Monday, May 5, 2008

meeting my muse

well, i made it through another year at jazz fest. whew. it's over. thank goodness.
i am probably one of a hand full of people who actually HATES jazz fest. but, because of my day job i have to drag out there every year. and i hate it. HATE IT! this year, i had to go TWICE. and yesterday was a bloody nightmare. i have never seen so many people in one place in all my life! i can say three good things about yesterday:

1- it wasn't humid.
2-there were clean porto potties near the book tent
3-i met my muse, valerie hector

now, anyone who knows me knows i am a big ole nerd. i won't miss an episode of BSG or LOST ( i even planned my return to louisiana in 2005 so i would have a place to stay to see LOST). but if you really wanted a good look at slobbering adoration, you should have been with me yesterday when i got up the nerve to talk beads with valerie hector at the jazz fest contemporary crafts tents. it was quite a site. she is the reason i got into beading almost 15 years ago. she is my muse. and i am a slobbering bead groupie.

i mean, here i am, trying my darnedest to sell my pieces to galleries, boutiques, and etsy ( i am having serious doubts about that place at this point, but more on that later) and i really only have a good grasp of a few stitches that i have put all of my time and effort into because they suit the style i like and the pattern and color choices i have made. really, i have just been lazy over the last 10 years - i found a style that works for me and i perfected it and didn't bother to branch out.

i want to branch out now and i thank valerie for encouraging me to do so.

she was so nice to me it was unbelievable. i really didn't intend to hang out and talk to her. i really was just going to look, oh and ah and walk away. quietly. i didn't. i had to start talking and asking questions. and she was so nice to oblige me.

now, one of the things that has always scared me about putting my work out there is that someone will come along and steal my patterns and ideas and start making money off of them. i am very protective of my babies. i also see techniques and patterns that i would like to experiment with but i don't want to take someone else's idea either. i don't copy and i don't want anyone copying me. but i love love love finding inspiration in another artist's work. valerie really helped assuage my fears on this. she even told me that the techniques she employs are her variation of chinese beading patterns that have been around for thousands of years. very very impressive. she took something she liked and made it her own. there is a WORLD of difference in copying and finding inspiration. i am an inspiration gal. copying bad.

a little over a year ago i saw the work of lauren schlossberg for the first time. i was so impressed with her beaded beads that i immediately came home from baltimore, dragged out every bead book i had collected over the years, and started learning to bead beads. i totally sucked at it. i couldn't follow the instructions - mainly because there weren't any. most of what i found was "you will need to decrease at some point" - but no instructions on when and where to do so. so i started looking at pictures of other beaded beads and i played around until i got it right. i still sorta stink at it, but it also helped me to realize that what i wanted to do was different than what i had had been seeing. it helped me develop my own sense of style with these little frustrating objects.

on a side note - anyone who knows me also knows i don't play very well with others. i don't read instructions and i don't follow the rules. as far as i am an concerned, rules were made to be coaxed. whenever anyone asks me how i learned to bead, i never know what to tell them. i just did. i couldn't follow any of the written instructions in any of the bead books i bought out in tucson, so i just looked at the diagrams and experimented until i got the stitch down. i have my own way of beading and it doesn't follow any of the rules that i have seen. i don't use patterns for my peyote stitch and for very few of my square stitch pieces. i don't like that kind of confinement.

i still really like working flat - the geometric, quilt like patterns i have developed over the last 10 years are my own. my work is work i would like to buy, you know. but now i am feeling the need to branch out and try other stitches and variations and i am really looking forward to doing so.i especially want to learn to make 3 dimensional pieces. and i have valerie hector to thank for that.

just before i took off back the quiet, sun free solace of the book tent ( where my better half works during the festival) valerie did two things for which i will always be grateful:

1-she gave me a copy of her book ( see above) and signed it!
2-she told me i can absolutely make a living with my beaded jewelry.

thank you valerie hector! you are my beading muse!

1 comment:

Lidia said...

You are so lucky to have gotten to meet and talk to Valerie Hector!!! I've loved her work since I first saw some of it in a book called The New Bead Work. The book she gave you is a truly wonderful. I've had my copy since it first came out and I think I've about worn it out. I know you'll treasure your copy. Happy Beading! Lidia