Monday, December 30, 2013

Year of the Water Dragon Baptism Hairpiece

As I start to get back into the swing of things post-holiday, I can finally put up a quick post about my most-recent commission.

I was a little nervous when Kathy asked me to put together a beaded hair piece for her new grand daughter.  I wasn't sure if I could make it petite enough, or what to attach it to, but it went really well.

2012 was the Year of the Water Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac, and apparently it's a huge deal.  Kathy said that the hospitals over in Singapore were booked up because everyone was trying to have their babies in 2012.

My first try at this piece, I was stuck on "baby colors" which seem to be pastels in my mind.  I got it together (below) on white with yellow and blue, but it really wasn't a classic enough looking dragon and the colors needed to be much richer. So I went back to what I had in my head initially, a wonderful gold background with red and brilliant blue.  I also had to add a 5th spike to the dragon's tail.

Part of the issue drafting this piece was making ti so it wasn't too large, or heavy.  I used small 15/0 beads to keep it around 1.5 inches wide.  This was a fun piece, and I'm happy I could get the detail into it.

I also spared myself the pain of looking for the proper baby-clip and just ripped the flower off of a pre-made one and stitched the dragon to the white ribbon.  I also made it so that Maya can snip the clip off and use this piece elsewhere one day if she likes.

My apologies on the quality of the photos, I was in a bit of a rush trying to make sure to get this in the mail in time!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beaded Snowflake Earrings, New Colors

 I've been a little behind on holiday, but as I've been setting up shows I have managed to remember to put out the snowflake earrings that I make.  Angelwood Gallery in Ohio requested a jewelry swap earlier than I'm used to thinking about holiday (sometime in October, when I'm in the throws of Halloween), and I forgot to send them snowflakes.  So these ones are en-route, but they're a nice combo of new colors and what I can make.

I'm continuing to make the white snowflakes, but I have added grey, and dark gold to the mix.  You can also see  in the above photos that I'm using some accent beads like crystals and pearls on them lately.  I will have snowflakes at my next two sales coming up tomorrow and Sunday.

Holiday Boutique Show at the University Club
Thursday, December 5, 2013, 10:30am-2:00pm
3435 Forest Rd, Lansing MI 48910

Art for the Soul
Sunday, December 8, 2013, 10:00am-5:00pm
At MargaBeth Cibulka’s Home, 6177 Zimmer Road, Williamston, MI

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Geometric Stitch Bracelet and Earrings, Grey Black and Blue

Hexagon Bracelet $75.00, Hexagon Earrings $45.00
I learned this stitch (which I'm referring to it as a hexagon stitch lately) from Huib Petersen back when I took his workshop.  We were making water lily pads out of it, but I occasionally been try to think of other ways to use it.  I made a more off-set bracelet a while back, and then a necklace to match, but haven't really picked this stitch back up since.

So as I perused my bead stash, these black bugle beads grabbed my attention and I wanted to keep playing with this grey black and blue mix.  

I think it turned out brilliantly, even the photos I took look pretty cool. What do you think?

The Blue, Grey and Black inspiration piece that I talked about in this previous blog post is the painting toward the left side of this postcard:

If you're in Michigan and find yourself in Lansing during their holiday exhibition, make sure to go check out the Lansing Art Gallery's Holiday Exhibit.  I was just in there this weekend and this morning and it looks great.  The painting is in the front window now too!
Also, my next two Holiday Shows are next week! 
U-Club Holiday Show
December 5, 11:00am-2:30pm
3435 Forest Rd, Lansing, MI
Sunday, December 8, 11am-5pm
6177 Zimmer Road
Williamston, MI

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Grey and Black Leaf Jewelry Set

After the last bracelet and earrings set, I really wanted to play with more of the grey beads that I have in my stash.  I think I've been inundated with visuals that grey as the new neutral color.  So here is a "set" with a necklace, bracelet, cluster leaf earrings and regular leaf earrings with a black pearl detail.

Leaf Bracelet $85

I've found that I enjoy these neutral base sets because they go with about everything.  I know a lot of people that wear black as their base color so the greys in this set gives it a pop. 

