Friday, November 30, 2012

Bead and Button Master Class

Since Marlene first invited me to the seed bead master class teacher for the Bead and Button show, I knew exactly how I wanted to approach it.

You see I love the excitement of design, the moments when you have completed some fanciful bit of beadwork and then the journey to see it come together into beautiful jewelry.  I'm a jewelry kind of girl, in fact that is what started my quest to learn beadwork.

I've been creating and teaching beadwork for about twenty years now and in that time I have learned a lot about the process, or my process at least.

For me, it all starts with that first thread path, with coaxing the beads into a pleasing shape, and then looking at ways the shape might be changed.  Could I fold it, make it larger, stack them, connect them at their ends, their sides?  Once I've got a few made then the arranging begins, and more often then not it varies from my original concept.  Bracelets become pendants, or chokers, or earrings or rings, or some of each.

I love using a repeatable thread path, and seeing how far it will take me.  The romantic medallion started life as the connector between the Victoria fans

and then a triangular shape became La Boquita

Six sided around a bead became a beaded bead used in Earth Sky Water

and finally Romantica

All one thread path, different beads, different counts, very different projects!

This is the design process I am excited about sharing, and there will be five different components AND a playground of those components that you will use in class to arrange your own design visions.  All directions will be provided and together we will develop a huge number of design options.  We will also capture your visions digitally so that you may take home with you the wide number of possibilities you discover.

And you will begin and maybe complete the project for one or more of your visions.  It is easy to envision a beautiful pendant, or chunky bangle, or a stunning choker, or lariat or....well you get the idea, unlimited possibility.

You may gather I'm excited, I find the collaborative process thrilling and can't wait for this class to begin. Oh and the good news, Swarovski Elements will be sponsoring the kits, so I've lowered the price accordingly!  Three beautiful palettes will be available with 2 colors and 3 sizes each of crystals, crystal pearls, and coordinating seed beads in size 15, 11 and 8's.

Oh, I got carried away....the details, June 2-4 2013 at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee.  You must apply by December 21st and a lottery will determine participants on December 27th. Interested, want to know more?  Use this form to send me an email and I'd be happy to discuss the class with you.

Update: the first master class is sold out, but a second has been added for June 5th, 6th and 7th!

Kandra's Dream Keeper

I've mentioned that the Dream Keeper series are named for women in my life who I hold dear.  This one is named for Kandra, and she called yesterday to say she'd received it.  I wanted it to be sparkly and pretty but also with a bit of a warrior feels, so I used metal beads from Tierra Cast to close the top.  this one also has a companion, which is inverse in colors, but still closed with the metal beads.  No promises yet on when this one will be on the website....I need to focus on the next book at the moment, but it will be there, along with two other color ways, Lucia and Liz!

Kandra  has been a bead force in the bead community for a very long time.  I first met her when she attended a class at Creative Castle which was probably in the 2001 ish time frame.  She invited me to teach at the 'By the Bead Blue Sea' retreat in Cambria and at her store in San Luis Obispo.  It was back in my 'Bellisimo' days, a right angle weave beaded bead, and Kandra made several beautiful ones.

These are mine, but the dagger one was inspired by Kandra.

It's funny to go so far back and see the start of my right angle weave ways!  It would be fun to bring back Bellisimo....and maybe there is a day I will.

Kandra's current endeavor is Kandra's beads in Solvang, a Danish town off the 101.  We had the opportunity to stop by on our last trip North.  Kandra has a beautiful selection of Japanese seed beads, and she remains, kind, radiant and beautiful!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Design - a mind of ones own

Yesterday I talked about the bracelet I was making and the challenges of a forgotten thread path.....Well as so often happens once the 3 of 7 pieces for the bracelet were made I started playing with arrangements....and a really pretty necklace showed up.

Mark is actually quite useful during these little design sessions, providing input and moving pieces around.

As always creating the appropriate connections and the rest of the necklace remained.  I had a good solution for both, pressing the new ERAW into action.

I used it to put a size 11 in a dark complimentary color between the peanut beads I was using for a necklace.  The effect if very subtle, actually almost invisible, but it does lend a touch of contrast which adds some visual interest to the gold shiny peanut beads.  I am thinking that putting an 8 between peanut beads might be even more visually interesting and I'm ready to try drop beads in cubic raw as well.

And if I weren't running out the door to get my walk in, and had photo stream actually worked so my camera photo showed up on the IMAC I would totally show you.....

