Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beads and Yarn in the Upper Peninsula!

We just got back from a short trip to go skiing at Marquette Mountain and then visiting friends in the village of L'Anse.  Who knew that there are great little bead and yarn shops up there?!

After a great ski day we popped into Bella Beads in downtown Marquette.  When I walk into a bead store I tend to take a good long look around and see what catches my eye. Unless I have a specific project in mind I look for beads that I haven't seen before.  I also rate a bead store on its selection of seed beads.  I mostly look for 15/0 (teeny tiny) and 11/0 (standard seed bead size).  When I walked into Bella Beads I found a whole WALL of seed beads, yay!  I was wishing I had the supply list for the Huib Petersen class I will be taking in February since I have very little bugle beads and I have no idea what size I need. I did remember that I need to teach myself herringbone stitch before this class so I picked up a fantastic book at Bella Beads by Carol Wilcox Wells "The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving."  I was told to purchase her first book, but this one seemed to have what I needed with an updated twist.  I used it all weekend!  I also purchased some beautiful seed beads to work with that weekend and add to my stash.

The second place I came upon was in downtown Houghton.  Mary has learned how to crochet and as far as she knew, the only close yarn store was Michaels.  I can spot yarn or beads from a mile away.  We popped into a little store that seems to have everything fibers for Houghton.  At first I thought it was just a sewing shop but then I saw yarn in the window and we were pleasantly surprised!  Sew Irresistible Creations had lots of yummy yarn! (They do not appear to have a website so the link has their contact information)  I don't normally spend more than $10 on a ball of yarn, but this was one of those instances where I knew I would be pining over this yarn when I headed back down state.  (I will get a picture/info for it up asap). 

The last related stop that Mary and I had in Houghton was Silver Rae Beading Studio.  It's easy to miss, the only sign we saw was right in our way on the sidewalk with BEADS UPSTAIRS on it.  This shop is kind of awkward because it has 3 little rooms.  It has yet another fabulous selection of seed beads (two walls!), but I ended up finding some really fun glass accent beads that I couldn't pass up.  Warning for down-staters: Cash is king in the U.P. and this store only takes cash or checks.  Luckily Mary and I had enough cash together to purchase everything we had picked out.

I also got started on my very first Herringbone Stitch project!  I was enjoying playing with the way it curves with the larger beads and now I am trying to figure out how i want to finish it.  I have made all of the waves face one way by stitching peyote stitch along the bottom, but now I'm stumped.  Expect a follow-up!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Taking my own art advice, and then not.


I had a lengthy critique/problem solving session with our studio artist at Grove Gallery, Deb, about a piece she was stuck on.  We talked about various ways to make the piece more comfortable for her to work on, but my biggest piece of advice was to move to a different project to get your mind off of it and start fresh. 

I have been knitting almost all of December and instead of coming back to this beaded bangle and looking at it with fresh eyes, I have completely avoided all beads.  Not good.  I try to only have one larger beaded project going at once.  This way when I need a break I either look to my other talents like weaving, knitting, generally getting a fresh start on something.

This time I need to put this beaded piece away, possibly until next fall due to it's theme of fall leaves.  I am currently inspired by the winter.  Itching to get out skiing, and looking toward color forecasting ideas for Spring/Summer 2010.   (And here's another great inspiring "Women's Market Spring/Summer 2010.")

I also did my first ever trade with another artist, against my normal advice.  I try not to get in the habit of trading but Linda Girard is one of the other beaders in the Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild and I lvoe her work!  She does a lot with mixing various bead techniques one of which I really love is the spiral stitch.  I haven't taught myself how to do this one yet but now I have a great new bracelet that I can admire in this stitch.  For Linda I took the New Wave pattern and adjusted some of the colors.  It's less-pastel, more rich and really compliments the whole peacock idea well. 

If anyone is interested in this version they would just have to tell me they want the Linda version of it! (Sorry I didn't get a great picture of it before I gave ti to her, I was just so excited to have a new bangle done and out the door!)

On to new bead projects and weavings for 2010!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jon and Barb Whitney at the grove Gallery Co-op!

If you live in the Lansing area you should already know the fabulous artists Jon Whitney (potter) and Barb Whitney (painter/mixed media). 
They have put together a special show for us over at the Grove Gallery Co-op.  Barb has done a new body of work to compliment her husband's pottery in our display space!  Jon has matching pieces of pottery from bowls that hold their chopsticks, interesting-shaped pitchers, and wine coolers that you pre-chill in your freezer!
Their Artist Opening Reception will be on February 7th from 12pm-4pm. (What a great time to come meet the artist and get a creative Valentine's gift!).