Monday, February 28, 2011

I am, as you can see, still fussing with the spiral chain and how to stop it from un-spiraling. So I tried this. I made it fuller so those gaps could not open up. By doing the stitch where one adds a big bead and 5 or 6 smaller one, and then repeating it without adding the big bead one has two step-ups for each stitch. This doubles the number of outside beads and fills it out.
Part of this exploration is in trying to get done an entry in the Fire Mountain contest. For two days I have worked on it, trying this and that, abandoning whatever and trying to listen to the necklace.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I love doing the spiral chain stitch but it has a couple of disadvantages. One is the fact that it has a tendency to unwind. In the latest issue of Beadwork Ms. Campbell shows a method of doing RAW through the spirals to keep the piece curled properly but that leaves an ugly edge of thread showing.
I was messing around with this when I got the idea of treating that larger bead spine as a row of peyote. By doing the peyote stitch up and down that spine it is possible to add a spiral going in the opposite direction. Not only is this very decorative, but it keeps the spiral tightly twisted and therefore looking its best. I tried using shells down that center spine but that did not go well. One can make the peyote addition out of the larger beads as I did here in the fifth example.
The other disadvantage of the spiral chain stitch is the fact that so many can do it that the mystery is gone. I feel this addition brings back the comment, "However did she make that?"

Friday, February 25, 2011

Was fooling around the other night and looking at projects in magazines, so many of which seemed based on the embellished right-angle weave. I had these amber square beads left over the fireplace in the Christmas scene and was thinking of using them. As I messed with finding the right ratio of beads to go around it, I realized that the old daisy stitch, that I love so much, was a RAW stitch with embellishment (the center) sewed in as one goes. I tried this with 15s on the outsides and 11s between the beads so I had room for the several pass-thoroughs. It looks so dark here, but in real life, the subtle colors do show up. Am eager to try it with another color and bead size combination.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Am working on a 'tail' to make her stand up but as yet it needs more engineering. I noticed in a previous blog I called her 'little' but now she is 7 1/2 inches tall. Is that too big to hang on a neck? I guess I think so and that is why I am fussing so to find a way to make her stand. For some reason I really like this piece. It has a togetherness that not every original work has.
Couldn't sleep in the night and thought a lot about a necklace with origami. Want to assemble the chunks I saw in the darkness to see if they can survive the light of day. And I swore to not make any more jewelry! Giving up sugar was easier!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I think I am avoiding jewelry by starting this, but she is small and could end up around someone's neck! I know I could have done bead embroidery and I really wanted to, but I am much happier sewing beads to beads and not having to wiggle the needle in and out of fabric, Going in is easy but having the freedom to angle the needle back out is much harder.

We will see where this piece goes. I love it when a piece lets me know what it wants, or not!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last evening I simply could not rest or get down to any work. I couldn't even watch Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves. So I read up again on photographing in the dark and tried to get the camera to follow the directions in the manual. Without the flash the piece was too dark and with the flash the lights washed away.Finally started holding my hand over the flash unit and only letting out part of the flash, Want to try that again, but in the meantime I did get this.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Last night as I added the finishing touches to these two contest entries, I heard the wind howling around the house and a patter of raindrops - the first in six weeks. In the morning yesterday I had set up the photostage in the studio that depends on sunshine coming in the open garage door. I looked up the weather forecast online and saw we were scheduled for 10 days of rain.
When lunchtime came I had no appetite so Werner and I agreed to wait another hour. Within a few minutes he called down to me that the sun was almost shining. Between two storms I raced to the studio and got these two photos made.

Return of the Ghost Mouse
I am thinking of sending this one to Fire Mountain. What you cannot see in the photo are the lights in the mouse and bugs. I miss the old film camera that could make a double exposure so I could superimpose the lighted version over the daylight scene. The pumpkin is 8 inches tall.

