Monday, September 28, 2009

Started to work on the pillar shrine. Here it is laid out on the floor garage-part of the studio. Naturally I made myself much more work when I found out many of the strands were longer than 14 ft, so I started extending the 'short' ones. Am still open to how many of the strands I will actually use. Wish I has some way of hanging the whole thing so I can see the bottom and how that hangs. Am thinking that since I have to hang it early at Gualala Arts Center (so they can use the cherry-picker to get to the ceiling for the hook) that I will just go there and finish the work on the bottom of it. I have a couple of days before the show opens and it is a lovely place to work.

I love how a piece makes itself. When I first thought of hanging the beaded strands, I knew I wanted them to descend from a hoop. My eyes fell on a dreamcatcher Clemens and Valerie had made for me many years ago. Then I thought maybe I needed a 'real' dreamcatcher and called Linda Reno to buy one of hers. All week I have called trying to make an appointment with her to come by and she did not return my calls! Then I went to Manchester to look for a wire ring and in the kitchen equipment I found this device for roasting a chicken on a bottle of beer! Perfect shape! Perfect size! When I got home it fit exactly over the dreamcatcher the kids had made. Then while moving a screen, I evidently bumped it and it fell on the floor. Now I definitely felt it wanted to be in the work. So the kitchen device makes the rim strong enough AND has a top for hanging.

Also, several months ago I had ordered some brass bells from Fire Mountain not because I had a purpose for them but only because I liked them. Later then the price went down in the next catalog and I ordered them again. Yesterday I found out I had just as many bells as beaded strands. This is the exciting part of making something! Watching the Universe work with me. Blessed be!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Got this address from Fire Mountain contest so you can see my entry that was among the finalists. They did an excellent job of photographing the whole set-up. I worked so many hours trying to do a lesser job so I am really, really impressed with whoever got this photo! I loved the fact someone put the tiniest toys into the wagon. Never thought of that. I hope the photograper/stylist person had fun playing with the toys.

What you cannot see here is the revolving stand. When the tree moves, the crystals (ABs) flash in colored lights like on a real tree. Also there is music with it. A music button plays "It's a Small World" with that terrible tinny sound.

The entry did not win a prize, but I will go on showing the scene here locally at Christmas. Last night I redid the hobby horse so he now is easier to stand up. So I am still working on this! Am thinking of adding more toyes. I had to give up the work before I was "really" done with it. Also was thinking of a fireplace with stockings. . . Now I have time to do it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When uploading the images I somehow forgot to add this one. It is special because the bead is the first lampwork that Debbe got - the one that inspired her to get into lampworking.

Here is the rest of that necklace.

I was thinking that necklaces are like snapshots in time. They pull together and save diverse elements of one day. By stringing the beads they are tied together and time stops.
From my tanka notebook:
neck laces
tying together bright days
sparkly stones
the bling of existence
reflect on the face \jr
It is amazing how one's needs can be answered! Yesterday I was wishing for more and better examples of these "Ambassador" necklaces and here they are! For her demo at the bead meeting Debbe had brought the booklet A Bead Journey about helen dietze. I wanted to look longer at helen's great creations and asked Debbe if I could borrow the book. When she dropped it off, to my surprise and delight, she brought 4 of her necklaces as result of her class with helen.

Isn't that necklace a marvelous whopper? I love her bold, bold, chunky and massive work. Wow! am so jazzed by seeing this. She has broadened my scope and limits for beads!

This is a sample of the kind of necklace Debbe used to teach. She made booklets to explain each step and sold the kits on line under the name of Hula Moon Glass.
This is also from Debbe and shows that when she embellishes she knows how to pile it on! With embellishing, it is possible to use items without holes and frame the piece with a netting of beads. Helen used this technique also when the piece she wanted as focal bead had no hole. This idea alone opens up the scope for the number of things one can use in a necklace! I fear for the stuff in my kitchen - even the sink! I have long felt beaded necklaces were too skimpy, too skinny, too blah.

