Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Convergence 2014: Breakfast CERF+, Tagging Along with Tapestry Weavers @ RISD Museum, Meeting of Internet Connections

Craig Nutt in his space suit

My Friday morning started off with a great talk about being covered in case of a studio disaster.  Craig did a great job of making it entertaining with comparing it to unexpected alien incidences, ie. "Alien spacecrafts can cause serious property damage."  It was really informative and although I don't live in an area where we get hurricanes, flash-floods, tornados and random combustion, there's a lot that can STILL go wrong (including alien abduction).
Craig works for CERF+ (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) which is a resource for Artists.  He showed us a lot of informative video clips and gave us some great resources, but also drilled into my head that Homeowners Insurance does not cover for anything business-related. Yikes.
After breakfast and thanking Craig for his talk, I again wandered down to my hotel lobby to decide what to go see and ran into Rebecca again.  I asked to tag along with her, Cornelia and Lyn to RISD's Museum of Art, so we began our trek up-hill. 

(Lyn, Cornelia, Rebecca walking through the park)

Dale Chihuly's work never gets old to me

(Have you seen Disney's Frozen yet? this reminds me of that hall of artwork in one of the songs)

Myself and Rebecca: Selfie

They were on the hunt for a pizza place that serves Vegan and Gluten Free which was really delicious. There I learned that Lyn Hart was the weaver that woven the full sized Condor Tapestry at the Grand Canyon!  I'm sure I caught it on Rebecca's blog or something, but Lyn's work is phenomenal.  Check out her Condor coming off the loom HERE.  I'm just so excited to be around so many amazing tapestry weavers.  I'm glad that my Porcupine Mountains Residency is coming up, I'll be back on to some tapestry weaving while I'm there.

I split off to take a look at some of the shops around the pizza place and took a long walk by the capitol back to the hotel. Look at the clouds! Every day I was in Providence looked like this. I lucked out by missing the beginning of the week downpours.

So as I was talking with Rebecca, I mentioned Mandy Pedigo, and Rebecca said that she was her assistant, so through some tweeting we met up at the HGA General meeting.  Mandy and I have chatted a little bit via Twitter about my Double Weave Pick-up Video, which she told me was helpful to look at when she was trying to figure it out herself.  I also had the chance to meet two other fiber art students, one who is moving to Ypsilanti to go to the Fiber program at Eastern Michigan University.

Next thing I knew Inga Marie Carmel was tweeting at me about my piece in the show.  We have only been in contact online through Lynne Bruning and her eTextiles Lounge. I told her I was in the lobby and we met up, then chatted for a long while at the AVL reception. We tried to hit the hot tub, but alas, it was broken the entire time.  :(  WE made plans to do lunch the next day and she'd introduce me to Suzi Ballenger, another eTextiles person that I only know from the interwebs.

(AVL Reception at the hotel)

(AVL program on a laptop)

I have to say that the AVL Little Weaver Looms were enticing. Sometimes I think that I have enough things that I need to weave on my Macomber right now with 6 shafts and I can still add 4 more shafts to my loom.  And then I look at the complex weaver's guild and think "wouldn't it be nice to have 32 shafts to do 3 different patterns in triple-weave pick-up..."  I think I know what shaft-envy feels like now.

After the HGA general meeting and the Rep Rally I think I need to pick up the book for the weaving COE (Certificate of Excellence) first and maybe start picking away at that. Both Inga Marie (goes by Marie) and Rep-Organizer Barbara Nelson told me that they learned a lot from doing even part of the COE. So that's another book to put on my list.... COE before AVL loom. Focus.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Convergence 2014: Day 1.5 and an unexpected bangle sale

I had every intention  of blogging more frequently while I was in Providence this past week, but every time I sat down in my hotel lobby (where they had better wireless) to get some HGA tweets out and start to blog, I ended up talking to weavers.  Which is fantastic. I love meeting more weavers.
So I'm just going to attempt a re-cap over the next week.

Packing and preparing for Convergence is best described for me as waiting for christmas morning.  I can barely get to sleep I'm so excited.  However, Delta quashed my excitement and canceled my morning flight, switching me to a later one which, if all goes well, will give me an hour to get to registration from the airport, and then check in at the hotel to drop my bags, wash up and get to the dinner before the fashion show.  I'd been frazzled since my 5:50 AM phone call telling me the flight was cancelled.

All was well when I got in a shower and finally wandered down to the lobby to walk over for dinner, I found weavers,  including Suanne, the current HGA president, so I sat at her table with a group of people including Robyn Spady and a number of ladies I hadn't met before.  It was nice to have a real meal and then get in a long line with weavers attending the fashion show.

This is only my second Convergence Conference but I think that the fashion show this year was fabulous and far better than 2012.  It was on a runway-style set up which really helped us all see the pieces on the models better.  In Long Beach it was more of a theater set-up.  The pieces in this show were stunning.  I was unable to get a good photo of the show with my phone so I'm skipping that.

