Monday, June 23, 2014

Shannon's Wedding Bracelet

Every once in a while I get to do a wedding piece.  I have done veils, hair combs and the occasional bracelet.  This past weekend my brother in law got married and I was fortunate enough to get to make a bracelet for his bride, Shannon.  

(in the process of working on it)

Shannon's mom had handed over her own wedding dress for Shannon to use however she wanted to for her wedding.  I was pretty nervous to start cutting into someone else's wedding dress, but it got easier after we chopped an arm off.  

We decided that the best piece of lace for the bracelet was the point that came around the wrist and pointed down the hand.  In order to make it continue to lay flat, I brought a string of beads from the point and into a ring around her middle finger.  Shannon helped pick out seed bead accents that went along with her wedding dress.  This bracelet had a snap closure and we used one of the little fabric buttons from the back of her mom's dress as a detail over the closure.  All of the crystal and pearl accents came off of her mom's tiara veil.

I also had a chance to snap a picture of her shoes after she switched into flip flops at the wedding.  They're a little dirty from running around the yard taking photos and the ceremony, it reminds me of how trashed my shoes at my own wedding got!  I had mentioned that we were working on shoes together in this previous post.  The lace on her shoes is also from her mother's wedding dress.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Yellow 3-Pod Earrings

Three-Pod Earrings $100.00

I had been wanting to play around with layering beaded pod forms for a while and here I finally get around to finishing something.  This particular idea of layering came about when I was brainstorming ways to use beaded pods together.  The class that I am teaching at the Michigan League of Handweaver's Summer Workshops has a portion where I show students how to make pods and I wanted examples of beaded pods integrated together.

I have really been into muted yellows, probably due to a new vintage hat that I picked up at the Livingston Antique Outlet (one of our favorites).  I had pulled these yellows together and made pairs of pods to start connecting.


I debated between making earrings or a bracelet for some time.  I really like the way the leaves fan out when they're connected.  So they sat on a shelf full of beads for a while until I decided they needed to be done last week.  Earrings tend to be easiest for me to wrap my head around with a new design.

An interesting tidbit about these pods, all six of them have the exact same bead count, and all three seed beads are, in theory, size 11/0.  The top pod (smallest one) are delicas, the middle pod is from a hank of seed beads I picked up at the bead store in Marquette, MI, and the larger bottom pod is from a vial of beads I bought in Seattle last spring.  Just a reminder that size count varies from each seed bead brand.  

Side View as they're being stitched together

Back View

(This is the above-mentioned hat)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Valeta's Gears Bangle Commission

The gears bangle has been on my radar for some time, the problem (I think for a lot of artists) is when the person your making the commission for says that it's not a rush, then it takes a very very long time to move to the front of the "to do" line.  So it kept getting put on the back burner, but once this piece was taking up one of my pistol cases it was time to get it done!

I had done a sample gear from the pattern that I had graphed out first. (above)  I was concerned that the peyote stitch that I use on these bangles wouldn't hold a gear shape well.  Luckily, Valeta had a jpg of a slew of gear shapes that she often uses in her design work which gave me a much better direction on this piece.  I wanted the gears to layer some, but not so much that it was overwhelming and you couldn't tell they were gears. Valeta helped me narrow down some colors and I was excited to find that she likes all metallics, including gold, her watch that she wears is a good example.

As a break from the intense beading I was doing at my artist's residency I finally started in on Valeta's gears bangle.  The first 3 rows are always the hardest and need a lot of concentration in the counting off of the graph, so it was a nice break from the more free-form sculptural beading that I was working on at Blueberry View.

I ran out of the light grey beads that I used as a base for this piece, so I was in a holding pattern until I could place another order from Fire Mountain Gems.  I had to prep for the St. Petersburg Chain class that I was teaching at Interlochen which included ordering a few more bead options for my students so it was perfect timing to make sure I had all of the beads I needed for the gears bangle.

Once I got home from teaching, I started to pile up jewelry to get over to the Lansing Art Gallery.  I try to do this a week in advance in case I need to make a few more earrings or fillers for the color grouping.  I thought about adding a bracelet, but then I chose to focus on Valeta's bangle before jumping into another piece of jewelry.  Remember that I 'm making less jewelry this year?  :)

So this this past weekend, between house projects, was a perfect time to finish this bangle.  I really love how it turned out, so does Valeta (I stole the above photo off of her Facebook page today).

While I was at Blueberry View I did have the compulsion to start to time the amount of time I put into various types of work. Whether its beading jewelry, working on beaded sculpture, even the amount of time I put into being on the computer for artwork-related work (the timer is running right now).  Based on my spreadsheet this piece took about 30 hours. I don't exactly capture every single moment, but I have downloaded an app on my phone that lets me keep track of time, pause, and attach the time to different projects.  I hope it will give me a more realistic idea of time frames on work and how much I really am working (I did over 100 hours in just short of two weeks at Blueberry View!).

