Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Large Leaf Me Alone Weaving Update

So. Close. To. Done.... with the weaving portion at least. There's still hours of finish work to do once I have this off-loom. I'm weaving the reaminder of the header today.  I always make my warp about a yard longer than my pattern plans for.  I do this for 2 reasons, 1) in case I change my mind after I get a few inches in to the design of the weaving and I have plenty of room to re-start and 2) once the header is finished, I'll weave a mix of plain weave and the two fabrics in green or blue for the remainder of the warp.  The extra fabric I use to stitch leaves for the leaf panel on this piece.

I'm trying a new way of video recording for my YouTube channel, so here's this morning's video of me talking about finishing work, specifically the plans for this double weave pick up.  I hate the way I sound when I'm being recorded, but oh well, I just rattle on a bit here:

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Vintage 70's Look Rainbow Bangle and Earrings

Something somewhere perked up my affinity for 70's looks and patterns lately.  It may have been the many eras that come up throughout Doom Patrol which we have been watching in the evenings.  I needed to get out the graph paper and make something "quick" to work on.  I was going to keep this design really simple with the detail of either side of the "rainbow" in only one place, but I decided to split it. I'm glad I did. I wore it yesterday and I think stripes most of the way around would have been a bit too boring for my taste.

I am still working on a pair of earrings that I'm happy with to compliment this bangle. The first design ended up looking too much like circles rather than a rainbow. They are really lovely on their own though.

The second pair of earrings are hitting closer to the mark, but I think I want a tiny bit of the off-white included in them. I do like creating a little asymmetrical feel to these; I think it could be even more drastic.

I'm taking a little longer to get mask orders made as I'm getting back to focusing on my usual work.  It's nice to be back to beading in the evenings and getting to the end of my large Leaf Me Alone weaving.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Yellow Long-Leaf Earrings

I've been wearing a lot of yellow the past 2 years or so.  I'm glad it's also had some staying power in the fashion world.  I recieved a mailer a few months ago with the below dress in it and I was inspired by its print from White House Black Market.

I happened to already have an earring design that I did years ago that would compliment the feel of this print, so I pulled it out along with some tubes of seed bead color ideas and started in.  The first earring I wasn't happy with (below photo lower right) and I couldn't quite pinpoint why, so I set it down for a few weeks.  I realized later that the dark brown made the earring look too fall-ish.  So I removed that color option and replaced it with silver and white to give it a brighter look. It worked.

Needless to say, I wore the finished pair the next day at work I was so pleased with them.  Sometimes the sucess is a finiahed piece but this time it feels good that I let it sit and was willing to re-do it until I got the feel that I initially wanted.  

I think I'll be keeping this pair in my persoanl stock rather than shipping it out to a gallery right away. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in them though.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Evil Eye Earrings in Fuchsia and Orange

After finishing the Evil Eye Bangle and earrings in blues I started thinking about other colors and their meanings.  I found this website with some color breakdowns: https://evileyecollective.com/pages/evil-eye-meaning

This second pair of evil eye earrings turned out quite stunning.  I'm always wary to use this metallic fuchsia color because it is not color-fast.  I figured that since this is in earring form they won't be touched and rubbed on as much so I'd try it out.  I love how it looks with the neon orange.

Based on my poking around the internet, the orange represents happiness protection and creativity/playfulness.  The pink is friendship protection, calming/contentment/relaxation.

I got on a kick and made a version of these earrings with the same colors but with the orange as the larger focal color.  I guess I could use a bright pop of color to go with masks at work lately.  I'm finding that wearing dangly earrings are easier with the masks.  They show better and I don't accidentally pop off the backing on the stud earrings when I have to remove one side of my mask to drink my coffee.  I've already lost a few backings that way.

This last photo shows the detail on the black beads.  They're faceted to add a little more interest to this design.  I'm glad to be slowing down on mask making to get back to blogging, beads and my large weaving. Updates on that coming soon I hope.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Specialty Masks

So far I've made approximately 120 masks.  I have set aside my weaving and beadwork for a few months but I'm getting back to those this week.

I never have much of an excuse to buy or use fabric (last time was for the River Terrace Church Installation) and this has been a nice little break on these quicker projects.  As I've been mask making, my desire to make some more fun ones stirred.  I reached out to another local artist who makes patches for some special order Star Trek insignias.  I ordered a few Next Generation and Original to play with.  The first mask I made with these is Original Star Trek science/medical blue, complete with the gold rick rack.

In the next ones I'm going to move the insignia and rick rack out to the sides a little further from the middle but all in all I was happy with how this one turned out.

The next Star Trek mask is a Next Generation command red.  I did move the insignia out to the side more and I like it better.  I also felt it needed a black piece of fabric to jazz it up a little like the collars on the uniforms rather then having just the insignia on red fabric.

I turned out having a good Next Gen feel so I have no critisizm of this design.  I've ordered gold/mustard fabric for my next one of these.  the hand stitching for the insignias and rick-rack takes extra, but it's worth it to me.  I'm a bit of a Trekkie and  I think I needed a Star Trek representation in my mask repitior since I have only been able to find Star Wars fabrics since I've been mask making.  Like I mentioned in my previous mask post, this is just another fun accessory to me.  I feel like I have less need to match them with what I'm wearing since we're all kind of settling on whatever masks are out there being made right now.

I couldn't help myself when I saw the below red holographic dragon scale fabric.  This mask is thick, and very warn with the black satin lining, but I don't mind wearing the masks and I really love how this one turned out for something fancier.

Seams Fabric in East Lansing has also been giving me an excuse to but some more fun fabric.  The below print I've been looking at for a while, but I have had no reason to buy this fabric.  I toyed with using it as the header for our bed, but it was way too busy.  At least I can make masks out of it!  (Don't get me wrong, there's a lot to be made with fabric, but I just can't make up new projects for patterns I love).

