Wednesday, February 18, 2015

More February musings on my mind

Thinking all day (which is a scarey thing for me to do) as we do when we are in the phases of the moon (not the Phases of the Moose which is a bead embroidery piece of mine) , I realized that when I was a beginner beader, I wanted it all, but there wasn't much all on the internet.

It was 1996, and the internet was really beginning to take shape.  I wanted patterns for everything that I saw, and when I did find one, I printed it and put it in a folder.  After a while, I became friends with beaders who had a little more income than I did and they bought pattern books - O.M.G.  Books?  With beading patterns.  And they let me make copies.  Wow - could life be much better?  Free beading patterns and copyright be damned.

Fast forward many, many years as I was clearing out the closet in my studio of items that I haven't touched in a long, long, long time.  I ran across a stack of those patterns.  From many of the names that I now recognize and count amongst my friends.  Shameful behavior on my part.  One of the things I really noticed?  I made few, if any, of the pieces from these free/illegal patterns.  The few items that I did make, I went to the web page and spent my $7 to $20 and bought patterns.  Why after several years?  Because it's the right thing to do.

As I continue to clear out boxes, I toss the patterns in the recycle bin, shake my head and wonder what planet I was from.  Then I purchase patterns,  Yes, I still purchase patterns.  And books.  I buy books with patterns that I may never make.  Because now I want to support my friends and colleagues.  Who, someday, may support me.

Now, as I start on my teaching career with beads, I completely understand that what I did was incorrect.  Wrong.  WRONG.  Will it happen to me.  Of course it will. I'd be pretty naive to think that it wouldn't happen.  I will just hope that several years down the road, this unknown beader will have the same epithany that I did.  And buy my patterns.

Now, if I could just come up with a name for the Etsy store, I could really start this phase of my life.

February 2015 Musings

We have all heard that the world gets crazy when there is a full moon (luna-tics, right?), but there is the same affect when there is a new moon - and it's been out in force.  Less than tasteful posts on Facebook (which, sadly, has become an important way to keep in touch with friends and family around the world or just a few miles away),  I turned off notifications to social media last night, watched a less than wonderful movie called "The Corsican Brothers" with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and spent some time with my beads and wondering about copying, derivatives, and when it stops being a copy or a derivative and starts being my own design.

Many of my designs have been heavily influenced by my friend and mentor, Marcia Decoster.  Marcia and I worked closely for many years and I took what I learned to heart.  Did I copy from her?  Yes, there are portions of my work where you can see what I learned from her.  But an actual copy of a design.  No.  I don't believe that I did.

Above is a piece that I call "Hever Castle" - the netting around the crystals is netting, it's been done before and will be done again.  The bail (top) and the connection between the crystals is a modified Right Angle Weave (raw) that I learned from her many years ago in her Romantica necklace, you can see the same thing in neckstrap.  But because the pieces are so different, it's not a copy, but influenced by or a derivative of her necklace, but still my design.

I also bought a pattern by Shelley Pleines Nybakke - her Tennis Anyone bracelet, pictured below on the left.  These are pieces made from a pattern, a copy.  The Tiara Necklace on the right is very similar except that it's cubic right angle weave, not a three sided RAW as the bracelets are.  This is not a copy, my design, but using a technique from another instructor.

Thinking about it, I learned cubic right angle weave from Huib Peterson, so I was influenced by what he also taught me.

In your heart, a person knows if they copied another artists design.  When I was just starting to make patterns, I had a dancing moose pattern - resembling a kokopelli, but it was a moose dancing.  I walked into my local bead store at the time, and there was a woman who was wearing a necklace with MY moose on it.  At first I was tickled that she liked it enough to make it.  She told me that she took the picture from the internet, enlarge it so that she could see the peyote pattern in it, and then she beaded it.  But then, the more that I thought about it, she couldn't be bothered to spend the $5 for the pattern.  THAT's copying.

Bottom line - you know if what you are doing is right or wrong.  If doing wrong doesn't bother you, nothing that I can do or say will make you change your mind.

But enough about that!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Bead & Button Show class browsing will open soon!

The Bead & Button web page is open to browse for classes on-line.  I am honoured that B&B invited me to teach again and I have been selected to teach four classes at the Bead&Button Show in Milwaukee in June 2015.  Two of my classes are favorites from last year - Tzarina and Princess Maya - many of you saw me at "Meet the Teachers" and mentioned if you realized how pretty they were, that you would have signed up for the class - here is your chance!  Along with two newer classes named Kenilworth Castle and Jeanne d'Arc.

