Sunday, February 19, 2017

Bead Hoarder Swap - My Partner and What She Sent!

There's nothing like a beading challenge to kick your creative juices into high gear. And considering that over the past year my creative juices have been tucked way, WAY in the back of my brain, I appreciate all the creative kicks in the pants I can get.

So, when Lori Anderson announced a new bead swap blog party, I was ready to jump in. And this time, we were to give our partner a bead we've hoarded for ourselves. What a terrific idea!

And I was so lucky to be paired with Kathy Lindemer of Bay Moon Design. I've admired Kathy's work as part of the ZNetShows design team, and one of her necklaces was just featured on the Art Bead Scene blog.

Many of Kathy's pieces have an element of nature - flowers or plants or animals. Her work exudes a wonderful serenity that I find really appealing:

Yellow and teal floral earrings

Wanna see what she sent me for the swap?  It's yummy!

Kathy sent a beautiful little box, complete with a card she had made (creative lady!). And under the card was a spectacular ceramic bead by Suburban Girl Studios, complemented by a length of delicious blue silk cording and one of Kathy's handcrafted clasps. The ideas are burbling up already!

The box was so cute, decorated with washi tape, that I almost didn't want to mess it up by opening it.

Kathy's handmade card

And the beautiful surprises inside!

Thank you, Kathy! I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Re-imagining A Project

A while back, I played along in one of the A Time To Stitch challenges, and the theme was to bead a bag. I decided to work up a couple of covers for my key card holder to dress up a work necessity.

I took the picture above in order to have it for the challenge deadline, but did end up beading an edging around the outer edge of the piece afterward.

In theory? Great idea. In practice? Not terribly practical.

So I did something that made me very nervous. I cut a piece apart in order to re-imagine it into something else.

It looks a little wonky here - that's the photographer, not the necklace.
I took the scissors to the sodalite piece and reverse engineered it into a necklace. This one lived in my imagination a long time before I got the nerve up to cut it apart.

I'm pretty pleased with the result, and it's still something I can wear to work. It just won't swipe me into locked areas anymore.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Theme and Variations

Crescents and rizos and tilas, oh my!

Image result for gif of wizard of oz lions and tiger and bears

The explosion of shapes in two-holed beads makes me feel a little like Dorothy in Oz - so many new things to explore.

I spent one weekend at a show playing with crescents, quad tiles, triangles and o-rings whenever the crowds were slow. Just a few colors, and just a few patterns, but oh so many different results.  Here are a few:

Theme and variations - lots of variety from a limited palette of materials. That's one of the things I love most about beadweaving.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Silver Lining To Packing The Bead Room

The hardest part of moving into a new home? (I mean, aside from the whole selling the old place and finding the new place. Or remembering your new address. Or driving home only to find you're in the wrong place....)

If you're a beader, it's got to be the whole process of packing up your bead room.  Dear heavens. Talk about getting slapped in the face with your hoarding tendencies!

But then you get to the new place and discover all the treasures you forgot about, including the UFinished Objects that had been stashed at the bottom of the drawer or in the back of the closet. I found a couple that would work up pretty quickly, so here they are, the first completed UFOs of 2017!

First up, some cabochons that I had glued to backing, in order to embroider the into a pair of earrings. They sat on the backing, unfinished, for an embarrassingly long time. When I finally got back to them, one of the purple glass cabochons had cracked, so a matched pair of earrings were out.

So, with the addition of a nice little jade round, the earring and a half became a pendant.

The second UFO was a red jasper cab that I had prepped as an illustration for a class that I taught. About 15 years ago. Yep. It only had the peyote bezel, with no backing or edging.  With the addition of modest fringe (I am SO not a fringe gal) and a necklace of faceted carnelian, faceted glass, and coconut heishi with an antique brass toggle clasp, she's ready to come out of the drawer.

Do you have any UFOs lurking in your bead room? 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Long Hiatus, Killer Trees, and Show Lessons Learned

Hoo boy! If the road to perdition is paved with good intentions, my plans for making regular blog posts over the past seven months has me more than halfway down the road...

Lots has happened over the past few months (sold our house, bought a new place, moved, been asked to step into my former boss' position on an interim basis, took an anniversary trip to Paris), but I'm going to pick up the blogging where I left off -- smack in the middle of summer show season.

Each show has its learning opportunities.  For example, I learned that all the time saved by my neighbor artist when she set up the display of her whimsical bird houses in the open air instead of under a tent was equaled out each morning, when she had to spend quite a while cleaning the bird poop off of her pieces. Lesson One: there is no real shortcut in display setup.

