Monday, April 14, 2014

Designing on Holiday

Very often when I have a bit of vacation time, that is when a new design presents itself....I guess that is no accident or surprise.  A little more free time, a little more relaxation, a little more inspiration.

This years Bead Cruise provided that opportunity.  Mark traveled with me and we had lot's of time on the ocean with only two stops at ports.

I brought beads and a little bit of inspiration.  This is a photo I've been carrying around with me for a few years with the intent to bead it.





Tina Givens whose fabric design this is, graciously gave me her permission to reinterpret her design in beads.


As with most interpretations it is not literal but does capture the sense of her drawing.


The little top lifts up to reveal a hidden paradise, bead by Heather Power of Humble beads.  I love the whimsy of this piece and that it holds a secret inside.

You've caught me cheating....the strap is not quite done, but I'm off for a few days airstreaming during which time I'll finish it and who knows perhaps another design will present itself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A whirlwind of travel

It's been a whirlwind around here, three big trips back to back, but then it was me who threw an 8 day cruise into the middle of a busy calendar.

The cruise was certainly a delight.  It was more sailing then doing, with only one day in the Bahamas during which we snorkeled, a favorite activity and then wandered the streets of Nassau finding a couple of little havens to enjoy the gentle breeze and the obligatory conch fritters!  Coco Cay which was a private beach island had to be passed up due to weather and the Cape Canaveral port was a tad underwhelming, but we still managed some fun at Sonny's Barbecue pit (those who know me well just spit out their coffee!)

The skies were big and dramatic and the reflection on the seas was magically beautiful.


We celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date while we on the water, together with dear friends, that was nice.  This was or pre-dinner champagne, napkins a gift from friend Susan which I brought along because I always like a touch of home.


 I enjoyed a cocktail or two, this one was a muddled cucumber, with simple syrup and gin, delightfully refreshing.


I bent and hammered wire, riveted and painted metal while on the ship.  That was fun but I'm not sure it will make it into a permanent habit.

I also created a new design which is 95% complete and waiting for the last bit of design innovation to present itself.

Our room steward, Nelson was fascinated with the beads, so much so that he asked if there were any books on the subject…..why yes, one or two!  He looked me up on Amazon and reports that he will purchase both books to learn from.  I left him a bit of a bead stash, some thread and needles and instructions to please email me with his creations.  I hope he does!  I love to encourage beadwork whenever an interest is shown, but I especially love encouraging a man, I guess because it is somewhat out of our norm.


I also found it wonderful that there were a fair number of younger gals on this cruise, like 30's young.  It is nice to see an interest in handcrafts.  I met the lovely Erin Seigel for the first time and was enchanted with the delightful Kashmira.


 It was a great group of beaders, including Katinka and Mom Inge who came from Sweden.  I love that through the love of beads I get to meet so many interesting folks.  A big thanks to Heather Powers who puts this cruise together every year.

The studio is a huge cluttery mess which makes me crazy but with three large back to back engagements that is what happens.  I am almost ready to fly to Kentucky tomorrow morning so I may get to spend some picking up time today.  It would be nice to come back to a clean studio so I can begin serious Bead and Button prep with a clean slate, we'll see.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Romantica Revisited

I have a new purple dress with a new missoni (ish) long swing coat that goes over it.  I wanted a long swingy necklace to compliment it and I wanted it in vintage pewter tones.

You know how I am always 'playing with possibilities'?  This indeed has a very romantica feel to it, but I changed it up first with the large swarovski elements disc, and then I used half tilas (brilliant) and Rizos and long megatamas in the medallions.



I love the look of old keys, although this one came on some pottery barn gift wrap.

The bottom drop is the new Swarovski Innovation raindrop pendant.  I love the shape and cut of this beautiful crystal.

I used different beads in each of the diamonds for the necklace and put some half tila breaks in to lacy it up a bit.

I also have a nifty clasp that will allow me to easily add an extender so I can wear this one short or long!

This one is for me!  Now for the matching earrings, and then back to the work of packing for our cruise!  We're off to the Bahamas for many days of beading fun!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crediting Design Influence

This topic comes up almost as much as copyright infringement so I thought I would let you know where I stand on the subject.  This is me, I don't speak for how any other creator of stuff feels about it.

When I look deeply, artist may be too strong a term for me, I am a creator of stuff and have been since I knit my first scarf at 9 years old, maybe before when I made play dough beads or dressed barbie dolls with scraps of fabric.

It is at the core of who I am, it satisfies me like no other time spent.  I create because I have to.  Sometimes I am happy with what I create and since I discovered beads my love of creation and my love of adornment come together.

My creations are seldom planned, most often sitting down with a pile of beads and the very wispy sense of an idea.  Sometimes a piece of costume jewelry will influence a shape, or a color, sometimes a piece of glass or fine jewelry and sometimes just playing with the beads leads me to a new creation.

I know that at times I am subliminally influenced by something I've seen.  There is so much visual stimulation on the internet that  it would be almost impossible to not let influences creep in.  When I think of the growth in sophistication of beadwork these days, I think it is no accident that it coincides with the proliferation of images we are exposed to. If a similarity to my influence shows up in my work, it is as likely as not that I don't' even recall the original piece.  I of course never sit down to intentionally copy someone's design, so any work I do is original in that all of the influences I may have absorbed are changed up by my brain and my hands to create a new piece that is pleasing to me.

