Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Barcelona Beads


I leave for Taiwan in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! My head is swimming with lists: mosquito repellent, buy currency, don't forget bathing suit. Don't forget PASSPORT! I've been having nightmares about missing the flight, being captured en route by the Japanese Royal Family (seriously, this is true), and forgetting just about every item I plan to take with me. 

The only thing that has kept me relatively sane these last few days has been taking the time to play with my bead collection. And I'm pretty happy with the results, starting with a necklace that I made with beads I bought during my 2013 vacation to Barcelona. The loose beads have been sitting in a drawer all this time, waiting for me to finally get my beading tools, but here they are now ready for Spring 2015.

Following my plan to title each of my necklaces as I make them, this one is called "Barcelona Morning Stroll." Here's another view against a black background. (Unfortunately, I'm not a very good photographer so the pics aren't capturing the light the way I'd like to share.)


Remembering my trip and the store where I bought the beads in the city's Gothic Quarter will always make them special to me, but more than that is the way the finished necklace just looks like Barcelona. The colors and shapes remind me of the intricate Gaudi and art nouveau architecture; the beaches; the prolific mosaic-work; the colorful and imaginative graffiti, and all of it steeped in such intense and magical sunlight.

Beading for me has turned out to be a great way to relax and stay focused. It's also helping me with my artwork in general, giving me a chance to play with composition, design, color choices, and finding my favorite palettes. Another nice thing I'm learning about the beading world is the sense of comfort and ease. Unlike writing, which can seem to take forever to see a piece in print, or visual artwork where the true value lies too often in the eye of the beholder, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are so straightforward. Once they're finished, they're finished. Of course you can always un-string them and start over with a new idea or design, but that seems awfully compulsive to me when there's such a huge variety of new beads out there for fresh exploration.

Which is one of the ways I want to use my time in Taiwan: looking for new beads to string! High on my shopping itinerary is discovering a great bead store featuring jade, pearls, and all kinds of unique little Asian charms and findings. Until then, however, I'm staying calm-ish by working on a new piece using beads I bought right here in town and that  I've titled "Albuquerque Sunrise." 

Okay, now to check that I really, really do have my passport . . .  yes, here it is, okay . . . deep breath . . . Taiwan in two weeks . . . 

Tip of the Day: It's fun to search out a specific item while traveling, but unless you're good at time management, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. I remember one trip I took with several other women to Frankfurt, Germany when one member of our party had her heart set on finding a certain type of ceramic cookware. We must have gone to every store in the city until we found it at the last store open before the end of the day. I was astonished at how badly she wanted it, how boring it was to look for it, and how heavy and awkward the covered clay dish was to pack and take home. 

Although I want to find beads in Taiwan, I'm not going to go out of my way (or comfort zone) to purchase them, and I'm certainly not bringing home more than I can carry. It may turn out that the best I can do is to simply sketch some designs based on my travels and use them as patterns for beads I can buy here in Albuquerque. In other words, travel light--it's the memories that make a trip, not the "stuff."

2 comments:

Lisa Handley said...

Bon voyage as you head to Taiwan, Valerie! Hope you find beautifully inspiring beads to add to your collection. I love how you explore other creative forms in addition to your writing. (I've also dabbled in jewelry, making bracelets, & I have an affinity for simple glass seed beads which often find their way into mixed media collage.)

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you so much for visiting, Lisa! Means the world to me. I will carry your kind thoughts all the way to Taiwan. Mwah!