Friday, April 30, 2010

Jill finished this bracelet in the studio class. This is a new kit and she is the first to make one (if you don't count me, when I designed it and Fran when she kitted them). Now that I have said that, I am undecided about whether to kit it as bracelet or twice as much for a necklace. Six bumps make a comfy bracelet and I wear a necklace that features a reversible focal element centered in the middle of 2 six bump lengths. It is a piece of glass I acquired in Seattle on one side and a felt cabochon I made on the reverse, in a beaded bezel. Guess I'll figure it out. There is a project that came out of this design that is similar in color composition and the bump shapes but, is executed in polygon stitch. It is more jointed than flexible and had an edge (since it is polygon). I'm thinking I might submit it for next year's Bead and Button Show. Proposals are due in 3 months!
To get to Bemis Point for a weekend of teaching felted components jewelry at Imagine, I took the train this morning from Poughkeepsie. Near Hudson, I snapped this light house. It was a nice ride and I am pleased to have luxuriated in those 7 hours of NOT DRIVING! I read. I napped. I beaded. I gazed out the windows and I read some more. It was grrrreat. And Myriam, owner of Imagine, and Anne, my hostess, were at the station to meet me. We stopped for dinner at Poppyseed for dinner and the artichoke, portabello linguine with asiago was as delish as Myriam remembered from her prior visit there.

My bedroom here at Anne's is also where beaded, turned wood creations she and her husband make, are stored. Lucky me, to sleep surrounded by such beauty. Here are two one-of-a-kind pieces showing Anne's beadwork on Jim's turned wood.
These are a few vessels in a series that feature a band of Anne's beadwork. They show and sell at Crafts at Rhinebeck and Lindhurst. Isn't it amazing that I know 3 couples who work in this collaboration: he turns wood and she beads it. Irma and Steve Sherman, Ann and John Lorch and now Anne and Jim.

When Anne and her husband lived in Alaska, she began beading designs like this lid, based on dream catchers. Lovely. Well, sweet dreams. Tomorrow will be a full and fabulous day of feltmaking!

Thursday night I taught a class at Beadzo (Tivoli NY) and Claudia, the brandy new beader, came sporting all the new creations since her first class a couple weeks ago. This is bead crochet although it is so unlike the tubular ropes we are accustomed to seeing. One of the German beaders in my class at Perlen Akademie last month, showed me this type and I was eager to work it up and share it. Multiple beads are pulled into each stitch.
It is an adventure planning the necklace because the beads are strung in advance and then crocheted. You must imagine its composition as you string the beads. Plus, the finished length is about 30% of what is strung. It produces refined and textured beadwork.
Terry brought cake, tortilla chips and salsa and I had the chance to celebrate my birthday once again. Isn't it fabulous to see all those beads in this shot. And what you don't see is the array of ethnic and trade beads on the opposite wall. Quite a collection.
Terry and Tara were able to string everything for the necklace and crochet half of the length in our 3 hours.
As they worked the strung beads into the finished necklace and could actually see the result of each set of beads (3, 5, or 7) they were designing the next one in their heads. For the first one you just have to string them, with some intention but, with the spirit of adventure to just see the result. Then you can more clearly plan the ones to follow.
I liked sets of 3 drops, cube-11-cube-11-cube, 5 11s-stick pearl-5 11s, 5 magatamas, 3 or 5 or 7 seed beads and also just single cubes, pearls, drops.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knowing how much I adore Japanese cuisine, Marlene and Carl arranged to take me to Akai Hana for lunch on route to the airport in Columbus. That beautiful plate in the center of the table is an eel and avocado maki roll with asparagus tempura at either end and had a name Power something. Yes, indeed. Carl had a special soup while Marlene and I each had the lunch box of the day, composed of seaweed salad, shredded daikon, salmon teriyaki, crab and avocado maki roll, 2 "dumplings", 2 smooth and velvety patties in a golden panko crust. We briefly speculated what they might be and then Carl, in his wisdom asked, does it really matter? Is it important to know what the ingredients are? No, they are just plain delish and it doesn't change a thing to know what they are.
Marlene and Carl took me to the bead store in Columbus. Byzantium Beads carries quite a selection of imported items such as mud cloth, baskets, masks, decorative items and finished jewelry, in addition to their vast bead inventory. This is Roxanne, packaging my new bead acquisitions. I managed to sneak a brief purchase into the short time we could spend here. We had too little time to take it all in, because I had a flight to catch.
It was disappointing that, when I inquired if they carried MASTERING BEADWORK, she not only said no, but didn't even seem familiar with it. Made me sad.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

