Friday, March 1, 2013

A little late, but...stars and stripes forever

Its time for the big reveal for the challenge of music.
Edited to add: Actually time for the Challenge of music was like 5 hours ago because I read Central Standard Time to mean Central Time...oops...

I thought long and hard about my entry, going over every wordless tune I could think up. eventually, I settled on the allman brothers Jessica. 

I started thinking about what I would bead and how I would bead it. I had a few sketches, but the whole time something was nudging against the edges of my subconscious

It was Sousa.

When I was in high school, I played horn in a community youth band (the Warren Junior Military Band).

Every Sunday and Wednesday we'd meet at the Aristocrat bingo hall in Liberty, OH and play.  We were more than just a high school band, we cared about what we were playing.
To this day, I can still remember parts of the music we played. It's carved into my soul.

One of the traditions of the Band was to play the Stars and Stripes Forever at our spring concert.

Band alumni were welcomed at this point to take to the stage with us and play as well. Alumni were even welcomed to borrow an instrument from an existing band member. I never actually saw this happen, but it was understood that if someone borrowed your horn or your flute or whatever, you moved over and let them have it.

The Stars and Stripes Forever is such a big bold piece. The low brass/woodwinds has this raw power supporting everything. The middle range instruments hold the rhythm together and keep things moving, and the high brass/woodwinds have the melody. 

Then, about 2 minutes in, there's this piccolo. Just hanging out flittering over everything, like a butterfly on a battlefield.

That's the inspriation for my bracelet.  It isn't quite as powerful as I'd have liked it to be, but the idea is sound.

I decided initially that I wanted a big dark base, with structure. I contemplated zig zags. That...not so hot. 

Then I started searching through bead mags, I found the pattern for "Show off your shapes!"  Designed by Helena Tang-Lim in te August 2012 issue of Bead and Button.  This would work...

I chose black Tilas for the background. That's the low brass. Then everything is held together with gold 15/0s and 3mm Swarovski crystals.  Thats the rest of the band. Brassy, but blending.

(Actually, the 3mms are totally the horns and their rhythmic Sousa standard part of dut da-dut da-dut da-dut cos that's how we roll.)


For the piccolo, I was originally going to use hot pink.  I KNOW I have hot pink beads. I always buy hot pink beads and rarely use them. Apparently, I have misplaced them. All of them...not possible.

But then, I found red butterflies. Red is almost pink...and I have red 15/0s(I pulled them cos I was like Eureka! Pink...ohpe, nope, thats red...)

I wanted to embellish the base like the flight of a butterfly, and I think I've nearly got what I wanted.  I redid the embelishment a few times, and I'm not quite satisfied, but, I think the message gets across.

Now that I've shown you mine, hop over to the below and check out what their ears saw!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Alenka Obid
Ali McCarthy
Alicia Marinache
Amy Severino
Amy Grass
Carolyn Lawson
Cece Cormier
Cynthia Riggs
Ema Kilroy
Emanda Johnson
Emma Todd
Erin Kenny
Evelyn Shelby
Evie and Beth McCord
Gerd Andersson
Holly Westfall
Jennifer Justman
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jess Green
Judy Campbell
Karla Morgan
Kay Thomerson
Kristina Johansson
Lola Surwillo
Lynn White
Malin de Koning
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Melissa Meman
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Escano
Michelle Bourbonniere
Michelle Heim
Michelle Mach
Molly Alexander
Molly Schaller
Monique Urquhart
Niky Sayers
Pam Farren
Rebecca Anderson
Sally Russick
Sharon Palac
Sharon Driscoll
Susan Kennedy
Tari Kahrs
Tracy Stillman
Veralynne Malone
If technology is not with me this morning, you can also find all the participants here 


  1. Beautiful piece...I soooo want to learn how bead weave like that. I think it is sooooo beautiful. Love the post, the music and your story. But isn't that where music comes from??? Our stories.

  2. What a cool selection of music - so classic! I love your interpretation - the bracelet is great!

  3. What a pretty bracelet -- a really good and thought-through interpretation of the music! I like how you wanted to symbolize every part of the marsch and put it in the design.

  4. The piccolo butterfly makes perfect sense! Your bracelet has a defined sense of structure - as a composition does, and a sense of interweaving, of overlays and under currents. It visually makes excellent sense with your music selection!

  5. What fun!!! I love your piece!!!

  6. Love the music you picked (I was lucky enough to see the Marine Corp Band in concert at my university and they were fantastic!). I love how you used colors to interpret the different sections of the band - awesome bracelet!

  7. I love your story! Your bracelet is just as bold and lively as your musical selection!

  8. What a great story Amy! Your bracelet is beautiful, and I love how each piece and part has a corresponding piece and part in the music. Well done!

    :) Molly

  9. I love how you have paired the different shapes and colours of beads to the different instrument groups, Amy. The sound of bands is dear to my heart, also... though I wasn't a band musician (in my day there was nothing like that in our schools), my boys played various instruments at their Middle School band. I agree the sound gets into your soul. That regularity of beat and oneness of purpose I hear in this march is well-represented by your overall design. Congrats!

  10. I. LOVE. IT! I marched in the band in junior high and high school. Soussa rocks! Your interpretation of the butterfly flitting over the hurly-burly of the bass rhythm hits the mark perfectly.

  11. Your bracelet is beautiful and a great interpretaion of the march you've selected.

  12. I love the way you have associated each part of the music to the beads you have used. Those little butterflies and trails picked out in red are magical :)

  13. Very cool bracelet and a great choice of music, although I do love Jessica as well! Maybe you'll still make a piece from that song!

  14. Great bracelet and I love how you have interpreted the music with the beads and the butterflies!

  15. Totally cool Miss Amy! Sorry I am late to my own party... my daughter's birthday party was this weekend and that took me away. But I am back and this is a rousing start to my Monday! I can see the black tilas as the marchers in the band. All in formation and processing down the street. I love the idea of the piccolo trilling above the fray. This is a great piece of music. Thank you for sharing your music and your art with the world! Enjoy the day. Erin

  16. What a fabulous piece of music to choose! And what a gorgeous piece you made to complement it! I love it! So fabulous, the red for the piccolo is just so perfect!