it made me deliriously happy, wont be good enough for others. I have to constantly remind myself that the only person I should try to please is myself. Also that criticism isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on who it's coming from. Is it helpful or just plain mean. I'm forcing myself to take more chances (putting my work out there for others to see) to get over my fear of failure. How can I get better if I dont' take chances?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

And We're Off... By That Much

Music In My Head: "In These Shoes" - Kirsty MacColl

We'll I'd better get this blog going or I'll never get started. This will just be a simple post to say "Hi!" to everyone in Blogland and give a quick rundown of who I am. I'm going to steal a little of this from my profile on Bookcrossing.com because... well why not?

My name is TeAntae and I'm a native New Yorker (more appropriately, I'm a native Long Islander), currently living in Maryland. My wonderful husband Bryan and I were married on 10/31/2002 (yes, Halloween) at Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort on Sunset Pointe.

My hobbies along with beading include: flamenco dancing, reading, figure sculpting, cooking, and knitting, listening to music, traveling, and an ever growing list of activities. I'm not even going to pretend that I'll ever have a complete list because I'm forever discovering new and wonderful things to get into. I've done mail art, I've attempted to play classical guitar (must get back into that), I'm a sea kayaker, I'm slowly getting into camping, my husband is teaching me to ride a skateboard... See what I mean!?!

I want to focus on my artistic endeavors in this blog which will be predominately beadwork but some other projects may slip in from time to time. My hope is to one day sell my work, even if only a few pieces here and there. I’m also going to set my mom up with an account because I think she’s a fabulous weaver (read: Fiber Artist extraordinaire) and she should communicate with like minded individuals. I’ll add her link to my “Artsy Blogs” list as soon as she’s all set up.

So now it’s time to show something I’ve actually created so that I can put my money where my mouth is so to speak. This is the piece I submitted to Bead-Patterns.com for their “Foot Fetish” competition last year. To my shear delight and surprise, I WON GRAND PRIZE!

It's called "She Moves Across Sand". I love naming my pieces as well as certain focal beads that I have fallen for. =) I'd like to learn how to make really nice display boxes/stands for my work. Something else to learn!

Well, that's me in a nutshell. More to come. Fun to be had. Time to get back in my studio and create something!