Daphne Necklace Variation $140

Leaf Earrings $55
The leaf earrings are made from a really beautiful seed bead that I picked up at the Bead Boutique in Naples, FL. I may be calling them to order more at some point.  I have had a really hard time finding these faceted seed beads. Probably because they're expensive to carry.  Photos don't do this bead justice as they have a wonderful sparkle.  It's very pleasing to work with them.

Cluster Leaf Earrings $75

I will definitely have this set at my next show at the U-Club (unless someone contacts me sooner that wants them, I have been mailing a number of items out lately). 

The U-Club show is Thursday, December 5th in the afternoon.  11:00am-2:30pm

You can find my calender on the new improved too.  I'm getting much better at updating it.  Please bear with me as we get my photo galleries up on it too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blue Grey Deco Earrings and Bangle, Free Time Goods Hat

I can be really sporadic with my color choices  I have moved on to playing with a blue, grey and black mix.  I think I'll blame the Lansing Art Gallery because their 2013 Holiday Exhibition invites have a painting in this colorway that really struck me.  I'll probably get to see the painting tonight at their holiday art exhibit opening reception. 

I first sampled this color combo in the above earrings.  The original earrings in this design I made to match the Art Deco Bangle which has gotten a lot of positive feedback.  I wanted to whip up a quicker bangle to match these earrings so I drafted a smaller, simpler design as seen above.

I also have to give a shout-out to my girl Emily out in Aspen.  I saw a hat I loved in the Free People Holiday catalog, wanted it, but when I looked at the description the pom-pom was faux fur.  I cannot stand faux fur.  So I ordered a blue and brown mutation fox fur pom and begged Em to crochet me one of her Free Time Goods slouch hats quickly.  It's getting cold here in Michigan!  Also, I already have a Free Time Goods hat that I wear all of the time, so I knew that the quality of wool that Emily uses isn't itchy.

I don't like posting tons of photos of myself, but this has been my go-to look recently.  I usually can't wear my hair down because it gets in my face, but wearing glasses more has helped that issue.  Plus I love my new winter hat.
I want to wear this set for a minute, so it will make it's debut at my next Holiday Show on December 5th at the University Club.  More information can be found on my Calendar Page on  Which reminds me, my website has gone though some major changes!  I love the new design, we are still working on getting more images up on it.  So go check it out when you have the chance.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pattern Play Bangle from our Florida Road Trip

On my drive down and back to Florida with my husband in September I got to do the beading while he drove.  I'm sure there was something else I was supposed to be working on, but it seems that vacation can be the best time for me to focus my creative juices on something that I have been thinking about, but haven't gotten around to.  The last time this was really successful was when we were riding trains around Europe with my "Leaves Between Bangle."

So here are a few shots of how I bead in the car, my little tray/box thing rides on my lap:

(yes, those are old containers that Mary Kay eyeshadow came in)
I am constantly thinking about how I can use the stitches that I know in new ways.  This particular idea sprouted from a combination of the Netting Bangle, the Black Lattice Bangle and just having used the St. Petersburg Chain stitch on the newer Lavender, White and Grey combination Bangle.  I wanted to use narrower bangles with simple designs connected with smaller 15/0 beads in my netting stitch and St. Petersburg Chain Stitch.  I had packed a Green, Blue and Neutral combination of beads for this trip. Luckily, when I was at a point on this bangle that I needed even more variation in bead finishes and sizes I found The Bead Boutique in Naples, FL.
I had to graph out a few of the bangle designs, but most of this bangle was stitched on the fly.  I am ecstatic the way that it turned out.  I cannot wait to submit it to juried opportunities, I hope others enjoy it as much as I do.  It also looks really great on.  It can be worn alone, but when I showed my mom, she slipped it over her dark brown sweater sleeve and it was extremely dressy over the sleeve of her basic top.
I look forward to doing similar pieces in other colors.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Wall" Bangle and more upcoming holiday events

This is my first attempt at something that I want to look like a stone or brick wall.  Although I like the design, it's not my desired "look", I think it looks more like camouflage blocks.  Which I am ok with.  I did fall absolutely in love with this matte silver/pewter base color while making this piece.  This color ended up cropping up in my next little checker bangle and earring set.