B151076  - June 1:  The Jeanne d'Arc Pendant came to me totally by accident and what a happy accident.  It was mentioned to me that it resembles a Maltese Cross (which wasn't exactly what I had in mind).  That made me think of the only person that I know from Malta, a woman I met while working for the military in Germany, Jeanne d'Arc - of course that is what I will name it.  Techniques:  Netting and RAW with vintage Swarovski crystals in two colors (light sapphire blue and medium vitral - light sapphire is pictured here)

B151045 - June 2:  The Tzarina Pendant is one of my favorite pieces.  I was inspired by a brooch that I saw in a photo of  Queen Elizabeth.  In research I found that this brooch was purchased from Russia collection in the early part of the last century.   Techniques:  Bead embroidery and RAW with gold or silver beads

B151077 - June 1:  The Kenilworth Castle Necklace is so beautiful in person, photos never do justice do they?  The sample is made with a rich red and shining gold, with pearls.   This piece is worked in components and then pieced together.  Named for a castle in England that I have visited, with inspiration from the series "The Tudors."

B151044 - Princess Maya pendant:   The "Princess Maya" pendant (yes, named after Marcia's beloved little dog) really shows how I have been influenced by Marcia.  I really love this pendant and have made several versions of this piece.  "Princess Maya" will be taught on Thursday, June 5th.

Good luck with your browsing - I hope to see you in one of my classes!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Part Dieux!

In my excitement, I forgot to mention the release of Amy Katz new book, "Seed Bead Chic", in which I am an invited artist in the gallery (page 125, artist 7 in case you are looking).  This is a book with some great projects - very wearable pieces of art.

Also in October, we had a very beautiful hunters, harvest or blood moon - I was able to capture a couple of decent shots of it.  It was so cool to see this in the early morning sky.

And I spent some time getting the closet in my studio cleared out so that I could move in here.  I had boxes that I hadn't looked at in years!!  Out with it!!  Here is before:
 And then I worked, and worked, and worked and missed a chance to hang out at Stony Creek Bead and I worked and magic happened.  Here is after:

 I moved my bead storage drawers into the now empty closet (there is another stack of these to the left behind the door):
 I even had room to add the secretary that was my mom and dad's.  I don't know if they inherited it, or if they bought it.  I know that it's been in my family as long back as I can remember.  It looks really nice under the window.  Important papers?  Well, if you mean patterns and such, then yes, it has important papers in it.

Now I think that my October is more complete.  Who knows what November will bring?

Friday, October 24, 2014

October has been a good month!

I am happy and proud to announce that I have been selected to teach four classes at the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee in June 2015.
Two of the pieces are repeats from last year - Tzarina and Princess Maya - along with two of my newer items - Kenilworth Castle and Jeanne d'Arc,

Kenilworth Catle is directly inspired by a necklace that I saw in the series "The Tudors" - and made with a vintage German  glass piece that is a beautiful ruby red with glass pearls.  I love it.  Also, below, is "Chain of Office" - inspired by the same series.  I would have submitted this piece to Bead & Button also, but I finished is about 2 weeks after the due date!  I will be teaching this at Stony Creek Beads in Ypsilanti in about 3 weeks.

This same week, I found out that Bead & Button magazine has a picture of my tiara on page 17 of the "Your Work" section (page 17) and on line at here.  I've known for sometime that this was going to be published, but I don't know for certain which issue.
Should I create a new tiara?  I have an idea in my mind, but should I?  I mean, how many did I need??

I spent last weekend in Northern Michigan working at a conference (this was the view out the window), 50 hours in 4 days!  Yikes.  But with what I have earned, I am able to hange out with my girlfriends in California for a week without feeling guilty about the money.  My goodness, I love these ladies - they help me stay grounded.

Yes, I am having a good month.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Summer Beading life after Bead and Button

The fun never ends on Planet Bead.  After the first week in June is over, we all rush home and hope to regroup for a time.  Ah, time to relax, pet the dogs, kiss the husband (or pet the husband and kiss the dogs - your call), think about a vacation (because as fun as the Bead & Button show is, it's still work), all the typical summer stuff.  And then...

It hits you......

The deadline for Bead & Button 2015 (51 weeks from that moment in time) is just 6 weeks away.
  • What am I going to submit?
  • Am I going to submit?
  • What projects do I have that are worthy?
  • What do I have that would go another year?
Oh, nuts!  I don't even have time to unpack my kits to see what I need to reorder for these kits, let alone think about a new pattern!

