Updates on the Beaded Art Quilt – “Columns of Purple and Orange”

Purple Ribbon with beads on motifNancy Smeltzer, MFA

I tend to work on several quilts at once, as I often get tired of the same colors. This particular one I had cut out to take on an upcoming trip, but my carry-on is so filled with meds for my chronic Lyme disease, that there won’t be any room for art work this trip. It’s probably just as well, because I end up carrying all of these supplies and then have only a few hours time to work on my art while I’m away.

This piece is progressing however, even though in this detail shot, you can some of the surfaces not beaded yet. One part that is finished is the purple velveteen ribbon with dark purple beads that outline the petals. I wanted to leave the rest of the ribbon to be uncovered as it’s so pretty.

Orange and yellow flower with gold beadsIn the center of this photo is one of the orange fabric flowers outlined in yellow. I chose to use large yellow seed beads,size 3, for the center, with smaller size 10 beads to outline the petals. I used red quilting thread to secure them, which added a subtle contrast and tied the beads into the composition. I also liked using some olive green buttons and disks as they make for a nice pop to the colors. At the very top of this photo is a glass sunflower button. It has dichroic foil behind it, and the shape also adds to the flower concept in this section of the quilt’s composition. In the bottom left is another large glass button, whose purple sheen plays off the purple buttons to the left of it and above.

White faux pearl oval bead medallionIn the bottom right of this pic is a lavender and white medallion. The fabric motif had the white ovals printed on it, and all I had to do was to sew white faux pearl oval beads onto the appropriate areas of the circle to make the pattern. These beads are sometimes known as rice beads because of their semblance to grains of rice. They are usually white, especially the plastic ones, but you can find them in different sizes and colors. The lavender area that is not covered with beads plays off the beaded oval shape above the medallion which is beaded. While I cover up large areas of these art quilts with beads, I do like to leave a little fabric uncovered for future curators to investigate.

I have definitely entered the Time of the Long Sew on this piece. Just as when you’re building a new house and you reach a point where it doesn’t look like much is being done, this quilt is in that stage where forward progress isn’t as obvious as when I first begin. However, there is the peace that comes from the Zen-like quality of repetitive motion that keeps me going at this stage.

How do you keep yourself moving forwards towards completion of a piece when it feels as if you’re not making much obvious progress? What’s your version of the Long Sew, or does your medium move quickly?

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You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my spiritual healing work at www.transitionportals.com and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

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