Friday, December 13, 2013

Guest post- Ralonda G. Patterson

Wild and whacky sporting red pigtails and a chicken shirt is the picture that comes to mind of today's guest blogger, such a fun personality that also shows in her work. From her adorable fishies to her amazing dolls it's all about personality and story. I am thrilled that she accepted my invite to guest blog so you can all meet her and her characters and also know about the amazing opportunity to create your own with her at next year's Bead Fest Texas. So here is 

Ralonda G. Patterson

"Hook, Line, and Sinker"
Click on the name to buy a kit or tutorial for the fishies

How it all began:
The love of beads began for me many years ago when I discovered that a doll could be covered with beads. Because my beading journey began with dolls and not jewelry, there was always a question in my mind if they were enough, if they were qualified or were as good as all the intrinsic beaded jewelry that I saw around me. All of those beautiful pieces had a definite purpose as wearable art. Seeing pages of jewelry in magazines made me really wonder if my dolls had a place in the beading community. Intimidation did not get the better of me.

I later learned that each doll had a purpose too and it was different for each artist and sometimes even different for each doll. Some of the dolls are beaded to express a love of someone who has passed on, or to tell the stories of our deepest or most sacred beliefs or visions. Because the function of each doll is so different, the boundaries of function are blown off the roof. They do not have to be practical, pretty, functional, or balanced. To me, dolls are story tellers and a beaded doll shares his/her story with the added dimension of beads. The beads lend more detail when they are beaded as thoughtfully as a good book is written.

Freedom of Expression:
Starting to bead on a project that has few boundaries really allows you to gain skill and confidence in bead artistry, and come to know it as an art. Problem solving and creative solutions become a new skill set that aids in creation and design. Because each solution comes from a unique you, the story becomes entirely your own. There is no wrong way to bead a doll. You can take whatever beading or sewing skills you have and express your very own story with your own voice.

“Willow” Bead Dreams Finalist 2010
Published in the Gallery of “The Spirit of Bead Embroidery” by Heidi Kummli

Other Beadwork:
While creating dolls, my knowledge of many stitches grew and new designs with challenging structures began to emerge. The dolls always posed structural challenges, but beading without a form was another challenge that was quickly explored. Many of my most recent designs have nothing to do with dolls, but the structure of each piece is what led me to think of myself as a creative engineer. Pieces that have self supporting structure and movement make me giddy. It is most often these classes that are chosen by different venues, so teaching a doll class is still a great treat.

Classes are still being scheduled!
Getting Started:
Choosing or creating a doll form may be the most logical place to start but I begin even earlier in my process. In order to stick to beading the entire doll without losing focus. I suggest beginning with an intention or vision of what you hope your doll will become. The form will grow from this direction. For example, if you intend to create a doll to heal the wound of a beloved fur-baby’s passing, then you would search out a form in his or her shape, i.e. a cat or dog. Forms should be made of a stitch-able fabric and should be very firm. If you find a form you love but is not ideal you can make alterations to it. If it is too soft, you can stuff it more firmly; Or, if the form has long “fur”, you could trim it. Pre-made forms by toy companies are acceptable but lack the finer qualities of a good handmade form.

Human doll form

Inanimate object form

Lady Bird, Pearl, SteamSqueak, and Effy
Each doll represents a time and story from my life and they all
represent more than one now that time has passed since their birth.
Work with me:
Ever since creating my first doll “Nite” for the Land of Odds  All Dolled Up Beaded Art Doll Competition in 2004, I have been creating doll forms and beading art dolls. Learning how to combine contemporary beading stitches with the age old art of doll making has become the foundation of a class that includes artistic expression. Now, all my knowledge had been combined and organized into a two day workshop to give beaders the opportunity to really dig deep with me. Having taught shorter Beaded Art Doll classes, I am looking forward to having more time to encourage students to express their artistic visions through the magical story telling dolls possess at Bead Fest Texas 2014. A work of art will be born. Won’t you join me?