Friday, January 30, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from Arbel at Fire Mountain Beads asking if I would send them the necklace "To Jane from Tarzan" to be photographed for advertising purposes. It had been one of my entries in the Fire Mountain Bead Contest last year. So that is a good way to show them what you can do!

He also asked if I had other similar necklaces.Suddenly I was sorry I had sold, at such low prices, so many of my necklaces at the Christmas fairs!

Thank goodness I had felt "Lily" was too special to sell and kept it. Here is a scan of it that I sent in and was invited to include it with the "Tarzan" necklace.

May I say my feet did not touch the ground for days? But I could not write about it all in here - I felt something could go wrong. Then the other day Arbel wrote that both necklaces had arrived and they were scheduled to be photographed next Thursday. Smile pretty, kids and make me look good!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Was talking to Bambi, my daughter, on the phone and she was excited about how much she had been beading. My usual reply to 90% of what my kids tell me about - send photos. And she did! Here are three of the necklaces she made from our polyclay blitz in the last days of 2008.

I love this one! I like the combination of polyclay and bling. But most of all I love those square beads.To me they look like books - books that are under pressure. When she was making these beads I wanted to make some myself like them but there were so many ideas swirling around the tables I never got to it. This reminds me of what I still want to try as soon as I get the polyclay out again. Remind me!

Bambi loves green, and wears it well. When we were doing the polyclay Dorje seemed to be just putting weird colors together but all of a sudden we realized he had made perfect faux malachite! After we used up all he made Bambi and I tried to make more - sometimes it worked but usually we had to go back to using the colors he had combined originally. Here Bambi added one of the goddess images I made from a mold made from an old earring.

Those funny uterus things in black and gold are mine. It was an idea I tried in Carol Blackburn's Making Polymer Clay Beads on page 45. Also something I want to try again. I think I am talking myself into spreading out the polyclay stuff again.

This is the other image she sent today. A disc is promised with more. I would guess by the evenness of the fabric behind her beads, that this is fabric she wove herself. This photo is also a reminder to me that we used up all the red clay and I had better get off to the Sculpy Super Store to order more. The end of the economic crisis in the nation!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Again a good day of beading yesterday but I got slowed down by several long phone calls so I only got 1/2 of one of the panels done. Today I found out why.
I got a call from Vickie, who puts together the orders for Fire Mountain from our group, that the back ordered "brown cockles" arrived. I never check my order slips against the statement and never missed them.
So if I get over to her house I can add them to the other half which I thought were done. Or maybe not? I am eager to see those shells.
Such a beautiful day it could be the Universe telling me to take a break, get out and see the world and the beading voice within says, "Go see the new shells!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ah, finally a good day of beading again! Worked from 2 to 12 and got both sides of one of the fabric panels/pages lower edges completely covered. Still have a few shells left over so today I will go back and add them to any thin spots.

In a few places I neglected to pull the thread tight by tugging on the stopper bead in on a larger one and so I have a few droopers. But all in all I am thrilled with the way the idea of adding shells and beads to the lower edge came out. It feels good to know I had gotten the right number of shells and it feels especially good to know I could do both sides of a panel in one day.

