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Beady-Eyed Wonders

The beading queen!The beading queen!You’d think we’d never had beads, buttons or pipe cleaners in the Evergreen studios before. They’ve been there all along, but the silly art teacher had been rationing them so tight that they positively squeaked. What self respecting artist can craft anything out of three beads, I ask you? So – after gathering some courage from one of the clever TAB list members (thanks, Diane!) I decided to reorganize the beads and buttons mess and create (drum roll, please…) Sparkly Things! The phrase is reminiscent of both a crow in an animated film during my daughters’ childhoods and the habit of the youngest one who, when presented with a smorgasbord of offerings at the big Albuquerque flea market, went straight to the shiniest plastic silliness she could find.

Only part of the message for the artists this week was about where the Sparkly Things could be found. We also talked about measuring a scoop of beads or buttons for each project and why that kind of conservation is even necessary. The technical term for this is "holding my mouth right."The technical term for this is "holding my mouth right."I remind them gently that nearly 500 artists use these studios and most “get” the concept of sharing. A physical demonstration of how much “stuff” tablespoon scoop holds is a good math reinforcement, and the practice in sorting and categorizing is valuable, too. (“These beads are too small for my yarn, Ms. J. Would you buy some skinnier stuff, please?”)

There’s an amazing variety of approaches to using Sparkly Things. We have traditional necklaces and bracelets, of course, strung on plastic lanyard-type of stuff or stretchy strung, but we also have twisty pipe cleaners (“Why is it called that? “ comes from children who are at least two generations from their great grandpas’ pipes) and a whole host of collage applications. Big grandma jacket buttons make marvelous steering wheels in the 3D Construction center and a few embryonic stuffed animals have actual button eyes. (“Are you SURE this is the way buttons are sewn on, Ms. J.? This is hard!”) I’m hoping that some of the Native American children try some of the beautifulI took a serious picture of this crew but liked this one better.I took a serious picture of this crew but liked this one better. panel/blanket work that is part of the Skokomish or Squaxin traditions but it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll get in contact with my colleague who works in Indian Education and see if she’ll do a fly by to jiggle loose some of those ideas.

In the meantime, bead on!These artists are so intent they've forgotten they have chairs!These artists are so intent they've forgotten they have chairs!I know exactly where to put these beads.I know exactly where to put these beads.
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