As much as I have been trying to make some more holiday-looking pieces, I've given up and am just going with the flow.  There's a new lariat leaf necklace in an interesting Fall-colored combination that is over at Grove Gallery for our Holiday Preview Night this Friday.  I'm also finishing up a few more pieces for that.

Lansing Art Gallery is getting a refresh of my jewelry on Friday and they are having their Holiday Open house on Tuesday, November 19th from 5:30-7:00pm.

The following weekend I will be at Washtenaw Community College for the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild Holiday Sale. One day only, Saturday, November 16th, 2013. 10:00am-4:00pm

Are you ready for Holiday Sales? Because I think I'm getting there....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Checker Bangle & Earrings... Onward to Holiday

Checker Bangle $55, Checker Earrings $35
Now that I have gotten through Halloween and the weekend of the University of Michigan vs Michigan State football game in my front yard, I am getting into beading and organizing for holiday shows.  This actually entails a lot of shifting my work around, filling in pieces to make a good-looking grouping, and driving to swap work.  The next 4 days is the calm before the storm.
During this calm, I wonder what I should be making, try to get organized as best as I can, and just keep my fingers moving.  The above checker set is a matte silver and black basic design that goes with about anything.  I usually like to make sparkly-glitzy things, but I've been leaning towards neutrals since I've been experiencing some anxiety about color at the moment.
On Friday I will be swapping out jewelry at the Lansing Art Gallery in the morning.  Then we have our Holiday Gala Preview Party at Grove Gallery that night.  If you'd like to come, swing by between 5:00pm and 8:00pm and say that I sent you.  The members at Grove invite a number of guest artist's to pack-out our gallery space with lots of variety and gift-ideas.  Our Gala Preview is where you can have first-dibs on the newest items!  We shall see what I decide on for these two spaces by the week's end.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Costume 2013

I have been thinking about Halloween since June at least, but it often takes me until pretty last minute to decide and make my outfit.
This year's "ah ha" moment was when I happened upon some Gustav Klimt paintings. It took me back to when Zack and I were at the Textile Museum in DC a number of years ago. The exhibition was of the fabrics that adorned Gustav Klimt's homes.

The painting that I modeled my costume after is called "Expectation."  It was quite the process deciding how to drape this dress and whether to print the design or sew the design on.  Since I draped the dress first, I decided to sew. The gold fabric I found on my shopping trips in Florida, the collar and white base I picked up at Joann's, but the rest of the fabric is from my stash and old clothes that I cut apart.
I used a gold metallic thread for the top thread so it would be a little shiny and whites/yellows/whatever I had for the bottom.  If you can't see the underside, I usually don't get too picky about it.  I had some issues with the hat/wig combo, so I stitched and pinned the hat to the wig.  There's also a black ribbon to tie at the base of my neck to help anchor the whole thing. 
I did already post about the jewelry, Klimt 1 and Klimt 2 bangles and the earrings.  I do plan on putting more details into this piece. I want more of the "evil eyes" in it to be beaded and I have some areas that are to be filled in with red seed beads.  But for now, it's wearable and I'm not going to beat myself up about finishing it proper until after the holidays.
So HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I'm a pirate for the day (all of which are "regular" clothes for me, worn in a certain fashion) and back to this costume for evening festivities.
Danielle also says "Happy Halloween"....kinda.  She's a piggy this year, but it looks a little more like she's being eaten by a pig....


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Bangle Klimt 1 and Gold Swirl Earrings

I finished off the other bangle bracelet for my Halloween costume Sunday night.  This is called "Klimt 1" since it's the first one I drafted, but the second to be finished.  I posted "Klimt 2" last week.

