When the holidays approach I like to pack up and just get out of town. This year I decided to make this holiday season more of a working artist retreat. After packing up some supplies, Hadley and I headed to the beach. I had these goals in mind: 1) finishing a piece I’d started (Black Pagoda was the working title), 2) create a vessel or two from Wendy Ellsworth’s instructions for spiral vessels, 3) explorations on square stitch possibly for covering some large clay vessels I needed to embellish and 4) be open to any new ideas (which is a mantra for me in general).
Gary joined Hadley and I a day or two after we’d arrived and as he was sweeping up in the house he discovered a dead gecko lizard. Though many people might think it odd, i was quite pleased when he presented the dead lizard to me on the dust pan. Thank goodness for goal #4 as i began to think what to do to celebrate this lizard’s life.
Since the lizard, which currently does not have a name or nickname, was quite fragile i realized I’d need a container to treasure his remains in and not build a free form vessel. And as his body was creating quite a lovely crescent shape, I knew he needed a circular container. Luckily I had a small lidded jar from my bead stash and he fit quite snugly inside.
Now the fun part of making decisions. I like to cover containers and objects in right angle weave, so there’s decision one down. Bead work in Right Angle Weave, also known as RAW, has a cloth like quality and has a wonderful drape to it. So it’s going to fit over the container nice and neatly. And I will be able to build up 3 dimensionally from this initial lay if i choose. I could choose another bead weaving stitch but i also like the four directions pattern of RAW. The beads lay in a North, South, East, and West pattern and i enjoy the symbolism.
Now for color and design. This took a day or two to think through so i worked on the unfinished pagoda piece which was now becoming a reliquary for shells that I had found on numerous walks along the beach. For this new reliquary, i decided to mix three different colors of beads which were also slightly different sizes as well to form my own “color”. Since i enjoy the random selection of the beads i didn’t plot out a design. This random selection of b which will eventually create a pattern of some sort. (May I interject here that I could/should write about the joys of random design and pattern making)
Next, get to work. I create a narrow band in Right Angle Weave that almost surrounds the container. i allow enough space between the ends so that I can control the tension that’s necessary to make the band fit securely around the container. And since I don’t want to disturb or harm the deceased lizard, I will increase the width of the band a bit more before securing it around the outside of the container. Now that I have attached the band I have more insight as to how this piece should continue and will post as the work progresses.