Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2013 LBS Challenge - Part 1 - Inspiration

I know last week I mentioned that today I was going to blog about the earrings I made for my mother for her birthday.  However, I forgot that last night was the voting for the 2013 Loose Bead Society Challenge, and I could finally blog about my piece.  I asked Mom if she was okay with me postponing the earring blog, and she said that was fine.  (Pssst... Mom... I need a picture of the necklace that goes with the earrings.  Can you please ask John to take one and send it to me?  Thanks!  Love you!)

Unfortunately that earring blog is going to be postponed a very long time.  I want to really go in depth about my Challenge piece, and that will take some time, since I'm trying to keep my posts shorter.  :)

The theme of this year's Challenge was "What Says Milwaukee to Me?"  I loved this theme because I love Milwaukee.  There is so much to do here, and everything is right at our fingertips.  The drive to downtown takes 15-20 minutes in good traffic, and it's not that much longer in bad traffic.  Easy in and out, and there are many free or low-cost events.

Pretty soon after the theme was announced, I knew what I wanted to do.  I knew it would stretch my abilities, but I wanted to create something large in concept that would match my love for Milwaukee.

I decided to do a bead embroidery bracelet.  For someone who has done a lot of bead embroidery, that wouldn't be too daunting of a task.  However, I had only made one bead embroidery piece:

It's a pin, in case you were wondering

I love it, but it's a far cry from a bracelet.  I wanted to showcase different aspects of living in Milwaukee, and that meant a bolder, more elaborate piece was needed.

The first inspiration was Point Fish Fry & a Flick, which is held every summer outside next to Discovery World:

I got that picture from the To quote or not to quote? article from A.V. Club Milwaukee.  It gives a good view of the area.  Off to the right you can see the huge inflatable movie screen.  Curving around to the left and behind is a pier, where boats frequently came in to turn around.

We didn't go this year, mainly because there were few movies, and it didn't get started until late August.  It gets really chilly after dark that late in the season.  Last year and the year before, though, we went a number of times, and we really enjoyed ourselves.

The Fish Fry & a Flick would be in the center of the bracelet.

The second inspiration was this piece of art that can be seen along the RiverWalk:

I don't know exactly where this is or anything about it.  My friend Sherri Ballard took this picture when we walked along the river with her daughter Sydney.

I had originally wanted to do this on either side of the Fish Fry & a Flick section, but something was niggling at the back of my brain.  Possibly it was because I wasn't able to find the right color brown for the bricks, but I think it was because I wanted to include the main reason I love Milwaukee:

It's my home.  I would never have moved here if I hadn't met and married the most wonderful man in the world.  If you missed my review of him and our marriage so far, click here.

So after all of that, I should probably show you the bracelet.  I'll break down how I made it in later blog posts.

I give you:

My Milwaukee: A Triptych

Here's the Fish Fry & a Flick section:

The art along the river:

Our house:

Oh - one last piece of inspiration: the beads represent the Loose Bead Society members who are my friends and who have supported me as I've grown in my beadwork.

And to prove that it's actually wearable (although I won't wear it to the grocery store):

I think I didn't mention this earlier, but I won for the Advanced category of the Challenge.  Yay me!

Next week: designing the shape of the bracelet and the Fish Fry & a Flick section.


  1. OK, totally strange, but I just learned TODAY what a tripytch was in reading A Series of Unfortunate Events to my 5th graders.

  2. It isn't a word you hear (or see) every day. Can I ask how you found my blog? Just curious - did you show the bracelet to your students as an example of another style of triptych?