Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Thoughts on the Bead Journal Project 2016

Now that I've completed the whole year of the 2016 Bead Journal Project I'm thinking about next year. Here's a picture of all twelve.


I'm really grateful to the people who have organised this over the last however many years. It's given me so much inspiration and a focus for experimenting. These are the thoughts I've had.

1) I liked that I chose something small and manageable. Each piece took around an evening to complete which was doable and gave me a bit of variety from whatever longer project I was working on at the time.

2) Prepping the basis in batches worked well for me as it meant I could just choose the beads and get straight on when I felt like it. If I'd had to get the sewing machine out each month I probably wouldn't have done it.

3) Having a few extra 'rules' suited me. I decided only to use fabric I have somehow made myself (ie: dyed or designed) and to include at least one button each month. This encouraged me to use things I might not have used otherwise.

4) Not planning too much, and allowing the work to just happen was fun.

5) Letting each piece say something about the month I was in has meant it was a real journalling experience. I can look at each one now and it reminds me of things that were going on at the time.

6) 2016 has been a much better year for me and my family than 2015 or 2014 were and for that I am very grateful.

After much thought, I now have my idea for 2017. Not quite sure if it will work but am off to experiment now. It will be completely different from 2016 but will incorporate all the best bits identified above.

December 2016 Bead Journal Project

The 12th and final piece.


I'm really pleased that I've managed to complete every month of this project, even if a couple were a little late. Like many people I have a habit of starting things but not finishing them so it's nice to have managed this. Also, I haven't actually posted anything but bead journal stuff for about four months because I'm working on an embroidery that is taking me a long time to finish so it's nice to have some quick pieces to vary things a bit.

One of the things  I did at the start of this project was prepare all the little squares in advance. Each one is about four inches square and I knew if I made them each individually I would end up getting behind because I would be too lazy to get the sewing machine out every month. I prepared about four back in January using a variety of fabrics, then the rest around April, choosing which one to use each month. This worked well in the sense that I always had one handy and could get straight on but it did mean that as the year went on I had less and less choice. This wasn't a problem until the final piece. The last one I had left was originally light blue. It was a batik piece that you can see here. (It's the last picture in the post). I just wasn't feeling light blue for December so I over dyed it with a purple dye. It's the only piece of the year with a different colour backing cloth now but that doesn't really matter. You can hardly see the batik pattern but purple felt much better. 

I started the year using silver to represent hope. This year has been pretty good on the whole so I  chose five silver swirly beads to represent the five members of the family, linked with silver beads. The purple represents all the good things that have come our way this year. It's more of a summing up of the year than a piece about December but that seems OK as January was more of a thinking about the year ahead too. Final close up.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

November 2016 Bead Journal Project

Here's November


November has been cold and grey in the last couple of weeks, and some of it has felt a bit rocky to be honest, hence the design. The fabric is a piece I made using a sun printing technique. I used most of it one my silver mine bead quilt but there was a nice corner left and it suited grey February perfectly. Quite ironic that it was produced using the rays of a bright summer sun. 

Just the one close up, showing a nice detail of the print.



Just one more Bead Journal piece to do for this year. I'm not quite sure how I want to do it next year but I definitely want to carry on. I'll have to give it some thought...