“Meditation on Spring” Beaded Cuff

Spring colors are blooming on my very first bracelet cuff creation!

Forsythia yellow, willow green, azalea pink, rhododendron rose, cream and baby pink magnolia. Colors so fresh and light, rebirthing the world in their embrace. Ah, I just love this time of year!

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I wrote this post about stitching a 2-drop peyote band from a bead soup mix that was left over from this freeform bracelet. That band has sat, well, for 2 years now, on a bead mat in my studio, patiently waiting for me to transform it into a piece of jewelry.

I created the face cabochon from polymer clay using the same glazing technique I used for these faces, rubbing on mica powder and mixing alcohol ink with liquid polymer clay.

After I beaded around the face cabochon, I attached her to my peyote band. As I held it in my hand, I felt that the weight of the cabochon was just too heavy for the lightness of the band so I pondered and pondered on what I could do next. Hmmmm…

Aha! What if I sewed the peyote stitched band to a piece of ultrasuede and then glued that to a brass cuff? That would give it the weight and counterbalance it needed! So, I did just that and then glued another piece of ultrasuede to the back of the cuff. I stitched a beaded edge, thus joining the 2 pieces of ultrasuede together at their edges, giving the cuff a finished look.

I found a great resource on the web for ultrasuede. Field’s Fabrics is located in Michigan, has over 160 colors of ultrasuede in stock and charges only a flat rate $6.00 for shipping. You can buy scrap variety packs or as little as 1/8 yard per color. I used a pale spring green called limade for this project.

Even though it took me several years to figure out how to bring all of the components together in harmony, I’m so happy with my new creation. Now that’s it’s complete, I’m thinking of another bead embroidered bracelet, this one softer without the brass cuff, possibly beaded on a piece of batik fabric in yummy colors.

Ah, the possibilities…

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” 

~Albert Einstein

Unless otherwise noted, all text and photos are the property of Karen Park Art and Tea, copyright 2007-2011. Please do not “lift” any of my photographs or blog posts for use on your blog or website. Thank you so much for your respect and kind attention.

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Beads and Yarn

I have a secret. I love coming home from a bead show, dumping all of my purchases into one big pile on the table and running my fingers through all of my new beads. All that beautiful color and texture! Even though I buy from different vendors, my purchases reflect ideas and images I’ve been thinking about lately and they all seem to match in one way or the other. Do you experience the same thing?

I’m thinking of a bead embroidery cuff for the face cab from Earthenwood Studio. Isn’t it fabulous?

My dumping/ooh-ing and aah-ing ritual reminds me of when my kids returned from trick or treating on Halloween night and all the stashes got dumped on the family room rug. First, Mom or Dad would go through to pick out any suspicious looking items (and the Butterfingers) and then the trading would begin.

Here’s some detail of a strand of unique snakeskin jasper and pearls I couldn’t resist along with amethyst and peridot. A lot of my stone bead purchases were made from Momminia of Cold Spring, NY. A husband and wife team, Marlene and Steve Goodrich are quick to share their in depth knowledge about any of their stones. So, buying from them is both an education and a treat to the eyes. Even though my daughter isn’t at all into beads like I am, she listened intently while they named the different stones and where they originated. Here’s some faceted rhodolite garnet. We couldn’t resist that amazing raspberry color. It will go fabulously with black, I think.

Last but not least, my yarn purchases from my Michigan trip in March. I also discovered a yarn store called Knitting Pointers, right down the street from my new home, and I visited there last weekend. I couldn’t resist the pale muted colorway on the left.

The brand name is “Poems”. What a perfect name for what these colors inspire in me.

“I want to make poems that look into the the earth and the heavens and see the unseeable.

I want them to honor both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;

the gladness that says, without any words, everything.”

-Mary Oliver

My January Journal Page

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I just finished my January journal page today. I filled in my “path” with mauve colored pearls, representing the “pearls of wisdom” I’ve learned along the way. The photo doesn’t show it very clearly but the path has led me to a cache of beautiful multi-colored jewels. This symbolizes the treasure that lies inside each one of us.

My idea for my February page is of 2 hearts side by side, nourishing each other with a silver river that flows in a circle from one heart to the other and back again. Time to get my fabric prepared!

Free Form Peyote Bracelet

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About 6 years ago, I started a free form peyote stitch amulet bag in luscious sea colors. Over the course of 4 years and a challenging time in my life, I worked on it on and off until it was finally finished. I loved the meditative feel of adding beads a little at a time and it mirrored for me the small positive steps I was taking in my life. Perhaps the healing memories of creating that amulet bag is one aspect of what drew me to the idea of the Beaded Journal Project years later. Recently, when I saw this bracelet created by Libby at Libzoid, it further awakened those memories. So, inspired by Libby’s creation and the sunrise colors in my December page, I created this free form bracelet. I call it “Awakenings”.

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Saturday Morning Tea

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And precious the tear as that rain from the sky,

Which turns into pearls as it falls in the sea.

-Thomas Moore

I have been thinking about pearls lately and the wonder surrounding their creation. I invite you to join me in my thoughts for a moment. What starts out to be an intrusion, an irritation, is transformed into something beautiful. In meditating on the life of a pearl, we can use it as a metaphor in our own lives. In our day to day life, challenges arise and in the process of dealing with those challenges, we are transformed as well. In honor of my “pearl” musings, this morning I have chosen a pearl jasmine tea, Dragon Phoenix Pearl, for my cup of tea.

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Steeped in 180 degree F water for 3 minutes, I watched in fascination as the little spheres unfurled themselves, reminding me of hermit crabs reaching their legs out of their shells. Gorgeous full green leaves are revealed as I remove the pearls from the water.

The journey of the tea pearls. After green tea processing, the leaves are laid out with blooming jasmine flowers so they will absorb their intoxicating scent. This process is repeated and then the leaves are steamed and hand rolled into little pearls. I deeply feel that the pale straw colored liquor in my cup has been steeped from little works of art in themselves.

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The tea is so pale that you can see the wonderful texture inside of my tea bowl. This is one of the bowls I purchased at the Kaji Aso studio. The aroma is delicately floral and not overly perfumey. The taste is sweet jasmine, smooth and subtle.

I have not yet laid down a single bead for my January journal page but there is a lot of inner gestating going on. Being guided by my meditations on pearls, unfurling spiral shapes and turning 50 the other day, it will be called “The Journey to Myself”.