When I was a child, I lived on a farm in the Ozarks of southern Missouri. I was surrounded with acres of fields and forests, and even though there were farm animals to take care of and trees to climb and my dad’s workshop to putter around in, the mantra of my childhood was the same as that of most children. “I’m sooo bored!”
When we say we long for the simplicity of childhood, this must be what we mean. Because I haven’t been bored in a long time. This summer has been particularly full and I have longed for the simplicity of sitting down for no other reason than to create with my clay. I’ve been trudging through a tutorial/ebook and I finally finished the class samples and packing for my workshop (this weekend!!). So when I had a moment to breathe, I really just wanted to go to my studio and mindlessly lose myself in making beads. And that’s exactly what I did yesterday.
I always joke that my Rustic Beads technique is addictive, like potato chips. You make one more, then another, then just one more. Time always fades away as I sit there with my paints on my fingers and a pile of beads growing bigger. Each one is a bit of a masterpiece because just like painting a picture, you have to take the time to consider and decide which color goes on next. It’s meditative. It’s therapeutic. I love the choice that each bead gives me. I let the colors do the talking, adding just the ones that seem to need to be applied to that bead.
I also made a bunch of Organic Beads as well. I had a lot of scrap clay left over from attending a Maggie Maggio workshop in August, and it was the perfect base for these rather dark-themed organic beads. These are made using a very different technique than the Rustic Beads. No paint is used, and the multi-layered effect means that you can keep working on each bead until it speaks up and says that it’s done. Does your art talk to you? Mine does. Sometimes it’s really very silent and that’s when I know that I’m off track with it. But when it’s working, it makes little squeaks of happiness that I can hear inside myself. (Oh gee…here I am talking about beads squeaking…how ridiculous. But I suspect you know just what I mean.)
I admit that I also enjoy mixing and matching the beads into groups when I take photographs. It’s then that I start to see how certain combinations of beads begin to work together and start to see them in my mind as part of a finished piece of jewelry. The Organic Beads, in particular, are fun to work with. They’re just so…well…fantastical and weird. They’re just begging to be combined with labradorite, kyanite, shells, or bone and connected with annealed steel or a nice darkened sterling silver. But I don’t have much time for jewelry making right now, so these will likely end up in my Etsy shop after I get back from Dallas.
By the way, if you’re new to the world of polymer clay (or if you’ve not yet indulged in the madness), you’ll find these beads are really easy to make. They don’t need any special skills, expensive tools, or even a pasta machine. In fact, they’re a great introduction to making polymer beads and some rather well-known glass bead and jewelry artists have had tremendous success with them!
So, I’m headed back to the trenches. I’m learning how to use Adobe InDesign for the layout of the next tutorial/ebook, and there’s a steep learning curve there (feel my pain). It’s nowhere near as much fun as making beads! If you’re like me and get too busy, maybe it’s time to schedule a breather and immerse yourself into a new technique. You can learn how to make Rustic Beads and Organic Beads by using my super easy tutorials that take you through every step. They’re just $18 each and you can find them here in my tutorials shop, or just click on the picture below. Regardless, I hope you find time to “be bored” and indulge in a little creative play. Enjoy!