Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dorothea Brande and me

Today I'm a guest on Joanna Bourne's wonderful blog, where I'm talking about my version of Dorothea Brande.

Dorothea Brande was a writer and writing teacher in New York in the 1930's. She wrote a book called Becoming a Writer which is now a classic and is still in print. It was the forerunner to books like Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" and others.
But Dorothea isn't the slightest bit new-agey.  Her book is small and slender, her advice practical and quite pithy.  The writing style is spare, elegant, and a little old-fashioned in places. Dorothea is as romantic about the writing process as a dog trainer is about training dogs — with good reason; she's on about training your muse to perform on command. But she also acknowledges there is magic involved — and that you can teach it to come to you. And it’s true.
I can't do justice to her whole philosophy here, but this is my own nutshell version of Dorothea, which I've used on and off for more than ten years.
(read the rest of the post here )

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Paper beads

One of the ways in which I unwind of an evening, after walking my dog,  is to watch TV, but I seem to be like my mother in that I can't just watch TV without doing something. What I do varies according to my interest or needs at the time. I go through cycles.

A while back I had a spurt of making paper beads, and as usual, inflicted some of the results on my long-suffering friends. Paper beads are very easy to make and the results can be surprisingly attractive. The first ones I made were from a free local magazine and I cut the triangles in random widths. They turned out rather well, so I strung them into a necklace and made a pair of earrings as well.
I had an old calendar picture whose colors I liked, so I decided to turn it into beads, too. It had wide white borders, so rather than cutting them off or having white beads, I drew stripes and squiggles on the borders with a permanent black marker. This is the result, the paper beads teamed with copper-colored freshwater pearls. (BTW, the safety pin you might have noticed is attaching the two tiny earrings to the necklace so they don't get lost— it's not part of the design. ;)

My next inspiration was to turn a couple of friend's book covers into beads. I printed the covers out on glossy photo card. This book cover became the necklace and earrings below it. I chose pinks and greys because they're colors my friend often wears.
I wanted to inflict--er, make another lot of beads with another friend's RITA finalling cover and she said, how about a bracelet? So since she wears red really well, I experimented with a few variations on the bracelet design.

And at the conference a few weeks ago I gave to the HeartsTalk people some paper bead necklaces and earrings made from pages of HeartsTalk, the Romance Writers of Australia monthly magazine, which is printed in black and white.

I've made rather a lot of beads now and am moving back to other pursuits. (Friends in various parts of the world heave audible sighs of relief.) Here's a handful of my beads that a friend of mine took a photo of.

If you're interested in making paper beads yourself, there's an on-line tutorial here. It's fun, cheap and the beads can be pretty. I'll probably do another batch as Christmas approaches and make strings of them for the Christmas tree.