Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Four Webbings and a Focal

I was feeling pretty smug as I finished the focal for my Etsy Beadweavers February Challenge piece at the beginning of January. I was nearly done a month early! I would not be the last one to post my work. I would not be struggling to finish on the last day as I sometimes am. And in light of my day job schedule thus far for 2010, this is a wonderful thing, as I am ridiculously, wonderfully busy! But I digress.

My son and husband are fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and watched all three on consecutive nights over the holidays, while I was working on my challenge piece focal, made from a beautiful split ammonite. Although I don't watch movies while I bead, I do listen, and I became enamored of the Calypso legend woven through the trilogy. Calypso is the Goddess of the Sea, captured in human form as Tia Dalma by the pirates. She is an exotic and amazing character, and I found her very inspiring. I decided that my piece would be "Calypso's Valentine" to honor both the ocean challenge theme and Valentine's Day, which falls during the voting. I wanted my ammonites to represent Davy Jones' heart, which he "carves out" in sorrow because he cannot have his love, Calypso. Tia Dalma also touches a necklace in one scene, which has a face, which led me to wanting the focal to very subtly echo the bearded face of Davy Jones. So the pearl fringe I added to my ammonite pair creates both a heart shape, and subtle nose, mouth, and beard, with the swirls of the ammonites representing eyes and brows.
I also added a barnacle texture to the edges of the piece. I wanted it to look ancient, and as though it might have been in the ocean for hundreds or thousands of years. With the focal finished, it was time to think about the neckstrap.

And this is where my trouble began. I initially thought the strap should be netting, as though the heart were captured in a fisherman's net, another oceanic image. So I made a little net sample. But it was stripey, and I although I love the 24k matte gold cylinders I used in the bezel, they felt wrong to me in the strap. A little too light in color, and lacking in substance, but the net idea was still promising.

So, I tried again, with darker beads and made a big effort to get it to look more like fisherman's netting, while still belonging visually to the focal. And I liked this one better, but I thought maybe it ought to have pearls, to tie it more effectively to pearl fringe.
I made a third sample, using pearls at the junction points in the net, but I didn't like it at all, ripped it apart, and did it again with large beads on both sides of the pearls, to separate the netting after it left the pearls. But somehow, it got busy. Maybe the big beads next to the pearls were too much texture. By this time, netting was beginning to annoy me.

I still liked the pearls, but maybe not in netting, so I tried a quick sample of simple pearl spiral stitch, and that was pleasing, but I missed the darn netting. So here I am, nearly two weeks later, sweating the small stuff. It's what obsessive-compulsives like me do. We are passionate about details, but sometimes we can get a little crazy, and I think that's where I am just now. I didn't bead at all last night, which is pretty rare for me. It's usually my evening's entertainment. But I think after having taken pictures, and written all this down, I might just be able to get back to the bench and make some decisions about how to finish. If you have ideas, feel free to make me a sample or two!!!

11 comments:

  1. Your piece is already a winner, Marsha! I love ammonites and the heart shape is perfect and very original.

    About how to finish it, I would suggest the pearl spiral stitch, although I love netting as well. The pearls would balance better the focal. I cannot wait to see it done.

    ileana
    http://ileanasmagicaltime.blogspot.com/
    http://enchantedbeads.blogspot.com/

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  2. I would go a a more substantial "strap" or band but also maybe one that varies in, say, width. You could do a tighter netting in various bead sizes - or maybe RAW? Maybe free-form?

    Patricia C Vener
    http://vener-art.com/beadblog/

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  3. The focal is amazing! I love all the concepts that you've woven together, and without using any blue! From the pics, I'd say I like the second, darker netting best. What about weaving a separate strand of pearls in and out of the netting for accent? I'm sure it will turn out wonderful whatever you decide to do. Good luck in the challenge!

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  4. Kill me, but I like the first one most. I'd made it with darker beads, but that particular type of netting looks exactly like fisherman's net!

    Great entry, btw! Just perfect colors for my liking ;) And a fringe... Mmmmmmm!

    Good luck!

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  5. I love the focal. It is truly amazing. I liked both straps, but I've always been partial to spirals. I agree that the netting goes with the them perfectly, so maybe netting at the joins transitioning into another stitch. Love it.

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  6. It's beautiful. Can't wait to see how you decide to finish it.

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  7. I love those movies - and I LOVE what you have so far! Can hardly wait to see it finished :)

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  8. Thank you so much ladies! I appreciate your input. I'm going to rip out try #6 and get going on what I hope will be the final effort! Geez!

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  9. Gorgeous focal! I'm sure that you will find the solution to the neck piece and that it will be as gorgeous as the focal! Thanks for posting about your process. It will help people understand how much time and effort goes into a piece.

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  10. I love this piece and the story behind it. Thanks for sharing pictures and descriptions of decisions made along the way. It's reassuring to me that other artists also struggle to finish a piece the right way. :>) You do gorgeous work.
    Robin
    divine depth designs

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  11. I nominated your Blog for the Sunshine Blog Award. Please visit my Blog to see the nomination:
    http://enchantedbeads.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-award.html

    ileana

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