Sunday, January 18, 2015

Karen, Leonard, Freeform Peyote, Explorations, and Me

(This is part of a book blog hop written by artists involved in Karen Williams' latest book, 
Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading. Go to the bottom of this post for a 
list of other blogs to visit, and to find out how 
you can win a pair of earrings created just for you!)

Okay, y'all, today you're really going to to see my Southern come out.  We Southerners love our stories, and I've got a doozy for you. So kick back, put your feet up, and let me tell you a little story about a woman named Karen, a bracelet named Leonard, and a couple of the coolest things that have ever happened to me.

The fabulous Karen Williams, freeform peyote guru, published a book called "Freeform Peyote Beading: Design and Creation of Original Wearable Art Jewelry" several years ago. On her blog, she offered the chance to win a copy of the book and a kit to make a piece inspired by our favorite finished piece in her book.  Just make a comment, tell her which piece was your favorite, and be entered for the drawing.

Now, keep in mind that I never win giveaways (I'm still waiting for Publisher's Clearing House to show up on my porch with one of those whopping big checks). I did, however, give it a shot.

And as my favorite piece, I selected the bracelet below. Karen had titled it "Leopard Jasper Bracelet", but for some reason, I had read it as "Leonard Jasper Bracelet."  I was intrigued by the whimsy -- why did she name it Leonard? Why not Herbert?  Why not Clarence? Oooooh, LEOPARD. Duh.

My scrambled reading and some great luck combined, and my name was drawn as the winner of the giveaway (Cool thing #1). And here's the bracelet I made from the kit Karen sent: yes, its name is Leonard.  You can read about him here.  The photo's lousy, but Leonard turned out to be a beauty.

Not only did I get a great bracelet out of the deal, I loved the book.  The directions were clear, the eye candy inspiration was abundant, and even though I'd been doing freeform for a while, I picked up some really terrific tips and techniques.

Plus, I made a good friend in Karen. Best part of the whole thing.

So imagine my excitement when Karen announced that she was writing another book! And when she invited folks to submit their work for possible inclusion in the book, I figured I'd push my luck again.

I swear, when I found out Karen would be using two of my creations in her book, I nearly fell out. (Translation for those who didn't grow up falling out -- to "fall out" is to swoon, feel faint, generally to freak out from excitement, surprise, or shock, but in an ever-so-ladylike genteel way). There was much happy dancing going on in my house that day. This, of course, was Cool Thing #2.

And if you've been on this blog before, you may know that beady deliveries in the mail typically result in squeals, dances on the porch, and worried looks from the neighbors.  Amp that up a few extra notches to capture my reaction when I opened the package containing the final published product.

Seriously, this book is drop-dead beautiful The pictures are vibrant, the instructions are detailed and clear, and the tips are numerous and insightful. And if you need a little nudge to get you over a creative block, Karen's work and the creations of the featured artists will have you running to your bead room to jump into your next freeform creation.

Here's the gallery page of Aphrodite, my necklace included in the book. Good heavens, this page looked so pretty, I nearly knocked my husband down in my excitement to show it to him!

And here is the unedited photo of the freeform earrings included in the book.  Thank heavens Karen was able to edit the background and the brightness into a picture that looks less like a five year old with a toy camera took it.  These earrings look truly glorious in the book.

I am thrilled and humbled to be part of this publication. Everything Karen does makes me want to find my needle and beads -- her passion and her artistry will inspire you, too.  If you don't have her books yet, do yourself a favor and race to Amazon to add them to your library!

So, what about that giveaway? I'll create a pair of freeform earrings, using a wire armature like the pair in Karen's book, in the colorway of the winners' choice. How do you get your chance? Leave a comment here, become a new follower of this blog (be sure to tell me you've joined the fun!), or like my Facebook page.  I'll draw a name on January 31!

Here are the other blogs celebrating Karen's latest publication:
Thursday, January 15    Karen Williams, Baublicious
Friday, January 16    Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Saturday, January 17    Nancy Dale, NED Beads
Sunday, January 18    Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Monday, January 19    Natalia Malysheva, Aqvatali
     Sarah Meadows, Saturday Sequins
Tuesday, January 20    Ibolya Barkóczi,   Ibolya-gyöngyei