Friday, April 29, 2011

Springtime at Bead Gallery

Don't ask me HOW I just cleared this posting but.... Here it is again, sort of.

Jamie ( who you may know from previous posts) surprised me by coming to a bead workshop, when I would have only expected to see her in a felting one. And you know what? It HUMMED at her. She was in the bliss we all feel when building beauty with thread and one little bead at a time.

Vicki beaded 4 inches before I noticed she'd devised her own stitch. So she put it to rest on the mat and quickly caught up to the other beaders making the twisting dagger lariat. Speedy Beader!

Betty was our brandy new Beader in the afternoon class. She succeeded with this project, a new version of an African stitch, and should be real pleased with herself. Not the easiest start to a bead stitching career.

Patty checked over the firepolish trunk show that Genevieve brought in for this weekend! Get there quick before she ships them off.

Irene was tickled with her pillow beaded, swinging like a pendulum.

Donna reminded me that she had taken a workshop with me at Beadfest 8 or so years ago. It was the Felted Flower Lariat. My hiatus from Beadfest has lasted a couple years and I am teaching there again this August. Hope to see you there.

Tori Bradford, owner of Castleander Beads in Hudson NH joined the evening workshop. Genevieve teaches in her store regularly.
It was a fun and productive day. Some toughed it out, taking all 3 sessions with me. And some I'll see allll weekend. Honestly, I'm in this for the affection. What a great way to make a living, a life!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bunnies of comfort and affection for children in Japan

You may recall my post from Japan while I was there in January, where I introduced feltmaker Liz, who was in Japan with her husband working for Cirq de Soliel.

When I contacted her after the tsunami to inquire about her and her husband's safety, she replied that she and her husband were safe and that said she started a campaign collecting bunnies to send to the children in the stricken area.

Here is some of that response. Click on the link to join her campaign.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Explore these Australian resources

Garments and Gadgets sells Felting Finish and Wool Wash intended to restore some lanolin to your woolens, condition the fabric and ward off mmmmoths.

They also had wool nebs which were fun to add surface design to the felt. Check them out. Owners Jenny Lewis and Clare Parslow are knowledgeable and helpful.
Artisan Books had a most fascinating collection of felting books, among others. They stocked all of my books at TAFTA, and sold out of the recently declared "out of print" HAND FELTED JEWELRY AND BEADS.
Silksational had the best array of prefelts in pieces or yardage that I have seen anywhere. And Australians are NOT afraid of color. They also sell fabric, ready-to-dye clothing, sliver, and dyes.
And let's not ignore a bead source, in addition to Jelly Beads of Mogo and Penel Bigg's Firebirdbeads: Moblong Creations
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Openhouse TAFTA

These are just a few shots, such as they are, of a few displays of students work.

This unlabeled table is work from India Flint's workshop.

You may recognize Yvonne Twining as the maker of those brilliant little handbags that several of us own.

Tutor Philomena Hali and I were guests of Dorothy Luther in Sydney, so we could wake early near the airport.

Oops, sorry the pic is on the side, here is Dorothy in her beautiful art-to-wear made by...yipes, I forget.
Dorothy made sure I took in some more Australian greatness before heading home. So, on our way to Sydney from Orange, we took in the begonia house and fern house in the park.

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More TAFTA catch up

When I arrived in Australia this time, I flew into Sydney and onto Canberra (seen to the left of the blue line). After teaching there for 3 days, Laura drove us from Canberra to Mogo. The blue line is the route we took when Jenny drove us to TAFTA from Mogo
Wish I'd taken more photographs during the weeklong workshop. It was such a dynamic time with so much going on every minute. And in addition to the multiple feltmaking techniques, each day I taught a beading stitch.
The first day we finished with a quick lesson in undulating tubular peyote. They made several bangle bracelets like those I'll teach in June at the Bead & Button Show,

foreground in photo.

Sandra placed her beadwork in the center of a felt rope to drape around her neck. She embroidered a spiral motif on the ends that reflect the spiral in the centerpiece beadwork. Gorgeous. (She made the felt hat and vest she is wearing too!)

Joan made a spiral felt cane and cut it into beads that looks so much like shells. One end of the cane became the pendant she is wearing, embellished with a cap of bead embroidery. Oh, and there are matching earrings too.

Zita is shown wearing her complex cane felt beads necklace and earrings, made day one.

This is Donna wearing one of her popular line of felted scarves. On our final day at TAFTA, students are invited to sell their work to other participants as well as the community, invited for this open house event. Additionally she sold sweet little booties that are not in the photo and these wonderful purses made of textured and lovely handcrafted fabrics and handbag frames. Some even boasted feather trims.
We were not new to each other. She had taken a workshop with me at Beads by Blanche when she'd been in the USA to visit her nephew. Donna assumed a real leadership role in the workshop; collecting materials fees, monitoring our samovar of hot water, helping to organize things that wanted organizing...coming as close to an assistant as I've ever had. She even worked at my display with me for the Tutors Bazaar. She has a real knack with people and made my work just fly off the table and onto people's necks and wrists.

