I made this necklace several months ago. The design was inspired by the large purple and orange oval-shaped bead. The bead in question was included as a free gift with a set of beads I had ordered from Z-Beads, and, funnily enough, it found a happy home in a necklace before the beads I actually ordered did!
The construction of this necklace was fairly simple, just stringing with no seed bead weaving or wire work. But it took me several tries to get it to look the way I wanted. When I first gathered beads together for this project, I didn't have the round dark purple beads or the tiny silver beads (which you may or may not be able to see in the picture). When I first strung the other beads together, I thought it looked okay, but I didn't feel like there was any place for the eye to rest. I added the tiny silver beads at that point to break up the larger beads. It was an improvement, but then I decided that I needed the dark purple beads to bring out the dark purple stripes in the large bead.
I've been making jewelry for many years at this point. I remember when I was younger, I ended up with a lot more pieces that were just okay, but weren't exactly what I was envisioning. Part of the problem in the earlier years was that I didn't always understand what was lacking in the pieces. If all the beads looked great sitting together, why didn't they look so great when they were strung or woven together? Even when I did understand what was wrong, I didn't always know how to fix it. Or--and I know this will sound like a justification for both buying and hoarding beads--I didn't have the materials on hand to fix the problem and became frustrated.
I'm trying to keep this all in mind now as I try to figure out sewing. I did some sewing as a teenager, and started dabbling in it again a few years ago. Sewing has mostly been a series of lessons for me so far. Some of the garments I've made have been pretty wonky looking (zipper insertion is often the culprit in these cases). Others have looked fine on their own, but did not look particularly nice on me once I tried them on. (Unlike store-bought clothing, of course, there is nowhere to return handmade clothing that doesn't work out.) I took a step back recently, though, and made a very simple top with no zippers or buttons to cause problems, and while it is by no means perfect, I'm pleased with how it turned out. In fact, I'm encouraged enough that I am currently working on a tunic based on the same pattern.
Ira Glass has a wonderful quote that I think applies to almost any creative endeavor. I like to keep it in mind when something I'm working on isn't quite panning out:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
I take this to mean that after some more time of sewing project lessons (and maybe even a few things I can wear in public), I might develop some sort of intuition for successful sewing, just as I've developed more intuition for making jewelry over the years. In any case, it's nice to be reassured that a trail of lackluster creations may lead somewhere good.