Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Messy Beading Tray

One thing that I've noticed is when I get full-on into a good beading project, my bead tray gets just as messy as the rest of my work area. Seriously. Don't believe me? Check it out:

Yes, that's one of my favorite Bead On It Boards, in the middle of a beading project. Note the tidy arrangement of my seed beads and accent beads, making it easy to find each bead as I need it.


Here's a closer look:

Again, note the precise placement of each type of bead in a manner that makes it easy to find as I'm stitching.

Yeah, whatever.

Now, I used to use those little ceramic paint dishes for my beads as I worked, but you know what? I didn't really like them. They were cold, they weren't comfortable for beading on the couch or in bed, and yeah, if you dropped one, you had to pick up both all those seed beads plus the shattered pieces of ceramic.

And what project, you might ask, has created such a mish-mash of beads on my tray? Why, it's this one:

Back in November (or was it October?), I bought a couple of bead kits from The Jade Dog to participate in her challenge contest. Sure, I told myself, I have LOTS of time to complete two new pieces for the competition before December 1.


This is as far as I got as of the morning of December 1, and even with everything else that I have going and the zillion other projects I'm working on, I feel compelled to finish this piece. My goal now is to finish it before Christmas. We'll see.

But back to the messy bead tray. There's something that's almost liberating about being able to toss my beads into little piles like that and just let them roll where they may. It inspires me to new color combinations and new ideas for mixing textures.

Of course, when the project is actually finished, there's always cleanup... Which is how bead soup was invented, I suspect.

Depending on my mood, I'll sit there with my slender, narrow, metal bead scoop and separate each type of bead and put them back into their original containers. Or, if I'm in a hurry to start my next project, I'll just scoop 'em all up and stuff 'em in a little plastic baggie.

Which explains why I've got dozens of little plastic baggies of mixed-up beads in my bead stash.

Do your beading trays look like they are just one step above controlled chaos while you work?

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Been a While...

But I think it's finally time to resurrect The Messy Beader's Club!

In case anyone forgot (and a good reminder to myself), I started The Messy Beader's Club as a way to explore the connection (if any) between chaos and creativity. And if the state of my desk and bookshelf are any indication as to my creativity as of late, it would seem that I am in creative overdrive:

 The beads! The beads! I pull out a few tubes for one project, then set them aside in a plastic bag with my notes for the project.

Then I get another idea for a project. I pull more beads, put those in a plastic bag, and set that aside.

And the project ideas just keep coming. And more beads get pulled, put in plastic bags, and set aside...

Eventually, I DO start the actual beading. But it's usually with the beads spread out all around me, in total chaos. If things start to look too neat, I sort of freak out.

And then I have to pull more beads for another project, put them in a bag, and set them aside...

Even when I pull out the keyboard drawer from my desk, I've got it covered in beads and tools and supplies!

Every surface on my desk is covered with beads, projects in progress, and components that I want to use...eventually.

Sometimes, I wonder if my need for chaos isn't really a need to reassure myself that I *won't* run out of project ideas. Do I need to surround myself with beads for future projects to fend off my fears that my creativity will eventually dry up?

I also sort of panic when I get to the end of a project. Sure, it's immensely satisfying to have that clean beading board in front of me, with all the seed beads neatly packed away and ready for their next adventure...but...again, the fear that my ideas will dry up is front and center once I've finished a piece.

I've noticed my ideas moving in a new direction the last few months, more towards things like beaded art dolls (which I've never made) and collaborating with my incredibly talented artist friend Susan Tompkins on a series of painted, collaged, and bead-embroidered wall hangings. More art for art's sake, and not so much wearable art.

Along with that, I'm thinking that my new direction for 2013 should also be towards (GASP!) getting better organized and staying that way. With the bulk of my beads living in our finished basement and my current "corner office" in the living room looking like a bomb went off on a daily basis, I think it's time for 2013 to be the year that I finally get my act together and experiment to find a way of staying organized that works for me.

Otherwise, I'll just end up filling all the shelves in the bookcase with beads, sort of like this...

Are you a Messy Beader, too? Are you thinking about getting organized in 2013?