I went through some of the items that I had been beading on since the beginning of 2014 and determined that three of them would be B&B worthy.  Many people commented on two of my projects that didn't photograph well, but they wished they signed up for them because they were "stunning" (not my word) - so I will submit those three projects.  Whew!  With a few weeks to spare, I have some really nice pieces, and time to camp with the husband for a week.
The beading studio is a great set-up.  Plenty of natural light and fresh air.
Hard Apple Cider DOES count as a fruit, you know.

Late July - Early August: Now comes the time to right the description, figure out the items needed, the price of kit, photograph taken (in good light, simple background, etc.), hours needed to hit all the teaching points involved in the project, and to write up the instructions.  Jeesh!  That's all?  Yup.  For all five projects.

Boom - submitted.  Samples packed up, ready for mailing.   Done.  That monkey is off my back.  Beginning of August - life is good.  Summer is still here.

And we wait.  And wait.  And wait.  The jury process has to be so hard for the B&B Show staff.  How to decide?  Are evaluations for the 2014 show looked at in conjunction with the 2015 submissions?  Did the students like me enough from last year to write good stuff?  What about that one person who didn't?  Was I nice enough to the show staff?  Did my Meet the Teachers table look good enough?  My students seemed happy

And we wait.  But soon (mid-October to late November), artists and instructors will slowly start to hear if they have been accepted for next year.

Maybe, just maybe "I'll be back"!

 My Tzarina pendant was inspired by the center medallion in the piece on the right, which is part of the British royal jewels.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Bead & Button 2014 - Part 2

I won’t be hushed, I won’t be shushed.
But what I say I saw I saw.
I know my rights, I know the law!

I love it when I walk through the hotel corridors and see people that I have met through the years due to assisting Marcia – and they seem happy to see me.  I invaded breakfast one morning with Nancy and Mary – both from Chicago.   Mary even signed up for one of my classes – Princess Maya.

Later that evening there was a small gathering of mostly seed bead instructors, which was a huge blast.  We laughed and cried, shared secrets and lies; and told stories.  For me it was one of the highlights of the week.  Shout out to Jayshree Paramesh who brought henna “paint” for us!  So cool!

Saturday evening was the coveted TOHO party where I was Marcia’s guest.  It’s held at the Intercontinental Hotel, just a short walk away.  It’s a very nice event, with nice goodie bags.  What a nice group of people are at this event.

And Julie (you know who you are) wants the down and dirty gossip from Bead and Button – let’s see:  

·        I was called into the principal’s office
·        I called someone a bad name
·        I called someone else a bad name
·        I ate roasted garlic the night before a class.  No one complained (they could be all dead, though)
·        I swore in Arabic and Ming (from California) tried to teach me bad words in Chinese
·         I introduced myself to someone who I am FB friends with and he looked at me like I was from another planet and had no clue who I was (okay, lets me know that he doesn’t read my FB posts cause I do look like my pictures)
·        I was introduced to the same woman for about the 6th time and I still don’t think she knows who I am (I have given up saying that we have met before)
·        I (along with two other beaders who I was chatting with) witnessed a woman tripping over the power cord taped to the floor of the second floor convention center to turn on one light bulb in a display (she went down hard). Fortunately one of the women I was with is a nurse and took control until security showed up. 
·        Even better?  Security tripped over the same cord!!  We made certain she was okay, filled out my witness report (including the fact that the guard tripped on the same cord).  The next day, the cord was GONE.

All of my classes went extremely well, my students were great, took my sense of humor with a grain of salt.  Projects went well with only a few little hiccups in the instructions.And then it was over.  I can’t wait for next year!

This might be the best picture from the show!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bead and Button Week – June 2014 – part 1

Bead and Button Week – June 2014 – part 1

This year Bead &Button was a whirlwind of activity as I was a faculty member for the first time!  That was exciting enough for me, but I decided to take the journey to Milwaukee early so that I could have some good girlfriend time with Janice, Tracy and Marcia.

Traveling is always an experience that I enjoy.  This year was no different.  Leaving the train station in Dearborn (thanks Tom for dropping me off at an ungodly early hour), I was very excited.  Remind me next year (should I be selected for classes) that I need to only travel with ONE suitcase!  The train pulled into Chicago when things became interesting.  The train that was earlier than mine was missing!!  Short version – I was put on a tour bus, very comfy, and took the bus north to Milwaukee.  The best part of it was that I was able to snooze on the bus!

