I am preparing for a workshop I am leading with the Midwest Collage Society on May 1. I did this tutorial for any of the artists interested in how bead weaving works. I don't think I will play the whole thing, but now I have a tutorial, if anyone is interested.
We'll be talking about using beads and bead weaving as elements in collages and assemblages. I will also bring beads for them to string and use on 2nd-hand glassware for them to make little beaded votive holders just to give them a mini how-to on the process.
I'll give them tips on adhesives, different beadweaving techniques, needles, bead selection, and upcycling used items.
That reminds me. I need to put together a Powerpoint to guide us through these topics including samples of my work as they relate to collage/assemblage.
Above photo shows Outgrowth 2 in low light. It changes a lot with different lighting. It measures 6' x 6' x 6' centered on a floor corner of my poured-concrete basement. It is made entirely out of hyperbolically woven glass and reflective acrylic beads. And lots and lots of clear Gorilla tape. The piece can be dismantled and recreated elsewhere as a temporary installation or a permanent, outdoor piece with clear caulk.
I'm very happy with this. I was very happy with Outgrowth 1, but number 2 turned out better than expected. The big difference between the two was the mosaic wall placement. For Outgrowth 1, I used the irrational number "e" (2.7182818284590452353602874713...).
It is a number that shows up in population growth so I used it to place the mossy areas along the crack between to the three surfaces and onto the planes. It gave it a more natural growth pattern and, even better, I didn't have to fuss over where to place everything. I *did* fuss over where to place the wall tiles in Outgrowth I and it shows.
For Outgrowth 2, I decided to divide the two vertical walls into 10 equal sections with 5 straight lines emanating from the origin point in the corner. I attributed each of those lines a digit from 1 to 0. (I can't remember why I decided to put 0 at the end instead of the beginning.) ((If anyone has a reason it should be the other way around, please let me know!)) Then I placed a wall tile using the line as the axis of growth for that number.
I had blocked out two piles of colored tiles prior to installing. I wanted to keep same-color groups together so it would look like there were transitions to different colonies of lichen growing up the wall. Fun fact: the S curve in the final design did not appear in the original concept sketch. The S-curve fluctuates back and forth but remains centered on the growth axis.
It's hard to photograph this body of work because the light effects are luminosity- and angle-dependent. A still photo captures a tiny sliver of the experience. I'll be making more videos featuring each piece to give people a better idea of their visual dynamics and dimension.
The first video I did for this piece is fairly one-dimensional because it is a time lapse of the installation. I thought it would be fun to have little videos showing these pieces growing. The first one I made for Outgrowth 1 was terrible but got the point across. I'm learning. The video for Outgrowth 2 is a little better. (These are made with social media in mind.)
Here's a short video in which I am wearing the light source. For the next video I'll try a fixed light source behind the camera.
I finished Black Star Panopticon a few days ago. It is bead mosaic on a 26" x 26" security mirror. These are the security mirrors that show if a truck or person is coming around the corner of the loading dock or if a kid is putting a bag of Funyuns down their pants at 7-11. I installed strap hangers on the back because it will look great hanging flush on a wall. I still have the installation hardware it came with if someone has a loft and wants to install it in a corner.
Continuing with the formal aspects...since making Blue Star vase, I've been searching for another object with a mirrored surface because I still want to explore optical layering effects between the mirror, different qualities of glass beads and the reflective acrylic beads. I had considered doing a mosaic on a typical household decorative mirror, but wasn't excited about the idea because they are flat. Back in the day, doing art consulting and interiors I designed/ordered and installed a lot of decorative mirrors along with more typical art works. I was happy to find this mirror so I could add a dark industrial twist to domestic mirrors and enjoy working on a convex shape instead of settling on a flat mirror.
The tiles of the bead mosaic are little ~3/4" woven hexagons of only 12 beads. I got a nice net pattern out of them. It's obviously a hand-placed mosaic and not a precision CAD print, but the hexagons still give the piece an engineered fell about it.
Putting a security mirror in a strategic area of a home adds to the panoply of surveillance devices we have elected to live with. Someday, maybe I will find one of those interactive internet hubs people talk to in their homes and take a picture with BSP above it.
