Friday, September 27, 2013

Beaded Jewelry off to Angelwood Gallery, Ohio

Leaf Lariat Necklace  $240
I had a few bumps along the way in finishing up pieces for a grouping to send to Angelwood Gallery yesterday, but the box is with the US Postal Service this morning and I even remembered to take photos.  Excuse the lack of set-up for these photos.  I was trying to work as fast and efficiently as possible.
Cluster Earrings $75
Leaf Earrings $55
Leaf Bracelet $85
Leaf Pendant $55
Spike Bangle $75
Braided Bangle $400
Chevron earrings $40
Cluster Earrings $75
Leaf Bracelet $85
Pod Earrings $55
Block Earrings $40
Two Drop Block Bracelet $55
The bracelet and earrings came about yesterday amidst my frustrations with FedEx and running a system restore on my computer.  Waiting on the phone and waiting for the computer to get it's act together can bring about good things.  I really love the blocking of the bracelet and the fact that it led to a new earring design for me. 
I think Danielle could tell that I was having a rough day (technology/printer issues, then 3 hours trying to get FedEx to help me with no luck).  She followed me from room to room and settled in as I worked. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Road Trip Fiber Art Shopping

I'm still trying to sort out projects, beads, yarn and warps my loom(s), but we did go on a road trip to Florida at the end of last month/beginning of this month.  When we travel, I try to find bead and yarn shops to stop into.  Every town is different, and I never know what interesting things I'll find in a new bead or yarn shop.

Our first stop was Charleston, South Carolina and I found Beads on Cannon just before we headed out of town.  If you're into strands upon strands of beads, this is a great place. The downstairs was glass, and tons of new styles of beads that have been coming out (including spikes, which I bought a ton of).  The upstairs houses all of their precious metal findings and millions of strands of gemstones and pearls.  They were very limited on seed beads and the place was tight. With the two women working and 3 customers plus 2 husbands in there, it was a bit hard to move around, but I bet it's not usually that busy.  It's a fun little store to visit if you're in the area.

Our next destination was Savannah, Georgia.  I couldn't find a bead store via walking around or Google, but I did find The Frayed Knot, which had a little bead shop area in the back.  I loved the array of yarns they had, and instead of organized by the brand of yarn, it was organized by color.  This is how I organize all of my beads and yarns, so it made it easy for me to shop.  They also had cones of cotton for weavers too, which I was impressed.  The owner was out of town, but her husband was there building her a new cash wrap and he was very helpful and informed.

Naples, had The Bead Boutique. I think I spent two hours in there.  I am always looking for more interesting seed beads and this place was awesome.  I have been on the hunt for more 3-cut size 11 and 12 seed beads.  They're not carried as often in the bead stores I shop at here in Michigan.  I'm not sure if it's because they're costly to carry and also they don't sell quickly because of the price, but the Bead Boutique had them, and yes, they can be around $25 for a long tube (below), but they are beautiful and I re-stocked while I was there.  I also was convinced to try out a "better" beading needle.  I go through needles pretty quickly, so I figured they were worth a try.  The way I pack thread into seed beads is not conducive for these expensive needles though.  The plating on the needle started to shred off on the first project I used it on. Oh well, they were worth a try.  The woman that was talking to me was trying to sell me on using different thread too, but I've tried everything she was suggesting and I prefer to stick to my nymo.  I also purchased a few delicas that I don't already have for colors for the first bangle that I'm making for my Halloween costume.  They had quite the selection of delicas too.  Always the sign of a good bead store for me.

On this trip I also happened to be looking for fabric stores.  I find it really unfortunate that there is usually just a Joann's, even in larger towns.  I struck gold though when we were in Orlando.  The Sewing Studio is just outside of Orlando in Maitland.  It doesn't look like too much from the outside, but walking around in there was amazing.  I don't collect fabric, and if I did, my pocketbook would have been in trouble.  I stuck to my task at hand, looking for the perfect gold base color for my Halloween costume and I lucked out, I found a gorgeous sale fabric that had plenty of yardage for my project.

