Saturday, January 30, 2010

Caroline at Moral Fibre Felting Studio in UK reports that there are vacancies in the 2-day workshop March 2 & 3. So I am trying to spread the word to beaders across the pond, in hopes that they will join us in a day of felted beadiness. Those beaders who mention the blog, Jean Powers or Spangles will receive a free kit for Fireflies at Sunset (My popular Bead and Button Show 3 hour class, offered twice this year. One class is sold out and there are a few seats left on Sunday just before we all go home.
Although my weekend workshop in Hand Felted Jewelry and Beads in Gallipolis OH sold out in two days, one person had a calendar conflict, making a seat available for you. Contact Marlene at
Next weekend I will be at Beads By Blanche in Bergenfield NJ, teaching Felted Component Jewelry. We'll create felt components all morning and in the afternoon, fabricate finished jewelry using our fresh felt and glass, wire, chain, bead components on hand in this abundant store.
This week's new experience was to tape myself using a flip video. It is a short piece about cubic right angle weave with demonstration and tips. It will be linked to the Master Class I have written for June/July Beadwork Magazine. It breaks my heart that so many beaders are intimidated by r.a.w., let alone, cubic r.a.w. So, I'm offering up a cheerful and meditative approach. Just the way we love peyote for its short and sweet repetitions of the same step, we can love r.a.w., hence, c.r.a.w. Don't let those pesky changes in direction cross you up and put you off. Just repeat the little mantra to yourself and're a right angle beader!
The Glass Bead Inspired Lariat Workshop at The Bead & Button Show filled up the second day of registration. But, if you are in the New York area, you may like to know that the Bead Society of Greater New York has asked me to teach it on March 13th. Nancy Tobey, whose beautiful glass bead inspired this piece, is sending me beads in a few color choices.
Hope I get to bead or felt with you soon. Even if we cannot be in person, perhaps I'll be turning out videos, after this week's flip adventure. Ya never know.