This is a sample of an "Ambassador" necklace with the strings beaded. The name, from helen, was because she used to make these necklaces as gifts to give away in her many travels. By braiding the stringing connections the three hanging focal points she could save weight and beads. Here Debbe makes an excellent compromise and uses her fantastic color sense to enlarge the necklace.
The book on helen dietze, A Bead Journey Through the eyes of helen dietze was written by Gretchen Schueller at and her daughter, Kristine Buchanan who also has a website at The photo of helen was scanned from the back of the book. Thanks for loan!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I am continuing to make the sun catchers and to redefine the design. I found people wanted loops at the top and that my idea of hiding the nail it was hung by made them too hard to hang. So I made a loop at the top and am using smaller beads on the "string" part. It is harder to do, but I like the look better. Amazing how much work goes into a new design! Am hoping that the ones I made for Fire Mountain to use in their Christmas advertising do not show the tops!
Got the notice from Fire Mountain that my entry in this year's beading contest is now posted as a finalist on their site in the gallery.

The Beads N' Beyond group met at Gualala Arts Center on Saturday. Debbe Hull showed us how to make the "Ambassador" necklace as developed by helen dietz. She did a fabulous job of demonstrating, brought so many lovely lovely beads at incredible prices, and was so kind in helping us over the rough spots. Many bought and used Debbe's lampwork beads and I would love to show those, so any of you who have photos of your finished necklaces, please send them to me?
In the real "Ambassador" necklace, the strings holding the three parts are braided. While I had a mass of mismatched and left-over beads out for the embellishing, I put those on the strings instead of braiding. Also the braided strands have a knot behind the neck. I prefer to have the two strands unquoted so each wearer can adjust how long the various parts hang down.
This necklace fits in with my new campaign against findings and the fiddle they cause to add and to use, by making necklaces that are completely adjustable and use the drape of gravity to hold them in place. It was from seeing necklaces Debbe had done using helen's idea that inspired all the embellishing I have been doing in the last year.
Overheard at the meeting: Debbe Hull will be the featured artist in December at Just Beads. Go Debbe. Wow 'em!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I finally figured out how to keep the photos with my text when I have more than one picture. I load the photos first and THEN insert the text! I find now, of course, that the photos are now lined up backwards, but I am so thrilled with the success of my coping that I barely notice. This is my entry for the new contest at Fire Mountain - Crystallized. I should be off filling out the forms and tracking down the beads used in the piece - a job I really hate because I am not good about keeping records of which bead was ordered when with whatever number. Still I am delighted with the piece and the old competitive urge in is full bloom.

Rhoda was by the other day, picking up her necklace from Art in the Redwoods, (one she sold! Congratulations! Her price was right! mine was too high) and as we sat in the studio she was telling me of how much she had paid in entry fees for various festival booths and how little she had sold - often losing money on the event. We finally talked ourselves around to wondering if we could do better out of my studio! So we are aiming for the Columbus Day weekend in October. The idea is that I make my half of the studio over into a display area and she use the half of the studio where the car is normally parked (now you know our secret - I have a studio big enough to park a car in it!). I took this photo as a "before" so I can show off when I get things rearranged. Hopefully as soon as I get the packet off to Fire Mountain contest I can start shoving stuff around.

Am debating whether to enter these sun catchers in the FM contest also. I have tried several times to photograph them but cannot get a decent photo that is as sharp as these scans. Maybe the fog from yesterday's rain will burn off and I can have enough sun and a second chance at getting better images.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Believe it or not, I have made a change in how I add the little elastic with ball that holds the temple piece to the glasses. I was unhappy with the loop showing above the crystal, so I (finally!) stuck it up in the tube (both green ones) and secured it so only the ball shows. I think this is how the finding was designed to be used. . .

Am still doing the eye glass holders and have two more color combos planned. That may end this run as I am running out of hex beads (unless I find more stuck in another basket). Got so weary of Alcott's Little Women, and her sermonizing! that I am now listening to Jennifer Crusie's Dogs and Goddesses - almost welcome the "f" word!