Monday, May 31, 2010

Looking at this close-up of the branch tie-on I can see where my mistake came. I had measured to see how long a strip of beads I needed to cover this. Just before I sewed the strip together in place, I remembered I wanted to enforce the connection with duct tape.

So I did and that closed up that little gap between the branches that I can see in this photo today. Now the beaded strip has to have a couple of rows torn out. Maybe I was tired last night, maybe I really hate to rip out, or the visit with Sheree made me think of new projects: suddenly I was very weary of this work and had no desire to finish it. My heart was willing to cover more branches but adding the connective chunks did not interest me. Maybe they should not be part of the piece?

So much of making 'art' is a process of listening to inner voices. One of mine is going to have to speak up and say, "Hey, adding those colored branches is absolutely necessary to the work." or I am about to cut them down.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

As you probably cannot see, I have tied the 'extra' colorful branches on to the main branch. Now I am making peyote strips to cover the connections - where strings are now. Am thinking of reinforcing the connections with duct tape just so nothing slips in transport. Somehow I find these strips very boring to make! Covering the twigs took just as much time and work but somehow I was driven by the desire to see how the twig would look covered with beads. Now I am covering up a process and that is not so interesting. I may have to rethink how I attach these parts.
I did find an easier way to sew the strips on the twigs. Instead of standing and working with my arms in the air to stitch close the strip around the twig, I found I could close the strip into a tube and because branches are smaller at the tip, I could ease the tube up the twig. That will save hours of work and recovery as I would have to rest so long to get the circulation back into my arms and hands. Maybe that orchard is not such a bad idea after all. It is doable and I would not have to make the strips to cover connections! That would be good news!
The other good news is that Sheree Wilcox is coming by this afternoon. She never wants me to say it, but I think of her as my 'bead mentor.' Just an email and an address from her is enough to set me on to higher goals for my work. I am eager to see what she is working on as she always seems to be doing the thing that everyone else will be doing in a year or two.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Unwon Entry

Found out yesterday that Bead Star had picked the finalists and my entry was not among them. Yes, it is a blow to the old ego, not so much that 'my work' was not chosen but that I could not second guess the judges on what constituted a 'worthy' piece of jewelry. That really bothers me! Why did they pick so many examples of the 'same old - same old' and why did they not find this one interesting?

One can never know. That is the problem with judging and jurying. Rarely can one know why the work failed to grab the attention of a judge. Sometimes by looking at the pieces picked one can deduce why one's own piece did not fit in. Sometimes that is a comfort, and other times it means, one (me!) needs to go back to the drawing board and try something new. Or maybe the work belongs in another contest? Questions that only the beads can answer!

However, Bead Star does offer all of us the chance to vote for the winners and I hope you will go to the web site ( and cast your votes in all the categories!
Watching "Little Miss Sunshine"helps!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Got the first of the silver/white coverings on a twig. I started another strip that is even longer but as I look at the branches as a mass I am feeling that shorter sections of beads will be more interesting. That will leave more of the twig to show and the spaces between the white/silver will form its own pattern. Will finish the one I have started, but I think that it will be the longest one I will have.
I am enjoying living with the piece. Perhaps I am too easily entertained, but I get great joy and pleasure just letting my eyes rove over the piece. I do feel I need lots of white areas to balance the color. I only have less than one-half a pound of the 8s left but I do have almost a whole pound of the 6s. I had planned to use the 6s at the top where the branch is about wrist-thick. Just looking at the piece, one is not conscious of the different size of beads. Perhaps I could use more of the bigger beads on the branches? It would certainly make the work go faster but to tell the truth I am not very interested in that. I am greatly enjoying making these peyote strips and sewing them together on the branches is not that hard to do.
I am still thinking of how to hang the work. Should the top be straight? or should the branches hang down straight? Both is not possible. Should there be beads on the wires going from the wood to the hanging hook?
I have had thoughts of doing these strips on a living tree. Then there would be no hanging problems! Hmmm. Have been having so many mad/mad thoughts this week. I shudder to think of the things I might do if I had more energy! An apple orchard! In pink and white! All year around the lovely colors of blossoms! Back to the safety of my chair and the long needle. . .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I did get the branch hung and was able to temporarily hang the pieces I had worked on at the top. They are in the wrong place but now I am able to see how much work is still ahead of me.
I had used 11s so far but feel they may be too small. Will do an experimental patch of 8s today to see if I can punch up the colors. Besides, as the branches get fatter it takes forever to stitch the smaller beads. Also the bigger beads are easier on my eyes and I can work later in the evening when I use them. Am yawning as I type this as it was 12:30 last night.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No photos, but I did get the yellow branch done and have started in on the pink/red one. It is so much smaller that the work on it seems to whizzing along.
Today I hope to take up the register between the living room and the upstairs to put in a support system so I can hang the big branch from the ceiling. Am hoping to save having to screw a hook into the ceiling.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Off to the beach to get the beads out of my mind! Did get the green branch finished yesterday and started the yellow one. Am still thrilled with the idea of putting beads on branches. Hope to find someone else who agrees.
The photo is of Bowling Ball Beach, just down the road and one of my favorites.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This is a close-up of one twig of the pruned branch. Someone asked if I was gluing the beads to the twigs and I realized that by not gluing, but making peyote stitched strips, I get a lovely diamond design. I love how the bend of the branch moves the beads. I was able to slip this one 'arm' into the scanner hoping it would give you a better idea of how the beads relate to the stick-ness of the twig.

