Recently I’ve not had enough time, or indeed energy to bead as much as usual. Space birthday parties, work, gardening, singing, 2 year olds who won’t nap any more, and life in general have got in the way, and despite strenuous efforts to create time (which largely consist of ignoring the housework), my beading time has suffered.
On top of all that, as some of you will remember I’m entering the Stitch N Craft Butterfly Challenge this year, and I made a rather rash promise to myself that I would ensure that the finished piece was the very best it could possibly be. In previous years I’ve met the brief, but run out of time or energy and haven’t been entirely happy with some of the compromises of technique or style I’ve made to get the pieces done – you can see my set for the ‘Four Seasons’ challenge above, and although I was contented with most of the pieces, it’s only the rattle (which was a real labour of love in terms of reworking) that I truly love.
So what should have been a simple, understated piece (and still is) has become a ritual sacrifice to the beady goddesses of perfection, reworked and tweaked so many times that I’m starting to be a little fed up with the sight of it. It’s been an incredibly inefficient creation process – not that beadweaving is ever quick, but this one takes the biscuit. I have only three tasks left on it now and I can’t quite bring myself to do them. First I need to add the final elements (which I beaded ages ago, then ripped apart, then beaded again, then added to the main piece, then took off again – you get the picture). Then I need to hide the tiny Swarovski butterfly provided somewhere on the piece (I’m thinking of hiding it in one of my hairy beaded beads), and finally I have to search out all of the sketches and notes I’ve made along the way, plus the photos I took in the sand dunes last year when I got my original inspiration, and somehow compile a journal of the evolution of the piece to send in along with the actual beadwork. Oh and I need to work out how I would like it displayed and get any materials required, as I know that has let me down in the past. I can’t show you the whole thing, as it is after all a competition piece, but I think I can safely reveal a few piles of beads and give you just a flavour of the variations and multiple attempts for the beaded beads that form about 10% of the final assemblage! I think I have beaded about 20 in all – I only need six for the final design and I have unpicked most of the ‘slightly wrong’ ones, although you may see some mauve and silver beaded beads appearing in my shop soon!
For my own sanity I think I need to do as much of this as I can this week – which seems foolhardy given that it is the school holidays and I am being gradually worn out by the boys, and that I am also singing Belinda in a production of Dido and Aeneas two weeks today, have nothing to wear and haven’t quite managed to learn the music or blocking yet. This has been exacerbated by the Beadworker’s Guild announcing that their Challenge theme next year is ‘Totally Tropical’ – I have a completely lush idea that I really want to start playing with, but really mustn’t until I’ve finished the butterflies, the tutorials, and maybe even a couple of UFOs…………………..oh dear. And Sewing Bee has started again, so I really want to sew now as well (I do need to make Belinda’s cloak tonight so at least that itch will be scratched)!