Sunday, February 22, 2015

Soutache, Or My Newest Obsession

For a while now, I've been stalking soutache jewelry online, drooling over the graceful loops and whorls that embrace and enhance the beads they surround. But the technique was a mystery to me.

At a bead show, I bought an instructional pamphlet and some materials, thinking I could figure it out on my own. The result? More "crash and burn" than "graceful loops and whorls".  The term "tragic" leaps to mind.  Not even worth trying to salvage.

Then I got an online webinar from Interweave, featuring Amee Sweet McNamara of Amee Runs With Scissors, and that was helpful.  My first attempt was going pretty well, until I realized that I had flipped front and back. Well, crap.

Yeah, that wonky end on the right side? Totally supposed to be on the back. 

I jumped right back up on the horse, and finished a small, relatively acceptable little thing. There are lumps and uneven spots, and even a bit of thread that somehow jumped to the front, but at least it has a discernable front and back.  It's kind of an adolescent soutache piece -- awkward, a little off center, but with hints of what might be.

And then, I found out that I could learn from the master herself -- Amee Sweet-McNamara (insert sounds of angels singing here).  I haven't taken a beading lesson in probably 15 years, relying more on the self-taught experimentation.  But when it's a completely new technique, like soutache, I'm happy to have a chance to let someone show me the path.

Yesterday, I spent six fabulous hours learning from Amee, and I am now officially, undeniably, completely obsessed with soutache. Here's what I made!

The colorway and the pattern are all Amee's, but the work's all mine. I am ridiculously happy with the outcome.  Already plotting the best outfit to wear it with to wow the folks at work. And yes, already planning to work on my first original design tonight during the Oscars.

Now, to figure out where I'm going to store the soutache braid I know I'm going to be buying soon...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snow and Shows and Summer Plans

Ok, so when I moved to Chicago, I expected snow. I'm not sure I expected 19 inches of it to fall in one day, but that's what happened Sunday. And committed Southern girl that I am, I loved every flake of it!

The snow looks blue because the sun wasn't completely up when I took the photo -
believe me, it's bright, bright white out there!

This was outside my front door yesterday morning as I set out for work. See that third lump from the left? That's my car. I expect to see it again sometime in May, when the thaw comes. Thank goodness I take the train to work!

In other news, I got notification yesterday that I've been accepted into my first Chicago-area show this summer!  It should be fun, but I wonder if there will be cicadas the size of Volkswagons at this show...It will have been about 10 months since my last show when this one happens, so I'll just be happy if I remember how to set up my tent without causing a crisis.  Stay tuned!