But I must fit in a walk before the bead gals arrive.  The rest of the necklace is up today which is great. I find visiting while doing mindless beadwork to be the best.  If I am trying to overcome design challenges I end up being pretty useless.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nuance of a thread path

I beaded up a beautiful little nugget of beady goodness, put it aside and waited for the time to make some companions for a bracelet.  I'm always so sure I will remember what I did, it is always so clear when I do it.....

A bit of cubic raw and then some loops from each corner which capture a Swarovski fancy stone under the loops.

I could see that the loops exited from an interior corner bead, but once I did that, there was no way to travel to the next corner, and the loops were close together and didn't capture the stone as well.  I was stumped, I looked and looked and couldn't sort out how I did it.

I put it aside and went to bed and as so often happens I woke up knowing the answer.  I don't remember my brain working it out (sometimes I do, sometimes I draw thread paths in my sleep) but this time I just woke up in the middle of the night and realized that my loops were going the wrong way.

They needed to be across the center of the square and not in the corners.   Same beads are exited, but it makes all the difference in the way the stone is held.  Well at least in theory, I'm pretty sure I'm right, now to go and bead it.  After I successfully repeat the component I have to decide how they will be connected and finally how to provide a clasp that integrates into the overall design.

I've got a bit of solid time in front of me right now, good design time and a sketchbook full of ideas for The Bead Within.  So my time will be spent in the studio, the really clean studio, developing my ideas into finished pieces.

I love the quiet of serious studio time.  We are putting together more Dream Keeper rings, as the original production run have all sold out and we have many more orders.  Supplies should arrive today or tomorrow and then we'll get them made up and shipped out.  I'm hoping to release one more color as well.  The last color is named for a friend whose having a bit of a medical challenge right now and I wanted to send her  a dream, and some strength.  The rings are good for that, tucking in a private message for a loved on.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Studio Put Away

We have certainly visited this subject before.  There comes a time when the clutter in the studio gets in the way of a calm and creative experience and that time had arrived and hung around for awhile while I finished my last bead  travels of the year.

The day before I left the new table arrived, the one where I can seat 12 around one table!  It has two leaves that make that possible and without them 8 will be a really comfortable number.  Right now I have been using black Italian leather chairs that were dining chairs from when I lived in Santa Cruz so they have served me well and will need to continue to do so for a bit more.  So here is the plan, I will search consignment stores to find odd wooden chairs that I can bring home and paint black.  Eventually I hope to replace all of the old chairs, but this way, at least as each new one arrives it can co mingle with the existing.  Twelve is a lot of chairs and buying new ones is just not an option.

So while cleaning the studio yesterday, I also did a lot of chatting with facebook friends.  The majority are also bead girls, so they had useful advice when I posted how the odd bits were the hardest to find places for.  Amy suggested the 'land of odds' bin where all the odd bits would live and that is where you would look for them.  So I give you my land of odds bin.

She also suggested a put away bin for those tubes of seed beads that came off the wall and needed to go back.  The problem is I have one of, ahem, two of them, and it has become daunting.  Her advice was so obvious, the go back bin needs to be small, so you are forced to empty it more often.  Pretty smart, heh?  I should have thought of that.  In the meantime, the go backs are currently hidden out of sight....who knows, some day I may just feel like tackling that job.  But what I did do was put away every new color of seed bead.

My newly organized, clean studio awaits me.  I have a local bead group who will be visiting this week to christen the table.  It will also welcome a Bead Society class in January, the first workshop to be held where I don't have to scavenge enough tables and try to organize an efficient environment.  I hope to fine tune it over time as I would love to host workshops once or twice a year with guest artists.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New York City

I had the best day. Starting with train travel which right up there with ferry is my favorite type of travel.
We headed into New York and ended up in Penn station transferring to the subway getting off on 14th street. We ended up in a shop that had lots of skulls, and wonderful trinkets. Next on the same stretch was an old bookstore where Mark found a 2007 Swarovski hard cover bridal book, with a lot of inspiration.
Next we met Jean Power and boyfriend for a delightful meal at Fig and Olive in the restored meat packing district. Being a creature of habit and having eaten at the LA location recently I had the tuna carpaccio which was beautifully prepared and presented.
After an excellent lunch we took a walk on the High Line. it was totally magical and I marveled at the folks who have that kind of vision and the fortitude to make it happen.
Jean and I

And the pose

And the shadows

And the group

An excellent day, followed by a cozy evening, cocktails and dinner out in the local town where we are staying.
Tomorrow the Macy's day parade, a first for me. Then turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and stuffing.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beading interrupt

Yep, I've tried to bead but it is one of those periods of time where the vision and the actual are not meeting in the middle.....and really those are good, although possibly frustrating times.