I loved rooming with Janice and Tracy – I don’t think that we could stop talking if we had to.  It had been a year since we were together and it worked really well.  Of course, Tracy and I had seen each other at Beading by the Bay in March – that was our practice rooming together!  Dinner that evening with our Marcia made it even better!  We were joined by Anne Mitchell and Beki and Shawn Haley of Whim Beads.

Photo by Anne Mitchell
Tuesday was my hang out and relax day.  I didn’t have any classes scheduled so I had breakfast with Beki and Shawn, I surprised Marcia with coffee (we talked about it last night with Tracy and Janice).  Marcia sent me a text with her order as a joke, so of course I had to get it for her.  Love my Marcia.  While in her classroom, I met several beaders that I have known over the years through her classes and some new friends, including Helena Tang-Lim from Manek-Manek Beads.  She has a great eye for color and has designed some awesome pieces of beadwork.  While chatting with Helena, I met Sunyoung Park-Hoffman (of Ezel Findings, maker of a great new travel bead mat) and her sister (who traveled from Korea!).

I was able to hang out with many friends for a while at the “Gathering Place” and see Mandi and her friend Ralonda, spend some quality time with Nikia and view the fabulous Crown Rings – they are stunning and I can’t wait for the pattern to be released!  Stunning, stunning, stunning (Should I say that again?).  I was a little disconcerted to see what appeared to be someone teaching one of her kits in the Gathering Place.  I hope what I saw was that they just decided to all do the same kit at the same time, but that’s certainly not what it looked like. 

Janice sketching at lunch.
I ran into Sabine Lippert and Claudia Schumann who invited me to lunch with them.  We had a nice time chatting about everything and nothing (and thank you again for my soda!).  Janice and I both had some free time during the day and managed to meet for a late lunch/early dinner and we decided on sushi from Kiku – which is walking distance from the convention center and the hotel.  It’s so good there!!  Unfortunately, it’s not the best looking place, but the food is good, it was quiet and cool.

My first B&B teaching of Dalal’s Dream was that late afternoon and I had 9 students.  It was a really good experience for me to have such good students; everyone was having a good time and looking forward to “Meet the Teachers” that evening.  It was a rush to break down class at 7am, rush to the convention center, and set up by 8pm.  I managed to do it quickly, steal some hugs from friends, and be back in place.  Since I didn’t have a stock of items to sell, I didn’t try and just have things to sell – I made the conscious decision to just meet people.  It was a great experience - I met so many people, received hugs and good wishes - it was so nic.

Amy Blevins rocking out with the tiara

Meet the Teachers exhibit with the Taj Mahal, bead embroidered purse,
along with the Tiara and matching necklace

Beading by the Bay 2014 - Part 2

We woke again in San Francisco, and this was going to be a great day!  Major site seeing was planned.  After a nice breakfast and packing, we once again figure how to pack our mini van and off we drove.  Dot did an excellent job of maneuvering through the streets of San Francisco and over the bridge we went.  Our first stop was Marin Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge!

This was a great spot for photos of the San Fran skylines and the bridge.  Well, except that the sun was shining when we got there, but the fog rolled in.  And FAST.

Dot is looking for the top of this monster tree.  This picture really shows how large they are.
Following our quick stop at the bridge, we drove north to Muirwoods National Forest to see the Redwoods!  This has been a great visit for me and crossing off items of the bucket list (crossing Golden Gate Bridge – Check!  Redwood Forest – Check!).  We waited in the parking lot for our last member to join us! Beki Haley of Whim Beads, who doesn't live very far from Muirwoods.  
Front: Liz, Sue, Tracy
Back: Cyn, Dot, Sharon
Not seen:  Beki (taking picture)
We wandered down the meandering path in awe of these beautiful giant trees.  The further removed from the parking lot, the quieter the noises became almost as if the trees were absorbing the sound.  These trees are massive, and not even the largest redwoods in California.  If my Dawn Redwood in the garden grows to 1/5 of their size, that is going to be a large tree.

A quick drive north and west of there brings us out to the coast and Stin, where Beki prepared a wonderful picnic lunch.  It's funny - the northern girls (Dot, Sue and I) thought the weather was wonderful.  Sharon, who now lives in Tucson, was freezing.  And Cyn, Beki and Tracy (California and Seattle) thought "Oh, jeesh, rain again"!!