Studio Musings

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ongoing Inspiration

Elaine's bracelet almost complete
I'm terribly behind with almost everything at the moment, including my blogging, having lost the better part of this past week to a series of migraine level headaches.  Now that I have a functioning brain again, it's time to play catch up!  

The monthly Seedbeader's meeting last Sunday was packed - everyone so happy to actually be able to make it out of their own driveways after the weird week of snow and ice and snow and well, you get it.  Debbie Johnson shared the pattern for a beautiful bangle bracelet made with seed beads, pearls and crystals.  She was incredibly well organized and a fantastic presenter.  

Jody McGrath's Treasure Pouch, taught by Mary Irvine
Despite the festive atmosphere, there was a bittersweet flavor to the day, as this was the first meeting without one of our long time members, Mary Irvine.  I regret that I had just barely begun to get to know Mary personally, but I know that she was a woman of incredible talent and energy.  She was so incredibly involved with the Bead Society, and I've heard with the local basketry guild as well.  In early October she was busy with the Bead Society's annual Bazaar (which is much bigger than the name might imply) and in late October she taught at the annual Beaders' Retreat.  Few there knew that she was feeling poorly.  In November, she was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer and she was gone before Christmas.

Georgia McMillan's creations inspired by Mary's class
Her inspiration still remains, just listening to the women who knew her.  And more tangibly, in the pieces that have developed from the inspiration of her last class, making a beaded treasure pouch with waxed linen thread.  Many of the women who had taken her workshop brought their finished pieces to our December meeting.  Unfortunately, I was so busy photographing examples for upcoming meetings and the challenge entries, I didn't get a chance to photograph any of the pieces on the general display table before people packed up to go home.  

Georgia McMillan
This time around, I snapped shots of the works by two of our members, Georgia McMillan and Jody McGrath.  Jody's piece is a direct interpretation from the class, while Georgia McMillan combined Mary's inspiration with her own finger knotting techniques, using the class as an ongoing source of inspiration for an entire body of work.  

Georgia McMillan's finger knotting

And next month, Georgia will be sharing her finger knotting technique with the group focusing on the basic techniques - the knots, how to add beads, how to create the loop. 


  1. I am sure Mary was beloved and it sounds as if she lived a full life if not one as long as it should have been.

    The bangle is lovely and the knotted work is inspiring.

    For inspiration for your next class you might want to take a look at Robin Atkins page on finger weaving.

  2. I'm sorry for your loss, and for the loss of everyone who new Mary. It's hard to lose someone to something devastating like cancer, no matter how long you've known her.

    Finger weaving sounds interesting, in a very good way. I especially like those beaded loops!

  3. Looking forward to taking your class tomorrow at Fusion. I sat with you at the seed beader's group last weekend. I found a friend to go with me so you would have enough people.

  4. Karen,
    The pictures of Georgia's work are wonderful. I don't know if her computer is working, but I'll be sure and let her know to read this email.

    Just to prevent any confusion, finger knotting is a different technique than Robin Atkins' finger weaving. The end result could be similar, but most of the embellishment of a finger knotting base is completed afterwards, not while you are making the basic bracelet (or necklace). I see that Robin's technique is more like weaving or macrame. It's difficult to describe Georgia's technique. I found page 2 of my directions, but am still looking for page 1.

    Anyway, thanks again for the great pictures. I finished my bracelet but just need to complete the reinforcement. Am going to start a second one tonight.

  5. Thank you, I did not know Mary well, which makes me sad. Seeing how beautifully her spirit still touches the women who did know her well makes me wish I'd had the chance.

    It's interesting to me just how many techniques there are to make cording. From finger crochet, which I used for one of the cords in my Oak Leaf Lariat, to the macrame I learned as a child of the 70s, to a fingerloop technique I learned from a book on textiles found in medieval archeological digs back when my focus was period reenactment, to Georgia's technique and Kumihimo, both of which I look forward to learning. Thanks for the link to Robin's page!

    I can say that Georgia's and Robin's techniques seem different, just by looking at the pictures. But I'll know more in a month! And anyone in the area who's interested is more than welcome to join us!