Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mountain Girl Anniversary

It has been nearly a year since Regina Payne released Mountain Girl to the bead world.  I have had so many people ask me why I'm making so many Mountain Girl bracelets or ask me when I'm going to do something new, I thought I'd write about the topic for this blog.  It has helped me to reflect on my year of making Mountain Girl.

I think everyone in the bead world must know the story of Regina Payne's Mountain Girl bracelet.  The condensed version is that after hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, she wanted to do something special to raise funds for the people of the island.  She did a step by step tutorial on Facebook to produce this stunning bracelet with donations going to help.  MANY others from the bead world joined the cause donating items for a drawing for those who donated to help Puerto Rico.  It is a wonderful example of people coming together to help out.  Regina wanted to do something special and ended up with a spectacular demonstration of what people can do when they pull together.
Regina's Mountain Girl tutorial

I started my first Mountain Girl bracelet on October 2nd as Regina posted pictures on Facebook with the tutorial.  I worked each day to keep up as she posted steps.  I captured the daily lesson to have all of her steps for the future.  It is a beautiful design.  This is my first Mountain Girl.

October 10th, my husband Jack died.  I was almost finished, ready to edge the cuff.  My work came to a halt as events took over my life.  I returned to my Mountain Girl on October 24th.  I only needed to put on the edge and the clasp.  During the gap, I did almost no beading.  I certainly did no creative beading, no designing, only some therapeutic work requiring no real thought.  Frankly, until just a few days ago I had not done anything 'new'.  I'd look at new beads, and just go blank.  I continued to bead.  Lord knows I have enough kits from many different talented bead artists ready be made to allow the process to get back to creativity to take a LONG time.  

So, back to my Mountain Girl story.  Timing is everything, well almost, the design is perfection!  At this point, I think I've completed 10 of the cuffs.  I'm tethered to that point in time, October 2017.  All was right in my world.  I was preparing for a bead show and proposing to teach at several other events.  Since that day, when I need some bead therapy, I make another Mountain Girl.  I've made for friends, I've made for family, some sold, some I've kept.  The design I was creating at that point in time has become my mental salvation, my go to, my rock to occupy my hands and create beauty without frustration of designing.  Mountain Girl will all come together to a beautiful result.  That helps me.  For some deep reason I don't quite understand, I'm linked to it.  As I said, I'm tethered to that point in time.

Designing new work from a group of beads is often frustrating with a result being a pile of Fireline pieces and nothing else.  For 11 months, that did not soothe my soul.  I have gone back to 'fix' several designs that needed something to make the design work right.  Several pieces that could have gone in the book were put aside for later because of something I didn't like or maybe because it was to similar to something already going into the book.  So to others it looks like there is something new.  It is not new.  I have fixed several of those things.   Nothing I would call new.  This piece, called Marquee, is actually something done when the Quadra-Lentil first came out.  As a Trendsetter, I often tried something that didn't quite work and set it aside.   When the new Czechmate diamond was released, my problem with the original was solved and this piece was born from the dust of a prior piece.  Not new but recreated.

Still kind of stuck, this summer I tried an Inspiration Kit from Kinga Nichols to spark my mind.  I don't really love what I've done.  The kit from Kinga is beautiful and inspirational.  My mind was not in that place to create.  It is ok and may have started a spark.  I did discover that I really like Demi Round 8's for the brick stitch edge.  They work up quick yet are thinner so I think look better than a standard size 8 seed bead.  Also, this is bead embroidery not bead weaving.  My weaving design mojo was still missing.

I'm happy that I had Mountain Girl and so many other kits from talented bead artists to occupy my hands and mind!  If my design creativity stayed tethered to that point in time, so be it.  I'm was happy with that.  Yet, as I got closer and closer to a year of doing Mountain Girl, I started to feel a gentle pull of ideas for something new.  Time will tell if it continues.  This piece, named Arabella, is all new, it came from a spark of inspiration, a drive to create, and desire to make something new from a pile of beads.

All is well, I'm enjoying my beading, I'm enjoying travel, I'm enjoying the events associated with the release of my book, Lush and Layered Bead Weaving. I'm enjoying my pool and house.  I love walking my new neighborhood, the wildlife is wonderful to see.  And when my hands wish to be busy and my mind does not, I still have Mountain Girl.

My favorite Mountain Girl.