So sometimes when I finish a large piece of jewelry, I really like the colors and will make a quicker piece to add to my rotating inventory.  The below mixed seed bead bangle in grey, white and blacks came from Valeta's beads for the most part.  I do this before sort all of the beads back into their containers and prepare my case to v\be available for the next project.

Mixed Seed Bead Bangle  $70.00

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Shoe Project with Shannon

I offered to help Shannon with anything that is jewelry or fiber-related for her wedding.  When she was visiting us this winter she said she was having trouble finding shoes that she liked and she wanted them to have lace on them.  Well, we were already cutting the lace off of her mother's wedding dress (I know, I keep holding my breath whenever I cut), so since we have plenty of extra lace I suggested that I had a link from Pinterest about applying lace to a pair of shoes.

I had pinned this a while back because my favorite pair of patent leather platforms had a nasty tear in them, not on a seam, so they aren't really repair-able to look good, so I wanted to fix them myself. (See below photos)

Shannon and I had gone shoe shopping during the last visit, we found a pair of white Nine West shoes that were cute and comfortable.  She brought them over last Tuesday and we worked on our shoes.

(Shannon in the background pinning her lace on)

As we were cutting the lace, I figured it was much easier to pin the lace on loosely, in position, and tack it down with glue. We used Aleene's Fabric Glue.  After the glue set, we layered on the Mod Podge.  

You can see above, I stitched my tear shut.  I used my sewing machine to punch the holes, but I hand-stitched button thread through the holes I created because it was too awkward to try to stitch it in my machine.

Another major edit I applied to my shoes was nail polish.  These shoes have been through the trenches of Lansing (and Chicago, maybe some other cities), so they're pretty messed up.  I used a grey metallic-ish nail polish on the heels and to make it look consistent, on the platform part of the toe box. 

They're still not perfect, but I think I'll get another year or two of wear out of them before they're done for good.  Yes, I did try to find a replacement, but Guess isn't making this style anymore. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

St. Petersburg Chain Stitch Class: Teaching at Interlochen

I had a great time at Interlochen the first weekend of this month.  It was the first class that I taught at this facility and it has a wonderful classroom set up.  The class check in was 8:30-9:00am.  We had a little issue as to where the class was located.  Now I'll be remembering that it is the building attached to the left of the Phoenix Theater, towards the back of the campus (away from the lake).

The above photo is the sample photo I used for the class.  I encourage people to choose their own colors, but I think in the future I will offer the exact kits from the sample image.s (if possible, I do run out of bead colors sometimes!)

Here's a small photo from my phone of 4 of my 6 students. 2 of them had  leave early and come in early to let me know.  The St. Petersburg chain really is an all-day class. The stitch needs concentration and repetition to start catching on to it.  It's kind-of a beginners class, but I really liked one of the terms that was thrown out there: Confident Beginner.  Everyone is so very different as far as their background with a needle and thread, then adding beads into it.  If you've never ever done any sort of fiber technique or worked with needle and thread (even with fabric), I would say this is a novice class.  But I have had fiber-people tell me that it can be labeled as beginner.  I prefer to start any beginner beader on Peyote Stitch.  It's a great way to start with beadweaving and see if you like it.  The stitch doesn't have as many twists and turns as the St. Petersburg chain.

I am terrible at taking photos during events, so, alas, I did not get any pictures of the group together or of their finished work.  I did send out an email that they could provide me with a photo of their finished piece for my blog post.  Judy responded enthusiastically with the below image of her bracelet.  She also started a second bracelet during the class.

One of the adjustments that I want to make to teaching this class is to use 3 different colors of beads like Judy did below.  That way I think it will be less confusing as to which is the middle of the bracelet and which is the outside while we stitch it.

Judy's Bracelet

Kathy L's Bracelet

Nicole and Diane's Unfinished Bracelets

As usual, the more I teach, the more I learn about what different students needs are and I become a better teacher. Thank you so much for supporting me, my artwork, and taking my workshops.  I really enjoy teaching, it's a wonderful break from the studio!

Me next class is in two-drop peyote stitch on June 30 2014. You can register for it HERE.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Jewelry Sets for Lansing Art Gallery

I just finished a few extra items to complete a set of jewelry that I'm taking over to the Lansing Art Gallery today.

Tiny St. Petersburg bracelet: $40.00, Ombre Peyote Stitch Bracelet $45.00

Above are the two bracelets I finished up this morning. I really love playing with the ombre style, the seed beads really lend themselves to the changing of color.

Below are the rest of the pieces I'm bringing over.  

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...