I hope I can go more slowly now and enjoy the experience. Werner is getting ready to go to Santa Rosa and I do not need any beads.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I finished and sent out Lynx yesterday afternoon. After clearing off my desk I went to my beads and put away all the green beads for the tree. That work had gotten so mindless, it was good for the evenings when words still tumbled in my head.
Frankly the tree project is looking a bit doubtful now. What was good in the model size is not working in the real size. The smallness of the beads, and their weight are working against the shape of it. The night before I had again tried putting the layers on the wooden dowel and that is not going to work. It is already bending. I must find a metal rod that will work. There are now lots of questions and problems with this project so it felt very good to put it all away. Another UFO.
I opened the long thin box from Dharma Trading Company with trembling fingers. I had bought a whole bolt of the material without even seeing a sample. It was simply the only possible choice at that width and I felt that whatever it was would be what I would have to use.
It was perfect! It was slightly thicker than I had guessed it to be, so that was good. The salvages were ragged as I wanted. I rolled it out across the studio floor. It looked so good! Because it was slightly denser I spent about an hour laying down the letters of the haiku and debating whether I could "save" material by making the pages single layers.
I asked Werner to come down and take a look and he felt the whole work, even with double-sided pages, was too fragile to be hung outdoors. I spent another hour convincing him my idea would work. It was good as it forced me to rethink each facet of the construction. By now it was clear that I would use two sides of cloth per page.
The threads were true so it was possible to get straight cuts by pulling a thread. Buddha the cat came down to help. I cringed as I saw the holes his claws left, seeing again how fragile the fabric was. He got to sit outdoors and howl as I cut the three 24' sections. I had to get Werner's help again to fold them and then I quickly put them into plastic bags and let the cat back in.
I had ordered a bunch of shell beads from Fire Mountain in December so now I had the fun of opening them and marveling at them. I got three strawberry boxes in order to divide the shells equally for the three pages. Then I went through my bead stash to find more shells. At first I had planned to use only white shells, but bit by bit I added other colors. I am hoping this makes the white livelier and perhaps even more like the bottom of a river even though many of these shells are from the Philippines.
In the evening it took me a couple of hours just to screw up my courage to begin to sew the shells on the bottom of the first page. There is five feet of fabric needing shells and it sucked them up in a hurry.
In the night I got an idea of how to pace the beads, to vary how and where they are sewn on so I do not run out.
Also I realized I have to have the shells spread out on a tray because the small ones all sift down to the bottom. Am eager to get my computer work done to get back to beading. Nothing new there!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yesterday was the meeting of Beads N' Beyond at Gualala Arts Center. What a gay time we had! One huge table was covered with beady things to give away, on a smaller table had our show n' tell items and all the rest of the room was filled with beaders - an even dozen.

Vicki had brought lots of materials for us to do the earrings 88S8 from Fire Mountain including the perferated backs to make pins. There was some momentary grumbling as we realized we would have to work with wire, but she had brought a fine enough guage that everyone could bend it to their will. Within the hour Sue, Grace, and Vicki had really a nice earring in the making.

A visitor, Barbara MacNaulty , came only to get help with restringing a gift that was too short, and had a too-tiny clasp. By the end of the meeting she was wearing her new necklace that was even more precious because she had added her work, ideas, and involvment.

Nell Susalla, who is visiting Sus and Harmony, came with bracelets she makes with her after-school kids in Michigan from old buttons. They were really special and I hope she comes by someday so we can design little beaded showcases for buttons her late husband had engraved with her initials.

Judy wanted to learn how to make the tree earrings I had in the Festival of Trees so we moved from the project of the day to learning the brick stitch in the round.

Marianne brought the left overs from the benefit Traveling Jewelry Exhibit and they were added to the give away table. She also brought us her necklace she had designed in collaboration with a lampwork artist she met through the competition at Bead Star. Maybe she will stop by here and add the names I did not get. She did a really great job in designing a new shape for a necklace. It gets photographed on Monday so we showered it with good wishes. It will be in the April issue of Stringing which will be on sale at our local supermarket. We can hardly wait!

Kathy did come after she got off work at the post office so I was able to give her necklace, bracelet and earrings. She was pleased, I think. She had tons of beads for the freebie table and I did a major raid on her things. Got several other treasures that I have not yet unpacked today.

During the meeting I remembered I had wanted to bring my camera to photograph the group. Howls and laughter greeted my regrets. They said they all still had "Christmas Bloat" and were glad the camera was missing.

Rhoda's 4-H group had sent us this charming hand-made card as thanks for all the beads we had given them last fall.

BTW All the left over beads we gave to Sandy Smith who is teaching beading to the kids at Point Arena School.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've been working mornings on the magazine Lynx for all my computer time until today when I had to stop long enough to clean the house. Each evening I would bead on the tree project, which was nothing to report so I avoided the guilt trip of not being here.

Last night I finally forced myself to work on Kathy's necklace. Kathy Dillman is a beader friend who also is one of my best customers. Imagine my chagrin as she was trying on a necklace at the Point Arena Holiday when I heard the horrible clatter of single beads falling to the floor!

Somehow, and for the first time in my life, the crimp beads on BOTH sides let go at once!

