Recently I have gone through a transition in my personal artistic expression. I have spent the past decade focused on creating French beaded flowers of all shapes, sizes, colors and combinations and turning them into jewelery and hair accessories and bouquets. While I don't think I will ever give them up completely, I am currently on hiatus having burned out my enthusiasm for them.
Part of the reason for this I believe is linked to always having to use new raw materials to make the flowers. Sure at times I have found vintage seed beads that I couldn't pass up, but when making upwards of 500 pieces for a show there is just no way I can re-use beads and wire to create the flowers. So, that leaves me using newly made glass beads as well as new copper wire. And although my little bit of crafting won't have a huge impact on a copper mining operation, I wanted to take a break from contributing to the use of new resources.
That's a big part of this shift. I wanted to create from something already in existence. I wanted to take something one step further and use it in a way different from its original intention. My initial idea was the tin can lid medallion necklace. I saw this as a way to use somethign that almost always goes into the trash, the lid of the tin can. I also have tons of loose beads around that I'm not able to use in my flowers becasue it would just take me too long to make good use of them. Using bead mosiac I was able to let out the images of trees stored in my head. Each piece is created using a multi-step process and has a natural flow to it changing and rearranging, delighting me in the various textures and patterns the beads create.
Another joy I am getting from my tin can project is painting. Although I began the tin can project thinking about using up extra beads, it has evolved to provide me with a place to paint out the flowers that are in my head. For years I have collected images of thousands of flowers and over that time they have both stayed separated and yet merged together. I am loving the chance to simply take them from my mind and paint them onto something. I have always loved the textures that can be created with acrylic paint as well as the simple action of mixing colors together. Some hybrid pendants have come from the enjoyment I get from painting and mixing in my love of beaded flowers.
As all things do, the tin can project continues to evolve as I let my creative spirit go. The possibilities seem endless as every time I finish with a new set of pieces I see more and more bubbling to the top of my artistic cauldron. You can see the evolutionary process here in this post from bead mosaic on a tin can lid , to beads and paint, to only paint on a hammered tin can. And while in the end my hammered tin can paintings might appeal to nobody but me, I am completely ok with that. I am completely involved in the act of creating art from what would otherwise be trash and I feel calm and satisfied and free while doing it. The process and what I feel while going through it is not really for anyone else, but I am also not keeping it tight inside just for me. I am glad to share. The idea that someone else may find a smile, a moment of joy or beauty in one of my pieces is thrilling.