Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Master Class

Update:  Calm, the original colorway the playground is beaded in, is currently ahead as kit choices are being made.   Botanica is running a close second.  I would not have predicted calm to be ahead, but then I've been working  with it for six months now so my appreciation of it may be slightly off, although it is very soft and 'calming'.

I slot my time into 'focus' segments and April's focus is the Bead and Button Master Class.  I've been preparing for it since September actually, designing and illustrating the components, designing the playground colors, enlisting help with the beading, choosing three additional palettes, but now I start serious preparations.

The first was making components in the new palettes and photographing them so choices can be made. I have to order beads and put together kits, prepare a presentation, and run a 'test' class.  I want to see the interaction during arrangement sessions and make sure it's workable.  The same local gals who helped with the beading will be creating 'arrangements' next week, and I'll be photographing the results.  Every time I play with the components I come up with new ideas so I'm sure we'll have great results.

Below we have Botanica, Rainforest and Storm palettes You may notice that Swarovski Elements are a huge part of the bead selection being offered with two colors of crystals in 3 sizes, and 2 colors of pearls in 2 sizes.  The beautiful 12 mm pearl also enhances the design choices.

There will be two master classes, the first on June 2nd , 3rd and 4th is full, but there is room on the 5th, 6th and 7th.  If you're curious, the June issue of Bead and Button which releases the end of April will have an excellent article written by Stacy Werkheiser.

A small excerpt of the well written article "Every new thread path takes a level of engineering for it to come into being, and if you take that out of the design equation and work with something that's already known, you get to focus more on composition." That is one of the premises of how we will work.  The components, five of them, will be tried and true design components and we'll be arranging them into pleasing necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, maybe an anklet or two?

These are from the original palette called Calm, and a couple of 'arrangements' I've made.

My desire is that rather then walking away with a huge masterpiece, that one will walk away with 15 different ideas for things they may create.  Not that a masterpiece is out of the question, I expect many will design large beautiful pieces, but there is also room for smaller, more doable pieces.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Design Challenged

I think it must be in the air because not only am I experiencing design challenge, but I am reading friends statuses who are experiencing the same.

Patrick Duggan wrote about it here.  Another friend was lamenting her lack of creating anything lovely and it got me to thinking.  I've been here before certainly.  Convinced I'm never going to design another thing that is wearable, teachable, printable, but so far at least, I have.

However that is not really the issue, the issue is that I have short term success memory.  I just finished designing 48 projects for 2 back to back books and am in the midst of a 49th and 50th project for another book.  So the problem really lies with me not taking the time to appreciate where I've been, looking behind me to see what I've accomplished and not forward with worry.

It's natural to take a break from designing, necessary even, and giving oneself permission to do so is an important part of the process.  I have lots of logistical things to take care of this month, and that is where my focus will lie.

In the meantime I will try to surround myself with beauty and trust that the beads will again speak to me.

This necklace is the creation of Chris who often takes my classes at Creative Castle and always attends Beading by the Bay.  She took the Cassandra bracelet and turned it into this gorgeous choker.  The beautiful toggle was her own addition and finished the piece beautifully.

The Cassandra component is one of five which will be part of the Bead and Button Master Class.  It has so many possibilities, this is just one very regal example of how it might be used.  The playground is complete in neutral colors and now the components have been beaded using the color palettes I've selected for kits.

As each set is completed I find myself playing with arrangements and getting more and more excited to see what develops in June!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yarn and beads

That has been my week....taking things slowly as I recover from a whirlwind three weeks!

Today we stopped by to visit Birthday Boy Brendan in Poway and then on to Kit Carson Park where we haven't visited before now.  Crazy since it's amazing.  Here are some images from the Magical Circle at Queen Califia park.  The mosaics are the work of Niki Saint Phalle who is also the artist responsible for the dragon and goddess figures in front of the Mingei Museum in Balboa park.

