Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Almost forgot the most excellent news! Sus at Gualala Arts called yesterday to ask if they could keep "Cloud Edge" up beyond the closing of the "Living on the Edge" show! He liked the work and liked seeing it high above the foyer and wants to keep it there until someone has a show and asks to have it taken down. Forgive me, but this feels so good especially as the piece got no ribbon and not even a mention in the Beads N' Beyond emails. The others had to take their pieces home and I get to keep my work in the gallery. This is the fifth piece I have shown at Gualala Arts Center that they have kept up beyond the show it was entered into originally. Probably a record. Sorry B.; I just had to brag! It takes some of the dents out of my self esteem.

Looking for something easy to do as my courage drained away from the big embroidery piece I started edging these cabochons. At Christmas I had gotten several brass stampings with no idea of how to use them. I just liked their look. After seeing how good the butterfly went into yesterday's work, I began laying the newly bezeled stones on them. Voila! instant hanging possibilities and a nice change of texture and materials. To the bottom one I want to add a triangular copper stamping which I have just ordered from Brenda Sue' Boutique on Etsy.


The top one to the left is not placed straight. It needs a quarter turn for reality.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Why can't I start with simple? Suddenly this is what I wanted to make with the bead embroidery. I have the feeling I am sewing myself into a painted corner. How to make this into a necklace is going to take some serious engineering!
Now I just need to get this under control. I had planned to take the blue beads up and around the butterfly. Now looking at the scan it helps me to re-see the work and what it needs. Maybe a darker blue - almost black. Or maybe just the blue between the antennae?
This is the creative journey that excites me so much. It is more important than the finished product. Not always the best attitude as finishing up the journey and making it appeal l to others is another can of worms and skill set.
This piece scared me so much that I have glued together a couple of fairly simple cabochons in similar patterns so I can work through simpler problems. Ha! I do love the combination of brass work and cabochons. All stones can be monotonous.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It must have been magic. As I was putting away some stacked up disorganization in the studio (Barbara Fast is coming by today) I "accidentally" found this paua shell donut! Imagine that! Could not stop myself from making this. I love making the 1/2 diamonds (so like in making the stars) and sewing them together. This 'donut' is even bigger so the winged bail is huge. Am wondering if I should embellish it. Hm... Now looking at the photo I see again my feeling that this simple pattern makes the bail 'too big' and yet I do like the lines as the top clings to the 'chain.' Am wishing to release my "embellish to the max" spirit on this one.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In checking back on my blog I took another look at the bail from Etsy. This time I made a better sketch and was able to copy it accurately. I found that the bigger it is, the more graceful it appears. It is almost 2 inches wide and the hole is very big for a donut.So I made this one with a very simple chain to not detract from the upward soaring line of the bail. I just strung delicas with a square bead every ten beads and then kept going back and forth with strings of 11a and 15s until these holes were filled.

Basically this stone was not a donut but one of Fire Mountain's clasps. I do not think I have any more stones with a hole in them. So this is the end of this idea at the moment.
The Ultrasuede arrived and it is so much thicker than that which Sheree had given me so many years ago. I must devise a new way to use it. Have a star cut out and will try it today. Also glued a stone to a piece to see how using it to back a cabochon works.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trying to duplicate my inspiration from the work I found in Etsy yesterday I discoved that if the donut is too big the bail gets really, really BIG. So I made this take off on the idea. I made a modified diamond shape where the two small ends meet in the middle of the donut. It looked rather bare so I embellished it. Then seeing what I had used in the embellishment, I went on to make a spiral chain to match.

I was surprised how together the necklace felt even though there was no planning or fore-thought - I just followed my feelings of what the piece needed. To have it turn out so well was a huge boost to my self-esteem. I especially appreciated that since a member of the bead group talking to me on the phone, expressed an opinion that left me speechless (at the time). She was talking about an upcoming show and said, "but this does involve you as your beadwork is of such inferior quality." Two days later and I still have not formulated an adequate reply - except to make this necklace!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yesterday at the bead meeting I taught several how to make this stuffed star you have seen here before. I wrote up instructions and hope all will be able to continue when they get home. I know how hard it is for me to learn something new in a group, but if I am home alone with the project it makes itself. May that be so for them! We did have a lot of good laughs. My take-home quote was from Kathy: "Thou shalt not weigh more than thine refrigerator."

Then today while trolling Etsy I found this interesting bail on this piece. I realized it is made from four half-diamonds that are sewed together in a different way. I really liked this idea and I am eager to try this out today.
Do have a star on my tray that uses up the last bit of my chamois. All I have left is the new piece of Lucy's stiff stuff that is scaring me stiff! I just cannot make friends with that stiff white stuff.
At the meeting Susan told me the star that so inspired me is at the local dress shop and that they are made in China! Anyhow Sus liked the California colors in my star as seen in the photo below and let me give him one for his sweater which also had all the colors in it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I survived my birthday which was a real crying fest. I had run out of chocolate and was into plain marzipan. A batch of brownies yesterday wiped away my tears and dark mood just in time for a rain storm. So in the dimmed light I cracked open my latest bead book and dutifully made some samples. I was so bored and bummed that I returned to making the star pins and my happiness was complete. The star is not. There are two small points to be finished today and then what? Another star? Maybe just a brownie. No, nothing soothes my soul like pulling thread through a glass bead. Now I ask you, "Is that so terrible?"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

At least today I got both sides of this piece into the photo. And I got rid of that annoying big crystal at the top of the bird. The work is slowly coming into its own. What "Its own, " is, I am not sure of today.
Think I am into pre-birthday blues with a cranky "what me? be happy?" frown on my face. Maybe I am tired of trying to write book reviews about haiku with caps and punctuation.

