Treasures, Treasuries, and Thoughts

I swore I would never do a blog! So much for swearing. I didn't think that I would have much to say or share. I was wrong! I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, loyal friends, sharing colleagues, and the support from so many that I will never run out of topics to write about.

I have opened an on-line store at a place called Etsy (rhymes with Betsy). The items on the left are available for purchase there. These will change from week to week to show you my latest creations. The link to the store is in the upper left corner of this page.

I also have items for sale listed on Art Fire. The link to my Art Fire Studio is

I hope you will visit this blog, my Flickr page ( and my Etsy and/or Art Fire stores often. (

So come along on my Trail of Treasures! It will be a Spirit Journey for me and I invite you to join me on the trip.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Treasure For A New Year!

Yesterday I received an e-mail from one of my Beading Heros, Margie Deeb. I thought it was a perfect article to start the New Year.

I enjoyed her message so much that I wrote to her and asked if she objected to my sharing it on my blog and beading club web site.

As always, she responded promptly and consented! So here it is:

Discovering the Treasure in Failure

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." -Scott Adams

As a creator, I've learned a lot about destroying. In order to create, we must destroy. It is a part of the creation process. Destroying makes the space for new creation.

We destroy a hank of beads so that we may order its pieces into a necklace. We destroy old ideas to make way for new. We destroy empty space to fill it with a new painting. We destroy a design that doesn't work in order to create a new one that, hopefully, works.

I was faced with this last dilemma recently. Off and on, for the past 8 months I've been working on an intricate piece. I'd made prototypes out of rope that indicated that my idea would work and I was so excited. However, to see if it actually worked, I had to weave it together. After 60+ hours I realized that what I had created would not work like the vision I had in my mind's eye. So I had to rip it apart. Did I mention it was 60+ hours of work over 8 months time?

I've come to realize that destroying is as much a part of creating as the act of creation. I used to resent having to destroy my failed beadwork, regarding those precious hours spent making it as squandered and meaningless because they lead to failure. I saw it as a waste of time. As I've matured, I realize that time is only wasted if I refuse to learn from the errors I filled it with.

When possible I save my beaded failures to refer back to what made them fail. In this case, I'd woven together a costly amount of beads that I needed to un-weave so I could use them. I spent hours pulling apart lovingly crafted rows of weaving.

For the first time in my 20+ years of beading, the destruction process fascinated rather than frustrated me. I felt I was watching portions of my life in rewind. As I unravelled, I relived the hours spent weaving while watching a Frank Zappa concert DVD with my husband. Then came memories of my trip to San Diego as I tore out loops made during the summer. Backwards I wove through the section of rows completed in July when we lost our Greyhound. Then the part I'd made during the last weeks of our Dalmatian's life in March. I deconstructed the parts that I'd shared over lunch with two bead artist friends at a French restaurant. And finally, the very first rows I'd made (while my head spun with excitement) became shreds of thread and loose homeless beads.

As I ripped, cut, and pulled, I experienced-in the most tactile way-my methods of ensuring my work for posterity. I also cursed them. Overkill here and there, as I sawed apart six and seven passes of thread through one bead.

From this destruction emerged not only the space for my revised design, but also (and this came as a surprise) a more compassionate view of myself. Unwinding months of my life captured in thread and glass offered me a broader perspective of myself. As if watching a film, I saw a woman - in between the mundane and sublime moments of her life, the peaks and valleys, the joys and losses - quietly, methodically building something of beauty. Small and striking. Maybe not a masterpiece, but a creation that would mean something to her, and hopefully to others. I saw someone wanting, from the depth of her heart, to create beauty: beauty that will last and adorn and inspire others to create more beauty. Each fragment of thread and released bead illuminated that part of me that thrives on inspiring beauty, creativity, and excellence in the world.

It was an enlightening time of destruction. And at the end of it I felt wiser, more confident, and more excited about rebuilding my vision in a new way. Not a moment has been wasted!

I do hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did. Should you like to see Margie’s work, sign up for her newsletter, buy her kits or books, take an on-like course, read her blog, please visit her website. Here is the link:

Margie, thanks for your continuing support, generosity, and inspiration!  You are one of Beading's True Treasures!


Jill said...

Great post. I can really relate to it.

Paul (aka Sirocco) said...

A very inspiring post, Joni. Thank you for sharing. It is well written and well stated. I signed up for Margie's newsletter.

jstinson said...

Jill. Glad you liked it. I can't take credit for anything other than sharing it. But it did strike a chord with me.

Paul..ditto above. Hope you enjoy her newsletter. I love her work and she is a color guru!

Myfanwy said...

It's great to have a mentor, and it looks as though you have found a really good one. Thanks for sharing. It's made me think too.

Sixsisters said...

Thanks for the post Joni.
As an artist I am well aware of failure and starting over.
It is hard but it does enlighten us as well. It is the
process after all of a new creation every time that
does it for me.

Judy Nolan said...

There is great wisdom in this post. I also can relate...I had misplaced a crochet pattern for one of my felted pieces and had to re-create it. Since felting is an inexact art, dependent on the yarn, the type and size of the stitch, the tension, and the degree to which you felt, it wasn't a complete surprise that my re-created pattern did not work. gave birth to a new idea: a book with felted wool covers. Why not?!