Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings
1.25W x 2T x .4D

When I finished up the blue/purple versions of my original Open Circle Chain Earrings I was on to a beading project that involved sequin. That project is for a friend's wedding so that will remain a surprise. Now I have a bunch of sequin in my stash and I didn't want to stop playing with them. I had gotten some really big ones and they called to me. 

I woke up at 4am one morning and it dawned on me that I should try putting them in the middle of my beaded circles (basically mini bangles). I didn't have my sketchbook on my night stand, I haven't needed it there in quite a long time so I was up and drawing out ideas before it became a fleeting dream. 

This first pair with only 2 sequins in the middle was definitely a learning experience, I broke a few beads trying to place the sequins. They didn't dangle quite like I had expected, but on the other hand they are so tight in the middle of the circle they stay put even when circle spins and they jut up from the bottom. 

Dress print for this set

I went with this color choice based on a dress I purchased that I thought I would wear to the wedding mentioned above.  Then I found a second dress (which is the color scheme from the first round of Open Circle Earrings), so we'll see what pans out for that. I like to have options 

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings
1.6W x 3T x .4D

This second, much larger pair I did want to dangle and see what more sequins would do. To keep them towards the top of the circle the next chain sets in the middle of them. I'm thinking about working with some of the smaller sequins but they are much more lightweight and static-y so they will function in slightly different ways and now I have to go sketch out those ideas that are popping up as I type!

All of my most recent circle chain earring (from this post and the last) will be at my Artist Pop-Up this Saturday, March 18th, at the Gutman Gallery, 118 N. 4th Ave, in Kerrytown Ann Arbor, 11am-5pm

Monday, February 27, 2023

Open Circle Chain Earrings


Open Circle Chain Multi Fade Earrings .33in W x 2.5in H x 1in D

Do you ever finish a piece, take a few photos and think "those are even more amazing then I realized"? I have been loving the earrings in the above and below photographs. They go with my entire wardrobe (black, purple, muted greens) and are my current favorite go-to earrings. They are 2.5 inches long and because they are glass seed beads they are very lightweight which is important. I know I need lightweight in my ears these days but I still want to wear statement pieces.  I made this dark and moody multi colored set sometime after the holidays and I am just now getting around to getting photos and posting. 

I was dragging my feet on posting about these Circle Chain earrings because I have been wanting to make more but I keep getting distracted with other projects. Then the inspiration hit me to try out St. Petersburg Chain Stitch side by side with peyote (more to come as this idea brews more). So I set off on the below earrings:

Open Circle Chain St. Petersburg Earrings .33in W x 2.5in H x 1in D

This navy/purple/lavender set has a peyote stitch circle (mini bangle?) with a St. Petersburg chain loop.  The way I stitch St. Petersburg Chain it doesn't have the same kind of structure as its below circle.  I think this adds a nice little change in the shape and swing of this design. 

When I am coming up on teaching specific stitches it makes me think about other ways I can apply them, so these earrings are a little bit prompted by the St. Petersburg Chain Stitch Bracelet class that I am teaching with the Midwest Weaver's Conference in June.  Check out their classes and registration HERE. I still have plenty of room in both of my classes (I'm also teaching the Russian Leaf Stitch)

Then I got back to checkers. 

I made this first checker style earring in a color fade which I wore the NYE that we got engaged. I can't seem to part with that set just yet, I wear the earrings all the time and get tons of compliments. I had been meaning to make more so below is the first set that will be available for purchase.

Open Circle Chain Checker Earrings .5in W x 3in H x 1in D

Speaking of being able to purchase; I will have my jewelry at a 1-day Pop-up show at Gutman Gallery. It's on Saturday, March 18th and my pop-up will be in conjunction with a ceramic artist named Kris Cravens. I look forward to seeing and selling, I haven't done so since December. 

"Open Circle Chain" still feels like a mouthful for the name of these earrings. I had a few responses on my social media about ideas for names of these babies and this variation settled in the best in my mind. I think I'll be able to remember it to reference regularly.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Finish and Exhibit that Piece! My Seminar at Convergence 2022

Back in July I gave a Seminar with the Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Conference called "Finish and Exhibit that Piece!"

