Monday, June 25, 2012

Admitting to our flaws...

I'm one of those lucky people that is good at almost everything I try the first time I try it, so it's really difficult for me when something's hard for me to do.  Luckily, I can convince myself (lie to myself, is more like) that the thing I tried and failed at the first time isn't worth bothering with, like the underwater basketweaving class I took at Great Western War a few years ago.  (Yes, seriously, it was underwater basketweaving, I kid you not.)  Within the first 10 minutes of the class I just knew the baskets and I would not become one, and I politely excused myself from the class.  I'm just glad it was free and I didn't have to ask for my money back.

Cherokees of Orange County Learn to Weave
This would have been me, learning to weave.  Definitely not my thing.

This did NOT happen with lampworking, though.  The first time I sat in front of a torch with mandrel in one hand and glass rod in the other was NOT one of my few failed first attempts.  I wound on the glass, puckered the bead holes, flame annealed it, and popped it in the vermiculite, and my almost-perfect first bead was born, as was a torch-wielding, flame-loving, craving for molten glass.  I was so impressed with myself, as I usually am when I am successful at something first try, that I crowed that my puckered holes were perfect and I was a natural talent and would be successfully selling beads on the internet within the fortnight! (BWAHAHAHA!) I just wish I had a picture to show you of those first beads, which have disappeared in the sands of time.

Yeah, yeah, you're probably hating me right now, but this story isn't over.

Then I discovered that glass rods didn't come in ONLY the 5 colors my friend (who introduced me to lampworking) had sitting on his coffee table that day.  They come in uncountable numbers, more and more being developed and marketed to us poor flame-crazed, bead addicts every day!  It was at that point that my natural talent for making technically perfect beads became inconsequential.

See, I have a color problem.  Mind you, I'm not colorblind, but I might as well be.  For some reason when I put two or three or more colors together, I can't tell if they look good together or not.  I used to be really good at this, like way back in high school when I was designing outfits for myself to wear to school, but in the last 20 years that ancient skill has moldered and turned to dust.  So when I hold up a couple different colored rods of glass together, even if I know that they're stable colors that won't change in the flame, I can't tell if they go well together.  They just sort of sit there, ignoring my pleas to speak their secret color language to me.

In general, as an adult, I've struggled with the creative process.  I cook almost everything with the same 5 or 6 ingredients, I knit and sew exclusively from patterns, and I ache with unwritten words that absolutely refuse to pour forth.  And now, or at least for the last 7 years, I have the hardest time deciding what kinds and colors of beads to make, but the flame calls me and won't let me stop.  Here's a recent addition to my bead stash.  Please don't laugh.  And don't ask me what I was thinking putting tomato soup red together with that teal-y green.

But!  But, maybe, inspiration doesn't only have to come from within.  I read something recently that said that if you have to struggle with the creative process maybe you're just not creative, but that just HAS to be poppycock.  I refuse to believe that just because I'm not good at something it means that I can't get help.  I think technical skill is an important talent, and the world needs people with technical skill, and I also think if I can't find my color and design creativity from within, I can look to external sources for help, and that way I still get the opportunity to enjoy the creative process and to enjoy sharing my work with people.

A couple weeks ago I followed some links from a blog and found myself here, at (don't you just love that name?).  I'd seen color palettes similar to this before on one of the blogs I currently read (read = skim for cool bead pictures, but mostly ignore text), but since I wasn't reading the text I didn't realize that the palette is supposed to be used for inspiration, to help you design, well, whatever it is that you're designing, be it jewelry, beads, drawings, clothing, furniture, etc.  Since I started paying attention, though, I've actually noticed other blogs and websites out there that post color palettes as regular features, and since I discovered these sites, just like Columbus, I want to stick my flag in the sand and claim them as mine, so to speak.  So, I'm considering starting a weekly feature taking one of the color palettes and making a set of beads from the glass colors that most match the palette I've selected.  I'm thinking of making the palette selection process random, that ought to make it more "interesting".

So, to make a long story even longer, here is the first palette I'm going to try (oh dear, pink and, what is that, mauve? with brown and... yellow/beige?).  I'll (try my damndest to) make some beads from it and post pictures on Wednesday, and every Wednesday thereafter (minus the Wednesday's I'm on vacation) I'll do it again.

In other news, it's now only 3, count them, THREE weeks until we leave on vacation to the Vancouver, Washington/Portland, Oregon area.  In addition to visiting friends and family we will be seeing the sights that the "big city" has to offer.  At almost three, Emma has never been to a museum, which I personally regard as child neglect, so we'll be visiting a museum, and the zoo, and going to see the snow, 'cause even though it's the middle of summer there's always snow on Mount Hood.  We will also be heading to Bellevue, Washington for the Bead Bazaar at the ISGB Gathering on Saturday the 29th.  SO excited to meet some beady friends I've met from the forums and blogosphere! *squee!* :)

1 comment:

  1. Just want to say I can commiserate. I too look at the rods and think things like "Ooooo, let's put orange and transp topaz and transp brown and this cool black that reduces to a gold color into a twistie!" And they do look lovely together in the twistie. Melted on a bead? Turns to mud.

    I've see a couple of different color palette sites, some specifically for beads. I just wish they had caveats on them, saying things like "Ewww, don't put those colors together; they don't play well when they touch."