Sunday, July 22, 2007

Somewhere over the Rainbow

My BJP theme is sevens. With July being the seventh month, there were many possible directions to go with this. I chose my male lab/golden retriever mix Cody to be one of the main elements. Cody was born in July of 2000. As of the seventh month of 2007 he is now 7 years old. That would be a great representation of seven, but there is more to this month’s page.

Traditionally a rainbow is considered to have seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, Indigo, and violet. Rainbows mean different things to each person. They are very special to me because they remind me of the wonderful pets that have shared my life and are now waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. If you haven’t heard of the Rainbow Bridge, you can read the whole story here. I warn you it might bring a tear to your eye as it does mine every time I read it. I also found a nice Flash presentation of the story here (this one is not good on slow connections). Steve & Diane Bodofsky have rewritten the story into a true poem format here. I’m not sure, but I think I like the original better.

I added the rainbow to my July page as a tribute to all the wonderful furry friends that have been in my life and are now waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Cody is watching the rainbow because he has a couple of very good furry friends waiting there for him. I'll tell you about them another day.

To make the rainbow I used clear size 11 seed beads strung with embroidery floss. I was afraid that I would not be able to find the perfect colors for the rainbow all in the same size of beads. The embroidery floss has the right colors. I used two strands of the six strand floss and backstitched two beads on at a time. After the row was finished, I used a thinner needle with one thread of floss and went back through the whole row to add more color and to smooth out the row. I had to use the thinner needle because the beads were already pretty full of thread. I really like how the rainbow looks. The picture is farther down.

The next element of my page is turning out to be much more difficult than I first thought. That could be because I really wasn’t thinking of how to do it, but how it should look. Cody is a black dog with a black nose and dark brown eyes.

This is the first picture I used to get an outline of Cody on black felt. I even cut out a extra pair of little front legs out to add dimension to him just as I had saw on the blog of The Lone Beader. I have to confess that she is someone I greatly admire. I follow her different bead projects on her blog which you can get to by clicking here. She is so talented.

You are probably way ahead of me by now. There is no easy way to show the details of a black on black on black dog with black beads on felt. Even using extra pieces of felt to add dimension weren’t going to make that pose of Cody work. Isn’t if funny how the mind plays little tricks and makes you see what really isn‘t there? After many lousy sketches, I finally settled on a side view of Cody sitting with his head looking up just a bit. Now I have an outline that looks like a dog and I am hoping the lines of the beads inside the dog will add enough detail to make this work. I still don’t know how I am going to get his eyes to show up. I may need to use the clear beads with white thread.

Below is what I have at this point. A beaded rainbow and a felt dog.

Actually I have started beading the dog but don’t have a newer picture. Every two beads goes on after much thought and with care. I have never beaded this slowly, nor I have ever been pushed this far out of my comfort zone. I want to add more to the page, but that will have to wait until Cody is finished. Right now I can’t seem to plan past the next two black beads.

Thank you to all who commented on my work. It is so exciting to read them and know others are looking at my work. I also enjoy looking at everyone else’s work and reading about the projects. Thank you to all who share the techniques they are using. I am learning so much. Even describing simple things teach me so much.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

June Page is Finished---finally

I had a feeling that using a 7 by 7 inch square for my BJP page was going to require lots of beads and lots of tiny stitches to cover the whole thing in beads. It did. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the back. This is the first time I have tried using beads in this way. It is a very textural piece and I like that. I can close my eyes and "walk" the labyrinth with my finger by using the stepping stones to find the entrance and the beaded walls to keep me on the path.

I surrounded the labyrinth with the things that I would want around my own labyrinth if I was lucky enough to have one. The sound of moving water is soothing, so a near by stream would be perfect. I love flowers and would want them close at hand. I also hate shoes and would want the whole area covered in soft grass or moss so I could walk barefoot.

There is a whole list of things I could have done differently. The colors are what I like the least. I used the same colored beads for the labyrinth path as the area that surrounds it. The main difference between the two areas is the texture created by the stitches.

I read on another's BJP blog that they were unhappy with parts of their page and had planned to put it away for a bit. I think that is a good idea.

July's page is not going to be all beads! I want to try the other techniques I have seen so many beautiful projects. The main theme of July has developed to be the dogs in my life.

How does this relate to a study of seven? Cody is the black lab (actually he is a lab/golden retriever mix) in this picture. He was born in July of 2000. So he is 7 years old in the 7th month of 2007. The other dog is named Sky and is a mixed breed with some Australian Shepard. She has their short tail and wonderful energy. She also keeps asking for a flock of sheep to herd., but happily herds Cody and balls.

There is more to the July page. I want to work with the fabric and beads and see what happens. More of this page will be posted as it develops.