Monday, November 8, 2010

Singing Out of Tune

We can go along our way, la-dee-da, content with our creative choices and interests. La-dee-da. Then one day we come upon a new interest that creeps into our daily desires. We keep singing, but the tune changes maybe to la-dee-dee. We are still singing la-dee-da, but we find more often that we resonate with the la-dee-dee. Pretty soon we are singing la-dee-dee almost all the time. And then one day we try to sing the la-dee-da, and we find that we are way out of tune!!
   This has happened to me. My la-dee-da for the past seven years has been beadweaving. I loved the beads, the colors, the textures! I loved waking up most mornings with new ways to pattern the beads to make a whole new design. It was a natural song and I loved it.
    Then one day, as the story goes, La-dee-dee, aka Zentangle, came into my sphere. The more I did it, the more I did it! (And I have to say, the world looks different to me in ways that would require a whole other blog post.) Suffice it to say, I am singing this song almost all the time. My beads look a little forlorn, the newest ones still in their baggies, not yet put away. I'm almost afraid to put them away for fear I won't remember the new ones are with me. There is a grief I feel for not having given the beads my usual attention. And as the universe works in funny little ways, amid all this lack of attention, I was surprised to see that my last design for the year in Beadwork magazine was now featured on the cover. I am really feeling honored by this, but I also am even more aware of my grief for the song I've neglected in the past few months. Having submitted a few new designs to Beadwork for the coming year, the newest design (called Ricky Rack) to get accepted is due this week. The magazine editors asked if I could make the design in a couple additional colorways. I tried and tried, but I was way out of tune!! It seemed the harder I tried, the less satisfied I was with the colors.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends...
  I called my friend Jann to see if she would use my new design instructions to make a few color samples to send to the magazine. And wow, did she! She showed up with some beautiful finished pieces, and to top it off, she brought her "rejects." I was so stunned by how many colors she had tried! She truly saved me from my growing stress level of getting them done. But more than that, she allowed me to be ok with the break I needed AND she also inspired me to take another look. As I sat with a group of my friends, the samples and "rejects" all spread out before me, I began --- in Zentangle fashion -- to rearrange and poke around at all the what ifs... using the rejects, mind you! Pretty soon, a couple of friends were beside me, poking around with me, rearranging pieces and colors, getting into my bead stash to find additions. It was great fun!! When they left, I found myself energized and inspired to move forward... one bead at a time, one component and one stitch at a time. The stress was gone as I felt the energy of all of my friends in each stitch and in each bead. By the end of the night, a whole new bracelet was born, using all of Jann's sample bits, and all of the ideas that my freinds had offered. Collaboration is just the most fun! The new bracelet is in the middle, flanked by the original design of "Ricky Rack".

As I remember Ricky Rack's beginnings, I had almost forgotten that it had come from playing with new tangle experiments... so not only did I get a little (a LOT) of help from my friends, I think the new song and the old song might be more closely related than I was aware of. I think the new design needs a name that reflects the collaboration of all those things. Anyone have any ideas out there? It would only be fitting for another friend to name it!


  1. Fantastic Zentangle designs~ Fantastic beadweaving! You girlz have major skillz!

  2. I felt so sad that the 'rejects' didn't work, so it's amazing to see them made into something so beautiful! Just goes to show what a fresh perspective and some creative collaboration can do.

  3. I guess there really is no such thing as a reject, just a rework! Thanks again, Jann. I now have more things I want to try with this design. The "breather" you gave me really helped.

  4. Oh Carol thanks to Juls I have found you! I so love seeing all of your patterns in Beadwork and have been a fan since I started beading! This baby totally rocks and I so look forward to picking up the newest issue!
    Ricky Rack is an amazing piece!

  5. Thank, Kristen! Ricky Rack will appear in June/July 2011 issue. They may rename it (they usually do).

  6. Congrats on getting your work on the cover of Beadwork magazine! That must be really exciting for you. I am not a beader, but just love your bead creations and your zentangle patterns, tiles, and zentangle inspired art. As for a name suggestion - BEZECO (combination of your love for both art forms - BE for beads, ZE for zentangle, and CO for collaboration from your friends).

  7. Hi Carole, I am a little late to the party, but how about Circle of Friends?


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