Monday, October 5, 2009

"To Bead or Not To Bead . . ."

. . . that is the question.” When it comes to embellishing an art quilt, I feel that beads are like prunes: Are four enough? Are six too many? I don't seem to know where to begin and when to stop.

Lately, I've been engaging in an audition of the various sizes and colors of beads in my collection, pinning or taping them to the quilt top (as in the photo above) and trying to decide if they enhance the composition or if they're simply a gaudy distraction.

At this point, I am usually reminded of the line from the movie “Sabrina” (do rent the Harrison Ford/Julia Ormond version – it's my favorite), where the title character says to the obscenely wealthy Linus Larrabee, “You know, Linus, more isn't always better; sometimes, it's just more.”

So I ask you, dear readers, for your thoughts and suggestions. How do you bead? How much is too much? And where, if at all, would you add beads to the composition pictured above? I'm ready for your ideas!



Quilt Rat said...

Tough question... I have seen beaded quilts that look quite lovely,however, when I see a beaded/embellished quilt I often wonder what the beads/embellishments are covering up.
The design,fabric and quilting is what makes a piece for me. Have you photographed your "auditions"? Perhaps being able to see the results side by side will give you your direction.

Marilyn Rock said...

I include beads, occasionally in my collage work, but in a very small way. I'm more addicted to foils and not knowing when to stop. Gee; this doesn't help you at all. Lovely piece, by the way, here! xxoo

Jackie said...

Hmmmm.... I don't know! I do love beads on quilts, it just adds that extra sparkle. I think you will know when enough is enough. A great gauge will be when it is too heavy!

Janet said...

I don't bead - by the time I'm done quilting I don't want something else to obsess about. I admire them on other quilts, though.

From what I've seen of your work you really don't need me to tell you what to do. If you'd like, you can borrow my horoscope on Yahoo today:

"Why are you doubting yourself lately? You can deal with this, and you know it."

Looking forward to seeing more of the quilt!


Diane J. Evans said...

Thanks to all who have left great comments so far. And Janet, I WILL borrow your horoscope -- it fits perfectly!


Diane Wright said...

A quandary for us all. I usually ask myself if, first, ANY are needed. Then it's size that matters. Then there should be enough, in my mind, that it appears to be a deliberate decision...make the should be an integral element in the design. If it furthers the design I GO for it.

But, it's always a quandary.

Pat Spillane said...

Hubby is always quoting Mies van der Rohe - "less is more".
I subscribe to that and am often a minimalist, so beading challenges me, too.
Are you a bead enthusiast, or just trying your hand at it? (I already know the answer)
Pretty as it is...........w/o beads.

Anonymous said...

I never used to bead, but have come to like adding beads. Usually I don't do too many--maybe just in the center of flowers. But I have one that I heavily beaded. Once I realized that the little sprinkling of seed beads did nothing, I was advised to add more. Then I couldn't stop. I think I'm going to post it in the online quilt festival.

Taste it -you know you want to, at said...

I can give a non-quilter's opinion. Although I don't quilt (yet) I do paint rather large paintings on canvas. I think a well spaced line of beads placed along just ONE edge of each design element would look great. A simple way of accentuating your curves. And I agree with the quote any "more than that is just more"....

Tracey said...

Ooh I like the tease you give us of this quilt! I have used beads on one quilt - a long time ago. I beaded the whole centre of a sunflower with brown beads. It did make the centre a little heavy and could have done with a more stable batting to support it.

I saw a quilt last year of a large leaf and the maker had placed single pearl beads in strategic spots to make them look like dew drops. It was lovely, elegant and very effective. Perhaps you could do something like this on your leaves?

Btw - thanks for the Zombie Chicken -- do I now have to pass it on?

Linda Bacon said...

I think we should only embellish something if it calls for it. Or if you originally designed it with specific beads in mind. Or to suggest sparkle on something magical. Or if you are making a definate statement like the example of just a few well placed dew drops. I'm sure there is no danger, with your math mind, of adding random beads! Trust your gut. Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.


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