Friday, August 07, 2015

Musings from the Campground

Thursday, August 6th - 7.30am

We are so connected with each other via all the different social media, that it's really hard to accept a sudden and total disconnect as I did this week while camping.  I found myself very jealous of the limited connectability that my hubby had, and I would sneak glimpses on his phone to see what was happening with our friends.

As the week progressed, a curious thing happened.  I found myself looking less and less at his phone.  I wasn't even carrying my phone - I picked up my real camera instead and took pictures.  Not just pictures to be posted on Facebook to say "Look what fun I am having", but pictures that had a shape and form that I liked - and that pleased me.

Alan and I did a lot of nothing this week.  Lake Hudson State Park is a beautiful spot and I would come back.  The campsites are large private.  There are massive hedges of shrubs, small trees and branches, separating each site so you can't see your neighbor.  The sites are also off-set so you can't see someone directly across the road.  Lake Hudson is a "Dark Sky Preserve" and has no exernal lighting - no street lights.  No building lights.

Above - camper in the moonlight.

It's also low on ammenities.  There are two outhouses (one for each loop) - they are new, but still outhouses.  There is one water pump.  You know, a hand pump.  The only modern ammenity at the campground is electricity.  As it was put in the park, it was done thoughtfully - the electric stations are tucked away into paths cut in the brambles so many of them are not seen from the road.




It's very quiet.  Very little street noise - only when the breeze is at the right angle.  There are very few planes.  Even with weekend campers, the park was quiet well before quiet hour.

Aside from the night when the largest storm of the summer came through with rain, thunder, lightening lasting clost to four hours; the weather has been good - perhaps a little too hot and muggy.  But that storm!  It might have been the second worst storm I have camped in - and I have camped in some bad ones.  The thunder and lightening was so fast and furious that it just all rolled together and you didn't know if the thunder was starting or finishing.

But it was a good week.  I finished a few UFOs, put away a project that has been frustrating me (I will pick it up later) and started another that I sketched awhile ago.
Beki Haley's "Tango" necklace


Monday, June 22, 2015

Bead on it Board versus Bead Pad

There has been a lot of on-line discussion about the “Bead On It Board” and the newer “Bead Pad.”  When I was at Bead and Button early in June 2015, I was able to see both and I have been using both this past month.  This is not going to be an argument about copyright, patent, and trademark.  This is my impressions about two different products.  

This year, I bought three different BOIB from Betcey at Beyond Beadery and two from Oak Grove Studio (which does NOT have the Bead Pad on their web page).  It was in the back of my head to write a blog post that would talk about the two products, MY opinion of the products.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my BOIB – to the point where I have eight different one in avariety of sizes from small to large.  I realized it is obsessive behavior, but one was a gift and one was a trade (how’s that for justification?).  In the beading industry, there is always competition (Swarovski and Preciosa, Miyuki and Toho, Nymo and One G (or KO, silamide, Fireline; etc).

The first and original product is the “Bead on It!” beading board (BOIB).  According to the label on the back of my board, it has a 2008 copyright, and a trademark patented of 2010.  The “Bead Pad” (BP) just has a small label on the back. 

Since I have used the BOIB for many years, I have been working with my new Bead Pad for the last several weeks.  My thoughts are:
 
  • ·    The fabric is where you visually see the difference.  The BOIB is available is many, many colors and combinations of colors – mostly with velour fabrics, with some really exciting prints.  The BP I saw at B&B were of a different palette with earth tones in a rich upholstery fabric.  I actually like the variety in both boards – perhaps, I could see the BP wearing a little better and not getting as dirty.  Both are nice – this would completely be the personal preference of the consumer.
  •  ·    Functionality:  Both boards have a great base fabric.  Both boards have a similar feel when working with them, the beads lay nicely for scooping with the needle or for the jab method of one bead at a time.  The deck of the BOIB is a little “spongier”, but I didn’t see that as a positive or negative for either board.
  •  ·    On both boards, seed beads get stuck in the groove between the bumper and the base fabric.  It means flicking them out with your Scoopula, triangle tray or fingernail.  A friend of mine attempted to fix this with some satin cording (rat tail) glued in the groove. 
  •  ·    The BP board is much heavier than the BOIB.  It feels as if it’s made out of a dense plywood, versus the lighter plywood that they BOIB uses.  If you are not moving it between your studio area and classrooms, then this isn’t as much of a concern for you.
  •  ·    Price:  For an 11x17 board, the BOIB price is $120.00.  The price for the BP for about the same size is $50.  That’s a big different if you are a budget minded beader.
  •  ·    Backing Material:  The BOIB uses a felt fabric on the bottom side.  On a non-fabric surface, the BOIB does slip, but not much.  The BP uses a latex free shelf-liner material, which won’t slide on any surface.  I do think the BOIB board is finished a little nicer, but not enough to make it a deal breaker.  One of my BP had a broken staple that didn’t lay right and scratched me, but a quick whack with a hammer took care of that.


