Finally, the judges gave special recognition to a set of three bead-covered rocks by Joanne Bast.
“The pieces of mine that were recognized this month were beaded rocks. One of the technical issues with stitching non wearable beadwork is how to present the finished creation. Most beadwork needs some kind of support but standard frames usually don't work. By stitching the beadwork over a rock, the support is encased and when the stitching is done, the presentation is done as well.
I use a stitch called right angle weave to cover the rocks because the basis of the stitch is a 4 (or multiple of 4) bead circle. This produces a fabric of beads that has no straight lines and stretches like bias in all directions, perfect for encasing irregularly shaped objects like rocks. I start with a piece of leather for the bottom, sew the first row of beads to the leather and then stitch bead to bead to enclose the rock form.
Motifs are done with a stitch called brick stitch which allows me to draw with lines of beads, shaping the lines by increasing and/or decreasing as well as changing bead sizes. Some of the pieces also have straight lines of brick stitching which I use to separate areas of color blocks done in the right angle weave. That way I can shade light to dark on one side of a line and dark to light or another color on the other.
In Sedona, AZ, I saw some petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) and thought what perfect images to bead onto rocks. I stitch the motifs first, position them on the rock temporarily with scotch tape and then bead the background up from the bottom attaching the motifs in place. The contrast of line vs. no line bead stitching also helps the motifs stand out from the background.
The result is little decorative sculptures that may be used (i.e., paperweights) or not. Not everything in life needs a purpose beyond giving pleasure to feel and look at.”
This will be my last post for the month. Next month will actually be Joanne’s turn, so I imagine you’ll learn more about beading.
I’ll be back in March to talk more about weaving and the March show.
- Larry Novak