They are good because they push me to think through solutions and not rely on the tried and true. This usually results in better work, more innovative, thoughtful and structurally sound work. I appreciate that, but.....

I was hoping this bit of downtime would yield more finished work. Last night I went to bead a component that I had already done one of, surely that would yield success, but no I didn't get the same result. Sigh.

So today I will travel to New York city, wander around Bryant Park, have a look at the Macy's windows, visit the garment district and give my brain a bead rest. With the exception of maybe buying a few beads.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cassandra pendant

One of the really fun things about teaching is seeing a piece done in so many beautiful colors, and this week has been no exception.

dancing light on Friday yielded a bit of innovation and some beautiful colors

Jamie's version with a beautiful laboradite faceted stone

And Nancy's strung on a pearl necklace with the addition of a rivoli.

And again Jamie, from last year En Pointe with a center bezeled stone, beautiful

And Cassandra

Ginny, Blanche And Elaine all opted for pendants, very beautifully done ladies!

Today will be Viennas debut class. It is going to be excellent to see what colors everyone chooses and see them all embracing CRAW!

I am definitely getting my New England chill with mornings in the low 30s, however days are warming to a very pleasant mid fifties. There is color left on a few of the trees and Pat bought me Dunkin Donut coffee and toaster muffins!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Where have I been?

Well the dream keepers were a huge hit and we've been busy making labels and preparing shipments, which of course is all good, so I thank you all.  As of today they have all shipped and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Today was spent with friends and birthdays and it was an absolutely gorgeous day here on the West Coast, low 70's, gentle breeze, sitting at a table outside on the bay, completely lovely.

Tomorrow the new table gets delivered....and I'm hoping delivered means into the studio which is its destination.  Given that fully extended it is 104 inches long, it isn't going to be light.  But I am completely excited that I will be able to sit 12 comfortably around one table.  Of course at the moment I don't have 12 chairs, that will take a little work.  My current plan is to shop the consignment stores and collect an eclectic assortment of upholstered dining chairs...we'll see how that works out.

The table came from Z Gallerie.  You know when you've been looking and then you just walk in somewhere and there it is and you know it's right?

Here it is unextended but it comes with two leaves that make it really large.  Most of the time it will just be this dimension but when I need 12, and sometimes I do, it will be perfect!  I believe it may be Beki who gets to christen the table, but then Sabine is coming in March and I am sure she will enjoy it as well.

The one issue is keeping the (ahem) mess down to a manageable level so it can be cleared when a crowd is coming.  I can hardly wait to kit at this table.  Of course now that I have my recliner, I seldom bead at a table.  But I am still quite capable of making a mess!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Designing for Efficiency - Dream Keeper

I suppose we always mean to be efficient, but sometimes it takes some extra thought.  Most projects I make from 3 to 5 samples and improve things as I go.

Dream Keeper however has kept me fascinated far longer, and I'm approaching about 20, many of which I've gifted to good friends.  They are the perfect place to tuck a little message.  I often take a photo of the message before I close it inside and give it along with the gift. The message is drawn by you on a piece of shrink plastic so you'll be able to personalize each ring you make.  It also adds a nice structure to the ring.



This week I spent lots and lots of time getting together everything I've learned into a neat little package of directions and beads so you can share in the fun. If you are as enamored as I am you can find them here or click on the link beneath your favorite.

Now usually I would never urge you to use thread longer then a wingspan, this case I wanted to try hard to make the entire ring with one length of thread.  So I have sorted out the exact amount which will accomplish this with a minimum of angst.  After the thread is doubled the first stitch is taken 2 feet from the tail and the two tail threads are then reserved for closing the bottom of the ring and creating the band.

The rest of the thread makes the ring which is woven in ERAW (embellished right angle weave).  ERAW has the advantage of using less thread, another efficiency I wanted to build in.

I changed up the legend so that it is listed row by row, first for the ERAW bead and second for the embellishment bead, then the top, then the bottom, then the band, and then the band embellishments.  I hope this will make it easier and faster to bead as well.

I'm also beading with a size 13 needle to insure I don't have a bead I can't get through which of course slows the whole process down.