Friday, January 22, 2010

You've asked and Justine listened: a Felted Footwear workshop for Angelfire Studio is on our calendars for Sunday April 18. Add it to yours, and soon, as we're limiting class size to 12. We're re-arranging and adding tables so everyone has elbow room and packing it all into one long day. Justine is providing lunch right there. Expect to share some of the felting labor by taking turns; accelerate the fulling labor with a Turbo Felting Board (borrow one or take advantage of the sale until Ground Hog's Day Feb 2, just $25 includes free shipping!) and leave at 6pm with custom fitting, fabulous felted (and still damp) footwear.
Beatrice came to the studio class with this work-in-progress. It is that netting variation that we've seen rendered in pearls, as part of a necklace on a Bead & Button magazine, in round crystals by Gwen Fisher in Beadwork magazine and as the blingy bangles and gracefully knotted necklace we love by Pat Riesner. Beatrice's is solely size 6 seed beads, yeilding a textured and, frankly fascinating tubular beadwork! That Beatrice, she always sets off on adventures with each acquired skill. Love it!
Last night at the Beadzo class, Charlotte came very close to finishing the Dew Drop Diagonal Peyote bracelet. She had her copy of Mastering Beadwork close at hand, but I was delighted to talk her through it.
Terry is the first to bead the new design Aurora Borealis (I'll be teaching this at Beads By Blanche on March 30th).
New beader Chris chose to do another project from Mastering Beadwork: Joy Squared Cuff Bracelet. She chose several metallic cube beads for hers. It looks more like a jewelry store purchase than a bracelet composed of glass beads. Metallic beads are especially popular at this time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Bead & Button Show began accepting registrations on Tuesday, and on Wednesday this lariat class featuring a fabulous Nancy Tobey focal bead filled up and sold out! Yippee. If they ask me to fit another session into the week, I will, and Nancy is willing to make us another batch of her beauties.
There are still some seats remaining in Diamonds of Fire necklace. It is a repeat of last year's popular class using 1139 Swarovski crystals! It is sponsored by Swarovski which means I do not need to lay in all those factory packs of cystals AND it is a real value for the student. As a bonus I will also offer the convertible design that can be worn as two (or more) bracelets or as a necklace. The idea of convertible or multi-purpose pieces really appeals to me. At the conclusion of this project you are completely proficient in cubic right angle weave. You begin to interpret everything around you as being composed of little c.r.a.w. units. It opens up an entire new world of creating with beads, plus you get this gorgeous sparkling jewelry.
There are just a couple seats left in Two Sides to Every Story, a bracelet that is woven using a stitch I made up based on my explorations of tubular African stitches. The beadwork magically corrugates as you work, strategically pushing some beads forward and others to the back...hence reversible. And very cool.
There is limited seating in the Felt Bangle with Beaded Bead, 2 last I checked. It is a short and sweet 3 hour class and you leave with a finished bangle (damp but wearable). It features a bit of undulating peyote stitch and a fascinating felt adventure for newbies that offers a couple interesting tips for experienced felters. We'll be using the Turbo Felting Board (optional purchase $30). Did I mention that the TFB is discounted on my website until Ground Hog Day Feb 2. $25 with free shipping?
Fireflies at Sunset is still popular. They offered 2 sessions again this year. There are only 2 seats left Tuesday evening (last I checked) but, a few seats remain for Sunday morning just before we all leave. It is a great project to wrap up the week of beading. It is composed of easy-to-see seed beads and is a meditative repetitive stitch that propels you through the work in a near-trance state. Joy. It is my original stitch based on tubular peyote with an extra bead placed where it will articulate the beadwork, making it supple like bead crochet. Amy's bead choices evoke the colors of sunset with the little lights of fireflies. Hence the name.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Today is THE day that the The Bead & Button Show began accepting registrations for classes for the June show. I have heard beaders tell tales of sitting at their computers, poised and ready for the appointed moment when they can attempt to register for their selected workshops/classes. Competition is fierce for some classes and there are thousands of attendees (nearly 14,000 last I heard) and most classes cut off at 20 students. Truth be told, B&B contacts teachers to ask them if they will offer additional sessions, or at least this has been my experience. So, if you are shut out, check back.
Nancy Tobey, whose glass focal bead is featured in, and was the inspiration for "Glass Bead Inspired Lariat", will be so glad to hear what a hit this class is.
Again this year I am teaching Diamonds of Fire Necklace as an exercise in the joy and boundless scultpural capacity of cubic right angle weave. There are still some openings in this class. It is underwritten by Swarovski, making it a "value-added" selection. I will of course give students the option of creating the convertible version that can be worn as two bracelets or a necklace.
If you scope out the entire on-line catalog you can see which classes are still accepting registrations and which classes are sold out. As faculty, each of us is given an access code to monitor our own class registration numbers. It thrills me that of my 6 classes, 4 are nearly sold out!

