Monday, October 25, 2010


The top of the crown doesn't fit at all the way I envisioned.  In hindsight, I should have only sewn every other bead as I did under the neck which cinched it in nicely.  I'm going to try adding a few more Charlottes; bring it down a bit and hopefully give it a better finish.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


7:15 AM.  Well, I've aborted the mission to cover the top of his head with beads; I'm just not sure I can technically manage it - looks like I'll have to get some instruction from one of my beading buddies before I attempt another one but for now I like the effect of it open (kind of looks like a crown).  To cinch it in a bit, I decreased a row using the brass Aikos again with an additional row on to that and ended with a row of black garnets.  I'll now complete it by trimming the rest of the headdress with more garnets.  TBC   

9:15 AM.  This isn't working.  The garnets are buckling around the ears.  I'm going to take them out and see if I can cinch it up a bit.  


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I've managed to bead up the back of the head to just above the ears but now what?  Do I make a circle and join the ends together or go for a half-moon; travel up and over to the forehead?  I've decided to make the loop and then figure out the rest.

 Whew...that was scary.  Wasn't sure it would work but it did - for now anyway.  Got the beads to go all of the way around the forehead and meet up with the ones on the other side.  But now what?

 As you can see, I've connected them together but if I continue on toward the back of the head, when I get to the front again there will be a serious problem; I've got to figure out a way to get back to that place in front of the ear where it dips going counter-clockwise in order to even up the row.  Normally, I'd just work my way there by sewing back through the beads but they are too small and the extra thread will make it impossible to sew through them again which I have to do to keep going.

So, I've decided to sew down to the bottom and embellish a small section with the black garnets that will eventually surround his head and neck.  This takes me to the place I need to be to even up the row without filling the bead holes with too much unwanted thread.  Now to finish the row.

Now that the row is complete, it feels like I need to go back to the peyote stitch in order to tighten it up around the top...not sure if that's going to give me the look I want but this is where my inexperience rears its head.  I hate it when the final product doesn't match the image I have in my mind but I'm going to keep going anyway.

It feels like I need to decrease and perhaps bring back the copper bead so I'm going to skip every other bead, insert a copper one then pull it together on the next row.  I'm wondering how a right-angle weave done in black garnets might look on top of his head?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Beaded Head

October 4, 2010

I have this vision of a head covered in seed beads but how to accomplish this I'm not sure.  I start by gluing the head to a piece of fast2fuse embroidery material with the intention embroidering around the base then sewing up the neck in peyote stitch.
When I get to the more narrow part of the neck I have to switch to a different size bead in order to cinch it in to fit.  The only smaller bead I have with me is a silver #13 Charlotte so I switch to that.  

It appears to work...but what do I do when the neck thickens and I must compensate for that width?
October 7, 2010
I decide to switch to Right-Angle-Weave stitch which enlarges the footprint without increasing the peyote.  I like the combination but what will happen when the beads begin to creep up the sides of his face and head?  And, what do I do with the area under the chin?

October 8, 2010
I decide to add on in right-angle-weave little links below his chin then fold them under as I work my way up the back of the head.  Have you ever seen such gigantic ears?

October 15, 2010

Just got a new camera..Cannon G11.  Amazing macro capability...such clarity!
I'm moving up the back of the head in right-angle-weave; time to move to the front of the head...not sure how to do it.  I've decided to go half-way toward the center then go back the other way going in a semi-circle up and over the forehead and down to a point at the top of the bridge of the nose.  I have no idea if this will work but I'm determined to JUST DO IT and share my success OR failure!  TBC

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


365 Talking Heads
dedicated to my sister

who helped me when I didn't know I needed help
who believed in me until I  could believe in myself
and who loved me no matter what

I will miss you

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SELF PORTRAIT - 365/365!

Sometimes things just don't turn out the way we expect. For example, I had this idea of creating a self-portrait out of low-fire clay - a different medium than polymer. I traveled several times to Guemes Island (an hour and a half from Seattle) where I worked with clay and metal sculpture artist Sue Roberts - to create a life-size clay head of myself. I was thrilled with the outcome. I had given myself the cheekbones I had always wanted and my neck looked fabulous. Here's what it looked like:

It had to be fired in a kiln; sometimes a difficult process. I was excited to see how it would look. Sue opened the kiln and this is what I saw.

Obviously, I must have overdone the cheekbones and neck OR was it the hair?  Something made it blow in the kiln.  I have to admit, I was not disappointed. Well... that's not entirely true. Part of me wished I could have painted it if only to see how I'd look with the enhanced cheekbones and neck!

