Jill's Leaf Garden

Friday, January 15, 2010

I have finished my January Bead Journal Project! My theme for this project is Gardens Inside A Leaf Shape (leaf to be chosen by season) on a piece of 4"x5" fabric. This month was inspired by the lush world of lichens and mosses found growing on a coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) trunk at this time of year. Though they're present year round, the mosses in particular are hydrated and growing during the rainy season. I wanted the leaf I chose to be one that is actually in leaf at this time, so I chose an oak which is evergreen. The leaf is outlined with crystal and white beads to remind us that despite the mildness of Winter in California's Mediterranean climate there are still frosts and occasional snows on the higher mountains. Through the color, form, and texture of the beads and stitching I tried to give an overall sense of the way these mosses and lichens look on the tree trunks. I used shiny green beads to show how the mosses look when they're damp with rain - they have a glowing green translucence! The fabric is a batik print that reminded me of bark. The challenge I found in this project was to represent without illustrating. I wanted to give a sense and feeling of these organisms that grow in the oak woodlands and portray them with accuracy, but not to feel a need to copy them perfectly. Accuracy is important to me, but this isn't a beaded field guide so I don't have to be exact! The biggest technical challenge I encountered was getting the leaf outline in the proper shape - but I got creative with couching, and I was pleased with the result! I even used short bugle beads for the little spikes these leaves have on their edges. So there's my January Leaf Garden!
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