Friday, May 8, 2009


"Diorama" includes ceramic beads by Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio

I was sitting here thinking about what I wanted to say today when I suddenly realized that it's May. May is a good month for me. My birthday falls during this month. It's also the time of year where I live when the warm weather finally really, truly arrives and everything starts blooming beautifully (er, don't think I'm not touching wood here, because I am - but this is generally true).

May is also the month I started working with metal clay, two years ago. So, it's my anniversary as a beadmaker. I thought I'd go back and dig up a few pieces I made in those first months and just take a look at them. These were all made between June and September 2007, and they are among the first ten necklaces I ever made that incorporated metal clay components.

"Love in Idleness" incorporates a lampworked flower by Maria Grimes.

My favorite piece tends to be what I'm working on at the moment, and then I move on and don't really think about finished work all that much. I think these pieces still hold up thematically and are still a pretty good reflection of my personality (and, obviously, I still use Shakespeare a lot in my work - the clasp in the above "Love in Idleness" necklace states "love looks not with the eyes", which, along with the quote on the pendant, is taken from "A Midsummer Night's Dream").

I'm sure I could do a cleaner job with the metal clay now - certainly the pieces would be lighter. Because I had trouble with control, in the beginning I never rolled anything less than six cards thick. Expensive, but it was the only way I could work back then. As with everything, with time and practice, it all got easier.

"Charmed Kiss" includes a lampworked Smooch bead by Sarah Moran

On the down side, it does make me dwell on the fact that I haven't really progressed technically as much as I would have liked in two years. I have grappled with frustration especially this year, as the amount of time I have to devote to beadmaking has dwindled down to a sliver.

"Princess Charming" includes a lampworked floral pastille bead by Lezlie Belanger

Still, I have to be thankful. If it weren't for my cute (and hyperactive) son, who currently occupies most of my waking hours and for whom I left all of my other demanding clients, I would have never had the time to actually try out this medium. I always thought it would be fun to try using metal clay, but I worked pretty long hours in my old job. Apart from a little time spent in a ceramics studio during the weekend (time I could justify, because I spent it with my then-boyfriend-now-husband, who was also interested in ceramics - which of course made it "quality time" for us), I just never got around to realizing any of my creative ambitions.

"Good Fortune" includes, uh, well, a fortune from my local Chinese restaurant

Even though my time is limited, I'm still so happy to spend time with my beads. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing quite so satisfying as turning an interesting idea in my head into something actually wearable (and hopefully equally interesting).

So I have to tip my hat to the Short One and give him a big kiss and thank you, for providing me with the opportunity to learn a new craft and meet wonderful new friends like you. (Sometimes I think that all good things have come into my life from my son, but please don't tell him that - I'd never hear the end of it.)

And thank you, too, for being interested enough to continue to follow my work and to read this blog. I certainly appreciate it.


TesoriTrovati said...

What a wonderful tribute to your son! I find that my own children provide me with much in the way of creative expression. I love to create with them in whatever direction it takes us. And I love it that they tell people that I am an artist...sort of validates it for me. I love your work Melissa and it is always a pleasure to come and see what you are up to. And my favorite is the fortune cookie necklace! Whimsy at its best! Enjoy the day! Erin

RupaB said...

Hey Melissa...Happy B'day and congrats on making it this far!

Your work is brilliant and I'm so happy that you have found a great medium to express your creativity! I'm sure we will be seeing more of your work in print and I'm keeping my fingers(and toes too) crossed for the Bead Dreams gut instinct says.....nope don't want to jinx it!

XOXO, Rupa

SueBeads said...

Hi Melissa - just needed to leave a message and say that your work is fabulous, too! I had a question for you - what do you do with all your finished pieces? Do you sell them? They are not in your etsy store - do you sell them to galleries, museums, etc.? Just curious! Thanks!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Erin, It's lovely that your children tell people that you are an artist! Thank you so much for your kind words regarding my work, and for taking the time to comment! Isn't it wonderful that the Internet makes it possible for us all to find each other, regardless of where we live? I think about what life was like before then, sometimes - it makes me grateful to have this way of meeting people.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Rupa,

Hee, hee, thank you for your support! Honestly, I'm not expecting much, and that's fine by me - I'll just get a kick out of seeing my work in the cases at the Bead & Button Show next month.

Thanks for continuing to visit - I am always on the lookout for your work in the magazines (and books, of course)!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Sue, You are so sweet - thanks for your comments. My finished jewelry is mostly sold "upon inquiry" at the moment. I do not have any relationships with galleries, and to be honest, I've been too busy to put together a proper portfolio to seek out such relationships. I've been thinking about listing a few things on Etsy, but, as above, time has been an issue.

michelle said...

Happy anniversary! It's always fun to take a walk down memory lane. Here's to many more happy years on the creative path!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Michelle, Thanks so much for stopping in and for your good wishes!