Leaf Time for Bead Art

Most weeks I find time to bead, but when I’m especially busy, I schedule my bead time just I schedule other important appointments in my life. That’s how I happened to plan for the Bead Society’s Bead’s & Blah, Blah Blah, an afternoon devoted once a month to bead creativity.

Last week’s meeting, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the organization, focused on member-created leafs. The leaf project stations encouraged members to try three different techniques: felt leaves, French wire, and the Russian stitch.

I joined Instructor Jessica Dowell as she walked eight or ten women through her French wire design. It was a blast.

We chose our own colors from supplies donated to the project and I chose gold for my first leaf. The room buzzed with chatter. In all, it was a happy group.

© 2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, French Wire leaves

© 2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, French Wire leaves

Jessica showed each of us how to maximize the shaping of the design, once we’d finished stitching. Some of our firsts are pictured here. (The gold leaf is my first attempt.) The directions she provided were stellar! I’m positive I can recreate my French wire leaf.

It wasn’t just me who experienced the surge of pride in accomplishment. I saw it throughout the room.

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Leaf Pride

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Leaf Pride

Participants relaxed, chatted and munched.

Fueled by one success, most of us tried something another technique.

The Russian stitch, my second project, presented a different challenge. Not only did it concentrate on peyote stitch which can be a bit tricky, but I used size 11 beads, rather than the larger more forgiving size 6 of the other project.

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Russian stitch leaf

©2014, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Russian stitch leaf

Fortunately, I have “Nan” to thank. She sat next to me and helped me work through the steps for this interesting open-veined leaf. In the process, I “got it.” (Thanks, Nan!) Nan was one of several new friends with whom I connected during the afternoon.

The joy practicing your craft within the synergy of a group is not to be under-estimated.

Not only do you meet new people and learn other techniques, most often you discover and other ideas too good to leaf behind. (For instance, I love the thought of covering burner covers with foam in order to build new bead trays. Ahhh! That’s another blog post. )

It reminds me to always “leaf” time for my bead art.

When will you leaf time for beads this week?