Monday, August 26, 2019

Notes From The Road :The Land of The Incredibly Tall Festival-Goers

Y'all, it's been a while. While I'd love to excuse my silence by saying I had been doing something really cool, it's just been life getting in the way.

life GIF

Surely you can relate.

ANYWAY, life finally allowed me time to do some shows, and I got accepted into three in a row. The first was this past weekend in a lovely, hip neighborhood in Chicago.

Perhaps the only selfie I've ever taken that didn't make me look deranged...
The weather was beautiful, which was obviously a result of my having (after way too many years of getting soaked inside my tent during downpours) put waterproofing sealant on all the seams of my tent roof. Kinda like taking an umbrella to guarantee it won't rain, or getting your car washed to guarantee a monsoon, right?

As always, art shows are great people watching venues. A few random observations from the weekend:

            1) Apparently, it's a requirement that one of every six or seven people who attend this show
                be over 6'2" tall. Seriously, I have never seen so many statuesque people in one place in
                my life.

            2) Two very pregnant women were strolling down the street together, with one of them
                pushing a stroller with no child in it. Either the stroller child was in the park with dad, or
                these ladies were very prepared in the event of labor.

            3) A skateboarding dog will stop everyone in their tracks to watch (sorry, I was too
                 astonished to take a video)

            4) Accosting every fair goer who walks by your booth with a shouted question will, in
                 short time, annoy the hell out of the vendors around you.
          4a) Corollary to this observation, I could recite for you my neighbor's come on questions
                and subsequent sales pitch verbatim. The fact that they were selling candles and kept
                referring to their "best smeller" should sum it up for you.)

            5) Wearing a parrot on your shoulder as you walk the show will stop almost as much as a
                 skateboarding dog (see #3 above).

It's probably also great advertising for your business, which is why I blurred his t-shirt

At a certain point on the first day, I noticed that a number of people were stopping to gaze in the direction of my booth and taking photos with their phone. While I'd love to say they were overwhelmed with my jewelry, turns out they were taking pictures of the house behind me that looks like it's being devoured by ivy....
The windows are nearly covered!!
So all in all, it was a good weekend - one down, two to go over the next couple of weeks. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Bead Embroidered Necklace - Making Progress

Bead embroidery is one of my loves - it's easy to incorporate it into smaller pieces like here and here and here.

But now and then it's time to take a deep breath and dive into something a little more extreme. Something that will take some serious time and planning. Something that will give you a good excuse to stay indoors when the weather outside is colder than Antarctica. (I wish I was exaggerating.)

So here is my latest big project, shown through a series of progress shots. It's not finished yet, but stay tuned!

Gathering the potential material
The gemstone pieces were the inspiration for the piece.
Everything else grew from them.

This is the first time I've actually sketched out the plan for a piece before diving in.
I've been doing this for twenty years. I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
Transferred to the backing and gemstones glued in place.
A little progress
Here's today's starting place

The needle's threaded and I'm ready to get moving today - stay tuned for the next progress update!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

From the UFO Pile, or The Virtue of Letting an Idea Marinate

As part of my dive back into creating, I searched through my (extensive!) unfinished objects collection and found a pile of peyote tubes. I had made them as an experiment in making the same beaded bead using different bead sizes, but never got around to constructing a final product.

The original idea was to line the ones of the same colorways vertically side by side and string them together to create a graduated pendant. What I discovered is that the tension I used when weaving them left too little room between the beads to weave through with any kind of substantial stringing material.

I could have put them on headpins with a stopper bead with a loop on top and string them onto a cord lengthwise, but that wasn't the look I was hoping for.

So they sat. And I pondered. I let the idea marinate for a good long while.

Finally, I decided to weave them together horizontally.

They're strung on waxed cotton cord with another peyote tube to adjust the length. The final red one is just the cotton cording woven to hold the beads in place.

The result is a set of nice lightweight necklaces with adjustable length and a few less UFOs on the pile!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Rediscovering My Voice

Y'all. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, my plans to blog more regularly over the past year has resulted in a lovely six-lane parkway to The Bad Place (extra points if you start calling me Eleanor). 

The creative urge? It has been colder than Lake Michigan during the polar vortex for the past sixteen months or so. But I finally picked up the beads and the needle and have jumped back into it. And it feels GOOD.

To start, I tackled a few UFOs, and repaired a few things that went awry in the past. Here's a Cellini spiral that lived as a lonely, spiky tube for a long time. It is a generous 3" long, so it didn't need much to finish, nor did it need any embellishment. I strung it simply on some onyx rounds and added one of my fabricated clasps in copper.

This next necklace is a repair - the lampwork bead, crackle quartz and smoky quartz were in another necklace. Until the necklace was dropped at a show and a couple of the raised clear drops on the lampwork broke off. (Insert silent scream here.) 

The missing drops were along one end, so I made a peyote cap to hide the injury. I added a beaded bead and some silver filigree beads. Fitting the peyote over the injured section was extremely fiddly, but I am persistent (read: stubborn). 

Friends, it feels really good to be back at it. I'm a happier person when I have my creative time - I'm sure everyone reading this experiences the same thing. So I am committing to being better about listening to the muse, and I hope (hope, hope) to keep up with the blog as well.