Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay

What a year this has been so far.  Lots of creating.  Lots of traveling.  Lots of working on the house.  Lots of sewing.  Lots of Beading.  Lots of loving on my two boys.  With only 8 days left until AFICC, I am in the last stages of preparation.  Pattern already sent to my students who are joining me for two separate days teaching Flashy Funk Fish, and today I completed the beading instructions and am ready to start printing.  I haven't taught a class like this since 2008.  Yes, I'm a little nervous, but there will be so many familiar faces in my two separate classes that I know it is going to be the best.




I have been working on little things since coming back from Beading by the Bay.  I wanted to make small items that attendees and the general public will just have to take home with them.  Another great thing about AFICC is that Saturday night Cyndy is inviting the public to stay after viewing the Doll Gallery for demonstration night.  I'll be there for a couple hours showing how to make a PERFECT PET which is the Koggie.  I'll have patterns for sale to the general public at this event.

Bunnies and Kitties ready to be beaded

Bunny pin dolls

G'nomie pin cushions.  Hopefully, I'll have this pattern available at AFICC.

Nothing escapes the BEADS!
Chris' favorite pin doll

My favorite pin doll

Sammy's favorite but he is not getting this one
Rats are welcome if they have buttons on them

Who can't resist a beaded bunny

 
All decked out and ready to head to AFICC
Fish and Fowl will be in attendence

Creating the Perfect Pet demonstration on Saturday night

What?  Did you say the General Public can attend the  FREE demonstration night?
YES!  Plus amazing vendors will be there Saturday and Sunday.
 
So join us!


Still not to late to sign up.  Many classes don't require homework and if you are interested in my Flashy Funky Fish and don't have time to do the homework, I will have fish body forms presewn
Sammy and I wish you a great week.  Hope to see you at AFICC

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hello 2015

One month of 2015 is almost gone, and I just realized I haven't posted any thing on this blog in ages.  Since I'm going to be teaching again this year, it probably is a good idea that I have a few things here on the web to share with future students so they can see what other options there are in beaded figures.

These past months, I've been playing around with making animal doll forms.  It has been a bit challenging trying to get proportions right to make my forms look more life like.  I sat back and realized why am I doing that?  Why not just dive deep into my sub conscious and find my inner CARTOON MUSE!  It worked.  I also decided to not totally encrust the doll form with beads because sometimes the fabric combinations are just too fun.  So for my first in 2015 met two rats and a weird genetic hybrid mutation called a RatBit. 
Met the Country Rat.  He's made of scrap fabric and felt.

I had fun making the County Rat's nose. 

Is it Rabbit?  Is it a Rat?  No it is a RatBit


I just love the patterns in this fabric.  Add a felted vest with a few pieces of scrap fabric for pockets AND a very saucy beret


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sewing merrily along

I know this is hard to believe, but my beads are just not talking to me anymore.  Well, they ARE but the fabric is getting all my attention.  I've been busy sewing away on new critters that just spring into my head and demand to be crafted.  I wish I could sew better to give them more justice, but I know that the only way to do that is to practice, practice, and practice more.  Chris has been working on the pattern for the Koggies for me.  Now all I have to do is to finish writing the instructions so that I can offer the pattern & instructions for sell so others can populate the world with adorable little critters made all out of fabric.  Throw in a few beads, and that just makes it even more perfect.

Here is a little sampling of what my busy fingers have been working on that past couple of months. 


I bought new fabrics to play with.  Really love the lavender mix so I had to make a wee bunny and an elephant that is a mutation of the Koggie pattern

I had an order for a mermaid doll for a artist to bead on.  I just had to make an extra for myself.  I do love needle sculpting the faces.

Close up of my new elephant pattern

Ooops...someone did a photo bomb with the elephant

And a piggy had to be covered with beads.

I used the fabric craft velor from Doll Maker's Journey.  I could not sew it on my little Janome Jem no matter how hard I tried with new needles, tissue paper as the fabric is slick.  So both these are actually hand sewn.

I love the look of the craft velor fabric, but it is difficult for me to sew on the machine.  Chris heard me complaining so he actually remarked that possibly I need a more powerful machine.  Yep...he said it, not me.

My friend Liz saw one of my elephants and suggested tusk.  I agree...they look great especially in the wild orange fabric scraps I had.

Great profile of the elephant.

A few little critters that followed me to a Guilded Lily meeting

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bead Play with Fringe

I have a question for you bead artist out there creating gorgeous pieces of jewelry regardless if it is bead embroidery or bead weaving.  Do you fringe?  Have you every finished a  project and wondered how to complete it turning it into amazing to stunning?  I have a brand new book out that you are going to want to have to help you with this question no matter if you already feel confident in adding fringe or if you are new and want to learn the basics.

