Friday, November 23, 2012

Inspiration and Exploration

Several months ago, I thought of a great book idea - coronation or royal jewelry in seed beadwork,  I have been toying with several ideas and pieces over the last several months, including the inspiration for a  piece that I just finished.  See the medallion in the center?  I could see it in my mind, but wasn't certain.
 (p.s.  I have misplaced my reference for this photo - I know it's around here and I will credit and link to the original when I can find it)
How was I going to do this?  Brick, peyote, RAW?  Nope, bead embroidery.  I drew up a sketch with some ideas that I thought was going to work?  Crystal chain?  Yes,this was going to be my friend with this piece.  I cut the base out of a bead embroidery base fabric, glued and sewed the chain down.  I beaded around this and ended up cutting the round bits off the piece.  I realized that I was going to have to bezel some 39ss rivolis for the corners, which are then joined with the 3-bead picot that is around this piece.  A 14mm glass pearl is in the center of the piece with layers of square stitch beading to give it height.
It was finished this afternoon (except maybe for a pearl pendant at the bottom) and I think that I captured the essence of the piece.  I adapted a bail at top, replacing the crown that was in the original.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Memories of Istanbul - the traveling bracelet saga continues

...While I have heard about the traveling bracelet on Facebook, and peeked into the blog to see what was going on, I didn't believe that I would be fortunate to become part of this fun story.  Several months ago, Dot Llewelyn (Speedy Beader) and I made plans to take classes at 1 Stop Beads in Columbus, Ohio when we knew that Marcia DeCoster would be there - what fun!  Sadly, I had done both the projects that were being taught - what's the sense of me signing up again!  (not independently wealthy).  I decided to let Marcia know what we were planning and what she thought.  Ends up that I assisted Marcia for the class days and hung out with Dot at the same time.  What a winning solution.

Marcia and I perform a handoff of the bracelet
Marcia was in receipt of the Memories of Istanbul bracelet and asked me if I wanted to be part of the journey that this bracelet would take - and we could do a hand-off, instead of mailing while I was in Ohio!!

The bracelet was with me while I tried my first beer in a Greek restaurant in Columbus.

At the border learning about Michigan and how it becme a state

 So the bracelet is now in my possession and I promise - no crack houses while in Detroit.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012 Bead and Button Show

Very late in my update of the show - and it was a really nice show this year. I don't know why I felt that it was so relaxing (more than other years), when actually I didn't have lots of time to visit with friends that I had just met in March (which was a bummer). But I came home relaxed, energized and ready!   The above picture is my traditional "stash" picture showing my purchases for the trip.  I did really well this year, stayed within budget!

Amy Blevins and I cut up in the Miller Time Pub! 
And here, Martina and I share a quiet moment with a sneaky Marcia peeking in behind us!

 Marcia kicked me out of class one day as all the beaders were doing an amazing job and she didn't need me (sob!).  So to bury my sorrows, Sue and I went to "Rudy's Mexican" by the river in Milwaukee.  Yum!  And a $5.00 Margarita!  Love.  It.

 I don't think that Amy Blevins and I will be allowed to be together without a chaperone again.  We managed to act like fools to get a photo of our celebrity sighting of Amy Winehouse (RIP).  But it was great fun, lots of giggling and behaving as if we hadn't grown up.  Wait.  Maybe I haven't.

 Marcia and I at the very popular Toho party - what a really nice gathering of some of the finest seed bead artists in the country.  Yes, that was a little pink in my hair as I "channel my inner Marcia"!

   Sabine Lippert tells me a little secret about something that was pretty funny at the time!  (Perhaps she was correcting my pretty bad German with my funny accent)

Marcia does a demo for Toho Beads at their booth on the last day of the show.  She looks awesome in her red tunic, I think!

And Tracy and I hug goodbye!  Such a sad thing to say when I know I won't see her for a year (unless I up and move to Seattle).

Key Worthy!

I started making beaded keys earlier in the year after seeing the pattern in a Fall issue of Beadwork magazine by Cynthia Rutledge.  What a cool pattern and I would often wear them in multiples on a chain - just a necklace of fun beadwork!

When I was on my cruise in May, I had the opportunity to learn porcupine quillwork on the cruise with Ray McKeown. What a gentle and giving man he is.  Ray told us about the Lakota-Metis people and his heritage. Works of Ray's have appeared in the "Dances with Wolves" and "White Fang" movies!

Ray also taught us the art of giving items that we cherish, items we really like.  I was talking with the wild and crazy Wired Arts girls - Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley - during dinner in Seattle and telling them about Ray and what I learned.  I told them the story about how Ray gifted a young couple from Scotland with a bag that he made years ago and always traveled with.

During our evening together, Janice mentioned my key necklace and if she could see one - certainly, you can see one.  Right then and there, I decided that I had to gift them a key.  Key worthy friends that I only see once or twice a year.  Janice insisted that she didn't mean that when she asked to see the keys, and I know that she didn't - which is why I knew they both needed a key.