So now I've been spending time making jewelry to complete groupings to send to Angelwood Gallery and I've re-set at Grove Gallery with some fresh pieces.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lavender-Grey-White Beaded Jewelry

I don't know about you, but I've become somewhat addicted to Pinterest.  Instead of scanning my twitter feed in my down time (watching tv, standing in line at the grocery store...) I've been perusing colorful designs and patterns relating to nearly anything you can think of.  Sometimes, a color combination really haunts me as this outfit layout below did.
Gone are the days of rues like you're not supposed to wear white shoes after Labor Day, and fall/winter has been very accepting of pastels.  I love this lavender/oatmeal/grey/off-white look for some reason. So I picked up my little lavender beads and started making something to go with an outfit like this.
Cluster Earrings $75.00

Leaf Bracelet $85
I finished the earrings and bracelet, but wanted something a little different.  So, an idea that's been rolling around in my head came to fruition. I sandwiched the St. Petersburg Chain stitch between two narrow bangles.  The tiny beads don't fit perfect in the middle, so it gives a pleasant little texture between the two smooth white pieces.
St. Petersburg Bangle $90
This new bangle style is a step off in a fun different direction.  If you've been following me on facebook, twitter or instagram, you've had a preview.  


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Shibori Tunic Top

I've been finishing up some loose ends of projects that I want to make for myself.  I'll be entering pieces into competitions too, but sometimes I just need to make a piece of clothing, play with my dyes, get back into shibori pole wrapping. So that it what this top was about.

I found that I really enjoyed dyeing the rayon knit that I used in last year's Halloween costume, so I purchased some in white when it went on sale.  I always have these big plans to make stuff that I want to wear, but then it falls by the wayside.  I pole-wrapped and dyed this fabric, started pinning it to my dress form, and then let it sit. 


I hacked off the bottom piece when I decided it was too long and over-dyed it for the bottom band.  Then it sat some more.  Mostly because of my fear of using my sewing machine.  I wanted this piece to look finished, and I don't fully trust sewing machines.  I've had a few too many things eaten by them.

However, after my class with Mary Sue Fenner, and 3 1/2 days of quality sewing-machine time, I came home ready to finish this top!

(Back side of the top)
(This still has some pins in it, but I like it with the brown leggings)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

10 years of Beaded Bangles

I don't know about you, but where I live, there's lots of ruckus going on as college students move into East Lansing getting ready for another year of college at Michigan State University.  I went to the University of Michigan, but I'm sure the hubbub of move-in and welcome week is about the same for the Ann Arbor locals.  And so, every September I am reminded of my college days and what I was doing then, and where I am now because of it.

Around my junior year of college, I had started to integrate my beadwork into pieces in both my Fiber Art Studio and Metals/Jewelry Studio.  Both professors were interested in my beading, which I was only really doing on my own, outside of art classes.

I was concerned about my beading being too much "craft" and not enough "art" (I still don't like the term "craft", but I grin and bear it in lots of situations because the line is so very undefined).  At the time, my beadwork was really more of a "craft" but I always came back to it.  There were certainly stints where I didn't touch my beads (unimaginable these days!), but something always drew me to the meditative detailed work that is involved in Peyote Stitch.  In the Summer of 2013 I decided to push my beading.  I had taken a small step with a little sculpture at one point:

(I apologize for the bad photo, maybe I'll get a better one eventually)

But beyond that I was still beading simple peyote stitch strips of necklaces and bracelets.  I was also still making amulet purses at the time, which is the jewelry form that I had started using graph paper to plan out patterns on.  My amulet purses start as a circle that I then press flat when its done and stitch up the bottom.  Eventually I starting thinking that I could make a bangle the same way I was making the amulet purse, but on a much larger scale, which was intimidating.

(Amulet purse)

And so, the summer after my junior year of college, I was working 3 jobs and decided that in my free time I would push my beadweaving.  I was teaching kinder-campers at the Ann Arbor Art Center summer camp and was inspired by what my students were painting during Australia week.  So I drafted a large bangle pattern that was a 4 pattern repeat bangle. 

It took me all summer to make.  I hadn't read peyote stitch graph paper on such a large scale, so it was easy to get lost, I didn't have a huge stash of delicas since they're expensive, and I ran into problems along the way that I can't even remember what they were now.  And so, I finished my first "Dream Bangle."  I told myself that I'd never be making another one of those again.  Then I showed it to my fiber professor, Sherri Smith, and she told me that I was "getting it."  So, my bangles were born, and they've been a fantastic form with function for me to advance my designs ad ideas.  The Dram Bangle was even accepted into the first international exhibit that I got into too.  So happy 10 years beaded bangles, I have some new things in the works!

Weaving and Life Update

I'm close to the end of my "Yes And" weaving commission. I can see the end of the cartoon and the warp. I was on a roll weavin...