Beaded Metaphor: Seeking Closure

Inspiration comes from anyplace.

A new friend invited me to attend a bead show with her a month or so ago, and I went, mainly because I’d never been before. We wandered aisles and admired antique and vintage beads, carved beads, melted beads, beads from other countries, beads that were brightly colored, and those as dull as river pebbles.

Seeking Closure Snow Globe, Camryn Forrest Designs 2013

But as we wandered, I found myself clutching new little bags from this booth, and that one next, glittering little pockets of ideas that were taking shape. A shape or color would catch my eye, and I would buy just a handful, or a single bead, here and there.

One particular type of bead I’d never seen before. Tiny squares with a metallic finish, suggesting tarnish and rust and rich with patinas. Touches of raspberry and aqua and blue against bronze and pewter tones. So lovely, I wanted to rub handfuls together and hear sound they’d make.

I bought them of course, and when I got home, I wove the double-holed beads into a partial wall like tiny flat bricks, intentionally missing a piece here and there. The wall, just two inches tall, took on the look of rubble, or the last piece standing after some ominous disaster. But even missing pieces, even tattered and torn, the shapes and subtle color emanated beauty. The piece is a metaphor and a sculpture, not a true-to-life miniature scene.

The snow globe was completed with a rich and sooty dust, and a beaded detail on the wood base.


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Seeking Closure: one of a kind snow globe sculpture with metallic beads, liquid and iridescent dust.

The strange saga of the Warrior Rhino snow globe

It was a simple idea at the time. I wanted, I planned, to make a snow globe sculpture called “Invisible Carousel.” I sketched it out to perfection. Frollicking giraffes and unicorns, a pig and a buffalo, all parading in a whimsical circle.

A sweet little idea, with a variety of small metal animals, each perched atop an unseen clear support, at different heights, so when viewed inside the snow globe, it would appear to be a carousel with no mechanical support. The invisible carousel. Charming. Dripping with charm.

I collected the animals I needed and began to work.

Until the Rhino.

Oh, the Rhino! Barely the size of my thumbnail, he exuded a fierce personality, completely unsuited for the sweet endless ride of a carousel. “I want adventure!” he proclaimed. “I have battles yet to fight, and honor to defend.” He refused to sit politely on a carousel post, protesting that he was too old to be ridden by a child, no matter how imaginary. He seemed to cock his rhino horn in my direction, looking as threatening as his 19 or so millimeters would allow.

How does one deny the will of the angry Rhino? Using the tiniest tools, I crafted a tiny harness of leather straps and chains, and fitted the Rhino carefully. Next, I outfitted a grand airship for him, battle-worn, but complete with bazookas and other weaponry. I hung ammo belts and tiny knife sheaths off his harness, and put torpedoes at his disposal on each side.

Go forth and fight your battles, Warrior Rhino. The carousel can ride another day.

The Warrior Rhino flies at dawn.

Flight of the Warrior Rhino custom snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs 2013



Flight of the Warrior Rhino custom snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs 2013

Flight of the Warrior Rhino custom snow globe, Camryn Forrest Designs 2013

Flight of the Warrior Rhino Snow Globe, Camryn Forrest DesignsAll images and designs are copyright (c) 2013 Camryn Forrest Designs, Denver, Colorado USA.

Rain Gear Water Globe

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It’s not a snow globe, it’s a rain globe.

I love the jaunty little step inside this globe, an example of the materials leading me to the design and not the other way around.

It started with the desire for a parasol. A real one, Victorian and lacy, which proved difficult to find except for bridal designs with floral lace, which wasn’t the edgy direction I wanted. So I started thinking, wouldn’t it be cool to get an umbrella, and then cut circles in the fabric, and fill them in with another pattern? Maybe I could crochet gears and make it more steampunk? (Wait, are crocheted gears even legal?) Never mind that I haven’t crocheted in years, and never crocheted with much success (although that yellow yarn halter was pretty cute until it shrunk after I ran through the sprinkler.) I could see this perfect parasol, with gear shapes instead of lace roses, it was going to be a stunner. That is, of course, once I acquired the parasol, cut it up, taught myself to crochet gears and affixed them perfectly. (Note to self: don’t use real metal gears on an umbrella skeleton, way too heavy.)

And then I got what can only be described as a hankering. More than a whim. Greater than an inspiration. It rumbled up from somewhere unexpected. A deep desire to make an umbrella of watch gears. To have real gears create the lace effect I wanted in real life. I got right to work, making the tiny skeleton of the parasol with six crossed pieces of gold wire. Then I began to fill the empty spaces between the ribs with tiny watch parts, watching as the illusion of lace appeared in the tiny frame. I loved it.

