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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Bear Needs Home Update

I posted about the beginning of this project a few weeks ago here. Since then, I’ve continued to work on the project - the cover for the journal I’m currently working on. I'd made a small turquoise color polymer clay bear cabochon that I’d intended to use in a beaded bracelet. That idea didn’t work out, so I needed to find a new home for the bear and settled on the journal cover. The journal isn’t complete yet, so I couldn’t work directly on its cover. Instead, I worked on paper and when the journal is finished, I’ll glue it to the cover.

So here’s the first phase of the painting over the base I spoke of in the previous post. It’s fluid acrylic and water-soluble Neo Color II crayons. The division between the above-ground and under-ground views is pretty much in the center, because I was intending to glue a silk sari ribbon over that line and use the ribbon to tie the journal closed.

At this point, I switched to working on the beaded medallion with the bear. When I have two separate components, I like to alternate working on them so I can have a good idea of how progress on one part would affect the other.

Here’s the medallion laid on the paper. The white edge you see around it is the beading base, Lacy’s Stiff Stuff. In the end, it will be completely trimmed away.

At this point, I switched to the beading because I didn’t know where to go with the painting until I had a better idea what the medallion would look like. While I was doing the beading, I realized I wanted some truer blue in the piece in addition to the turquoise. The blue in the medallion represents, in my mind, water – maybe a stream or small lake.

And, with the moon (it’s carved bone from I realized I needed at least part of the piece to represent night.

So, back to the painting to add darkness in part of the sky


At this point, I feel like it’s time to focus on the detail.

For the medallion, I think I’ll have beaded fringe. By the way, I couldn’t resist trimming the rest of the backing away. But don’t do this at home! You should really wait until you’re ready to glue the beading to something so you don’t put unnecessary stress on the beads on the very edge. When the medallion is glued down, all the threads used in the beading (which are exposed on the back of the Lacy's Stiff Stuff) will be held firmly in place and the beading will be very well protected.

For the painting, there are so many possibilities. I’d like to do more with the trees, add starts in the night sky, and do something more towards the bottom. Maybe I’ll add a stylized stream or enhance the roots and the spirals. Some metallic touches would be nice too. Maybe silver in the sky and copper in the ground.

So far, I’m not really liking this piece very much, but I’m determined to continue and let the piece lead me where it wants to go. Throughout the process, whether I like it at the moment or not, it’s always fun!

Oh, and I’m not going to glue the ribbon across the middle like I'd initially planned. I’m still going to use it to tie the finished journal closed, but I’ll use two pieces, one glued between this paper and the front cover cardboard of the journal, and another on the back. Maybe I’ll add some tassels – either beaded or made with embroidery thread - or both!

I won't completely know how the cover will look until I'm ready to use it and can add final touches. But I'll still continue to work on it and report back.

By the way, this doesn't look like much beading (and it's not), but it takes a long time, as I sew each bead (size 11, or eleven beads to the inch) on individually. Some beaders sew two or three on at a time, but I prefer just one.


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