I want to make another one.
'Outgrowth Figure 1' was a temporary wall mural installed in early August 2020 made from the components I was making for a larger installation, 'Outgrowth 1.' It was a good way to get familiar with the temporary adhesives and work out how I was going to build things in the Outgrowth Series. The series is designed for temporary site-specific installations in galleries and outdoor seasonal exhibits. The components of the series are made out of woven glass and reflective acrylic beads.
The shapes of the components grow using the same algorithm. The larger pieces with more beads take on obvious hyperbolic, organic shapes. En masse the components appear to be growing colonies of climbing lichen or lush moss.
Negative space embellished figures from the 'Outgrowth' series can be interactive. If the mural is created on a light-colored wall with a strong light source behind, visitors' shadows will be cast onto the wall and animate the negative-space figures. The light source also makes the luminous reflective beads shine as the shadows pass beyond them.
Drops of Jupiter was started in March and finished at the end of July 2020. I didn't have a plan for this when I started. C-19 quarantine had just started and I had finished Juicy Sunrise and had a lot of purple and pink beads and a weird purple vase on hand. At some point in the weaving I heard a sweet cover of "Drops of Jupiter" by Taylor Swift and designed off that. I don't have any art world influences for this one at all just the song and the stratified layers of Jupiter's atmosphere. Some scientists suggest (citation needed) that the composition and conditions in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn may cause diamond precipitation. So that pink reflective-bead cloud suspended within the globe of the vase has a little crystal-drop chandelier.
Design note: This piece was made out of a purple vase, but unlike the other vases I've done this one isn't a vase anymore. You can't put flowers or whatever in it because I nestled a bead cloud in the hole to suspend the chandelier cloud from. I'm calling it an assemblage sculpture with woven elements.
(I feel guilty that I didn't provide a reference for where the diamond rain on Jupiter thing came from in the explanation above, so I found some videos that can give you an overview.)
Above: Juicy Sunrise, 2020.
This piece is not about the coronavirus. This post is a half-hearted apology/ stammering explanation for having bad timing.
I got tired last fall of working on glass vases. I wanted to use the same technique I use for them, but on a larger scale with more luminosity. After submitting a Saturn-themed proposal for a mini golf hole in October, I hit on the idea of making the Saturn of the golf hole a disco ball and embellishing it. I got very excited and found someone selling their 20-inch, vintage, slightly damaged disco ball and bought it.
I had a mercury crackle glass vase on hand that I started making woven bead tiles for. This became Blue Sun. I loved the effects I was getting by layering glass and reflective bead woven tiles over mirror. It became Blue Star vase. That piece was a study for a luminous sun that I wanted to make.
Meanwhile, there was going to be a long wait on the golf proposal and I really wanted to embellish a disco ball. It was calling to me from it's enormous box. I had finished Solar Panels a month or two prior, and I wanted another piece that celebrated clean energy sources. It's taking a long time to develop efficient fusion power reactors, and I am impatient. I decided to fulfill a wish by bringing the power of the Sun to Earth. The piece would be optimistic, joyous, and celebratory. I decided to make it a sunrise.
Which is good because a high-noon yellow sun doesn't offer much for tonal variations so I opted for a color palette like a sun close to the horizon that is glowing like a red/pink piece of citrus fruit. I was designing this piece and sourcing & mixing bead colors in November and December. Sometime in December I started weaving the first tiles for Juicy Sunrise.
Concerning reports started coming in on Twitter and news sources about a new killer flu-like disease emerging in China.
Weave, weave, weave, weave, weave.
The days went on. The reports out of the orient got more concerning. Then it spread to other countries. Around the time I finished Juicy Sunrise the first renderings of the novel conronavirus were being circulated like a WANTED poster and it looked a lot like my sculpture. I am quick to defensively point out, though, that my sculpture does not have the characteristic coronavirus nobbies. So you must acquit.
Anyway, I'm using it as the featured image on my landing page. I'd say I will try to do better but this is a coincidence and tone deaf I stan for the utopian dream of nuclear fusion power.
Julie Mars' current events, projects, & inspirations.