I was afraid that an 8 hours beading class would be WAY to long. and on some level it was. By the end I was making lots of mistakes. But on the other hand the time flew by quickly and we learned a TON. The techniques for beading with Robin had the goal of making a little sampler. we were given a 3″x3″ piece of fabric, basted to (acid-free) paper! this was new to me but a technique she stands by and it did work well. Gave the fabric a little stiffness while working, but not too stiff. Plus as you punch it with a needle over and over, it becomes supple.
There were only 7 people in the class. The lady next to me came from Spokane and is a crazy quilter. Her work is wonderful and she is not a newbie to beading. We did have a couple VERY new beaders but the rest of us were experienced enough. Robin is a strict but patient teacher. “both eyes on me” meant you better be watching and not trying to sneak in a few stitches. 🙂 But her directions are so clear and her drawings make something difficult to understand very easy to create. I love her drawings! There wasn’t much talking among the students. We were very focused. Beading take a lot of concentration. It is not a chatty type craft. You could hear our pins drop.
The conference provided each work station with an Ott light, which I now realize is a necessary item! The room was well lit, but freezing. Which can make it harder to bead!
We started with the basic stitches. seed stitch, then lazy stitch and it’s many vaiations, then a couching stitch and finally back stitch. I have done all of these. out of common sense and just figuring things out on my own. but the variations were mostly all new to me. All of them I have seen in RObin’s work and after we learned each one we were challenged to start identifying them in her work. For each stitch she brought around her work to show examples and variations. It was lovely to see all her work in person! Pictures online are interesting, becasue they can be in such high definition that you see them in more detail than you can in real life. but you can’t really see the texture unless you see them live.
We also learned edge stiches and dangling stitches. ALL of the work that we did is in her book that I already had. BUT it was opportunity to ASK questions while working through the stitches. and clear up some of the things that weren’t working for me as well as try ones I hadn’t been brave enough to explore yet. Learning the edge stitch and seeing her work in person to really examine HOW they were finished was the best part. It is where I have really been stuck with my own work so far. and now I have the solutions! I am excited to finish up my bead journal pieces from this year and move on to some new ones! So I have officially joined up again for Janurary. (Robin did sell us all on joining!)
She also talked about her process which helped me too. At first I used the printed fabric and beaded ON the pattern, following it like a paint by number. I love those pieces but I did move on to more solid colors and became more improvasational. As I gain more confidence I continue to get less literal. She talked about what she does when she gets stuck and how she starts out pieces. All this was very helpful.
It was a long but wonderful class and I am so glad I took it.
I had quit on several months of my Beaded Journal Project pieces, leaving them semi-finished. I had not been able to figure out ways to make the backs look good, I had run out of steam and ideas on the beading on some of them and just called them finished. and I still have one month that has been sewn but not beaded yet.
BUT after this class I have been totally re inspired. I learned so many new techniques. and all the variations of them. I have been beading almost non-stop since I got back. After finishing the sampler, I revisited some of my journal pages that I had previously thought was done. I have been working on some wonderful additions to my December page. I feel like I see the fabric in a whole new way. Getting unstuck is just a bugel bead pathway away.
Also seeing her work in person turned on the light bulb for how to finish my own and ways to display them to really show them off. Now I just need to get some book board and foam core to get them done. I was also excited to share my work with Robin (which she seemed to enjoy!)
I got another one of her books (I own 3 now) and I highly recommend them!
So I signed up for another year of the beaded journal project. I plan to take on a smaller size this time! but thinking about going 3-D and making them dolls.