The next show had no advance set up - rather, we were to arrive at 6 am to set up for a 10 am open. It was raining. A lot. And I was alone. I got my tent up enough to shelter the rest of my stuff, unloaded completely, and went off to park the car. I came back to discover that my spot was near a blocked storm drain, so that all the water draining down the street was pooling at the back of of my tent and those near me. God bless the volunteers who tracked down shovels and brooms to clear the dam and keep us from floating away! And thank goodness I had "borrowed" a straw fedora from my husband that morning so that I could stuff my rain-soaked hair up underneath and look (at least in my own mind) cute and stylish despite having been soaked all morning.  Lesson Two: rain + show setup = bring extra shoes and a cute hat.

The after effect of all the rain became obvious as the sun came out and the show opened.  Across the street from my tent, I saw this:

Take a closer look:

See it?

Killer tree!! Killer tree!! Yes, they moved the artist for everyone's safety.

This was a fun show (once I dried out from setup), and a good one. People were engaged with the art, enthusiastic about being there, and willing to buy things that they liked.

My favorite show of the season was held in a park on the shore of Lake Michigan. This was the view out of the front of my tent:

And this was the view out of the rear of my tent:

Not a bad place to spend a weekend! And though there were no Jingly Men, the music was great, the weather was lovely, and I went home with less jewelry than I came with. This was also where I learned Lesson Three: a tent that's near the boat launch will regularly be subjected to diesel or exhaust fumes from the trucks hauling said boats to the aforementioned launch. Nice views sometimes entail health hazards...

So another show season done. More lessons learned, and more fun memories.  Next time, I'll share some of my latest work.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Creative Spark Summer 2016

For the past few years, I've been fortunate enough to be a designer for ZNetShows, a great supplier of cultured sea glass and other beads for retail and wholesale.  A few times a year, designer/artists are invited to choose from their new products and create jewelry and non-wearable art to be included in Creative Spark, an online magazine.

The summer issue has just come out, and it's chock full of eye candy featuring cultured sea glass in fun new shapes, sea glass beads, beautiful Chinese crystal beads, and glass pearls.

Two of my designs are included - a fun and lightweight cultured sea glass nugget necklace (page 31) that can be worn several different ways (including as a bracelet!) and earrings spotlighting Chinese crystals in a flat spiral weave (page 54)  that would look great with either a casual summer dress or a fancy outfit for dining under the summer stars.

This shows the bracelet option for this design - wrapped several times, with fun fringe.

Go check out the wonderful designs created by all of the jewelry artists, and if you're inspired, be sure to check out the offerings from ZNetShows!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Busted, Blown, Weighted, and Moved -- The First Show Of The Season

I love doing art shows and festivals. I really do - I get to spend two days outdoors in the fresh air, meet fun and cool people, and hopefully make lots of folks happy with my jewelry.

At one point, I was doing ten to twelve shows a year.  Yep, that's a lot. Since I moved, I've gone pretty much back to ground zero, discovering and applying for new shows and learning what works for me.

All that said, earlier this month was my first show of four (five, if I get off the wait list for one more) between now and September.  And boy, howdy, was it an adventure!

The Saturday forecast called for rain late in the afternoon. Except that the rain started right after noon. This was my view for four hours.

The silver lining is that my tent did not leak, despite many hours of saturation. The wind did not blow the rain into the tents.  And there were a few hardy souls who came out with their galoshes and umbrellas and shopped the show anyway. Gotta love 'em!

First day = not so great due to crappy weather.  Okay, Day Two was supposed to be sunny.

And it was sunny.  But it was also windy. Chicago windy.

Holy crap, y'all.

Necklace busts were flying all over the place -- this one finally gave up the ghost and broke in two.

The clamp solution wasn't pretty, but it was effective.

The show organizer required 40 pounds of weight on each leg of the tent.  I thought that seemed a tad excessive, but I dutifully strapped two 20-pound hand weights to each tent leg.

I can only imagine what the guy at Dick's Sporting Goods
 thought when I bought eight 20-pound hand weights

And thank goodness I did -- by the end of the day, the tent had stayed on the ground, but even with that much weight, it had shifted several inches from its original location. When the day started, the front edge of the table was inside the tent leg, not two inches in front of it. Astonishingly, none of the frames suspended from the tent fell, and no jewelry broke.  That, my friends, was a minor miracle.

If you've ever eaten at Waffle House, you know they call the various preparations of their hash browns "scattered, smothered, covered and chunked." I'll forever think of this show as "busted, blown, weighted and moved."  And just like Waffle House hash browns, it's not a bad thing -- just not something you should experience too often!

So what did we learn this weekend? That an investment in a good tent is worth the money if you don't like leaky tent roofs. That when the show organizer says you need 160 pounds of weight on your tent, you respect their wisdom and experience. That necklace busts will bust apart after five or six impacts with the pavement. And, despite the soggy shoes from rainstorms and achy legs from chasing down flying necklace busts, I love doing shows. Next one in three weeks!