However, I'd imagined that the 2 Sides to Every Story Bracelet would fill right up, since it is an original stitch that I came up with after exploring polygon ropes in exquisite details these past few years. Plus, the bracelet is pretty and feels wonderful, almost like leather. But, the very best part is that the flat beadwork corrugates as you weave, magically transforming it into reversible work.
Tomorrow, 10 members of the Arlington Middle School Fiber Arts Club will create their own nuno felted scarves during their after school meeting. The supplies have been packed and ready to go for days. I'd promised this weeks ago and was pre-empted twice by their first snow day and then their teacher's illness. Tomorrow we're on! I will take pictures to share here.
Marylyn, my web mistress extraordinaire, has revamped my website. She placed a link to this blog and from here, one can click onto my calendar. She is posting the clear-the-decks sale items to make room for the new bezel kits for Swarovski stones, rivolis and cabochons, the Turbo Felting Board (on sale with free shipping until Feb 2 ) and the books.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Perfect IS the new beading magazine Perlen Poesie. And, the good news is that now, there is a source in the U.S. for this perfectly exquisite beading magazine. Beads By Blanche has just received limited copies of the first three issues. Don't delay if you want them.
Amy Raff and I got to see this premier issue even before it was published, while visiting with the publishers and editors (Friedhelm Ott, Andrea Ott, Micha Schroder and Saori Schroder) at the Bead and Button Show last June. That cover is not just a lovely photo, but it is done in relief so you can FEEL the beads. The piece is my design and if you look closely, you'll see that one of the articles is "Cypher Space". What an honor to be featured on the cover and within this stunning magazine. The article includes several gorgeous photographs of my beadwork, and an interview (by phone and translated into German). But, forget about the text, you don't need to read German to thoroughly enjoy the projects, photographs and step by step illustrations. These are some of the clearest, most precise and self-explanatory, you've ever seen!
I'll have to give Blanche a call (1-201-385-6225) myself to get those subsequent two issues.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just this week Marlene and I posted my April weekend workshop in Ohio and already there are 7 registered felters. I tried to paste her beautiful flyer here but, alas, cannot. So here are its details (or click on her name for a quick flight to her website). The workshop will take place at the French Art Colony, 530 First Avenue, Gallipolis, OH 45631 Driving Directions
on April 24 & 25, 2010 (10:00 AM-4:00 PM)
Saturday is Hand Felted Complex Cane Beads Necklace
and on Sunday is Fabricated and Deconstructed Hand Felted Ropes, Bangles, and Lariats.
The workshops are for all levels of experience. Those new to felting will be thrilled to discover the magic of feltmaking and seasoned felters will acquire new approaches and techniques to add to their repertoire. Some of the material we'll cover is building firm 3D felt, creating surface design from the inside out, manipulating felt in its plastic stage and strategic deconstruction.
The workshop fee is $235 for the two day event and includes the material fees and a light luncheon on Saturday and Sunday.
You can pay by Paypal, Credit Card or Check. If by check please make the check payable to Marlene's Felting Madness. Please contact Marlene Gruetter if paying by Paypal or credit card. or call 1-740 2561866

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A break in the snow and my schedule allowed me to attend Blanche's holiday party. That's Blanche, in the middle and, oops, that is Wendy's back. So much for candid photos. That entire wall you see is devoted to Swarovski crystals, well, plus a few Czech seed beads. Hidden from view in the photo is the cabinet of shallow drawers that houses hundreds of rivolis of every size and color.
Diane and Hillary are caught between the racks Japanese seed beads and the wall of bead strands that include every flavor Czech dagger, flower, rondelle, faceted fire-polish and more. Diane is wearing the piece she finished making from her workshop with Laura McCabe. We barely gave Hillary a chance to unwrap her scarf so, we don't see what adornments she is wearing.
It was a treat to visit Yoshie Marubashi (center). You know her from the many articles written about her, her award winning beadwork, her first prizes at Bead Dreams competition and her appearing here in the blog when she dropped by Kinokuniya to say hello when I was there signing books. With her, right, is Masami Sato. This is the first we have met, though I am familiar with her name and her beadwork, which also won awards in Bead Dreams competitions and appears in magazines. She returns to Tokyo 3 times a year to teach in her studio. We spoke about perhaps, my one day timing a visit there to coincide with teaching for a day in her studio. Ah yes, always I dream about returning to Japan.
I didn't ask these beaders before posting this shot of them shopping. Hope I haven't blown anyone's cover. In the foregound on the right, see the beginning of the pearl and gemstone display. Behind the wall to the left is the classroom.
I displayed some felt rings (a couple are shown here flanking a polymer clay ring by Ronna Sarvas Weltman) plus additional Felt Component Jewelry to whet everyone's appetite for the workshop on February 6.
Some of the beaders here are also members of the Bead Society of Greater New York. Their holiday party is at the end of the month and I'm going as Pat's guest. Soliciting their opinions helped me decide not to buy a table at the BSGNY party, to sell my felt jewelry. Figuring this opportunity would be a foot in the door to selling, would actually amount to an hour or two with 100 beaders or so. Though my work has been exhibited in Japan, Europe and a couple times here in the U.S. but, I've never seriously pursued selling my work. This is a sweet mystery I intend to explore this year.