I was ready for a glass of wine after a long day of travel so I popped into the hotel lobby for one and found Rebecca Mezoff.  She's been one of my go-to's for questions about teaching workshops (which I am slowly getting in to).  We chat back and forth on our blogs and she is really on top of her newsletter, which reminds me to do mine sometimes so it's been great this week to hang out in person.  She introduced me to her roommate and tapestry weaver Cornelia Theimer Gardella who was also a student of James Koehler.  Cornelia was also teaching at Convergence and has some beautiful wok on her website.  After some visiting I turned in.

If you ever stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Providence, get an even-numbered room.  My room faced the street and although I'm used to street noise, Providence apparently likes to play their hip-hop and rap music really really loud, which bounces off the buildings into the odd-numbered rooms (I was in #307).  My issue was that they were always songs I didn't know, but I liked, so I'd stay up listening to the music going by....

The Featured Speaker was Rosanne Somerson, President of RISD.  Her talk was about "critical making" with really intelligent explanations about despite the technology that we have at our fingertips, it's in human nature to make with our hands, create, and understand how things are made, and the difference between slapping something together versus understanding quality work. I was raised with a lot of this, from learning how to make things at home with my parents renovating an old house, but I never thought that there were students coming in to art school who have never used duct tape before!  I love that RISD is committed to keeping the hands-on making in the art-process as everything is on the edge of going digital (I still can't draw on a computer, tablet, etc, it doesn't feel real).

I'm adding to my long list of books I should read "The Art of Critical Making" by Rosanne Somerson (Editor), Mara Hermano (Editor), John Maeda (Foreword).  

My first seminar was "Are you sitting comfortably?" with Walter Turpening.  He makes custom benches for weaving and spinning based on your loom and your measurements.  I have been having more and more issues with aches and pains as I've been weaving and beading many more hours per week, so I'm looking into what I need to adjust in my daily practices.  It was pretty enlightening just how bad we are all sitting, not just for weaving, but also at desks and chair heights, etc.

At the Fashion Show the previous evening I met a local fashion stylist, Lisa Shorr.  Myself and another weaver were helping her identify fiber techniques on the runway, which was really fun. She was presenting a scarf-tying workshop at the Vendor hall so I popped in and Cornelia joined me:

(Now I know how to do this bow style scarf, easier than you'd think
I didn't get this weaver's name that Lisa is using for the demo)

I also (finally) purchased an "official" HGA Badge Holder.  I have a bunch of flare to add to it from Long Beach Convergence 2012, and I visited my piece that was hanging in the All Media Exhibit hall "She Can't See the Forest Through the Trees" which. considering the space they had, they did a good job of hanging it.  Sandra said she'd try to get me a photo of how it was hung.  They used 3 S-hooks with a coated wire threaded through the copper pipe, layering the pipes just off of one another, so it still created some layering/depth to the piece.  The lighting in the ballroom was awful (nothing you can do about that!), so as dark as my piece was, it wasn't too flattering.  However, I'm just happy to have it in the show, and I got a lot of positive feedback from it.

My first mission after I was settled into the conference was to go find a place to get Oysters.  The taxi driver that picked me up from the airport told me to go to the Providence Oyster Bar which was a little ways away from the hotel, but a cute little area of Providence past the pineapple archway on Federal Hill. 

Yay Oysters! So I ended up staying a little longer than I had planned, but I was having such a great time beading and talking to the locals.  Everyone that I met in Providence was just so wonderful and helpful.  So I ended up chatting with a couple that works for Hartford Insurance and Kenna kept on trying on the bangle that I was wearing, and wanted to talk about having me make one, etc.  I'm really backed up on my larger work and I told her that I literally ripped off a price tag before I put it on today if she wanted that one.  
The wonderful world of technology "yes, I can take a credit card" makes things easy.  I gave her a discount and they bought me a glass of wine.  I need to send her a follow-up this week too.  I have had that particular Original Dream Bangle for a while and I'm so glad to see it go to a good home!

(Original Dream Bangle, there's only 4 of them made, and I have the first
having moved on to other designs, I doubt there will be any other unless they're commissions)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Past Beadwork: Bead Embroidered Hair Combs

Sometimes I do bead embroidery, not very often, but lately while talking to some brides I've brought up the hair combs that I have made in the past.  They were made so far in my past that I don't have any images of them to reference on the internet.  So here's a little run down of some hair combs that I made and I still really like.

Layne's Hair Comb

Layne is a hairdresser that I have known since elementary school.  She initially thought she wanted beaded shoes, but she decided that she'd rather have hair combs for her and her bridesmaids (sisters).  I think it was an excellent choice, shoes get trashed at weddings (particularly outdoor ones) and that's a lot of beadwork to get dirty.

Smaller bridesmaid hair combs

Heidi wanted 2 hair combs with a long silk veil attached.  I made the veil with snaps so that she could wear the combs individually also.  the below comb had a match so that it fit on either side of her hairdo.  I'm particularly fond of gold, so I was excited to do a white and gold design for this commission.

In the same lines of hair pieces I also made Heidi's daughter's hair clip for her baptism.  The baby hair clip was much tinier with the smallest beads I can peyote stitch with, I blogged about it this winter HERE.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Michigan League of Handweavers 3-Day Beadweaving Class (Registration Closes July 20)

It has come to my attention that a more detailed look at the beadweaving class that I am teaching at the Michigan League of Handweavers 3 Day Workshops may be in order.  I'm terrible at writing descriptions, however I've been getting a lot of compliments on the way I write my blog.

