I am pleased to announce that my chickens have hatched. Cafesjian Gallery, international art dealer and gallery owner, has purchased "January Dawn." It was such an amazing thing to contemplate that I really couldn't bring myself to completely believe it until I sent the invoice off and spoke with agent Ben, who will visit my studio to pick up the piece. I have learned since my last post on the subject, "Don't Count Your Chickens..." that other beaded jewelry from the Minnesota State Fair Art Exhibit was also purchased for this collection, and I am thrilled for those artists as well.
I have already discussed the inspiration for this work in the post "Which One?" but I had process photos and wanted to preserve them, as well as my three months and about 70 hours of effort, here in my blog. Additionally, I will take this opportunity to share my final photographic efforts. I'll start with a quick inspiration recap.
On January 13th, 2010, the dawn's orchid glow revealed hoar frost covering the landscape with breathtaking, spikey crystals of ice. I took photos and resolved to create a necklace to honor the beauty of the morning. In May, it was announced that my Etsy Beadweavers Team June challenge would be themed "Phenomenon" and I had the perfect subject! I started work but quickly realized the overall project was too large and labor intensive to complete in less than a month, given my limited art time each day.
I wanted the piece to be soft and wearable. Combining the spiky branch idea with a technique that afforded comfort and flexibility to the wearer took a while to work out. I used tubular peyote stitch in size 11 glossy white delicas to cover soft, clear plastic tubing, increasing and creating branch joins as necessary. This required working out (with good advice from friends) a means to create a branch without pinching the join like this one. My original idea called for overlapping branches, but I gave that up to maintain a low profile and the soft drape, letting all my branches just lay next to each other.
I worked along on the piece until mid June, when my friend Hannah asked to see how it was going. I pinned all the components together and sent her a photo. This was great, because it forced me to see how far I had come and how far there was yet to go. I had all the branches begun, and about half of the Swarovski rivolis bezeled, and had just started the "frosting." Taking progress photos often tells me more about my work than the hyper-focusing I do while working on the components. At this point, I decided the drusy teardrop did not belong in the work. It felt heavy and earthbound to me, and although the necklace was substantial, I wanted it to be light and airy in feeling.
Finally, by the end of June, all the branches were finished, and all the rivolis I planned to use were bezeled and I was ready to assemble them. I concluded it would be most efficient to frost each rivoli separately, and then weave them into position, and then finally, frost the branches as a last step. It was an interesting challenge to keep my thread from catching and tangling on the completed frost, especially as I neared the end of the project. I found I could tell the thread where to go if I kept my intention clear all the way through each needle stroke. I visited my elderly mother at the end of July, and the last bit of frosting was completed in her Helena, Montana living room, using a familiar TV tray (circa 1960's) as my beading bench.
"January Dawn" has been on exhibit at the Textile Center of Minnesota library for the last two months, and I have had it with me for a week for photography, which is just incredibly difficult for me. I think white beadweaving poses unique challenges. Here are a few new photos, which I hope capture the the essence of the work. If you have suggestions, please let me know quick, while I can still have a new go at it!
I've added this last one to let you see how bad my struggle with black ground has been!