After the workshop yesterday, Marlene of Marlene's Felting Madness, expressed her desire for a felted lock or two and I said I would love to do this for her. She dashed out for a flea comb, as their close fine teeth do the best job of back teasing. Her hair is shiny and straight and will need to be densely tangled by back teasing to give the lock a start.
Then I palmed the lock vigorously with salt and water. The salt makes the hair less slippery and more likely to knot. Recall how your hair feels when you come out of the ocean? She'll need to palm her locks daily for a month or two for them to become solid. We stopped at two, and I placed a beaded on onto one of them. Later, back in her room, she decided to comb out the front-most lock and retain the beaded one. She said it wasn't difficult to unfelt it with some conditioner.
Today's workshop focused on building wool canes or ropes, with the plan to deconstruct them for surface design and sculptural effects. It was such an exciting and creative time that I forgot to take photos.

Whew, at least I have these 3 pics to share.

It was a great day. Tomorrow Marlene will take me to the airport but, not before dining on Columbus's best sushi at Akai Hana.
If you long to explore felted jewelry making and you can get to the Philly area on the weekend of May 14-16, join me at Jubili Yarns and Beads. We will be making felted jewelry and jewelry components. Expect to make several pieces while learning a myriad of feltmaking techniques that exploit felt's plastic and painterly qualities.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

This was day one of our two day workshop at the French Art Colony in Gallipolis OH. After
shopping for wool from the on-site store Marlene created for us, I had the felters busy at work creating their wool canes in styles to yield dots, concentric circle and/or spirals.

After our light lunch, we began felting the bundled canes. This process began slowly with rolling back and forth until the wool formed a felted "skin". Then the skin became loosey-goosey and scary, but they persisted in the rolling, fearless and undaunted. Eventually the skin shrinks and conforms to its contents. As the rolling continues, they applied increasing pressure until the felt became a dense and firm cane. Though this was the Complex Cane Felt Bead Necklace workshop, these felters were enthralled with the sculptural rings I showed them that can be made from the ends or slices of the canes.
Pam MacGregor deconstructed some of her fabulous beads to explore this technique of exploiting the felt's plastic qualities to pull and press and stretch and shrink it into other forms.
Bonnie Ahren is happily engaged in this same process.
Some felters were happy to sacrifice the time we would have devoted to stringing their new beads into a finished necklace, to pursue this sculptural work for brooches and rings. Here are Suzy's, Pam's and the one I wore to Ohio that started all the trouble.
Those of you who know me, can imagine how I must covet their rings. Do you recall my post about Ronna Sarvas Weltman's amazing polymer clay rings and how thrilled I was to barter with her for one? And I never tire of looking through the selection of Gary Wilson's rings to add to my collection, accrued over the years of shopping at his booth at the Bead & Button Show and Bead Fests.
Tomorrow I will teach Fabricated and Deconstructed Ropes, Lariats and Bracelets. This is a creative assortment of felters and it will be thrilling to see what is produced tomorrow. Check back in to see.

Today they surprised me with a beautiful Happy Birthday cake, complete with singing. And for the light lunch supplied with the workshop, Carl (Marlene's fabulous husband) created a magnificent feast for us. Honestly, it was stunning. There was grilled chicken and sesame tuna with a delicious tahini ginger sauce. Carl made a crusty chewy loaf (or two ) for us. There was hummus and salad and well...all my fav goodies.

This is such a beautiful space we are in. Check out this magical garden in the back yard of the French Art Colony.
And when I stepped outside our classroom this afternoon I saw this spiraling staircase that swirled up through the 3 floors of this house.
I'll start another post about the workshop.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today I arrived at The French Art Colony to teach a weekend of feltmaking in Gallipolis, OH for Marlene of Marlene's Felting Madness.
Half of the felters for the weekend showed up in time to take in some sights in the adorable riverside town. The gingko trees along the avenue were busting out in new leaves. Even in surprising little tufts along their trunk.
Of the dozen felters registered for the workshop there are a couple novices and a couple newbies along with many seasoned feltmakers like Bonnie Ahrens; Tammy; Barb, whose felt vessel has just juried into an exhibit of fine art in Manchester; Jan, who exhibits at the TAA of Cleveland Museum Fashion Show in Mentor OH and Pam MacGregor, who strive for recognition of felt as an artistic medium. (By the way, it was Pam who picked me up at the airport in Columbus this morning and drove us the three hours to Gallipolis. Visiting about felting and people we know in common and teaching made the three hours fly by.)
Seated from left to right, is Barb, Pam, Me, Colleen, Tammy, Sherry, Bonnie, Katherine, Jan, Christy, (Suzy is taking the photo) and Marlene is front and center.
We went out as a group to The Iron Gate Grille in Point Pleasant, WV. Not only was the food good but, there was the bonus of singing waitstaff. Audrey Lopes (left) sang mostly in a country style, except when covering Norah Jones tunes. Brittany Franklin (right) had a velvet voice that covered a range of musical genre from Patsy Cline's Crazy to her delicious arrangement of Can't Take My Eyes Off of You.
When they opened the mike to the audience, our Tammy stunned us all with her cover of Stand By Your Man by that other Tammy.