Margaret was also selling her work, including some prize-winning felt pieces.
Margaret and I were also familars. She had been in my workshop when I taught here in 2008. What an honor to have her in workshop again this time.

Also in that 2008 workshop was Penel Bigg, a lampworker from Sydney. This is a snap from her website, Firebird Beads. We had some time to catch up at mealtimes. My workshop even enjoyed a preview of her beads, so we could use them during our week of production and creativity.

Pam wearing her fresh felt earrings.

Merryn's elegant rose bracelet with sterling silver stamens. This workshop explored felt as a jewelry component along with other mediums, felt married to metal, felt connected with chain, and as always, felt with glass and beads.

Penny made this elaborate neckpiece. She teaches textiles but is new to felting. She was one of the most intense and focused people I have worked with. She came to the second or third day of workshop with a sketched rendering of the piece she wished to make. I broke it down for her into steps: 1. Make the cane for surface design and pods 2. Felt the extensions but retain a dry "root" on each 3. Wire the beads for embedding...etc.
She set off to work and my attention was everywhere else for the next several hours. When I next checked in on her, this piece was well underway. She followed directions to the letter and had a singlemindedness that propelled her through all the steps to fruition.

By contrast, one of our lighthearted projects was Frances' "stubby holder". We made bubbly felt by using marbles. Her piece made her think of udders. She placed an "ice cube" bead in each ( to keep the stubby cold?). Using eyelets and rubber lashing, the holder laces onto the bottle. Not jewelry but, sometimes ya just gotta.

Documentary filmaker Katarzyna wasn't able to attend the last couple days. She was well on her way with this piece and I hope she will continue to work on it and send a picture. We got to see a portion of the video she was doing on this event. Hope she'll be able to complete that as well.

Rhonda's bangle was gorgeous. It was a simple cane that she carved in three places. The 3 removed portions became felt cabohons that she relocated on the bangle, lending it a square shape.

Here are some pictures of our display table during open house.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Recap of week-long TAFTA in Orange, NSW, Australia

Didn't get to share a single posting for the entire week I taught at Forum. Will try to recap here, now, for you.
This conference, TAFTA (The Australian Forum for Textile Arts), makes use of Kinross Wolaroi, a private school, during the school's break.
There were 16 registrants for my workshop: Hand Felted Jewellery, Components and Beads. We had use of a large classroom with windows on opposing walls and lots of sunlight plus trestle tables on the patios. Unfortunately, it was either too cold or too rainy to do much work outdoors. In 2008 when I taught here, it was the 7-17th year of drought, depending who you asked and just where we happened to be. Glad the drought is over.

Above are Frances, Sandra, Gillian, Tess, Julie, half of Joan.

Above, other half of Joan, Kathy, Katarzyna, Merryn and not visible, Penny and Margaret.

Above includes Rhonda, Pam, Louise, and not visible Donna and Zita.
In addition to the 15# carry-on, I was permitted 2 checked pieces of luggage. One entire piece was devoted to my felt components, jewelry and beads for show & tell and to sell at the Tutor Bazaar later in the week. We spent the entire morning of our first day together discussing the pieces, the techniques employed and the intentions and ambitions of those present, for our week together.
What an affable and cooperative group this was. When I offered that we could either cover topics in turn or we could do this anarchy style, where several lessons are going on at once, each person working on her project and getting my attention whenever beckoned. They chose anarchy. So I demonstrated for everyone who was interested, the techniques of the moment and then work beside whoever asked for me. Anything I shared with one person I did at a volume adible to everyone. If it was of interest, others would gather and learn, or listen out of the corner of their ears or simply ignore it. Everyone seemed pleased with this approach. It allows for covering a much larger scope of material.
Before heading i to another posting to share some of the work, let me share this scene on campus. It is not uncommon to see a flock of cockatoos...whiter than white, stark and amazing in sky, grass or trees. Locals report that they are capable of incredible damage, chewing and destroying street lights, porches and house features.

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Catching up on blog: day 4 Australia ....Crafty Frog

Laura, owner of Crafty Frog sent this photo of us in the morning workshop. We fit 3 workshops into our precious single day. To my right is Joy who was my hostess for the two days earlier when i had taught (again) for the Canberra Regional Feltmakers. In extreme left, with her back to us is Christina. She drove to Mogo later in the week to take some classes at Jelly Beads with me. I am sooooo lucky.

Laura is in the center here, facing us. Anne, on right, in profile, owns a paper crafts store (A White Dragon Papercraft, I think) Laura had hoped to show me before leaving Canberra for Mogo. Maybe next time.

In shopping for Fireline and PowerPro for the workshop, Christina was sold Stren Microfuse. First time I've seen this item. It worked just fine.

Finally I got to see the issue of Australian Beading Magazine featuring my article on Polygon stitch. It is a lovely magazine with full of bright photographs, beautiful projects clearly and colorfully illustrated.

In addition to beads, Crafty Frog carries a variety of threads and needlecraft supplies.

Laura has worked round the clock to restock the store after the flooding.

Even after a full day of beading, the evening workshop participants finished, or nearly, this right angle weave bracelet of Swarovski crystals.

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