Last year at Beadfest Santa Fe, I was lucky to be able take a class with Amy Clark Moore on bead embroidery. Amy is known for intricate “pictures” made with size 15 seedbeads using circular backstitch. Apple, above, captivated me the first time I saw it in one of the bead magazines. For years, I wondered how it was possible to create such a realistic “picture” using this technique. Last year, in the class, Amy divulged her secrets to me.
One of the concerns with this technique is that any photo or artwork used for the beading must not be protected by copyright. In other words, I can’t just find a cool pic in a magazine or on the internet and bead-it-up, if I don’t have the artist’s permission. Amy beads-up her own photos of her daughters, and they are AMAZING. Definitely not for a beginner, like me. That’s when it hit me that the Japanese paper would be perfect. I don’t need anyone’s permission, and I predict that the color and patterns will make a great “template” to bead-up. Here’s my first work in progress, which I began last night.
Where Is The Focus?
If you’ll notice in Apple, the origin of the circular work is where the stem exits the apple. It is not the actual measured center of the work. Amy chose to start the work at that spot in order to emphasize the apple and bring the focus there. Last night I had to decide where to start my work, or stated differently, where do I want to put the focus?
Now, beading is a metaphor for life. Isn’t it? OK, maybe that’s a bit overstated. But, for me, it’s all connected. When I work through a beading “issue or problem”, there is usually a process that I can apply to my life in general. This concept of “choosing the focus”, stayed with me today. I thought about some situations I am facing that are causing me some pain. I thought about “choosing the focus” and where do I want to put my attention. A short, but powerful, story of wisdom came to me, the Cherokee Fable called Two Wolves.
An old man explained to his grandson, "There are 2 wolves fighting inside me. One is angry, arrogant, vengeful, full of self-pity and fear. The other is happy, compassionate, kind, generous and peace-loving." The boy asked, "Grandfather, which one will win?" The grandfather replied, "The one that I feed."
Whatever life hands us, and whatever we must walk through, we choose the wolf we feed. We choose the focus.