Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stepping Out!

I'm working on the material I will cover in my second Interweave video.  The first on Right Angle Weave also covered the fundamentals of Cubic Right  Angle Weave.  You can purchase the dvd or a digital download which is very competitively priced.

This one will cover a really broad range of Cubic Right Angle weave techniques, including shapes with  turning corners, shapes with curves, embellishments and a foray into prismatic right angle weave, which is basically the same thread path but with a different number of beads then the four which make up a cube.

So what do step outs entail?  Think of it like the cooking show where all the prep work is done on camera and then the completed recipe is taken out of the oven…..only more work!

For each technique shown, I need to make three to four samples that show different bits of the process including the finished one.  For example, I will show how to start the first cube for a square, then pick up the prepped piece where I turn the first corner, then pick up the piece where I have turned the 4th corner so that I can show the join.  All this so you don't have to sit and watch me build the 15 cubes it would take for me to show you the entire process.  And that is just one square.

I am not in anyway shape or form complaining. I actually love the process of thinking through how to effectively share the most important on camera steps to lead one along in learning the skills.

I have an outline, well four as the information will be presented in different videos and chapters within the videos and steps within the chapters.  So each set of step outs gets a bobbin and a step number, and then it goes in a small bag with other step outs from that chapter and then the chapters go into a big bag for the that video.

On an unrelated note, isn't this a pretty site, ancient bells that were mostly packaged up yesterday.  Psst….there are four aqua gold ones left….


It is a rather graceful design.  I have an idea for some different tips and may re-release this with the variation as time allows, but for now there are these four and no more.

Two more days of step outs and then I turn my attention to some last minute details for Beading by the Bay, on to Tucson and then off to Colorado to film the video.  It will likely be ready sometime in April, so if you've been wanting to learn or expand on your CRAW knowledge this might be just the right video for you.

Monday, January 26, 2015

David Chatt

Seventeen years ago I took a two day David Chatt class and you may notice that right angle weave became a go to stitch for me.  There are so many reasons, but design versatility was as big one.  I know other artists who 'think' in peyote or ndebele or….any number of other stitches, but for me if I can envision it, I can usually sort out how I would approach it in right angle weave and more recently in cubic right angle weave.

Last weekend and this, I had the opportunity to take my second David Chatt class.  It is amazing what seventeen years contributed to my own skills, but also amazing that I still had so much to learn from David.  His approach to teaching is to provide you with a  huge 'sketchbook' of bits and pieces of his work.  He is open to describing any of the techniques he used in these pieces and allows the class and each individual to guide him in the direction of the class.  Everyone gets individual time during the class to discuss their particular work direction and resolve any problems and articulate ideas.

Given that this class consisted in a large part with girls I bead with on a regular basis, the collective knowledge will help all of us as we move forward exploring the various bits and pieces we are beading.  There is a beaded godzilla in the works, pyramids, covered hardware cloth, cubic raw boxes and from our head science and math nerd Cindy all kinds of variations that were ideas sparked by David and taken further by Cindy.

One of the class exercises should we choose, was to cover an unusual object…here are Davids keys and doll.  There were also army men and dogs.

Day one David provided some hints for the construction of the pyramid and on day two a couple of more hints with the challenge to create one during the week between classes.  Three people were able to do that with the hints provided, I was not one of them.

Here's the group with David smiling, likely after one of his amusing stories.  I remember his story telling and sense of humor from my first class and that hasn't changed.

Susan and Agnes watch intently as David describes the construction of a clasp that they found fascinating.

The group….Emily included!

The bits and pieces on the table give you an idea of everyone's individual explorations.    Judy Walker is intent on covering her hardware cloth box.

One of my breakthroughs….guided by David 

It was an excellent weekend and a memory that I will cherish.  I have many new ideas to explore!  David does not teach a lot, but if you should find him on a schedule near you I would not miss the opportunity.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ancient Bells

AND to update the update, although we sold out, we ordered more beads to do a second limited run…if you order on the website we will be building and shipping these kits in the next two weeks!  

Click here to order!

Ancient Bells has had an interesting trajectory…..

I was visiting with Perry at  York beads (and meeting Edgar!) back in August when Perry showed me the Ancient beads.  I brought a few home with me and told Perry I would design something for his 90th anniversary.

The idea being the pattern would be used to promote bead sales of the ancient beads.  The talented Melissa Grakowsky illustrated the pattern which was provided to stores who purchased the ancient beads.  Psst, if you are a bead artist requiring illustration services, Mellissa can provide that service and she's good.  Typically I would illustrate my own, but since this was a special case, Perry engaged Melissa to to it.

 Anyways, the pattern seems to have struck a cord with many….I've seen a lot of these made and posted, and all have been beautiful.

The other cool thing about this pattern is that it teaches a nice gradual increase using craw which results in that graceful bell shape you see.

I have made these two color ways and I have put together the kits with the small stash of ancient beads I have, you see they are at the moment no longer available from the original supplier, although you will find a few bead stores here and there with remaining inventory.