I hate the thought of being accused of not giving appropriate credit because someone somewhere sees a similarity to their work.  I am not saying this has happened to me, but I think it is at the root of this discussion every time I see it come up.

Although as I've said, I may have been subliminally influenced in my past,   I may also have just arrived at a similar design on my own.  If I were expected to give credit for that, I would find that unfortunate.  

If my designs influence other creators of stuff to create stuff I am happy that they saw value and added to their own repertoire and growth.  That's good enough for me, I don't need public credit.  It is not why I create.

As always, there are exceptions and fine lines. I get that if you use a significant design element from someone else's work, it would be polite to mention it.  Again for me it's not required, but I don't want to speak for others.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Baby Booties

Occasionally you come here and you get non beading content, this is one of those days.

Our daughter is expecting our third grandchild in the spring and so I have been doing what Grandma's do, I'm making baby clothes.

These are crocheted which is a throwback for me, I haven't crocheted in ages, but they were so darn cute.  The yarn is from knit picks and is the recommended yarn in the pattern.  It is soft and pretty, but it is kind of grabby, so it is hard to pull out if you go wrong.  I should have been smart and done test booties on a little more forgiving yarn.  As it is there are a couple of mistakes in the placement of the crocodiles, but I've decided I can live with that.  I also only did 3 rows of crocodile as 5 seemed like a lot on a baby.

The rib is formed by doing a half double crochet around the post, one in front and one in back which makes them look almost knit.





If you need to make a pair for someone in your life, they now come in toddler and adult size from Bonita patterns.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Color Challenges

I ordered the new tangerine crystal because I loved it, and then I sat down and tried to incorporate into a pair of earrings….you know bright colors.  I am not sure how it is that you can have a lot of seed beads and still not quite the right one?




I liked the turquoise and fuchsia but the orange metallic wasn't working at all, and I didn't have an appropriate drop, the gold one kind of got lost and….well I just wasn't happy and I also lost the motivation to play with more color.

You may also notice that I didn't take out the real camera so the blue you see on top is the same aqua you see on the bottom photo.  Which is somewhat unfair to all of those  who tried hard to give me some direction since they weren't really seeing the true colors.

I cut off all the bottom part, added a bright orange cz, made a second and I'm calling them done, this pair at least.  Since I'm leaving on a Bahamian cruise in a few weeks I think these ones will suit a pretty white dress I have.  Oooohhh….perhaps I need a necklace?





I may play more later, but for right now,   I'm moving one.  To what?     Well that is the next dilemma.  I've been piddling with bits of this and that.  I'm ready for a substantial piece but I can't settle on a direction.  I think I'll spend the afternoon with some books and see what I think.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A week to remember my blessings

Oddly after returning from my first DVD filming, I was feeling kind of blue and disconnected on Monday morning. The filming was great fun, and went well, so it wasn't related. I couldn't put my finger on anything wrong, but there it was, and then…..

I met my girlfriends for breakfast, our favorite Mission Cafe on University, and as we checked in with one another we laughed, told stories, empathized and excitedly planned our next ventures.  They tried to entice me into a quilt class but I had the good sense to say no….I never was precise enough for quilting.  They almost tempted me because Judi has such excellent fabrics, so if that is your thing, look into new quilt classes at the Grove .

I returned home with renewed energy, prepared the must do list and began knocking off tasks.

Tuesday found us face timing with the cute little Miss Malayna Pies who turned three that day!  She opened Calico Critters and her Princess necklace and we chatted.  How fortunate are we that we have the technology that allows that.  I remember thinking I don't want people to see me when I talk on the phone.  That was a long time ago.

Wednesday morning my Boston Bestie sent me a photo of her 12 week old long haired dachshund that melted my heart.  What a precious little cutie.

Susan and I did some last minute planning for Beading by the Bay which we look forward to with great enthusiasm, so many friends to see!

Then 6 lovely ladies showed up to spend a day of friendship and beading.  It was one of those easy days, everyone sharing, laughing and enjoying the connection that beads bring us.  Linda was working on a Sabine piece in preparation for being at Bead and Button.  Not quite as good as Sabine being in the room, but still nice to 'have her at the table' so to speak. As I mixed up a bead soup, we talked about how many of our colleagues would be horrified at the mix of beads on my bead board and we posted a picture.  Fun banter ensued and again I realized as I often do how amazing and interconnected this community is.

I ended the day with two chat windows, one a friend in Israel, who is co-crocheting the crocodile booties.  We compared notes, complete with photos…..aah technology again.

The second chat window was another friend from Marcia DeCoster presents.  One I am planning on meeting while he is in New York in the later summer.  I have a goal to meet in person everyone of the artists who participated in Marcia DeCoster presents and I am making good progress.  I think this year alone will bring an opportunity to meet Miriam, Helena, Isabella and Edgar and I couldn't be more excited.

So I woke this morning, thinking through the joys of the week and have banished the blues.  Today is hair day with daughter Casey.  It's rainy and grey which is a nice welcome change from sunshine, I know, those of you stuck in eternal winter long for our sunshine, but I love a nice rainy day or three, and we haven't had near enough this year.  I'm in such good overall shape on the to do list (unless I am in denial which is possible) that I will be able to enjoy some purely creative time in the studio these next couple of days before we pack it all up and leave for Northern California.