Below is a process diary of my current studio work.
February 25, 2018
A cold Siberian wind is blowing outside today, but spring is starting to bloom inside the studio. This is the start of a large beaded work on 174 x 45 cm panel, the middle section of a recovered privacy screen. I will be using glass beads, bark, and natural pigments indigenous to Northern Italy to honour some old relatives in this work. The living materials I’m using have been responsibly harvested and other materials recycled.
Audio books providing studio inspiration include Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben.
March 7, 2018
I received a beautiful gift this winter, a box of incomplete beaded flowers started by a local Nonna whose eyesight has failed. They were entrusted to me and my relatively young eyes to complete, modify, or refurbish for inclusion in my current screen project.
March 16, 2018
A sensitive and intelligent relation for my screen:
Interesting facts about the mimosa flower, the symbol of International Women’s Day here in Italy:
It is sensitive. in the lab it closes its flowers when subjected to new stimulus such as water droplets. It is intelligent. Once it understands that the water does not harm it, it remains open to the droplets = it learns
April 15, 2018
Coming along….stitch by stitch…bead by bead as Easter approaches. Today a friend asked me how many hours I spent beading. Hours….oh my…..many, many, many. I try to keep a regular schedule and treat my studio work as a full-time job. I can only spend 4-6 hours a day actually beading, and the rest of the day is spent researching, writing, and drawing. Each beaded fish from The Feast of the Seven Fishes, 2017, as an example, has taken three to four months, working every day. This project is my largest ever and I imagine it will consume all of 2018. The fingers suffer, that’s for sure! Sitting hunched over is also quite hard on the body. Yoga helps a lot. So does knowing it’s a great gift to be able to dedicate myself to this work.
May 25, 2018
Relations….old and new.
May 31, 2018
Hands of my hands. On a recent trip to Limone sul Garda, I visited the historic lemon houses and learned that lemons sometimes grow in the shape of hands. It is not sure why this happens, but it believed that an insect sculpts the forming fruit by pulling on it. This rare occurrence is very much appreciated and an entire cultivar, called Buddas’ Hands has been developed.
The audiobook providing studio inspiration this week is Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit.
June 5, 2018
Sleep in the veins….
I work with two artisans who harvest the birch – one in North Dakota and one in Siberia.