The colors of these two bangles are drastically different, but that's what it looked like in the inspiration piece.  I was also trying to focus on using beads that I already had on hand.  I have not seen this painting in person, and the various images I have found seem to all be slightly different in color.  I'm focused on just using a lot of golds and yellows since Gustav Klimt was known for using gold leaf.

I also managed to knock out the rather large pair of beaded earrings.  I imagine in on Klimt's model these were probably metal, but beads are so much lighter weight.  Due to lack of detail in viewing the painting, I made up my own little swirl in the earrings.

Now to finish my headpieces, dress and make my husband's costume!  Wish me luck!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Bangle: Klimt 2

I have a few different pieces that I have been working on for my Halloween costume this year.  This is a little teaser because I finished this bangle last night. 
It's called "Klimt 2" because the inspiration is from a Gustav Klimt painting.  It's been fun following the color and design of another artist. It's the second of 2 bangles that I designed for this costume. The first one is close to done also.  I finished the second design first because I was stocking up on a bead order from Fire Mountain Gems and finally ordered it this week.  "Klimt 2" was already set up so it's done!!!
This piece is my "standard" size bangle and the width comes to 2.25 inches.  The green in this piece I picked up at a Florida bead shop and I'll be adding it to my regular color palette, it's a great bright opaque green.  The brown color in this is actually a matte plum.  Next to the champagne color base it looks too brown for me.  If I was to re-do this bangle I would make it a brighter purple.

Back to sewing mine and my husband's costumes.  I made a ton of headway yesterday.  This was me all day yesterday:

Monday, October 14, 2013

What happened to my old loom?

This is a follow-up post to the excitement of having a "new" loom, which I give the background of how I got my first loom, but not where it's gone for a new life.

When I had purchased Delilah from Sue, I started thinking about what to do with my old loom.  I didn't want to keep her because I don't want two looms with basically the same function, and I don't have the room in the "loom room."

I got this loom for free, should I put it up on Craigslist for free? Should I give it to someone? Should I sell it? and for how much?

I decided that I wanted it to go to someone who would weave on it and not just take it with the idea that they would eventually get around to it/learn to weave.  This meant either selling it to a stranger, or finding someone I knew who was looking for a loom. Then I remembered my friend Amy and the brief visit to her place in Cincinnati, OH on my solo road trip last year.  She was chatting excitedly that she had claimed a room in the house she shares with Rhys to get back to her artwork.  She was in the fiber program at Eastern Michigan University back in the day, but before that we grew up together (I think we've been friends since high school, but I wonder if it's been longer?).  She had a connection to someone who was going to sell her a loom.  So I texted her and asked if she ever got that loom, and she said no, it fell though.  Then it went something like this...I think...(in my head anyway)....

Do you want mine?

What? Really? How much?

Free. You just have to promise you'll use it.

Well I'm not sure how to get it down here, but yes.

I can bring it down, it fits in my car. I've never really visited Cincinnati before anyway.

Can I pay you for gas?

No, just let us crash at your place for the weekend and we'll go out in the city.  I'll help you set up the loom and get you going.  It'll be fun.

And it was.  As large as this loom is, it fit into the back of Zack's Chevy Cruze when it's in all it's pieces.  We drove down for the weekend and got the loom set up and had a fun night out in Cincinnati, I'm looking forward to another visit already.

Photos are compliments of Amy, she's already got it warped and going.  Yay!  Pass on the weaving-karma. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

My latest Jewelry at Grove Gallery

Leaf Lariat Necklace  $260.00
I did pull some new work together to put into Grove Gallery recently.  I sent my fall red/purple mix over to Angelwood Gallery and I have been dying to stitch up these sparkly green seed beads, so here's a fresh green and blue set with some gold accents.
Netting with Swarovski Pearls Bracelet  $75.00
Cluster Earrings  $75.00
Leaf Earrings with pearls $55.00
I also brought in a different earring display (which I have used in my tent set-ups in the past), which looks very nice in the gallery, as long as I can keep it full.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Happy Plaidurday!

