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!

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.