It definitely has a Gaudi Park Guell feel to it.  I've been fortunate enough to have visited Barcelona multiple times, but it was nice to take such a fanciful outing close to home.

Pre and post outing was spent with beads and illustration, turning in directions for a collaboration project that I am participating in.  

And the late afternoon was spent on the last repeat for a baby blanket I've been working on.  It's a lace pattern and I'm tempted to cast on another and turn it into a rectangular shawl, but before that I have a pair of hand warmers out of Noro sock weight yarn, a scarf with Alchemy yarns and a baby dress to finish.  It turns out that Malayna is in the 110 th percentile for height and so I will be ripping back the bodice and adding 3 inches to the skirt before re knitting the bodice.  Oh and after that I've ordered some gorgeous hand dyed yarn to make my favorite sweater from knit swirl, a circular sweater pattern that I fell in love with.  It's only 500 and something stitches to start!

But before all that happens I'm off to celebrate the 29th anniversary of my first date with the love of my life.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Planning vacation!

It's probably been said before, but I love Seattle, and so I am in the throes of planning a summer vacation there.  Last year we spent almost three weeks and it was heavenly!  This year I am going to tack on a few days to the end of my Fusion Beads teaching engagement (August 15-18) and rent a small apartment in the city.

I'm going to teach Simply Elegant earrings on Thursday night.  If you have been wanting to learn cubic right angle weave, these are a great project for that.  The pearls and crystals make the structure easy to see.

I'll also teach Pacific Morning Glory, Cassandra and Crystal Collage.  It will be really fun to teach crystal collage without a kit and see all the wonderful colors that people create with.  This version is one of my all time favorites, but I always love to see it done in different colorways.  I've taught it at Bead and Button for many years and it's always a crowd pleaser.  People are often surprised how dainty it is in person, much more demure then it looks, it is only about 3 1/2 inches across and wears beautifully inside a shirt color in the vee neck of a colorful shirt.

A dear friend will join me in Seattle and we'll traipse around the city making sure to see the Chihuly exhibit and ferry over to Bainbridge island for a trip to Church Mouse Yarns and Teas (doesn't that sound exceptionally charming?) and generally relax into the time together.

Given the master class preparation that is underway now, alongside the writing of the third book 'The Bead Within' I suspect I will thoroughly enjoy some foot loose and fancy free time!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


During my early bead teaching career, I didn't necessarily understand the concept I now refer to as 'teachable moments'.  A classroom piece should have multiple opportunities to instruct or pass on information.  But before I understood this I taught New York State of Mind.

It was a base of right angle weave with size 11's and 15's which was gathered and then embellished.  The trouble was, it took many hours to do the base, and the second step was to gather the base, and then embellish.

Well I did learn the difference between a class project and a magazine project and published New York State of Mind as part of the Designer series in the 2008 Beadwork magazines.

Today Tina wore an absolutely gorgeous New York State of Mind.

Isn't it beautiful?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Busy days and quiet evenings

Last weekend was Beading by the Bay and this week a workshop with Sabine in my home studio.  It's been a fantastic week.  A house full of beautiful bright fun and talented women who have come to learn from Sabine, and she has much to offer.  Today she is teaching the beautiful Elizabeth necklace.  The construction and colors are all excellent, and everyone is enjoying the process.

I'm listening in and learning in the process.  We are also spending nice quiet evenings with our recent yarn purchases, watching TED talks and enjoying our time together.  It's pretty magical considering the fact we admired each other across the internets for years and here we are sitting together enjoying one another's company.

I'm a happy girl! As is Miss Maya......she loves the company as well.  Emily Rose also came to class today.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The California Coast

Another year of Beading by the Bay came to an is one of my favorite weeks of every year and I was sad to say goodbye to so many friends.

This time however I made the party continue by inviting Sabine to travel the California coast with me.  We did a bit of yarn shopping on the way and Sabine has been busy in the yarn room, with the yarn winder going full time.