Room set up at Knoxville, Convergence 2022

Here was my seminar description with HGA: 

As a fiber artist I tend to work with a concept and do not think about how a piece is going to be presented or issues I may run into in hanging or putting the finished work together. This problem can often be solved by considering this at the beginning of the design process but there are usually plenty of bumps along the way. This seminar focuses on the importance of finishing and hanging decisions, touches on photographing work for entering shows and encourages fiber artists and hobbyists to get their work out there!

Leaf Me Alone prep to hang the piece

Before the conference I had the time to reach out to my seminar attendees to see what level of interest everyone had in the 3 main things I planned on discussing: 

1) Finish work (sewing, hand work, edging solutions)

2) Ways of hanging pieces and tools/materials to create hanging structures

3) Photographing/basic editing, what to look for in photos

All of my attendees were interested primarily in the first 2 so I didn't work on getting into photographing. Lucky me because the finishing process is much more fun to delve into. I try to make each of my talks, lectures, seminars different. I grow and learn so what I have to share grows along with me. I have a base talk that I work off of for the big key points but I always tweak my discussions the week (or day) before. I think I left photographing out besides pointing out why it's important and different ways jury processes can view photos.

Hook and loop with flatstock for hanging There and Back Again

My class was really quiet. To the point I was wondering how my attendees were doing. I did finally realize that they were just listening intently and had really great questions once we were moving along. 

I brought samples of molding, plexiglass, and the tools I use to cut and drill. There were also plenty of pieces of my own artwork with varying ways that I have finished and hung them over the years. The good, bad and the ugly. I think it's really important to be transparent about "here's where I started and didn't know what I was doing" "here I am now and it all looks much more professional however I'm open to new ideas and ways of making the finish work even better."

The thing I felt I missed out on was getting to look at some other people's work and discuss the issues they're hung up on. We possibly could have addressed more questions and ideas looking at work other than my own.  I did stay after to talk about some images that an attendee had sent me before the class.  I really love to talk process and help other fiber artists excel. I had also gone through some of the exhibits for the conference the day(s) before my talk and was able to incorporate photos I had taken of works everyone could see in person. I love looking at and discussion creative ways to hang exhibits.

Weavings rolled over paint rollers in plexiglass display pieces 
at an exhibit in Knoxville

I felt like the seminar went well although I could have gone on for much longer. I struggled a bit with getting it dark enough in the room to get the projector images nice and clear but no one complained about that. What I did hear the rest of the conference was how great my talk was. I was stopped in the hall by other attendees telling me they wished they had known about my seminar, a vendor asked what I taught and when I told her she said that she had heard great things about my seminar and that attendees really learned a lot. It reminded me that this really something I needed help with when I started showing my weavings. The best ideas any of us have at the beginning of trying to present textiles of all sorts is to stick it on a dowel rod which isn't the only option (and usually not the best option). 

A bad example: dowel, unfinished edge, loose stitched

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

More Video...Beadworking On The Move


I'm trying to work on posting video. I don't like it, I want to re-do all of them, I hate the sound of my recorded voice...the list goes on. In 2020 it took me 2 hours to put together a five minute video to promote a Fiberside Chat I was doing. 2 hours I could have been weaving. 

I'm getting inspired by others to just post, with mistakes, whatever happens. Video doesn't have to be perfect or edited, just, do it. So the above video has 2 clips. The first is what I thought I was preparing for Instagram, but was too long for....whatever reason. Then it's followed by the actual Instagram post which I somehow managed to make really really short. I really just wanted to try to figure out captions, which, with @WeaverBee's help, I did. 

It's a start, and it's getting me to decide what to work on in the mornings before work and what might be cool to show. I love packing and re-packing beads. This beaded part that I'm packing up in the video only has 2 different beads styles so simplifying the "traveling bead studio" has been really helpful. There's more details on what this part of the weaving is going to be in this blog post.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Weaving off Extra Warp

When I prepare all of my large weavings I always put on extra warp and often have extra weft yarn. Most of my larger weavings take me up to 2 1/2 years to create and in that amount of time design choices I made early on can change or I might want to play with something at the end of the weaving.

Sometimes I get to that extra warp and When I weave in Double Weave Pick Up, it's a plain weave at base. Remembering what twill looks like when the loom is already tied up for it is nice. I do my double weave tie-up as any normal tie-up, 1, 2,3,4. This week I started a very simple twill and just kept going.