What was even more embarrassing was the focal bead was made by Kathy. She had come by the house last summer to learn how to make beaded beads on a wooden bead center. She made one which I really liked but she did not like it and had no idea of how to use it.

So she gave it to Marianne Baxter as a donation to the Traveling Bead Exhibit (through which Marianne raised over $10,000 last year for the local medical center and other causes - hooray for Marianne!). I immediately wanted it so I gave Marianne a donation and took the bead home.

Only after getting the glass beads from Debbe Hull I knew what I wanted to do with Kathy's bead.

And here it was skittering across the gallery floor.

Kathy was very gracious. She said she still wanted to buy the necklace but the original length was far too long. So I agreed to shorten it to her dimensions and to use the rest for a bracelet. "And matching earrings!" she laughingly called to me as we shared again the joke about her appreciation for matching jewelry and my idea that no two pieces can or should be alike.

So last night I did this for Kathy.

If you look closely you can see that I made a much better transition from the focal bead this time around. Also I softened the changes from the heishi to the glass beads by using other larger turquoise disks which also better covered the rough holes some of the recycled glass beads have. So having the necklace destroy itself was a good thing! And I am thankful for a friend like Kathy who is so understanding! May you wear this in joy and happiness!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Werner's ERCP went very well this time, and they got the stent out without more damage. Thus, by Friday he was up and raring to get home. He was even well enough to allow me a stop at Tap Plastics to get the pipes for hanging the haiku book. While they smoothed the edges so I could glue cabochons on the edge, I shopped.
Found great organizer boxes for the embellishing beads that lock closed. I had been using freebies from the Sculpy Super Store but not being able to design the size of the bins meant I had mixed some beads and bead colors in order to get them all in.
What a great time I had in the evening as I reorganized (and found more) embellishing beads. Werner said it looked like Christmas all over again.
The impression was reinforced because I was also able to have 45 minutes in Legendary Beads. One of my very few complaints about Fire Mountain is that their selection of 8s is so measly. I had tried to order the hex-cut 8s I wanted from Caravan Beads. The order came through okay and I was delighted to see that all the colors I could get at Legendary Beads was available online. What did not please me was to see that for the price I would get a normal-sized tube, at Caravan Beads I got 1/2 sized vials. I was so enraged at this over-charging that I simply sent the complete order back.
I actually felt relieved to see the prices on the tubes at Legendary were what I had expected. I had had the thought that maybe the hex-cuts had doubled in price without my knowing it.
Werner had turned me lose with the admonishment to do my birthday shopping so I splurged on several of vials that were in the $8 -9 range. Lovely muted strong colors of golds, magenta and ruby. Also got more pinks in 11s. Then I just shopped by letting my eyes and attention go to those things they wanted. It was a surprise when I got home to see what I picked - several were focal beads in interesting stones. Have no idea what I plan to do as I have sworn off making jewelry!
It really was like Christmas here last night and we both had so much to be thankful for in the New Year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yes! I am in the show!

Finally reached Karen at Gualala Arts Center and found out that they had room in the show for one more work. Have already loaded the piece in the car - hoping it survives the many curves to town - and have my usual load of nervousness.
Added to that we leave tomorrow for Santa Rosa for Werner to have his surgery. Still need to pack things for that. And load the car. But first the trip to deliver ". . .Saturday Night." Why must I still get so excited about walking into a room with a boxful of my work and setting it down in front of others?
Last night, when I sat down to bead, I thought how glad I was to just have the the routine work of the trees. And then I began to think about a teddy bear. . .
Soon I was starting that. As I worked I kept wondering if the beads seemed so small because it was so late at night or if my eyes were just tired. As I gathered up the vials on the tray I realized I was doing the teddy bear in 15s. I only got the body made so hopefully this afternoon there will be better light and I can get the other parts done before we leave. I don't think I will take my beads, but will take crocheting as I can do that and watch TV. More stuff to gather up and load up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I can imagine someone wondering what in the heck this is.
Let me explain:

I realized that I am going to be in Santa Rosa at the end of the week and I knew I had better be figuring out how to make the hanging equipment for the "Fog Haiku Book." I need acrylic rods 5 - 6 feet long that are stable enough to support up to ten pounds. I could order them from Tap Plastic but it would be better if I went to the store to touch and flex the rods before I have them cut.
I had made a model back when I began the project last May but was waiting to make the armature when I knew where the final work would be hung.
Last month Sus, Director of Gualala Arts Center, said I could have it in the entrance to the porch. I had hoped to be able to use the far corner of the porch - to the right of the entrance doors. Built into a corner the pages could swivel and be opened and closed like a book. But in summer the bar is stored in that place so that option is out. Actually the front of the porch is much more visible. It also gets more wind.
So I ordered several pounds of shells and am planning to sew those to the lower edge as weights that will hopefully keep the pages from tangling. That job will add another week or so of work to the project.
I had originally planned the work for a show about books, altered books, books as art scheduled for June. However with the Poetry & Art Exhibit's emphasis on Japan, it would be possible to show the work there in April. Suddenly April seems very close.
I still have to decide how long to make the pages. Originally I had planned on them being 13 feet long. The opening of the porch is 16 feet and I have enough material to make the pages 15 feet long, but I feel that is too long. Considering the size of the readers I feel 13 feet is about as high as one can look to read the words.
The letters of the words are 11 inches tall and I have those all done. I brick-stitched silver lined 6s - it took 6 1/2 pounds of beads.They spell out the haiku


above the river


with one line on a "page" of gauze.
Today Sue sent the notice of the next meeting of our bead group - Beads N' Beyond on the 17th and I am looking forward to sharing all my extras and 'no longer wanted' things at the Bead Bizarre Bazaar. Vickie will be teaching a technique to make clip-on earrings which is right down my alley on the way to delightful embellishing. I hold my nervous mind on the comfort of this meeting when I get overwhelmed with plans for the 'fog haiku book.'

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The deadline for registering for the "Judged by Your Peers" show was last Monday, but since there was still a big call to artists article in the paper, I assume they still need entries. I did get an email that it was okay with Jim to sneak in under the wire so I went ahead and tore the whole sculpture apart. I wish now I had photographed it before I did - AH! just did a search and found one!

The old version:

The newest version:

As you can see I used a new chair (bought for $2 at a yard sale). Before the plastic bead-filled heart was behind the chair (only a blue smudge in the first photo). I never liked the blue color of the silver beads so I opened that and put in white silver beads.

Do you have an idea what it is like to close two halves of that 'ball' and keep the beads in them? (secret: cover them with Saran wrap). Now that the heart looked so good I put it in front.

Sheree had commented that the piece needed a second color so I put a pale pink and silver on the head pins and rayed them around her back. I also reworked (recurled) the wired beads and made them look a bit more organized and important.
Somehow the lizards had gotten lost (probably recycled because I needed the beads in them). When I had cleaned after taking the Christmas tree down, I found one of the white birds behind the table, so I put that in instead of the lizard. I covered the beak with beads just to make it fit in as a beaded object. If I decide to make new lizards, I still have time before delivering the piece on Wednesday. If I could get the lizards to rear up and not be so flat I might reconsider having them in. Maybe with wire in them? . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sheree came, ten minutes early as is her way. I love people who do not make me wait for them. What a delight she is! We had over a year of sharing so suddenly the afternoon was already too short. I failed to tell her my horoscope for the day said I would be a show-off.

I finally got Sheree to open her bag full of current projects. She needle-felts wool into a shape that she covers with beads. Most are bird-like creatures often with human (doll) arms or legs. Here are the thousand-words a picture brings.

I won't describe the rest of the family as it really needs to wait until she is finished with the whole project. Her whimsy and imagination are limitless and yet each of her objects are clearly her work. It is exciting to be able to see a work-in-progress and then compare it to its finished form later.

It is funny that we both swear off of making jewelry - we only wear earrings - but still among our half-started projects were - necklaces. It seems we simply cannot let go of making creations to wear.

Sheree's comments were very helpful to me about the piece I might enter into the "Judged by your Peers" show that opens next week at Gualala Arts. The work is one I did over a year ago but never entered in a show. I felt it always needed something. Sheree suggested another color in it and I felt it needed more height. After she left I unpacked my latest order from Fire Mountain and found the eight-inch headpins. As I unwrapped them I asked myself, "whatever was I thinking?"