I've sold almost all of the first batch but a small number will be available, hopefully later today.  Mark is 'revamping' the website, which is indeed needed but it's slowing the process for adding new kits to the store!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm building a house

A wee little house, 1 inch square and maybe 2 inches high, small enough to wear as a ring, or maybe to hang as a pendant.

I'm taking a David Chatt class and I wanted to do something that would use a lot of skills and be a challenge, so size 15 craw with different interior and exterior wall colors, windows and a door and a stepped roof.

Yesterday was the second of a four day class which has been a huge treat for me.  A lovely group of beaders with David in our midst, available to help us explore, challenge and add to our skill levels, and make us think, all with a healthy dose of humor.

David brings a long a huge inventory of bits and pieces and will explain the technology of each design. I find that I am somewhat challenged in thinking in 3D and that I need to make a piece before I can cement it in my mind.  So I've made several little bits and pieces which will remind me of the direction I might take.

We have 4 days in between and I hope to put a little time in on the house, my mind was busy all night thinking through the thread paths of how I might approach the roof, and there was also a new reversible bracelet pattern that I'm thinking of.

This is pretty much the ultimate artist date to spend the time being exposed to so much brilliant work and having access to and guidance from the artist who created it.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Birthday Cuff

For our birthdays, we've been making beaded bead necklaces for one another, but Judy, always traveling to her own beat, wanted a cuff, a bead embroidered cuff.  The big reveal was today!

Two weeks back we gathered in the studio and Judy picked out colors and decided that the large La Navette focal would be the perfect center. The rest of us then set to work with me giving a mini lesson which was totally tuned out, can you believe I allow this?  They went about their business knitting and discussing the right choice of yarn for a soon to be crocheted koigu lap throw and gave me the occasional, uh huh as I showed them how to back stitch and make fringe and fill in an area.

I will say next time an embroidered cuff is the choice we need to start a little sooner then two weeks before the big day.

I prepped the lacy's, put together a kit of sorts with the colors, bezeled a coin pearl and two chatons and beaded up La Navette.

Susan took over and did a lot of the heavy lifting as far as the bead embroidery was concerned (I did repeat a bit of the tuned out lesson), then Susan called Gail to work on the cuff since it was to be a birthday gift collaboration.  Susan had the brilliant idea to include all of our initials, so there is J, S, M and G outlined in 2mm fuchsia crystal.

Bead embroidery done it was given back to me to put the backing on and complete the edge treatment.  I added a gold button clasp, and the fringy bits on the bottom of the focal.

It ended up being a beautiful piece and Judy was thrilled to open it at todays Torrey Pines Lodge Spa and lunch day.

It is a treat to look across a table and see a piece completed with so much love.   You did good girls.  Happy Birthday Judy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It's really rare for me to sell my finished jewelry, time is of course always precious and I chose the designer, author, teacher, kitting route for my business model.  I find it's hard to do that in parallel with selling finished goods.

Every once in awhile someone comes along with a level of enthusiasm and asks so nicely that I'm inclined to grant their request.  So these beautiful earrings are winging their way to Florida today.

I've been making Romantica style earrings for awhile, but I love the addition of the rizos and the melon balls with an accent of pave teardrops!  I've got a new black pair with the baroque pendant on the bottom which are dark and mysterious and a pair with silver and fuchsia.  Now that I've solved my illustrator issues by abandoning my old CS5 installation and purchasing a creative cloud subscription, I can return to tutorial writing and I think I'll be writing these up.

and just because pretty packaging is also important…..

Today is bead with friends day and  I'm working on a bead embroidered cuff.  My job is to put the backing on and complete the edging.  The finished product is a surprise but I promise to take photos and show you after the reveal!

Bead well my friends!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Amulet Purses

Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic, my beading career started in the early 1990's where I was drawn to an amulet purse worn by a woman at a quilt guild meeting that I attended.  She taught me that sweet little amulet purse and I went on to make several more.

I made the one on the cover of the Nicolette Stessin amulet purse book, designed by David Chatt, my first foray into Right Angle Weave.  I made a nautical one and put all kinds of sailing talisman into it and wore it daily as Mark sailed safely from Santa Cruz to San Diego and back.  I attended the first retreat put on by Carol Wilcox Wells in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I made her caged amulet.  I wish I could show you photos of all of them, but it was before I felt the need to record all of these.  I only have one amulet left, however I have girlfriends who own and still proudly wear some of my first beading attempts (makes me shudder, but they still enjoy them).

Here is one that I did as part of a round robin.  I made the purse using Embellished Raw which made a beautifully supple bag.  It was then sent on it's way for embellishment, fringe and a neckstrap by different artists.  I believe Darcy did the beautiful spiral rope, and Nancy Dale did the fringe (swoon) and I am thinking, but not positive so forgive me, I'm thinking Laura Zeiner did the embellishment, or perhaps I embellished hers and someone else did this.

It has gotten me to thinking that I would really really like to do an amulet purse again…..