Studio Musings

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dear Dali - It's nice to meet you!

I love Dahlias! Funny thing is, I'd never even heard of Dahlias before moving to Seattle, but I quickly fell in love with the bright, big, spiky blooms and their extravagant colors.  Gladiolas may be the 'official' August birth flower, but I've decided to trade them in for Dahlias.  Done!

Last month, I'd decided my next Happy Fish would feature flowers.  Fast forward to September and I'd still made no significant progress.  Nothing seemed right.  Then I spied these beauties for sale at a corner grocery on the first day of the bead retreat.  I walked by them three times before deciding I had to have them.  They reminded me of the quinacridone pigments which make up some of my favorite red, orange and violet paints.  Such rich, luscious color!  The Dahlias' color and the shapes of their petals inspired my newest Happy Fish.

I call her Dali.... 

Dali's under-sketch with artist pens
Here she is in all her finery, happily posing for the camera

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bead Retreat Weekend - Vashon Island

The view from the back deck of Camp Burton's Dining Hall
I spent last weekend in the company of eight amazing women and fellow artists at a mini-bead retreat.  The setting couldn't have been more perfect.  We stayed in the cutest little house at Camp Burton on Vashon Island.  A short ferry ride from Seattle, Vashon feels like another world.  It's like stepping back into time to a slower-paced world then sideways into an artist community.  Ice-cream shops have huge front porches, flanked by artist collective boutiques and the coolest 'junk' shops.

What I think I love best about retreats is the chance to step away from my everyday to-do lists and focus on simply being and creating.  Stitching, beading, a little sketching, walks along the beach; the little things that bring such joy.

The luxury of leaving home for a long weekend is fantastic.  I started and finished several pieces while I was there.  Which makes me wonder if the magic can't be captured even if you stay closer to home.

Talking with a friend, she mentioned that she periodically hosts 'mini-retreat stitch-ins' at a local community center.  She reserves the room for the whole day, invites friends, buys snacks, even arranges for door prizes.  And when the time comes, she leaves all her cares at home for the day while she spends the day with friends.  Have you ever done a single-day 'mini-retreat'?  I'd love to hear what arrangements you made and how you thought it worked.

My beading table - I organize my beads like kits to save space in packing
clam shells encrusted with barnacles
Another view from the island, at low tide

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Signs of Fall - Beaded Acorns

my 'acorns' look right at home with their forest counterparts
The weather here in Seattle is cooling fast; the dog days of summer are gone and we're quickly heading into fall with a week's worth of rain.  The leaves haven't started turning yet, but acorns are falling everywhere I look.

Walking home last week with a pocket full of acorns, I decided to pull out my beaded acorn earrings tutorial.  Never fully satisfied, I reworked things, adding several new diagrams and brand new photos.  The tutorial's now up on my Etsy store.

I lied - one single branch on the tree outside my front door has turned!

Happy Autumn!