Have one more green strip to put on this branch and I will be able to start the yellow set. Perhaps by tomorrow if I have a good day today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tried to get a better photo of the embellished twigs. Was able to add a couple of the peyote stitch patches yesterday and am loving how the beads look on the branches and how the branches look with coverings of beads. Am telling myself I need to complete all the small twigs before I begin to tie them to the big branch. But I am terribly eager to see if I can do it and how that will look.
At the moment I am making each 'clump' of twigs a different color - silver, blues and greens so far - and am thinking of doing the big clump all in silver white. There is a voice in me that wants to hang in it some of my crystals left over from other jobs, but it may be over the top with glitter. Still I am open to gooping the work to the max.
Got a call from the new manager of The Dolphin, the artists' co-op in Gualala, who wants to see more of my beaded jewelry. Plan to go see her tomorrow. She is taking Helen Klembeck's place so it will be interesting to see what a new 'buyer' makes for her picks.

Monday, May 17, 2010

With the bead pillar completed I am back to embellishing the twigs. I have the silver and the blue twigs done and am working on the green ones (which looks very aqua here!). Am really enjoying the peyote strips and love the way they look on the twigs. This is such mindless work - just what I need after doing Lynx and on a rainy day! Also it feels so good to not be making jewelry! I have even been able to stop my bead crocheting addiction!
I found out the committee for the Art in the Redwoods show at Gualala Arts was unable to make a bead category so I am debating whether to consider this twiggy beady thing as a 'sculpture' or 'ornamentation.' That decision is all a long way off and I have many hours of beading before I even know if the idea is worthy of being shown - but I have so much hope that this could at least interest me for awhile!
Keep tuned and do feed the fish. They seem even more hungry today. . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Augh! I took the camera to the bead meeting and then got so involved in showing everyone how to bead crochet that I forgot to take any photos. Maybe it is just as well as . . .

I had previously started several 'samples' so people could quickly learn and enjoy doing the basic stitch. For most folks that went well but the hard part came when starting a piece. For the seasoned crocheters, it was a struggle to learn that the working thread and new bead had to be laid UP and OVER the hook and the previous bead. They had the most trouble as this step is so against their learned routines. The person who learned the fastest was Lynn who is blind. Her nimble fingers 'saw' how the stitch worked (I had made a large sample with wooden beads of different shapes on rattail cord) and she zoomed ahead of everyone. Also from her I learned a way to do the beginning slip stitch with one's fingers instead of a hook.

I let everyone have one of my bracelets hoping that it would answer any of their questions when they got home and give them courage that they, too, could do this. Already this morning I had a kind note from Debbe!

On the 'show n tell' table Judy had several examples of the bracelet she had learned from Sudahlia at Legendary Beads. The one she had been working on in class really surprised me when it was finished. The colors, in the class, seemed almost too bold, but by using black around them she got them to really pop and to my mind, achieve a very impressive piece.

Marianne (thanks for reading the blog!) brought several of her finished necklaces. I was thinking how much her work as advanced since last spring. We all loved the big silver seastar with the ocean water-looking frosted glass 'coins' on huge silver links. She also had such marvelous colors in her dichroic glass pendents. One looked like a joyous city street scene and I loved the soft colors in the one with a wild copper bail. She is really going to town with these - in addition to working full-time.

Debbe had photos of her new granddaughter who is gorgeous. Congratulations to Mom and Pop for making such a sweetie!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Done! except for trimming the wires. It is 70 inches long with its complete length.
I had to give up trying to get the bottom level. I have decided to love how the it dances. It is hung and the strings seem to be changing lengths themselves and are forming gentle curves.
I was afraid that it would look like a lampshade but the dance of the bottom solved that worry. This piece looks so great with the sun shining on it. The folks who ordered it may have to put a skylight in the dark corner where it is to go. That will be news to them!
Am off to the bead group meeting this afternoon. It seems several people are interested in learning to bead crochet - even some who usually do not come to the meetings. Nervous. . . So glad Sue will be doing most of the instructing. That helps keep me as calm as I am. . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Part of my silence is because I am working on this pillar of beads (and on Lynx). I am having a terrible time getting the strands all to hang the same length. Laid out on the desk the strand of beads is one length and when they are hung there are differences. A couple of times I caught the crystal drops slipping out of the taped position (I taped over plastic not to mar the crystals and they slipped out of the plastic pocket). I thought I got them fixed but when I hang the thing there are slight differences.