I also love the dinos and DNA print from Seams

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Evil Eye Bangle and Earring Set

Sometime during our camping trip last summer the idea of an Evil Eye, Nazar or Mati design started rolling around in my head. I guess I've always been a little superstitious.  It can't hurt anything at least.  I keep 2 horse shoes turned up above the high traffic doorway to my house and above my studio door. I burn sage on occasion.  I suppose it's part intrigue, part hobby for me.

I started looking up a bunch of designs and meanings after a while.  I linked the Wikipedia page above. The evil eye talisman runs rampant throughout religions and history.  There are so many design options to work from, it's been fun just looking.

So I decided to pick one nice scrolling design and a simpler one with rays coming from the edges.  I drafted both of them and started with the simpler and slightly smaller design.  I'm not always sure I'll like how a design turns out. Sometimes the circles aren't quite right, or the color combination isn't quite right.  Neither of these issues came up in making this set.  I have one little blip in the design that I'm not sure anyone but me will notice.

I really like how the bangle turned out, I really LOVE how the earrings turned out.  There's something sleek about the diamond with the eye in the center floating alone.

I figured with this COVID-19 bad juju floating around some talisman jewelry pieces were in order.  I wonder what I should do next?  Probably that fancy scrolling version of the evil eye. In the meantime I'm wearing this set as much as possible.  I had to pick up more mask-making supplies from Joann's today and we grabbed carryout for our day off together and I wore them out.  Maybe I'll even shower at some point. I have sold 6 more masks in the past 2 days so I've got to get back to making those so that I have options for people.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Fabric Mask Making during COVID 19

Well, here we are needing to hunker down and stay home to keep from spreading COVID-19.  I told myself that I wasn't going to make masks, with working overtime I wanted to keep what free time I had to my artwork.  After I got off the phone with my dear friend Abigail on Sunday I decided it was time.  She is in Tenessee and they are required to wear masks if they are out in public for anything. 

I imagine Michigan is headed the same direction where we will be required to wear masks so I'm just getting a jump on it and have been testing out a pattern this week.  Joann Fabrics has been sending out a ton of imformative emails with different mask making patterns and suggestions.  I decided I like the more form-fitted ones versus the 6 x 9 rectangles with pleats.  THIS is the pattern I started with.

I printed the PDF for the mask that is provided in the pattern turtorial and made my first mask along with the video.  I already knew that I wanted to use elastic around the ears (so I could still move it away from my face to drink my coffee at work, not worry about it getting tangled in my hair etc.).  I also skipped the interfacing step to keep it simple and easier to wash and not be too stiff.  I also knew I'd probably be altering the pattern and might need less layers in the beginning.

I made my first mask (above) and wore it to work the next day.  I made the straps way too tight which hurt my ears and the mask kept moving down my nose as I talked to customers, trained on the computer programs and moved around the store.  It works great if I'm not talking to anyone though (or minimally).  When I got home that night, I dropped it into Photoshop and added a half inch to the length of the pattern.

My second day at work with the mask was much better, 7 inches for the elastic loops so it keeps the mask in place but not super tight, long enough that I could talk without it moving around and it still cupped my face.  The last issue was it needing to be a little bit tighter over the bridge of my nose.  I added darts on either side of the nose (below/middle of my eyes) and it works perfect.  I've been pulling fabric from my stash and buying some fun stuff to work with too. 

My coworker Russ wanted me to make him a mask first.  I wasn't really planning on making and selling them, but I feel like I'm filling a need for those around me, a little bit of protection for my bubble at least.  When I finished his mask we found his face was longer than mine and he was having the same issue I was with the very first pattern (so I've got a longer version now that I still need him to try but it's an additional half inch longer in the front, the back of the pattern is about the same, I moved some lines).  Another coworker has paid me for a Star Wars mask (he lit up when I told him we had bought some Star Wars fabric), a friend ordered 3 masks, I want to have enough to not having to do laundry all the time.  So I'm making masks.

Elastic!  Everywhere seems to be out of elastic from what I can tell.  Since I keep almost everything, I have been cannibalizing old camis for their elastic straps and edging.  When I noticed this I laced an order with one of my bead suppliers, Fire Mountain Gems, which still has some elastic options in stock.  I'm using what I have right now though, who knows when that elastic will get to me from Oregon.

My studio was getting cleaner until I switched gears, now there's a very narrow path between my loom and an ironing board to my sewing table.  Fabric is piling up, I'm thinking about cutting scraps into mini squares to make a quilt at some point in the distant future.

Bryan and I both are still going to work, I got an "essential" job at Home Depot when Talbots was forced to close it's doors and Bryan is in IT and we need the internet to keep running.  We are making sure to wear masks when we go out, especially to the grocery store and at work.   The key to these fabric masks is that they're machine washable and you need to wash after you wear them out.  I'm washing all of them first and bagging them (with freshly washed hands) for others.  I always suggest to air-dry things, especially since dryer heat and elastic don't mix.  But they are ok to put in the dryer too. 

You can see my weaving under the above picture.  I have been joining my fellow AA's on Zoom meetings in the evenings via my tablet and cutting fabric for the masks as we chat at my loom.  This is my life right now and I'm so thankful that we are happy, healthy, I have my meetings still to keep me in check with learning a new job and coming home and making masks.  I know so many people that are making and donating masks to medical workers, I figure since I can sew, I can at the very least make my own.  As much as sewing can be meditative and a fun little break for me, I hope to get to the point where I have a stock-pile of masks and I can get back to weaving!

Large Leaf Me Alone Weaving Update

So. Close. To. Done.... with the weaving portion at least. There's still hours of finish work to do once I have this off-loom. I'...