Well, it is now nearly 11:30 and my day began at 3 a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. flight to bed with me. More tomorrow?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday's workshop at Bead Gallery, Inc was the Fantasy Flower Lariat in 5 Stitches. This is the one of the series of botanically inspired necklaces, that features pearls that look like cornflakes, as the petals.
Here I captured Stacey snapping of photo of Dionne's, so you get to see both!

Looking at Nancy's, you can see how much material was covered in the 6 hours (with a lunch break squoze in). We began by beading a mandala of circular peyote. Once lavishly beaded with fringe, it became the flower's center and the base of the calyx. We transitioned to beading the Ndebele herringbone calyx, tapering through strategically placed decreases to peyote and then the long stem of netting. Before adding the pearl petals, we beaded sepals along the top to support and lift them.

Rita's is the same composition though using a different color palette. Each beader had the freedom to express color preferences, with the selection of pearls at hand.

This is the store owner, and jewelry instructor Genevieve Martineau. She was able to sit in with us for the day. What a treat. You may recognize her from public t.v. appearances on Pam Healy's Jewelry Junkie show.

You may recall my writing about her collection of vintage, rare and custom Swarovski stones and rivolis, because together we are offering kits that pair my recipes for beautiful, fast and fun polygon bezels with her stones. They are priced around $15 each, so they can be purchased several at a time. Production stalled while she renovated the store but we expect to have a selection of these irresistable kits at Meet the Teachers in Milwaukee at the Bead & Button Show in June. THey can also be purchased from my website and Genevieve's store.

Let me share the wonderful time we enjoyed this past weekend in New Hampshire at Bead Gallery Inc. While I prefer to blog about each day's adventures that evening, sometimes I just can't get to it until later. Fridays of our semi-annual (April and October) workshops at Bead Gallery are always packed full, with offering 3 workshops: morning, afternoon and evening. Sometimes these are abbreviated versions of workshops that we just HAVE to squeeze into our time together. Sometimes they are refreshers or prerequisites for the full day workshops to follow on the Saturday and Sunday and October Monday. (Scheduling Columbus Day weekend for the October workshops gives us the chance to offer a full day on Monday too, since, for many, it is a holiday).
One of Friday's projects was Bead Happy. In this abbreviated 3 hours, each beader worked from her own stash and there was no expectation of finishing, but check our the beautiful combinations and the inches completed in so little time. Patty and Robin beaded a few more rounds overnight and brought them to Saturday's class. Ooo, please don't think less of me if I admit to coveting these. Their bead combinations are thrilling.
In elementary school I began reading biographies, mostly about influential women like Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Blackwell and famous artists. When I read about Van Gogh's blue period, the concept fascinated and puzzled me. These years later, I understand it completely. I too have passed through my blue period. Guess I have moved past my palette that informed Bead Happy. If you stop to consider your wardrobe choices over the years, perhaps you'll see that you too, have worked through color periods.
There was a trunk show downstairs in the store, while we had our workshops upstairs in the newly renovated, bright and comfy classroom. We all took a break to buy a few beads, while we could. These are the ones I brought home with me. The beadmaker was selling them wayyyy under their value. From what I heard, she is happy at this time in her career, and while shaping her own style, to work up beads and then sell them off as she refines her technique. Her work is refined and meticulous. In these beads you see her admiration of Dustin Tabor, Patty Cahill, and other accomplished glass artists. As soon as she develops her own voice as an artist, she should be rewarded with purchase prices appropriate for her skill set and talent. She can be reached at in Derry, New Hampshire. We'll be able to say we knew her when...
In October, when I return to teach 4 days for workshops (one of them is the Glass Bead Inspired Lariat which features a Nancy Tobey bead), Nancy Tobey will offer a trunk show.