However they do not seem to bother Buddha or else he simply finds the problem boring. Since the photos I have gotten all 16 stands on and the middle focal point, but I need a time when my self-esteem can take the jolt of not seeing the ends even - still! When the sunshines on the crystals they make a lovely pattern of rainbows. Am wondering if the folks would conside putting a pile of white sand under the work. That would get Buddha's interest!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finally had the time, between long Mother's Day calls, to get started on the bead pillar for this spot. I had made up about 8-9 sample 'strings' and let the customers pick the colors and beads they liked the best. They picked one with a large crystal prism because it caught the light the most. When I ordered more the new ones were so much better quality than the sample. How often does that happen? They were clearer and much better faceted so I was really inspired to stick with the job of stringing 16 strands of 11s.
If you look closely you can see that the owners had already put up a crystal ball, feeling that crystals needed to be in this corner. Now that I have finally gotten around to doing this, I am eager to see the final piece. Several more days of bead stringing to enjoy before I get to that point though.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Got the studio cleaned up and all the things left over from the Easter show put away. It only took me a month to get around to it and the only reason I started was because we had workmen all over the house installing new windows on Friday and I had to escape somewhere. It does feel good again to be in the space.

I offered to show others at the bead meeting on next Saturday how to bead crochet. I am not expert enough to actually 'teach' a class but I thought maybe a few of us could work on the technique together. We will see how that goes!

I hope to get Jeannie's beady thing done in the next week so I can start on some big project. Being at an artshow yesterday fired me up to get my tree-thing under way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In my desperate search for more beads to crochet, I tried crocheting the Nymo thread and I found out I was not as skilled as the crochet thread had led me to believe! I was suddenly back to making bunches of ugly grapes! However, I discovered that the crochet thread I had bought last weekend is thinner than the Stringth I was using originally so I can get 8s on to it. This opened up a whole new color palette and the possibility of mixing 6s with 8s (as accidentally happened here). Now so now I have lots of colors that will keep me sane until the bead order arrives.

This is so much fun and such a joy to do I am wondering what else I can use this stitch to make. Otherwise I see an endless stream of circle bracelets in my future.

Even the cat is happy with this new bead technique as now he can sit on my lap instead of my shoulder as he has to do when the bead tray takes over his place. Don't forget to feed the fish! We have to keep our animals happy!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Am running out of color combinations! Do not have that many 6s that go together. Hmmm. Another order for Fire Mountain?
Last night after bead crocheting for many hours I noticed how tired my hands were. I should be having bicep muscles on my fingers! And my doctor thinks I need to exercise more!
Gorgeous weather and I am inside working on Lynx. I do want to get to the studio to redo the displays with the beads I took to Point Arena in March and April. It should be finally warm enough now. It will probably be easier to shop in the bead catalog!
Before I go off ordering a godzillion 6s I need to try some smaller beads. . . Note to Jane; earth to Jane. . .

Monday, May 3, 2010

As you can see, it has been a productive weekend! However, the bracelet I find the most exciting is the one in progress at the bottom. (how new is that idea?) I love how I finally got the color progressions to work. I feel this is a pattern I can explore for a time.

So far I am using a crochet thread so only 6s fit on to it. My supply of that size is getting reduced so I may have to start using the Nemo threads so I can have 8s and even 11s. I have a lot more colors in thoses sizes. Still, I feel this patterning is so good that I can stay with it when I have more colors. With some effort I should be able to do a diamond pattern and it will really look like snake skin!

You can see that on a couple of the dark ones I tried adding some really big beads and that worked okay if I added smaller beads between the rows to stablize the big ones into place.
I usually do not wear much of the jewelry that I make, but this bracelet is so comfortable and so easy to slip on and off. The one bracelet that I do often wear is one made by Grace from the Beads of Life project in Africa that is done with the stretchy cord. It is so easy to get on and off. I am thinking that these crocheted bracelets will be like Grace's - easy to wear. Now to find someplace to go to try out the theory!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arbel Shemesh, at Fire Mountain is so good about tracking where they use the images of my work! Just yesterday I got PolymerCAFE, a magazine I had not seen that had this necklace of mine on the back cover! Loved reading the zine and am thinking of getting my polyclays out again. First I have to do the job, a bead pillar, for a commission. I find myself putting it off as I tell myself I need a day with no irritations and plenty of time to start it - to get it started right.
Yesterday, after finishing my fight with (done the book is in proof) I went back to bead crocheting. Later in the evening I noticed that in my order were more pearls and that I could do some of the "Tudor" bracelets Sue of Legendary Beads had taught us. But to my amazement - both attempts failed. I have often felt that when I get started on a project, and do several versions, I will stick with it until it fails and then I give up to do only what my inner self has for me to be doing. I went back to bead crocheting to wind down the evening.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I have reached the point that bead crocheting is less frustrating than Yesterday while endlessly uploading files that were rejected, I worked on this. It is so convenient to have beads-to-go. As you can see, I tried adding some bigger beads which wobbled too much when combined with iris 6s. Still have color schemes to try. It is amazing how much a bead color changes when woven in with other colors. Part of the fascination!
Don't forget to feed the fish by pointing your mouse into the green pond and clicking to drop food. Then watch the fish follow your curser.