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 A beadworker's blog

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On the creative process

There is always a time during the design phase of a new collection when I wonder, "What the H am I doing!?" Some people have writer's block, but me, I have designer's doubt. During the making of my latest collection, my doubt phase looked a little bit like this:

And this:

All I knew is that I wanted to incorporate a lot of soft pink hues, because I have been thinking of my grandmother a lot lately and it was her favourite colour. So I started piecing what pink beads and crystals I had and got to the drawing table. After weaving a few rows of beads, it felt like I was just wasting my time and I was going nowhere.

I have come to understand this designer's doubt as being part of my creative process. Don't get me wrong, I still do envy people who have this magic ability to just throw themselves into the creative process freely, but I am a wired the way I am wired and sometimes, doubt can even be a wonderful tool if it is not paired with self-criticism. It allows me to think objectively about how the piece that I'm making is tying into my artistic intent. Is it going to fit with the rest of the collection? Am I honouring the idea behind the pieces that I'm making?

I can make a thousand pink pieces if I wish to, but would they all honor my grandmother's life? The absolute badass heard-headed activist who raised twelve kids, practiced food sovereignty, kept a baseball bat by the door and still had tea at 4 every day with all the fixins? She made waves wherever she went, had a mouth for a reason, but she was so ahead of her time and she was always patient when teaching children. She taught me how to bead, didn't she? I should bead her a medal just for that! Doubt allowed me to keep my focus on these memories, both told and from my personal experience, to create pieces that embody her strength and her taste for fancy stuff.

As I am working on the last few pieces of the collection, my mood is shifting from doubt to gratitude. My grandmother is no longer with us, but she left me with such a strong and beautiful heritage. I hope the people who will end up wearing these pieces will feel empowered by the strength and beauty I tried to infuse them with.

Nia:wen! Thank you!

Tota Wari-Rosa, 1924-2015 💖✊🏽
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