|Me and one of my best friends in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This past weekend, I decided I needed to get out of town for
a while. That's just something that happens when you work from home -
eventually, you need to get out of the house for more than just a run to the
grocery store or the post office.
Thankfully, I have two very good friends who live just
outside of New York City. A few years ago, they introduced me to the part of
Manhattan that's known as the Fashion District along Seventh Avenue and with it
a whole slew of beautiful bead shops!
So what better way to spend a long weekend with friends than
shopping for beads in New York City?
Our first day in Manhattan, we decided to go to the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a truly beautiful museum, and I've been going
there for years for inspiration. Before I discovered beads, I wrote a lot of
fiction and poetry, and I would go spend a day at the Met to observe and jot
down my ideas. Now, however, my ideas are mostly for jewelry - with a few poems
thrown in for fun.
When we arrived at the Met, we started our visit in the
Egyptian wing of the museum. My eagle-eyed friends spotted a case full of
ancient Egyptian beads that had me "oohing" and "aahing" over their shapes and
intricacy. The fact that these beads were still around after thousands of years
gave me pause, and I enjoyed the feeling that I was a part of the story of
beads and humans.
Next, we decided to spend some time in the Asian wing of the
museum, taking in the art and culture of China, Japan, India, Tibet, and
||The Empire State Building from Herald Square. The people and energy of New York City have always been tremendous sources of inspiration for me!
There is a room in the Met that is filled with
larger-than-life statues of the Buddha in all of his many embodiments. The
statues come from all parts of Asia including India, China, Japan, and parts of
the Middle East. Some of them are wood with the paint worn away by the
centuries. Others are made from solid metal such as bronze. And my favorites
are made from ceramics, with their pearly finishes and lustrous smiles gazing
down on you as you sit on the wooden benches in the center of the gallery.
That room (I've always called it "The Buddha Room") is my
favorite place in the entire museum. It's quiet in there, and I could sit and
sketch those Buddhas all day. I look to them for inspiration in color, form,
and materials for my beading projects.
We found some wonderful inspiration for a whole new series
of right-angle-weave patterns in the beautiful Chinese artwork, and I found
myself breathless in front of a beautiful sixteenth-century Japanese kimono
that had been embroidered with hundreds of thousands of tiny silk stitches.
I left the museum that day with a head full of ideas and a
notebook full of new sketches for bead designs. I needed to get my rest for the
next day and our bead-shopping trip all around the island of Manhattan!
Have you ever gone on a bead-shopping trip to a special
destination? Tell me about it here on the blog!