While waiting on the Ultrasuede I am discovered some old felt squares and so far felt seems to be working as a basis for the embroidered design. Will sew it to a covered cardboard star. I am enjoying doing the bead embroidery. My stitches are now getting mindlessly accurate and that feels good. Look on the bright side! Nothing but good times ahead.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Loyal followers of this blog, here you get to see the first photos of "First Out of the Nest." Heck the photo cuts off the left side. However did that happen? Anyhow, I see that big crystal on top has to go. Not an easy thing to do without taking the whole bird - it is a bird isn't it? - apart.

Just got the book on bead embroidery by Serefini and Krummli and so I am wondering if I should redo the bird as an embroidery project. As it it is I sewed a basis of white 6s made into a brooch form.
While researching felt for other embroidery projects, I got a quote for 'cushion air felt' used in display cases. That is the stuff I have gotten by the ton in the dozen cases I bought for my necklaces! So often in my life lately I have noticed that when I feel the need for something, if I look around in my stuff a bit, I will find I already have it in abundance.

However, I did order a yard of Ultrasuede this morning when I was supposed to be doing book reviews for Lynx. I suspect the afternoon will find me poking a needle through that weird cushion air felt stuff to see how it works up.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I had decided to give up doing these stars because the joint in my thumb is swollen and hot from the pressure of pushing the needle through the leather, but I got the idea of putting in a heart and suddenly I wanted to do more. I love this idea. A Valentine's Day gift one can wear all year! Every one is a STAR!
Today I am investigating some 5 mm thick felt with the hope that it would be easier to push through that, but the price is holding me back - $41.00 for 1/4 a yard and only 36 inches wide. It is 100% wool which I do not really need so I have a message out to another company to see if I can get what I need at a price in my range. Was surprised that Fire Mountain did not sell ultra-suade. I think my thumb is glad for that bit of news.

Hi Lori! She got so many sign-ups for her bead hop she is visiting blogs to see who is serious enough to be allowed in. Hi, Lori. do you see my hand waving at you? There is also a swap of jewely on Etsy and I have also signed up there. That one is for finished pieces containing no more than $10 worth of materials - entirely different concept than Lori's.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another set of stars. Here are all I have done. Dorise's original one is in the center (the darker one). When I called to see how to return it, Dorise said she did not know where or from whom she had gotten the star pin. I would really like to give someone credit for all the joy I am getting from the design.
The lower red-brown star I made trying to duplicate the colors in the original. However I used a tan ultra-suade and hers is on a black rayon-like fabric. The black background mutes the transparent beads (as in the center of the star to the middle right) which, though it looks great on Dorise's star, bothers me. so I am back with the bright flashy colors.
In an effort to tone it down I started the star at the top with softer colors on a white background. All of these beads are Delicas which I can see here in the scan make the rows almost too small. It seems 11s are the best for this item. Am listening to the audio tapes of Margaret George's Autobiography of Henry VIII and thoroughly enjoying both.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Isn't this about the ugliest thing you have ever seen? I started it while waiting on the show at GAC to open and the very interesting thing is that I was working on this, learning how to embroider with beads and then that evening I would meet Dorice at the opening and start me on the star project that is shown before this one. This was done on a scrap of felt from Sheree and the felt is so thick the stitches on the backside barely show. Werner pointed out that the circle is not round. Fancy that!

At the opening of the show, "Living on the Edge" I met a beaded piece I had seen several years before and tried to copy from memory while not really appreciating how it was made. Dorise Ford was wearing the pin highest above. When I told her of my quest, she immediately unpinned the star and handed it to me. At home I discovered it was made by the embroidery technique and started to make my own. I used two layers of black felt sewed around a cardboard star - which accounts for why mine is slightly bigger. I think I want to order some of that very expensive wool felting Sheree showed me. I am not yet totally sure because I want to avoid having to sew a backing on to the pin and I do not want my stitching to show. I may try some ultra-suade before I spend $60 on good felt. The layers have to be sewed together when the circles of beads get to the edge so they can go slightly around the edge. I was very surprised how differently colors appear when they are next to other colors. It took me awhile to establish my palette. Am eager to do another one.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tonight is opening night! From 5 - 7 p.m. the exhibit titled "Living on the Edge," curated by CE Brown will open at Gualala Arts Center. It is a huge show, over 150 items, and from what I could see last night, is very well hung. There is so much excitement about the show that Gualala Arts is furnishing the champagne!

In the photo above you can see my piece titled "Cloud" that is 18 feet long. My special thanks to Bruce Jones for the extra trips up on the scissor-lift to fling the piece out across the ceiling of the foyer. He also placed a pencil drawing of a man on the stairs who seems to be gazing up at my work. Very funny.

Off to dust off my velvets and find the sparklies to wear. Hope to see you at the opening!