Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beading née Knitting: Downtime

Still on the injured list as far as knitting goes, and taking a break seems to be working, so I don't want to mess it up now by giving in and knitting again.  I resolved to go one month, so I will.  Better that than having to give it up for a lifetime, yes?

To keep myself busy, I've gotten back into jewelry and beading.  I went through my crafting stuff and discovered I had a much more extensive collection of Delica seed beads than I realized... much more extensive.  In fact, I'm starting to feel guilty about the large order I placed on payday that's arriving Friday.  Fortunately, years ago when I was building this stash I had a preference for silver-lined transparents, and my order is mostly AB metallic finishes.

I started my skill rebuilding by learning how to bead around cabochons... the most famous cabochons being cameos.  A cabochon is defined as an undrilled bead or stone with a flat back, sometimes with a domed front.  The domed front can be either smooth, faceted, or carved as in the case with cameos.

My first bead-bezeled cab was a cheap glass one done in a tiny motif.  I did it in my daughter's favorite colors, so if it was terribly messed up and tragic looking, someone would still love it.  :D  It did not turn out terrible, so I forged on.

My second beaded cab was a greenish, mother of pearl-ish oval stone.  I had bought an assortment of cabs five years ago, and they don't exactly label them individually.  To say I am not a geologist is an understatement.  But it's pretty, so I gave it a bezel, outline, and dared to add some fringe.  It's passable.  I don't think I'd wear it though.

Now, I have a strict rule that I will not make jewelry, for personal use or for sale, that I would NOT wear myself.  I try to create something tasteful, and hopefully original yet classic in design.  There are some beading techniques that I just think look cheap and tacky... heck, there are some metalsmithed pieces that I think look tacky... so I won't do them.  Coral fringe, I'm talking about YOU.

But despite this, suddenly I have this urge to do one of those fantastic, overblown, tacky beaded collar pieces.  Why?  Who wears these things?  Is there a trailer park of retirees in Florida who thrive on every new piece?  A group of egyptian-era SCA types re-enacting the building of the pyramids?  I appreciate the work, detail, and artistic merit in creating these things, but we are, at the core of it, creating JEWELRY.  Something meant to be worn, loved, and enjoyed.  If it looks like someone's bead stash finally gained a life of its own, like a mutant boa-constrictor, and is trying to choke the life out of the recipient, did we truly fulfill our purpose?

It seems like I constantly complain about things here, on this blog.  This is not "Craftastrophe".  I really want to be positive.  But I just can't think of an occasion where it would be appropriate to wear something like this.  Am I turning into a stuffy old fogey who can't appreciate or change with new trends?

Am I turning (gasp!) conservative?

I could possibly see the daisy number being worn on a younger woman at a Prom or similar occasion, preferrably with a classic gown in simple lines.  If there are too many froofarou embellishments on the dress, the overall effect would look like Carmen Miranda.

But sometimes a piece, although visually stunning and perfectly composed, is not jewelry... it is art, for art's sake.  Like a ring with a four inch tall setting, or the garland-like piece to the left.  It's pretty, it took tremendous talent to design and execute, but would I wear it?  No.  And it's not just because the first toddler I pulled onto my lap would tear it to shreds, it's that it's just too much.  I'd feel like I had a Christmas wreath around my neck.  I wouldn't be wearing it to make myself look attractive, I'd be wearing it to draw attention *away* from myself. 

And I think jewelry should enhance the wearer, not the other way around.

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