Sunday, March 29, 2009

Talked to Sue Friedland yesterday and we arranged to take down the present work we have on the porch of Gualala Arts Center next Saturday and she will help me hang the Haiku Book - "River" then. Suddenly I felt so much better about the job. Also figured out that if I crochet the hanging strings we can more easily find the exact right length by just putting the nail in the proper hole. Then the pressure is off and we (Sue -she will be at the top of that ladder) can tie off the extra as reinforcement.

Freed from those worries, I was able to think about the crystals I had ordered for new earrings for the talk at the Commonwealth Club. I had bought a new outfit in 'cranberry' so I order a set of red crystals and then at the last minute, in a jolt of devil-may-care, ordered a set of purple ones. In the meantime before the order arrived, I realized that I had the perfect outfit for the talk - a pale aqua one left over from my grandson Shaun's wedding! So I made this pair of earrings for that.

When I got the crystals I was unhappy with the red ones - they were far too orange, but I just could not force myself to go through the hassle of sending them back so I kept them and tried to make the crystals look redder by adding the golden bits. That is amber mixed in with the crystals.

I do love to embellish and I probably got carried away again but it is a marvelous way to vary the colors and add interest with various shapes and degrees of shine. These are quick scans and I wish I could keep the earring showing the crystals the same but all that embellishment skitters when I close the lid of the scanner. Now I wish I had ordered more of those long crystals but I have so many other beads, I feel I should just try other stones in the pattern. My method of hanging the crystal to the ear wire was primitive; but it is covered. If I do more, I want to make that part easier to work with when adding the embellishment.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big News! Marianne from our Gualala Arts Beads 'N Beyond group entered the "Find your Muse" contest at
and this is her entry. I am so proud of Marianne!

"Elegant Romance" by Marianne Baxter of Gualala, California (2)
"When I opened the package and saw the muse all I could think about was elegant romance! I never have used Brass before, so it was hard to find any brass findings in my stash. So I combined gold with the brass in several places and I think it works. I also used several colors of gold, yellow and brown beads. Chokers remind me of old fashioned elegance. I always add two magnetic clasps when I make chokers because they are easier to put on as well as keep the choker more secure when wearing."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ah, I see I forgot to show you the finished rug for the tree scene. It is exactly 4 x 6 inches. I was pleased with the old-fashioned Victorian age look it has. I did about 1/8 of it in brick stitch and then changed to peyote when I begin to feel confident I would do the pattern.

We had our bead group meeting on Saturday (sorry to be reporting so late but I have been fussing with about how to publish my tanka poems) and we had a very productive time. Barbara Rice demonstrated transferring laser-print images to clay (never have we had such a professional demo!) and we got fairly good results from the beginning. However, our ovens (we had three) all seemed to go wild and some batches got burnt into crisps and others just got too brown. Here I was working with a photo of me when I was seven. I had trouble with the paper sticking to the clay and when I tried to rub it off, the toner smeared and I really look like the ratty kid I was.

I learned a neat new way for make a bail from Barbara and really liked the result.

From the meeting the month before Barbara had brought an example of a way of wire crocheting that I tried to quickly learn from her but only ended up with a birdnest of wires. However, Judy picked up the technique and really ran with it. She had 8 or 9 pieces that she covered with wire cages that really looked great! I wish I had a photo because she really took the idea in hand and made it work for her.

At the end of the meeting this time some of gathered around while Judy and Barbara tried to teach us how to really do the stitch. I think the next meeting will be another attempt - thank goodness.

I came home and tried to duplicate what I had done at the meeting and fussed and bent wire and myself out of shape all evening. After I gave up and went to bed I woke at 3 a.m. with an idea. I am able to do something but I suspect my method (basically crocheting without making the second pass-through) is not like the way others are doing it.

I was able to make a bracelet sort of like the one Barbara had made.

Then I tried another one with a thicker wire I had and it just got uglier and uglier. I began to think about our group having a challenge contest for the "ugliest bracelet" and realized I could not sponsor a contest I was sure to win with this one. I tried everything I knew how to do and nothing could rescue it!