I was mesmerized, I had the time and quiet space, I had bobbins of weft to use up. I started day-dreaming of what the fabric was becoming and what I could make out if it. I have a thin strappy satin top that I love the shape of. I could start with something like that....Beaded or loomed straps....who knows. I forget how quickly straight-weaving goes. Still not fast by any means but much quicker than 1/4 of an inch per hour.

Or it could just sit in my stash for years like so many other fabrics. I'm trying not to add projects beyond my focus for new wall/installation pieces. I'm part of a group show this September 2023 and I'm really excited but nervous that I won't have much new work.  Either way it'll be fine, but having a deadline is really helpful for me to get work out of my brain, into the sketchbook and then into reality so I'm using it as a driving force.

*Bonus Content*

I did my first Instagram Live video cutting this piece off the loom. I didn't realize I was recording so I look dumb for the first few seconds 😂. You can find that HERE.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

2022 Review: short and sweet because last year was crazy-good

I usually try to do a review of the previous year for my first blog post but SO MUCH HAPPENED and I've become very content on living in the moment instead of needing to keep track of everything on my Blog and Social Media. 

Leaf Me Alone by Jenny Schu

The main points of my 2022 were:

1) We got engaged and got married, our wedding and honeymoon was awesome

2) I finished Leaf Me Alone (the large version), 

3) I taught a seminar at Convergence with HGA, had my work in a number of exhibits and had a great trip! I made new weaver friends, one in particular is WeaverBee. I had been following her on Instagram then surprised her by trying not to fan-girl in the hotel gym my first morning there. Elizabeth and I clicked and it's already a vibrant friendship.

4) Bryan and I took our first trip based on a large concert; Rammstein's US Stadium Tour in Minneapolis. I have always wanted to take trips based around going to see a show.  I was excited Bryan was game when we booked it in 2021! I started a blog post about it...maybe I'll finish and post it eventually.

5) We've amped up our concert-going significantly. Our honeymoon was Riot Fest in Chicago, which I might get around to finishing that blog post too...

6) I turned 40 and later in the year celebrated 4 years of sobriety. 

7) Got a ton of work done on the garage and door fence in preparation for our backyard wedding. Roof is done and dry, I'm striping out the garage, doors were touched up...

wedding photo by Jena Hovey

A quick scroll through my photos shows lots of cat photos, gardening, painting, concerts, art museums (we saw Nick Cave's Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art while we were in Chicago!!), doors (I still LOVE my job as a millwork specialist), walks around the city we love and fell in love in, Lansing. 

Life is happy and better than I ever could have guessed it would be at this point in my life.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Distracted by Repairing an Old Favorite

I'm supposed to be finishing my weaving, but, since winter hit I've gotten out a few old favorite pieces of clothing that I've had since the 90's which could use some love. One is the Calvin Klein winter dress coat that has remained perfect for my fit and style. Luckily I wore things a little too big back in high school and many of my tops still fit today. 

The outside of this coat is still in good shape but the inside lining was really torn up. I used to wear those jeans with the metal buttons on the pockets which did a number on long coat linings and bucket seats in cars. I started wearing this coat again much more frequently last year and the tears in the lining has been driving me crazy. It's time for a refresh.

I've been doing small hand stitching repairs on many of Bryan's things but not my own, so I decided to "treat myself" with my own hand-stitched and patched things. I did a clean out pass of the studio and realized I have a significant amount of satin-y fabrics in the stash. One has a wine-themed print that is really lovely, but I haven't wanted to use it for myself since I don't drink anymore. I had purchased a yard of this fabric from Spoonflower for a mask commission and the rest of it has been laying around saying "but look how pretty my print is!" and I tell it "but I don't drink!"... So as a consolation prize it gets to be some pop and flash in the lining of this coat. It'll barely be seen and it gives this patch project some extra flare. 

I think it's great that 90's things are back in style, I have been having fun reviving my past fashion choices. I noticed a few weeks ago that Vans even has a purple suede shoe back which was my first shoe purchase when I started shopping at the mall on my own back in the day. I loved those purple Vans SO much I may need to get the new pair while they're available. Of the shoes I have left in my closet from High School those didn't survive because I wore them so much.  I'm glad this coat stuck around so that I could give it new life!

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings

Sequin Circle Chain Earrings 1.25W x 2T x .4D When I finished up the blue/purple versions of my original Open Circle Chain Earrings I was o...