I love little birds as a theme for my work – beads, drawing, sculpture… whatever form. Before the outbreak I already had a fair assortment of bird themed beads in my shop but I guess other folks decided now was the time to see what they wanted, as far as bird beads go.
As far as themes for the outbreak go little, mostly cute, birds is a pretty mild one I think. Anyone else got a recurring visual element in their pandemic art practice?
Last month before the world ended – I’m joking here but it feels like it, some days, with the complete disruption from the pandemic – I revamped a cane design I had in my shop. I had made what I called zinnias, previously. They were perfectly good canes but they did not look like the crazy, multi petaled fluffs that are regular zinnias. Then, while trying to decide what to do with some blends in my box, I realized I had a better idea of how to approach it. Turns out I did have a better idea! I made four new zinnias in pretty much one go and they make me so happy. You can grab them in my Etsy shop, too (insert mandatory plug).
The fourth is a little muddy because I made it with this fabulous 3 colour blend rather than the higher contrast you get with a single colour to white. Next time I’ll do 3 blends. It’s still beautiful… just not the same style as the others.
Then it got a little crazy in the real world as #flattenthecurve got going, markets started collapsing, and we all started gluing ourselves to the news. A few weeks later it’s not less stressful but there’s starting to be mental space to be creative again as I adjust to the new reality. I cranked out a few zinnia themed round beads and I have to say they are such cheery little things. And I took photos while making them because I’d resolved I would be writing a lot more on my blog and the internet while we were social distancing. The photos now make up the revamp of my Making Round Beads tutorial which is what I point out to everyone who asks me how to use the canes I sell.
I hope all you guys out there are able to hold onto the creative spark, whatever that looks like for you!
For the last 5 or so years I’ve had my studio in the back half of my gift shop, Field and Fable. It lets me keep an eye on the shop and help my building mates. My studio is the old parts room from a small engine shop and it’s sort of perfect as a studio. We own the building I mostly love it to pieces. I’ve made great beads and canes and clay things and classes here.
The current COVID-19 pandemic means my gift shop is shuttered and the other businesses in the building are mostly closed for the time being. Everyone is working so hard to flatten the curve and stop the spread here. Since I’m still getting occasional online orders, I come in and pack and ship a few times a week. I’m cautious about moving it all back to the house because my two cats are much more active than the elderly one that we had when I first worked from my home studio. And, it’s our building so we pretty much can avoid humans there, too.
I’ve been making some pretty good stuff without the regular interruptions that an open shop has. Not that open shops are bad at all, it’s just practical to get used to what will be some long term changes. For a special customer request I made these Hawaiian bird beads – a goose and a honeycreeper – that turned out just great.
About the studio shot – when I took over the parts room, everything got several more coats of white paint. The counter I use as a bench got everything taken off it so I could sterilize it all properly back at the start and since it mostly holds items for customers, I’m keeping those in storage so I don’t have to keep cleaning them off. On the plastic table in the foreground are some bags of lettuce and herbs from the little aerogardens I have going in the corner of the studio. Part of the charm of having a big drafty old garage is that it can get used for anything and I don’t feel bad about making a mess.