We first stopped in Cambria at the Ball and Skein which was a delightful shop run by a a delightful couple.  I should have taken their photos, but sadly I didn't.  They had a vast stash of Alchemy yarns which are quite beautiful and I added to my stash.  I bought Alchemy Lost and Found several years back and have a silk and wool scarf planned with my purchases.

I also bought some gorgeous hand dyed baby blank yarn, and some Noro with which to make a pair of hand warmers ala Sabine.

A stop at Creative Castle to introduce Sabine to the store, store owner Carole and Sabine met previously at Bead and Button.  Just a few miles down the road at West Lake boulevard we stopped at The Natural Cafe for a healthy and delicious meal.

Not being sure we had bought quite enough yarn, we stopped again at the Black Sheep.  We of course would not be complete unless we managed to swing by the Grove, and it just so happens they have a Pagewood farm trunk show this weekend....

Today we will take Sabine over to Coronado for a chance to dip her toe in the Pacific Ocean.  The weather is mid 80's and the perfect day for a lunch at the beach.

On the bead front I've been playing with all the components for the master class which are now starting to show up in color!  The first set were all done in the neutral platinum pallet, but of course there will be multiple color options.  Just one of the many arrangements I've played with.

This weekend 12 women will join Sabine for 2 workshops in my home studio after which we'll both return to the reality of the at home bead artist, during which my full attention will be turned to Master Class preparation.  The write up on the bead and button show site is the short description of the fun we'll be having.  If you are interested I am happy to talk with you in detail about what we'll be doing.  Session I is full but there is still room in session II.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A magical week

I've had so many highlights this week! Time with family and time with friends!

Beading by the Bay is held on San Francisco Bay which is home to me. Yesterday's lunch conversation provided the discovery that Robin first time attendee and I worked at the same Bay Area company during the same few years in the 80's. It's a small small works as they say.

I've had a chance to visit with beading by the bay partner Susan, and dine with teachers Sabine and Huib, always great fun.

The Bad Liz is here and joined me on this mornings walk.

I have made exceptional beady connections at this event and I celebrate each of you!

Thank you for a fantastic time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm here!

Beading by the Bay. We don't start until tomorrow evening but there is a bit of prep to manage tomorrow afternoon. The morning however is all mine.

I want to take a nice long bay walk although rain threatens to make it a wet one. Then over to Burlingame across the bridge for a walk around the shops and lunch.

Today the entire day was spent with grand daughter Malayna. thanks to FaceTime she seems pretty comfortable with grandma and grandpa. we joined her for her gymnastic session. we also achieved a milestone when Mom announced she would leave for a bit and Malayna answered with a nonchalant ok....Seems we are acceptable caretakers now!

On Mom's return we went in search of pink shoes. Malayna was a very happy shopping companion and we found sparkly pink Tom's shoes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

and it's done!

The Bead Within design work is complete.  I spent last week heads down with sketches and beads coming together into the last projects for the third book.

Gabriella was here all week and we were happy to offer her a respite from her chicago winter cold with beautiful blue skies and temps in the 80's.  Saturday night was the rare warm night in March where we were able to dine on the veranda.  (sorry Lynne, maybe next visit we'll provide you with the same).

I loved having Gabriella here, it was wonderful to be able to lean over mid design and consult on direction.  Usually I am alone here, and all design decisions are made alone, or with the advice of Mark's less is more design aesthetic.  In the end the design is my own of course, but another point of view is always welcome and often another designer will think of a pitfall in the plan which is best avoided.

I have many favorites in this third collection of pieces.  Susan's brilliant insights helped to hone in on the four color schemes, so this book will have four collections, bronze, platinum, silver and gold.

I had always wanted to design a locket and this book being titled 'The Bead Within' seemed the perfect time.  A bit of cubic raw formed a nice square shadow box and a surprise is tucked behind the door.  don't you just want to open it!

I'm off to Beading by the Bay in the morning, excited to spend a week with so many people who I hold dear.  And a visit with both grand babies!