But the other part of me was perhaps even more intrigued with the broken pieces. It stimulated my imagination to see all of those parts of my head scattered all over the bottom of the kiln; sort of made me feel like I had found myself in an archeological dig.  Symbolically, it was the perfect way to break out of my 5th decade and into my 6th.  The pieces providing so many more opportunities - so many more possibilities!  

Tomorrow marks the end of this year-long project.  365 days of making one head a day, naming it and listening to what it has to say.  I didn't really know exactly what I was going to do when I started the blog.  In fact, I didn't decide to do it until one week before when I happened to take a free-form beading workshop from Tina Koyama - a talented artist/writer - It was Tina who gave me the idea of creating one head a day.  She had just completed her own year-long, one free-form piece a day, project.  

My experience in polymer clay was limited.  A few months prior to my workshop with Tina, I had become intrigued by a book I found on Amazon called Ancient Modern; Polymer Clay + Wire Jewelry.  Imagine my delight when I discovered that the author, Ronna Sarvas Weltman was local and offering a workshop in polymer.

I loved her workshop but became more fascinated with the idea of creating clay heads and faces than making the beautiful jewelry Ronna designed.  Ronna didn't make clay heads but with excitement and enthusiasm she encouraged me to do so.  She would peruse the internet in the middle of the night and by morning I'd have a list of 'how-to' links and the websites of other clay-head artists in my mailbox!

So why make the commitment to create one clay head a day for a year?   One, it would help me to build my skill in creating faces and two, it would be an amazing experiment in the creative process.  I purposely didn't plan exactly what I would do other than to make the head and do some form of writing (about what I was not sure).

As a result, I was as much surprised by the outcome as those of you who followed the blog.  Life presented some pretty big obstacles along the way including the illness and death of my Mother in July.  But instead of stopping me, I found myself more grounded and connected to the process.  The emotional trauma translated into a deepening of creativity. The practiced meditation of creating something everyday seemed to bring me a since of peace instead of stress.  For the first time in my life I had incorporated a practice that actually fed me instead of draining me and in doing so, I had uncovered a gift that would last me a life-time.  Like learning to ride a bike, I would forever know how to push the judging and thinking aside and become one with the source that fed me.

Many of you have asked about my process so here are a few answers to those questions....

1.  The beginning of each month I would determined the color scheme

2.  Mix the clay and have 30-31 pieces ready to go

3.  Make one head (sometimes a few more), bake them, photograph them and upload them to the blog.

4.  Working on one image at a time I would name them, then listen to what they had to say. It was very interesting how the angle of the photograph influenced the name and the intention of the head.  At one point, I realized that the same head, photographed from several angles could have many different names and intentions.  (However enticing I didn't pursue this)!

5.  In the beginning, they actually spoke (kind of like a monologue) and I responded with my "reflection."

6.  As the dialogue became less wordy, I noticed that my reflection contained a "message."  I began containing the message in italics.

7.  On Valentines Day, I made a heart-shaped head and wrote a poem.  From that day on, I simply named the head and wrote the message; taking out the monologue and my reflection.   I missed writing the monologues but when I tried to re-incorporate them it didn't feel right so I stuck to the new format.

8.  I wanted the final head to be different so I decided to do a self-portrait in low-fire clay.  Working in this new medium AND with a life-size head was like jumping on an Arabian race hoarse after I'd been climbing a mountain on a mule.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the mule - it had become my trust worthy friend.  But isn't this what I was trying to accomplish?  Try something new...dare to fail...find the creative spark in spite of the lack of skill?  

9.  And then the greatest gift I could imagine....the head blows up in the kiln and provides me with pieces I couldn't have come up with if I had tried.  Lesson?  Sometimes the best creative endeavor comes from what we consider a failed mission.

10.  One of the most frequently asked questions...."WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE 365 HEADS?"  

I intend on continuing to make heads and faces; incorporating them into my jewelry and creating pieces of art.   I plan on documenting the process from idea to finished product and hope you'll join me for the ride as I navigate this new journey and explore the possibilities!

Check out the blog tomorrow for 
"Say Cheese" 59 "Hello" 60!

Monday, October 4, 2010

THE GUARDIAN - 364/365

'to protect' doesn't necessarily mean 
'to love'
and 'to love'
doesn't necessarily mean 'to protect'

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010


sometimes it is best to focus on 
the shadows of reality
than be blinded by the brightness of hope
or the black hole of skepticism

Friday, October 1, 2010


the subtle sound of the truth
can be overpowered by 
the hypnotic repetition of our own thoughts