Later in the evening as I numbly, but happily, beaded on the tree I began to see those headpins, with stars (which had also arrived in the order) rising above the work in another color. Am eager to get my computer work done this morning so I can try out the idea to see if it will work. Also need to see if I am too late to register for the show. Out of here now!

Friday, January 2, 2009

How appropriate, considering how this blog is going, that Sheree Wilcox, the woman who got me started in beads is coming over today for a visit that is nearly a year overdue (my fault - not hers).

It was in August, 2004, when I was at a very low point with a disappointment, that she came to my house loaded with beads and everything I needed to be inspired and to get started. I wish for every new beader such a blessing.

She is a shy but excellent beader. She works very tight and it is always a wake-up call for me to see how much good keeping tension on the thread can do for a piece! Sheree loves 15s and her work is always so delicate and perfect and yet her graciousness allows her to admire my things.

Sheree first taught me the peyote (pay-oh-tea) stitch and then wisely told me to make whatever the beads wanted me to make. This was the first thing I beaded.

Later I began to save all my beginning attempts on the cover of a sketch book. I had sewed white felt around the cover and then attached the samples and practice techniques.

When the sketchbook got full, I made a removable cover so I could slip the filled book out and this is the current cover.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year always makes me want to start something new - a new project, a new challenge, find a new friend, try out a new recipe, or even do something as small as changing my daily schedule.

Maybe you have occasionally admired some bead work and wondered if you could make something like it. My answer would be a resounding "yes."

Yes you can easily begin with beads. They are so simple - just a ball with a hole through it. Even kindergartners string beads! Why should they have all the fun?

As an adult there are other reasons for taking up bead work:

1. No other material you can work with rivals beads except perhaps stained glass. Even that does not have silver-lined beads (love that shine!), or sparkling crystals (how to feel rich on a moderate budget). Beads offer a wider range of materials than just glass and crystal when you stray into bone or wooden beads, or polymer and ceramic clay beads, lamp work (the bigger glass beads with colors and images within the globe), or shells of every sort and kind. As the beads move through your hands onto the object you are making, their beauty becomes your beauty. What more can you ask from an art form?

2. Working with beads is neat and clean. No messy mixtures, no water to spill, no paints to smear on your clothes, no fibers to make you sneeze, no snippets, no glues (well hardly ever), no obnoxious smells or fumes, no ink on your fingers, no goop under your nails - just piles of sparkling shining beads. The most mess they will make will be the occasional spill and that is quick and easy to clean up with a scoop or vacuum cleaner.

3. Beads do not need a lot of room. A small try on your lap is all you need. How many hobbies can you do in an airplane? Maybe I should qualify that "beads do not need a lot of room" to say working with beads. . . As you begin to buy beads, you may be led astray and end up buying more. As with any art material there is the need to sort and store your beads so you can find them when you need them. Finding this method that suits you is another of the joys of beading.

4. Beads can be inexpensive. There are no expensive tools to buy, no kilns needed, no easels, no new studio, no machinery. A few vials of your favorite color beads, thread, good scissors, a tray (or box lid) and a good reading lamp. Beads, unlike canvas or fabric, are completely recyclable. If you made a piece that later is not up to your standards, you just snip the thread and your beads are ready to become something new. It is much easier than unraveling a sweater and the beads will still look like new.

5. People love beaded works. No more trying to sell those walls of canvases or shelves of pots, or baskets of knitted hats. People buy more beaded works than any assessory. No woman has too much jewelry, and there is always room for one more piece.

6. Working with beads can be as simple as stringing necklaces and bracelets or as complicated as sculptures. This one shown at Gualala Arts Center in November, 2008 was over ten feet tall. The top is not included in this photo.

7. Beaders are companionable and generous. They love giving you new beads or showing you a new technique. Because we all do things so differently there is rarely any competition. Any idea one borrows will probably look totally different from the piece that inspired it.

Now what reason do you have for not heading out to the bead store tomorrow? Or go online? Fire Mountain Beads and Gems is still my favorite one-stop shop online. And you? Where do you find your treasures?