HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE ELEPHANT
warrenfeld
…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist
by Warren S. Feld
blog.landofodds.com

Excerpts From This Ever-Evolving Tale.....

I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.|

CURRENT ROGUE ELEPHANT BLOG ARTICLES


Beading Calisthenics
#8: Speaking With Beads

Beading – especially beading a Rogue Elephant – requires a lot of mind-body coordination. That takes work. It is work.

You have to be able to get from your fingers to the needle to the beads, back along the thread to the needle to the fingers, hands, arms, eyes, mind. And then again. And again. Over and over, one more time. You need to get into a rhythm. All these working parts need to be working. No time for cramping. No time to get tired. No time to lose concentration.

A rhythm. Needle, pick up bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead….

I noticed that different instructors had various techniques and strategies for maintaining this rhythm. Yes, music was involved sometimes. Othertimes simple meditation or creative reading and discourse. Some people had some stretching exercises that they did. Others tested themselves before proceeding with their big project. Still others did small things to reconfirm their learning.

Here are some of the beading calisthenics that I experienced along the way.

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR ALL 10 EXERCISES
(SUPPLY LIST):
notebook, pencil
1 tube each of Japanese 11/0 seed beads in gray, 3 different colors of orange, black, white, any other 4 colors
1 tube each of Japanese 8/0 seed beads in gray or silver, black, white, orange, any other 4 colors
1 tube each of Japanese 6/0 seed beads in gray or silver, black, white, orange, any other 4 colors
5 gray-scale colors of delicas or 11/0 seed beads
Nymo D or C-Lon D thread in black
Nymo D or C-Lon D thread in yellow
two toggle clasps
.018” or .019” flexible cable wire
assorted 4mm, 6mm and 8mm beads in various coordinating colors, including grays and oranges in your mix, as well
big bowl and a bowl-full of assorted beads
Size 10 English beading needles
Bees wax
scissors
beading dishes or trays
any kind of graph paper
work surface or pad
colored pencils
a few clasps, (toggles are easy to work with)
some crimp beads
crimping pliers

BEADING CALISTHENICS #8: Speaking With Beads

During Apartheid in South Africa, there were those Zulu tribes that adopted Christianity and identified with the colonialists, and there were those tribes that did not. The tribes that did not created a very elaborate communication system using beads.

Besides what colors were next to each other, they used a lot of triangles in their patterns. It was important if the triangle faced up or down, and again what the colors were. With their beadwork, they could “say” something very general, like “I’m mad at the world,” or something very specific, like “I’d like to get together with you tomorrow night at eight, but not before I’ve met with your brother.”

The challenge here is to create your own symbolic communication system using beads and their patterning within a piece of jewelry.

First write a sentence or paragraph about something that you will want to reduce to symbols, and illustrate by constructing a necklace.

Second develop a cipher: This would be a list of each symbol and its meaning or referent. For example, “red” might stand for “women” and “blue” might stand for “men”. A diagonal line leaning left might be “safety”, and one leaning right might be “danger.” Someone using your cipher should be able to make sense of your beadwork and what statement you are trying to make with it.

Third, using graph paper and colored pencils, sketch out what your piece would look like, in order to express the statement you want to make. Have a friend use your cipher and see if they can “read” your piece of jewelry, as drawn on the graph paper.


 

 


COPYRIGHT, 2009, FELD
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