I'm not always about speed but in the case of this ring I have so many more color ideas and so many people in need of a ring I want to make them as fast as I can.  I've built in a lot of efficiency, but it is still beadwork with little tiny beads!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dream Keeper - Christine

I really know her as Chris, but I liked Christine her real seems fitting for this vibrant pair of Dream Keepers.  One closed with the pretty new astral pink and the other with a copper crystal.

At a recent class at Creative Castle, Chris made a similar color way, using an apricot bead where I used the dark matte raspberry.  The gold is also new to me, a very vintagey looking gold.

This is the last pair I will make before doing the rest of the work to release them on the website.  After that I hope to release new colors at least monthly...I just have so many ideas for this ring.  It is a really fun place to play with color!

Good news bad news is that Mark is busy installing lights and adding water to our fountain which is a center piece of the back yard and has been waiting it's turn for attention after the hot tub deck.  This is the week, but, the weather report is predicting 3 days of rain starting to there is hope yet that there will be dream keeper kits soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm going to Blanches!

I don't recall the exact year that I started going, but I think it was pre 2001 which means I've been at Beads by Blanche at least ten times and maybe twelve. Have you been?  It's a lovely store.  Packed with all kinds of beady goodness.  It really is rather a feat the amount of excellent beads, crystals, findings, tools and books that this place holds.

That along with a beautiful classroom and lovely people, and the fact I get to go in the fall so I have my dose of New England weather.  Although there has already been more then a good dose with last weeks major storm.  My hostess is still without power, but the store, with the exception of having suffered through some computer issues, escaped major damage.

I'm teaching the brand spanking new Vienna, and fortunately the directions are done, because they were hard and I may have given up designing with CRAW if I knew how hard!

I'm also teaching a really pretty rendition of  Dancing Lights, first done for an Alaskan cruise last year, and Cassandra, another brand new design with oval pearl studded medallions which can be a bracelet, pendant, earrings or all three!

So if you need some artistic relief from the weather woes of the East Coast, consider joining the fun.  CRAW (cubic right angle weave) knowledge is a pre-requisite, but Heather Collin has prepared an excellent video you can view here, so don't let that stop you! and if you can't come this time, still have a look at Heather's video.  It is so well done, and you get to listen to her charming South African accent as well!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dream Keeper

It's true the Dream Keeper Vessel ring has me mesmerized and I just can't get there fast enough.  I know that I've promised and I'm trying hard, but I often forget the time and effort involved in getting something new released.

And I know there are those of you waiting....Lisa J....the directions are done and I will receive proof feedback tomorrow.  Mark has started to prepare the web listing, descriptions have been written, pricing calculated, photos taken, names given, supply lists made, and supplies ordered...and we are still not quite ready, and that is for the first two colorways.

Mark points out that we will be gone for a week, and maybe we ought to wait, I point out Lisa is waiting.

I am more enamored of this design and it's potential for fun, for color play, for gifting, for adorning our fingers, for capturing our dreams, then any design in a long time and I so want to make it available for you.  I'll continue to try but there are a couple of other projects demanding my attention.

Stay tuned, don't give up, it is going to happen....see

Each set of colors will be named for a woman who I hold dear in my life, and there are lots...turquoise gold is called Pat, grey and cyclamen opal is called Casey.  The colors coordinate but are inverse of one another.  One has a top of crystals and the other a top of pearls.  You'll be able to order one, pearl or crystal, or both for a little less.  I am pretty sure that their really doable nature will want you wanting to gift several.  I have so many color ideas and so many women I hold dear I think there will be many to choose from over time.

Friday, November 2, 2012

L.O.V.E. Beads

My grand daughters middle name is Love and so her newest alphabet bracelet uses those four letters, and is studded with Tierra Cast Rubber Ducks and a few Swarovski crystals....pretty darn cute.  She is a jewelry girl and loves her bracelets.  Next up I have a necklace planned with a sweet Swarovski heart at it's center.

 I also had to call on rusty sewing skills to make her a tutu to wear with her Elmo Halloween costume.  It's been awhile since I've sewed, but a tutu proved not too difficult and I can see she may need a pink and purple princess tutu in her future.

And while I had needle and thread in hand I decided to sew some darling little Michelle Goldstein beads that I collected some years back onto a soft hooded denim jacket.  Impractical?  We're talking to the Grandma who knitted a cashmere sweater and leggings for a one year old, so practical is not a strong suit here.
Michelle's beads are the perfect little girl beads, big girls too of course, but I love the pretty little feminine shapes for embellishing on a little one's jacket.

My plan is to have it turned inside out for washing and hope the glass survives, and if not, well it was cute while it lasted, darn cute!