Visiting Snowman
This is the entry for Beadwork's "Beaded Earth" contest. I need to look at these photos awhile to see if I need another view, better placement or if something should be added. Fortunately I took the snowman's photo with the full sun. Already by the time I got the pumpkin set up it was getting hazy. I had hoped the lights would show up better but I see they didn't.
Now I have 'empty tray' syndrome. What to make next? While searching for something else a few days ago the basket of fishing lures tumbled off the shelf so I will go back to them. I have greatly enjoyed these two works. I started the pumpkin at the end of October, just before Halloween and started the snowman in January. I think I need a spring theme. I really dread going back to jewelry making. . .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tah-dah! The snowman standth! Had to make a drawing of the positions of the animals and tree so I could leave holes for them in the snow ground I am now beading. Even put some seeds in the snow that have fallen from the wheat sheaf in his arms. I am very pleased with the way the staff/wand helps balance the figure as well as giving it the support of the strong dark line. I feel I will be able to get this done in time for the contest unless I get more ideas.

Here is a close-up of the canteen I did on Sunday. It really turned out well. Used a tiny glass bottle I had gotten from Fire Mountain in a sale.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The show of Confrontational Art opened last night at Gualala Arts Center and it is a marvelous show. Surely this is the best exhibit ever held there. It is a joy and honor to a part of it. The big goofy dolly welcomed people at the door and a photo of my piece made the cover of Splash in the ICO. So many excellent works, such a good overview of art, each piece as well-done as the next, important issues being raised with force, wit and charm. I came home totally elated.
And then I knew what I had to do to the snowman to pull the piece together and get him in proportion. I must redo the scarf. Am eager to start it today. Am trying to think of the best color combination. . .

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Finally getting the snowman together and I am seeing that all the accessories I was making are too small. Yesterday I tore the hat apart and completely redid it. I feel that scarf is now much too short and small. Even as I finished each snowball I saw I had to find bigger black crystals for the coal. All I can do is proceed doing each necessary part and leave myself the options of redoing the animals at the end. My only comfort is the idea that smaller animals will make the snowman look larger!
I checked the contest rules and I only need to send a photo by email so that gives me more of the month to work on the piece. It is getting very heavy! with those two layers of beads but I love the stability of the snowball and those frosted white 11s are great snow. The AB finish offers those glints of color one actually sees in snow when the sun shines.
Looking at the photo I can see how 'too small' his hands are! So often when I look at a piece I am working on I cannot see 'errors' like this until a photograph gets me far enough way that my heart and the dream in my head recede.
That limp yellow stuff on the hat is straw. I see I need to put some wires into it. Last night it seemed stiff enough!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

While waiting on the missing white beads from Fire Mountain I worked on the animals planned to be around the snowman. I see the blue of my Russian Blue cat scanned a bit more blue and less gray than I had hoped. I will have to assume that the brightness of the snow is the problem and not the fact that in all my beads I had no good 'cat' color. Also I wanted a gray-brown for the rabbit but had to use white. What you cannot see are the tiny colored lights on each of the white beads. That came from 11s in clear with an AB finish. It is only the whiteness of the cotton stuffing that makes him so appear so white.
Yes, I know the mouse is golden. His head started out to be a cat head and was too small and the nose too-pointed. Still the gold was a little too much for the cat but I like the idea of a small golden mouse that will peek around from the back of the snowman. I have the feeling he could be the hero of a story. . .

Took down the Dolled Up show and while lowering the Dolly I got the idea she could also be on the porch at Gualala Arts Center. After some calls to get the change approved, Sus rehung her outside in the corner. She is stuffed with paper but no actual rain comes in the corner; only damp air. I figure the wool in the yarn will hold her together. She has a new life and I found her looking very good out here. Someone said she needed a "welcome to Gualala Arts" sign in her hands. Will be interesting to see what she attracts to herself! Judging from the known height of the porch I would say she is about 15 feet tall. And I was hoping for 12!