I have become obsessed with beading. I've always liked beads-making jewelry, stitching them onto art quilts, buying them just cuz they're pretty.
But last year I embarked on a year-long art journal project to try out some new techniques and to refresh my memory on a few old ones as well as hone some of my skills. In the process I learned quite a bit about myself and about what I love to do. One of the things I learned was just how much I love to do bead embroidery. The process is meditative.
In January, I embarked upon another year long project-this time a bead project. I am doing this with a small group of friends. We have a color for each month and the only other rule is it has to be 8x8 inches.
Being the art nerd that I am, I wasn't satisfied with doing just ONE project per month. So I decided to stretch myself with TWO per month or more if inspiration strikes me in that color scheme.
One of my pieces each month is doing a beaded Buddha. I have chosen to do the beading on 4x4" heavy pellon that is fused down in the center of a square of fabric that is slightly larger than the required 8x8.
I've had several people ask how I'm able to create one each month and have them all so different yet similar. I've also been asked how do I begin the project. Do I have a design in mind? Do I sketch out something first or do I work from a sketchbook? Well, the answer is... I just do it!
I learned a long time ago that I don't work well from instructions so to speak. Never did, probably never will. I do my own thing. Sometimes it turns out good, sometimes not. But I feel like I have to just begin and let it flow. I do better when I don't have to worry about staying in the lines if I have drawn out a pattern. I also work intuitively, letting the beads and the shape of the objects I'm beading around dictate where I bead and how I bead.
Photo below shows Stage one-Buddha head charm and his sliced agate body glued down on the heavy Pellon fused to the background fabric.
Stage two-Begin the beading around the head charm and the body. I sometimes do peyote stitching to form a bezel around the body and or/head. This time just around the agate body. (The color for April's bead project was anything pastel-I chose lavender and minty green)
By day 2 or 3 I'm on to figuring out how to fill in around the Buddha. Sometimes adding larger beads and sequins to fill space.
I generally try NOT to be symmetrical. I like asymmetry with a bit of balancing using the right amount of focal beads and colors.
Also, as I've gone through 5 months of beaded Buddhas, I've started to go just beyond the borders of the Pellon with beading. Adding little fringes and loops just because I can!
The best thing about beading each month is I tell myself "there are NO rules" (except color and size). So have at it-do your thing and have FUN!
This is the completed Buddha below.
After I finish the beading I back the background fabric with batting and another piece of fabric. Then I free motion stitch with the machine. Each one is different, yet similar. So when they are all complete I will stitch all the squares together and create a small wall hanging.