My plans for this workshop are as follows:

Day 1:  Teach the beaded Russian Leaf stitch.  This stitch as a few twists and turns in it, so I usually do 1 day for two leaves, or, a pair of earrings if you like.

(Russian Leaf Earrings)

Day 2:  Teach how to close up the leaf into a pod as you bead it.  Pods give a completely different structure than the leaf, they can be much more 3 dimensional.  After the pod, I want students to start thinking about a bracelet or other sort of large project that we can put together.

Day 3: Compile larger piece.  I'll be suggesting a bracelet, but I always encourage students to get creative, so if you want to make something else, lets work on it.  The third day we will discuss finishing techniques and also how stitch leaves and pods together to get the shape you want.

(Bracelet, pendant, pod earrings)

I am a very hands-on teacher.  Every one of my students tend to be at different levels and I try to get around to everyone equally, addressing different issues. Some background in beading (particularly peyote stitch) is helpful, but this being a three day class we'll have plenty of time to nail this stitch down.  I do have a supplies list to send when you sign up (by July 20th!), mostly I'm encouraging people to bring what beads they already have, maybe a color combination that they like. I will have some supplies for purchase, but bringing your own will be helpful for this long of a class.  I don't carry a whole lot of extra stock around for teaching at this point.

Beginner's Beadweaving class at Interlochen

I taught my second beadweaving class at Interlochen a week ago.  It was a three person class, but we decided to make it go since the adult programing at Interlochen is getting up and running. Also, I love to teach new beaders and get them hooked.  

Peyote stitch is what I like to start brand new beaders on.  This class was in two-drop peyote making a bracelet.  You can make a pretty wide bracelet with two drop peyote in a fair amount of time.  One of the comments in this class was that once you get it going, it's really simple.  It's the start that's always a little difficult with peyote stitch, but I always find it satisfying to be able to whip out something beaded as a short project myself. 

Kathy (below) isn't a brand new beader, but I'm glad she learned this stitch before taking my three day workshop with the Michigan League of Handweavers for Russian Leaf stitch, it'll help her grasp the stitch a little quicker. (Registration for the MLH Russian Leaf class closes on July 20, 2014)

I make quite a few of these two-drop bracelets when I'm playing with color or how beads work together. The below bracelet we used just what this student had already had on-hand. They're cheaper beads, so they're not as consistently shaped to fit together, but it still gives this bracelet a nice look.

Although I suggest a higher end seed bead for my classes, I can pretty much help you work with anything!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Shannon's Wedding Bracelet

Every once in a while I get to do a wedding piece.  I have done veils, hair combs and the occasional bracelet.  This past weekend my brother in law got married and I was fortunate enough to get to make a bracelet for his bride, Shannon.  

(in the process of working on it)

Shannon's mom had handed over her own wedding dress for Shannon to use however she wanted to for her wedding.  I was pretty nervous to start cutting into someone else's wedding dress, but it got easier after we chopped an arm off.  

We decided that the best piece of lace for the bracelet was the point that came around the wrist and pointed down the hand.  In order to make it continue to lay flat, I brought a string of beads from the point and into a ring around her middle finger.  Shannon helped pick out seed bead accents that went along with her wedding dress.  This bracelet had a snap closure and we used one of the little fabric buttons from the back of her mom's dress as a detail over the closure.  All of the crystal and pearl accents came off of her mom's tiara veil.

I also had a chance to snap a picture of her shoes after she switched into flip flops at the wedding.  They're a little dirty from running around the yard taking photos and the ceremony, it reminds me of how trashed my shoes at my own wedding got!  I had mentioned that we were working on shoes together in this previous post.  The lace on her shoes is also from her mother's wedding dress.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yellow 3-Pod Earrings

Three-Pod Earrings $100.00

I had been wanting to play around with layering beaded pod forms for a while and here I finally get around to finishing something.  This particular idea of layering came about when I was brainstorming ways to use beaded pods together.  The class that I am teaching at the Michigan League of Handweaver's Summer Workshops has a portion where I show students how to make pods and I wanted examples of beaded pods integrated together.

I have really been into muted yellows, probably due to a new vintage hat that I picked up at the Livingston Antique Outlet (one of our favorites).  I had pulled these yellows together and made pairs of pods to start connecting.


I debated between making earrings or a bracelet for some time.  I really like the way the leaves fan out when they're connected.  So they sat on a shelf full of beads for a while until I decided they needed to be done last week.  Earrings tend to be easiest for me to wrap my head around with a new design.

An interesting tidbit about these pods, all six of them have the exact same bead count, and all three seed beads are, in theory, size 11/0.  The top pod (smallest one) are delicas, the middle pod is from a hank of seed beads I picked up at the bead store in Marquette, MI, and the larger bottom pod is from a vial of beads I bought in Seattle last spring.  Just a reminder that size count varies from each seed bead brand.  

Side View as they're being stitched together

Back View

(This is the above-mentioned hat)