Since then, I have gifted two other keys - one to Marcia DeCoster and one to April, the fiance of our favorite Milwaukee bartender, David (and let's plug his wonderful new place, The Noble).

Fortunately, I enjoy making the keys, adapting the pattern a little to fit me, and I am feeling the need to make more.  Who knows who I will gift one to next! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beading by the Bay 2012

This year I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful retreat called "Beading by the Bay" - I am so happy that I went. Hopping on a plane to attend a beading retreat in California isn't my lifestyle, but through some miracles and good Christmas presents, I was able to go.
I flew out on Thursday morning (March 8th) from Detroit and landed for a quick layover in Denver...or so I thought. Rats. Two hour delay. Actually for me, it wasn't an issue. By the time that I got to the gate at the airport, I knew that the plane was en route. I didn't have a minute of "OMG, I am not going to make this..."
Funny thing was flying across the mid-west/central states - there was no snow on the ground that I could see between Detroit and Denver. None. Frozen lakes - yes. Snow? Nope. It wasn't until the plane left Denver that I started seeing snow in the higher elevations.
The instructors at this retreat were Sherry Serafini, Rachel Nelson-Smith and Marcia DeCoster - with three days of wonderful instruction, inspiration and sharing of learning and ideas. I don't know if I have learned as much as I did in this weekend in a long time.
On my first evening in Burlingame, CA - I went to dinner with Susan, Peggy and Lavinia to the Broadway Grill - what a posh place! To my surprise, Miss California came in and sat at the next booth. My attempts to take her picture were pretty horrible, until the mother of these two kids came up to see if she'd mind having her picture taken with the kids. That's when I snapped this picture.
I re-met some Facebook friends, met some new friends and generally had a really nice time. The participates were split into three groups, so you really got to bond with the women that you spent time with.
The sponsors - Swarovski and Lark, together with Susan Kazarian, owner of Bead Frenzy - and of course Marcia (and Mark) DeCoster - put a wonderful, high quality retreat. I decided today (my first day back at work) that all the $$ that I earn from being a notary will go right into my BBTB 2013 wallet! Earned $15 today!
p.s. These aren't my feet - but someone with very fancy Birkenstocks who has been saying that toe socks are just wrong....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dilemas in India - well, not really...

I've been working fairly consistently on the Taj Mahal for the last several weeks, and have made good headway into this picture. The picture above shows the minarets in better detail and you can see the subtle shading in them, along with the swirls of blue in the sky. Below is a different angle of the piece, along with some of the trees that were in the original clip art picture. I have removed some of the picture, because I have seen recent photos where there are not many trees any longer. So shades of green become my trees, and shades of browns and golds become the earth.
Below shows my four choices of beads for the walkway that surrounds the reflection pond in front of the Taj Mahal. The first was a little too fancy for what I wanted (it's the string of beads that I threaded for a sample. Bead #2 is a permanent finish matte silver, that wasn't contrasting enough. Bead #3 is a permanent finish matte gold bead and #4 was a wonderful ivory with a gold interior (but a size 15).
The winner was bead #3 - the matte gold bead - enough contrast without being jarring, enough colour that it doesn't hide, either. The picture below show the whole canvas. You can see that I tried to use "sidewalk" line (on the right side of the pond), but the size 11's didn't fit right. My buddy Sue, suggested that I use one color of bead in different sizes from front to back. Good suggestion, but it was late at night and they weren't in my stash. Since Alan and I are still counting pennies, I made do with what I had. I'm happy with it. On this, you can also see that I have painted out some lines that I didn't want, added circles to help with the lines on the sky.
When will I finish? Who knows.....I don't really have a deadline!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Taj Mahal continues....

I posted about my tapestry of the Taj Mahal in November here and thought it was time for an update. I have made great progress on the building itself - including the door area, which I think looks really good. All of the building has been completed in size 15 seed beads - fairly small.

The sky, clouds, trees, and ground will be completed in size 11 seed beads. The reflecting pond in front will probably see me working again in size 15 beads to try and put in a reflection of the dome. That's going to be a challenge that will be fun to see how it works out. The dome (which I will complete after the sky is beaded in) will also be in size 15s.
The other thing that is new in my life is tattoo #3 - I had the above tattooed on the back of my neck. It is the word "love" in stylized Arabic writing and I "love" it. Why this? All you need is love. Right? But why in Arabic? In the area of metro Detroit that I live in, it's a heavily Arabic community and I have known Arabic people for most of my life. I respect their religion, beliefs and many are friends that I know that I can count on (as I have friends in all religions and non-religions). In this day and age of mistrust and hatred of things that are not generally understood (why is it that if we don't understand, we must hate?) Also, it's beautiful! Why would I choose a Chinese symbol that everyone is choosing and having tattooed - I want something different. If you are in the Metro Detroit area and looking for a great tattoo artist, call Liquid Chaos in Dearborn Heights at 313-299-3435 and schedule and appointment with Mark Matias.