Yesterday afternoon then I was feeling a bit blue (with so many failures who is surprised) and I decided to really appreciate the panel I had finished last week. So I pinned it into a black box and let myself delight in it. A good thing for me to do.
Also I got an email from Arbel at Fire Mountain and he said the photo-shoots of my two necklaces went very well and they were pleased with them and ready to mail the necklaces back. I started a new one last night and for the first time, did it all in peyote. The good thing about peyote is how easily it is to rip it out - which I did and then at midnight started a new one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The revolving stand arrived yesterday and it is such an improvement over the one I had. It was battery-run, made a terrible grinding noise, and refused to run if more than 8 oz. was put on it. This one, from Nice Toys, is small, black, and works perfectly. It makes 4 rpm so it is not too slow and not too fast. Getting it now was perfect timing also, as now I really see how big the rug needs to be.
Oops. I wanted to show you how the rug has advanced, but my scanner and computer seem to be having a spat and refuse to speak to each other.
My next big job is to find and record the beads used in the project. There must be over 40 and I dread having to find a number for each one.
Today we have a beautiful day so I am eager to get to the studio to glue down the last word on panel #2. If I have enough energy left over I will prepare the rods and glue on the end tips. More smelly glue but good weather for it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yesterday the promised rain forgot to show up, so in warm sunny skies I was able to work in the studio. Got the letters "above the" glued to panel #2. Somehow, perhaps the experience of working on the other panels, this time the gluing went better. I probably used less glue and so far none of it is outside of the letter. Today it is too soft to move so I have to leave it lay until the letters are firm enough to stick. Then I can add the last word - "river."
When Werner went back to buy more Barge Cement, Dennis also gave him a bottle of fabric glue. I want to try it out, see how much it shows, and if it is transparent, I can use that over the stitching so that the thread does not tear the gauze. Then I can avoid having to attach each letter to the rod.
Worked on the rug again last night. It is going well and staying flat. I am running out of the beads (since I used so many in the other attempts). I debated whether to cut those apart or just order more. Since the colors are so close it would be very hard to sort the cut-loose beads, so I ordered more.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yesterday, in the light of day, I saw that in the rug I had mixed two very closely colored beads in one section. I debated long and hard if I wanted to leave the night-time error, but finally got up the nerve and the scissors and cut it out. Because I use the brick stitch, it is easier to remove beaded sections since cutting one thread does not release the whole row of beads.

I had the feeling the piece itself was happier with the repair. That gave me courage then to go back and fix one other place. I had added peyote stitching on the side to increase the width of the rug and when I do peyote I make errors. It felt as if I had spent the whole afternoon in repair. But I am much happier with the piece. One of the big advantages of beading is nothing is lost. The beads can always be cut apart and reused.
Our rainy weather is predicted for the whole week. I may have to heat the studio to glue the rest of the letters onto the panels.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I made two more attempts to do the rug for the tree and both of them, as they increased, began to pucker and dance. Evidently no matter how loose I try to work, there is not enough 'give' in the shape of a glass bead, to make smooth round shapes. There surely is. Probably I need to change the sizes as I go around the curves, but this was beyond my ability as I have showed in my attempts. So I laid the rug idea aside comforting myself with the idea that maybe I really did not need one.
Thus I turned my attention back to the haiku book. The "river" page has been lying on my desk for weeks and it felt good to turn to working on it with relief (from the rug) and not out of a sense, 'this needs to be done.' I was amazed how quickly I was able to sew around the letters. I had been dreading the job, but it was not that bad after all. Yes it was a hassle turning the work area around and around with 24 foot of fabric, but it was doable. Now I am wishing I had sewed around the letters of "fog" but with the sparkles already on, it would be a beastly job (I think) to finish sewing the letters down.
When I refolded the panel I could feel how fragile the fabric is and now know that I must also make connections to the top.
Aha! I had been dreading that job because it would involve attaching the supporting threads to the rods and I would not be able to easily move the fabric around with the rod on it. Also I feared I could not get even tension on the supporting threads causing the fabric to buckle. Just as I typed in the preceding paragraph, a solution flashed into my mind! I will sew in the support threads up to the bend where the rod goes before putting in the rod! I had planned to glue the fabric to the rod anyhow. Now I can glue down the support threads at the same time!
This what I love most about making art. Making problems for myself and then watching my greater self solve them.

With "river" sewed to its panel, and a storm that kept me out of the studio to glue down the words on the second panel, I turned to a job for Claire. She had bought a glass leaf with a glass loop on the back. Because the loop was in the center of the leaf, it refused to hang down and tipped over. She had showed me the problem in the January meeting and I had suggested she make a beaded 'plate' to hold the leaf and suspend it from a beaded bail

She brought beads to learn how to do the brick stitch and she did very well with learning how to do it to last week's meeting. But we recognized that making the plate with a hole in (for the protruding loop) was a lot to ask of her now. So I offered to make it for her. We discussed the size and she showed me other beads she thought of adding to the 'plate.' So I did this for Claire and am eager to see how she changes it to fit her idea of the necklace.

Aha! I see from the photo why the bail would not stay straight. There is a bead missing! Here is the plate with the glass leaf. I love the colors Claire picked.The auto-fix for the photo dimmed these.

The leaf still needs to be attached to the plate. I am thinking of beading a small rod that can pass through the loop and then sewed down to the plate. So I have talked myself into more beading today!