In summary, I do like both boards (and I will admit, I was going into this experiment hoping that I would like the BOIB better).  I think that there is a different audience for both boards, just as there is an audience for Mercedes and Lexus, Swarovski and Preciosa crystals, Japanese and Czech seed beads.  The winner will be all the beaders who are put off by the price of the BOIB who fall in love with the BP. And then they decide that they can't wait to put their own test together.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Bead & Button 2015 - The Heavy Haul

The heavy haul...4 rolls crystal cup chain, 2 packs of 3mm preciosa bi-cones, assorted rondells, 2 large bags of assorted pearls, box of 16mm, 14mm and 12mm rivolis, drops, metal beads, bag of vintage rivolis in assorted sizes, more cup chain, assortment of One-G thread, vintage 39mm chatons, cool bronze castings from Russia, Bead On It board, Bead Pad (I think I will write a comparison of the two an how I feel about them).

For many years I have written an annual post-B&B report, as I did in 20142013, 2012, 2011 and as far back as 2007.  I will get caught up and blog that soon!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Ahhh, Bead Embroidery

Over the years I have done a fair amount of bead embroidery.  Oh, okay - I have done a lot of bead embroidery.  I don't talk much about the base fabric that I use, but people have started asking what I use and why.   When I started, I was using an interfacing fabric, then craft felt, interfacing with an iron-on "canvas", Lacey's Stiff Stuff, Nicole's Bead Backing, and just recently a bead foundation by the BeadSmith company.  Here are my thoughts:

Interfacing (i.e. Pellon or Peltex):  Actually it's pretty good stuff, but I have only seen it in white.  If you bead fairly close together, it's not a big deal.  It comes on the bolt, so you can get great lengths and cut interesting shapes and patterns.

Craft felt:  I didn't have good luck with this.  Pilled, shredded and was uneven to work on.

Interfacing with an Iron-on Canvas:  I used this with the Taj Mahal.  Man, oh man, was this a bear to bead through!!  Interfacing was fine, but the iron-on that I printed the outline on was so hard to get the needle through.  Maybe that is why it took years to finish.  I will not recommend this to anyone!

Lacey's Stiff Stuff:  Decent stuff, but never felt the best for me.  Many people do love it and swear by it - we all have what we love.  It did shred a little, can be dyed to other colors, made larger by placing the edges next to each other and sewing together but is a decent product.

Nicole's Bead Backing:  This is my hands down favorite bead embroidery product to use.  It doesn't pill, minimal shredding, comes in 16 colors, takes iron-on transfer pencil, stamps and more.  My silver tiara is actually on the green bead backing, because I was going to use a sample and then just decided to go for it.

Bead Foundation by BeadSmith:  I just used this recently for a project and I don't care for it at all.  It feels thin, flimsy and shreds.  I think it's obvious that I didn't like it.

These are just my opinions, you may love a product that I don't care for - which is perfectly fine.  There is room for all sorts of opinions on different products.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bead Embroidery has taken over my life!

Over the years, I have done many bead embroidered pieces.  Small postage stamp sizes for "bead quilts" that have been donated to raise money for charity to larger pieces that I have been fortunate enough to sell.

two Ganesha figures that are now owned by doctors that I work with (thanks guys), 

 a picture of my beloved Casie who passed to the big dog biscuit heaven in the sky.
 I have been inspired by pictures that I took on my travels - which is where this temple guardian came from - a temple from Soraksan, South Korea
 From my three years living in Germany and visiting Neuschwanstein Castle many times

 From Robin Atkins and the annual "Bead Journal" project
 African beads made from old record albums - yes, I do need to finish this one.  I bet that many persons don't realize that record albums used to come in different colors.  That's something I do remember.
 Meeting up with fellow bead embroidery artist, Dot Lewellen, in a bar in Milwaukee (we are such pick ups, I know!)
I have completed two tiaras (and an outline for how I did them is in process)
And my newest piece that was to be a necklace.  Until yesterday when something hit me.  And I love what it's turning into.

Stay tuned to this bead station, this bat channel


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)

http://www.beadandbuttonshowstore.com/b151076.html





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

http://www.beadandbuttonshowstore.com/b151045.html


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."

http://www.beadandbuttonshowstore.com/b151077.html





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.

http://www.beadandbuttonshowstore.com/b151044.html





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