Then I stalled.  Completely. I loved the arching lacy gear top, but when I added a proper umbrella handle, it was just boring. Oh, hey, here’s a tiny umbrella.  Meh.

I set it aside and kept coming back to it every week or so, picking up the perfect lacy hemisphere and trying different parasol handles. I carved them out of wood, I twisted bits of metal, I adapted cocktail stirrers. Nothing looked right. I went on to other work, notably a sculpture with the working title of “I Love Shoe” … which was a haphazard and amusing (to me) piece made entirely of miniature shoes. And boots. Wait. Boots.

Bingo. I dug around for the tiniest pair of metal galoshes, rain boots that were looking for a purpose in life. Waiting patiently for their turn to shine and determined to make the most of it. The boots reminded me of a rainy afternoon decades before, I recalled taking my niece out once, splashing happily in the gutters during a rainstorm. Her joyous face at being allowed, no encouraged, to splash in the puddles. And in a happy inspiration, the Rain Gear sculpture took shape, with dangling robotic legs that reminded me of a Star Wars All Terrain Scout (the two-legged walker), and no torso or body whatsoever, just a happy pair of galoshes stomping in the rain with a lacy gear parasol overseeing the parade.

Yes, yes, I know. Technical purists note this is not a working robot: I didn’t add the guts, there’s no machine to make it walk, no artificially intelligent brain to tell the  crazy legs to do. There’s no basis in science, no mechanical reality. What can it do? I tell you, it’s pretty cool: every time I look at that brainless, carefree happy step, it makes me smile.

There’s no snow in this one,

it has iridescent dust,

silver sparkles and a

sprinkle of iridescent dots,

to catch the light

like a clean fresh rain.

Rough Sailing

Several months ago, I decided I would make a new snowglobe design of a hot air balloon with a ship below. I say several months, because I kept starting and stopping this project, and couldn’t seem to get the interior sculpture to look the way I imagined it in my  head. I wanted to keep the colors of the balloon and ship itself in the rich coppers, silvers and bronze metallics that reminded me of steampunk and metal. This meant making masts and sails out of brass, for example.

The main part of the ship is just over a half-inch long, and I wanted to have sails … and masts … and a figurehead at the prow … ambitious, but there is no deadline to get something right. I started and abandoned several attempts until the proportions started to look just right.

When the airship and balloon all started to come together in an appealing way, I saw that placing the airballoon at an angle created the movement of the wind in the sails, and being pulled across space. I created an ambiguous base piece to support the airship that might be clouds, or crashing waves, or tentacles from the piece — in this case, it’s up to the viewer to decide. The white base and  foamy, airy support piece contrast with the dark metals of the ship itself, custom snow globe /waterglobe scuplture. 

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Shoes Your Weapon

I like a lot of things. As my family will agree, I really like shoes.

This tiny Victorian boot was so inspiring to me.

Yes, I made it, but when I finished, it was such a pleasing little thing, it made me want to go farther than just having a boot in a snowglobe. I even took it to work one day and showed people and exclaimed, isn’t this just the coolest thing?  It’s less than two inches tall, and fits in the palm of one’s hand perfectly. I kept it on my desk for a couple days, just enjoying looking at it, the way it was, before the wheels and cannon balls were even in the picture. But originally I didn’t have a design in mind, I had just wanted to see if I could create a convincing miniature Victorian boot.

Then one day, I was just looking at the boot and it reminded me of the shape of a cannon. I added the wheels and the fuse, a few cannon balls … it took on a life of its own at that point.

As you’ve noticed by now, I love the visual pun.

And so, one of my current favorite globes:

Shoes Your Weapon.

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Meeting of Minds – custom snowglobe

Two men, one old and one young, meet on an unusual path. Is it a stubborn standstill, a compromise, or renewal of friendship? A small group gathers to hear a man speak from a soapbox. Lovers, oblivious to all around them, find a quiet moment on a porch swing.

This waterglobe evolved, as so many do, with a single thought followed by second and third interpretations. A “Meeting of Minds” is just that: hearing another person’s thoughts, listening, reacting. Whether the meeting proves to be life-changing, or just a forgotten moment, those times matter when we don’t pass like ships in the night, but hear and consider each other’s point of view. Watching from our vantage point outside their world, we never know if the people we see are in agreement, making amends, planning their future, or perhaps saying goodbye.

Meeting of Minds snowglobe, back view, 2012

Meeting of Minds, snowglobe, side view, 2012

If you hold this waterglobe in your hand, and look closely, the crisscross of design and people becomes a focus on single moments. Here is the detail of the porch swing.

Meeting of Minds snowglobe, detail of porch swing figures, 2012