It's Plaidurday!  Which also falls 4 days before Spinning and Weaving Week (#SandWW), October 7-13, 2013 this year.  So get out your favorite plaid-related wearable out (or all of them) and get out there to celebrate your threads.  The Celebrate Plaid write-up this year does a good run-down on all the plaid, so I had to jump in. 

Then I was thinking about "what do I have that's plaid?"  One button-up shirt. A long Scottish skirt that was my mom's (real plaid, wool, and I don't think fits any longer), a few items in my old "short skirt collection" (which definitely do not fit anymore) and then I remember I had created bangles that were plaid-inspired.  Alas, I have none on hand and no time to make one, maybe I'll have it more together next year.

I know that the fuchsia/black bangle is at Angelwood Gallery. 

"Everybody Loves Plaid" my largest plaid-themed bangle (top) is owned by Jill Ault's daughter (who's name escapes me at the moment, I'm sorry!) I made 2 other smaller plaid bangles along the way which have also been purchased.  I suppose I should make more eh?  So off I go today in my plaid!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Meet Delilah, my "new" Macomber Loom

Thanks to various opportunities in my lifetime, I have gotten to weave on many different types of looms.  I started learning to weave by helping Joetta (a member of my guild at the time, the Black Sheep Weavers) warp looms in the summer at the school she taught at.  I have no idea what I was weaving on back then, I was just happy to be on a floor loom.

In college, I ended up weaving on many smaller floor looms to start off, but as my weaving projects got larger, I graduated to using the larger looms in the class and for the most part taking it over for a good two years. The loom I favored was a 12 harness Macomber Loom.

As I was finishing up my art degree, my professor offered a loom up for grabs that had been donated to the fiber program.  Sherri would always tell people that the Art School was happy to take looms and then she would send them off with a student that wanted one.  I was one of these students. To this day, I'm still not sure what my old loom brand was, but despite it's large size, it could break down far enough for me to move it in a station wagon and put it back together without help (although help was always nice).

My post-college loom moved from Michigan to Colorado to Wisconsin and back to Michigan with me. It was functional for my purposes since it was a four harness which meant I could still do double weave and Theo Mooreman inlay weave on it. I was weaving a significant amount while in Colorado, but then was beading a lot more as I moved around and weaving projects sat for longer on my loom so I didn't think much about upgrading.  Then I got my dye lab fully up and running, meaning I can now dye my own yarn, and the amount I started to weave increased as did my frustration with the old loom.  So, I started keeping my eyes peeled for a Macomber that was more than four harnesses.

I look at Craigslist a lot to see what kind of looms people are trying to move.  I found a post for a Macomber that has 6 harnesses but can take up to 10 harnesses.  After assessing the post, I realized that it was probably my friend Sue selling it because she was amidst a move and one only puts a loom up for sale with no reed if you're still weaving.  So I asked her about it and Sue said I should take a look because she had cannibalized some of the parts on this loom to put on to her other Macomber.  After taking a look, I wrote her a check and we celebrated with wine.  I didn't have to move it right away and I needed my husband and another strong guy (Pat) to carry it out of Sue's basement and lift it in and out of the trailer that Sue luckily was willing to help move her to my house.  And so, I finished my last weaving on the old loom, took her apart and moved the Macomber to her new home in my loom room.  I decided on the name Delilah for her and put on a sample weaving of leftover warp from "In Progress."  I wanted to use all of the harnesses to make sure I didn't need to get parts right away.  I finished a piece of fabric to use at my 3-Day workshop with Mary Sue Fenner at Michigan League of Handweaver's Conference and it is now part of a jacket.

I really enjoyed weaving fabric for the sake of weaving fabric again.  It's the closest to the feeling of meditating that I've had in a long time.  So I wound off a warp with a ton of leftover rayon that I dyed in college and am ready for some more-meditative work between the insanity of making my Halloween Costume (potentially a larger undertaking than last year's jellyfish costume) and the onslaught of Holiday shows.

Neon with Muted Greens and Tan Jewelry Multi Loop Checker Earrings and Bangle

Between perusing Pinterest for current color ideas and watching the movie  Poor Things  I had the urge to play more with the neon green-yell...