Last week I got the most amazing book in the mail from Jamie Cloud Eakin.  It is her latest book called Bead Play with Fringe:  Techniques, designs, and projects.  I've spent hours pouring over the new books which is filled with detailed illustrations and pictures in each chapter.  She starts with pictures of different types of fringe describing the basics of each technique.  Then each chapter focuses on the type of fringe technique with generous pictures and alternative colorways.  The projects have detailed supply list to help the student know what needs to be in front of them before starting.  Then with graphs and illustrations, Jamie takes the student through the project step by step.  Each chapter then builds on the confidence of the student to more challenging types of bead fringing.  Jamie starts with simple basic fringing then leads on to loop, kinky, branch, and ends with twisted and spiral fringing.  All with photos of Jamie's amazing beaded treasures. 


Bead Play with Fringe can be purchase at Amazon here.  You will want to add it to you book case and use it as a reference book when finishing up designs.  Bead Play with Fringe is a permanent addition to my craft library right next to Jamie's other books.  I'm sure you will be delighted in this book as much as I have been.

I want to thank Jamie so much for sending me a copy of Bead Play with Fringe.   If you would like to see more examples of Jamie's amazing pieces of jewelry, then please click here.


So here are my own examples of the question Shakespeare would ask a Bead Artist:  To Fringe or Not to Fringe?
















Meet the Koggies

I am a bi-crafting artist.  I said it, now I guess I need to explain what that means.  I have two areas of crafting that I spend most of my time on.  The number one is beading.  It consumes me and tries to take completely over my life.  But my second craft steps in there and wants an equal share of attention.  I almost feel like I have two Artist residing inside my head each wanting to take over.  I sometimes think if I let one take over more than the other, I might have that break through and master one craft over the other.  But after months beading or months sewing, the other get jealous making me switch. I love beading and making jewelry, but I get just as much satisfaction making dolls.  What really makes me very happy is when both craft personalities get to meld together and create at the same time.  Happily I sew up a new pattern tweaking each shape and stitch, and then out come the beads.  I'm extremely happy when both get together.  I would absolutely love to teach both of these together, but most people are not as crazy as I am nor do they want to obsess completely covering a pain staking hand sewn small doll form.  I know there are a few of you out there, but the majority just can't commit hours, days, or weeks.  If I want to continue teaching my love of doll making in the future, then I need to take a year or two to learn to sew better, construct dolls with actually patterns and then write a legible pattern that others can follow.  Now if I tend to bead those figures when done, then that makes me happy, but for now, I'm going to commit myself to create both new figures AND write patterns for them. So that all said, I would like you to met my second attempt at creating a new figure for artist to embellish or just enjoy constructing on their own.  I'm working on the actual pattern and instructions for later in the year for sales.


 This is a Koggie.  Where did the name Koggie come from?  I have a group of friends that I go to San Francisco with every year.  We like to text and share our day to day lives with each other.  I posted a picture of my first figure.  I asked if it looked more like a Doggie or a Kitty.  Beki wrote and combining both words coined them Koggies.  I liked the name, and it stuck.  The fun thing about constructing these is that there are so many different combinations to create a different face each time.  I also did a small bit of needle sculpting to give each more of an animal's snout.  Using different components for the muzzle makes each Koggie distinct.  The noses are actual vintage glass sew on that I bought years ago in New York City never knowing what I was going to use them for, but they just fit perfect here. 


Of course I had to bead a few.  The orange Koggie uses a bead mix I purchased from Whimbeads called Mamba.  I used my version of a flat peyote to cover the body.  This one was actually purchased as soon as I posted it on Facebook.  I was sad, but he lives in a brand new home in Washington state where he is cherished. 

The pattern still needs a little more tweaking, and I need to find other alternative sources for the noses for those not wanting to purchase the glass sew on from me.  So stitch stitch stitch...draw draw draw...bead bead bead.  I'm a happy girl with each craft personality happily entwined with the other.




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay

September first was the day that Artistic Figure in Cloth and Clay opened.  I'm am so honored to be one of the fourteen teachers at this gala event next April in Columbus Ohio.  AFICC is the brain child of my friend Cyndy Sieving.  Cyndy puts on one of the best doll maker's conferences in the country.  Coming into the main hotel doors every two years, you'd think you'd come to a big family reunion, and that is exactly the whole feel of the conference.  I still remember the first time I took one of my beaded bendi dolls to AFIC and was greeted with open arms and such warmth.  Sometimes it is hard to explain the feeling to those who haven't experienced a family where everyone does what you do, is just as excited about new fabrics being displayed by the vendors, and who will wear the most outrageous outfits on the opening night.  And that is just the first hour.


Next year, I'm going to be teaching two days the class Funky Flashy Fish.  The class is designed for anyone who wants to learn bead embroidery on a three dimensional form. Never used seed beads ever in your doll making designs then never worry as this class is for everyone from the very beginner to someone who wants to step back and just have fun with bead embroidery.  Using unique shaped shells, this doll can be covered very quickly and along the way, I'll share some other techniques to make this fish truly your own.  And for those who don't want to sew the fish form, I'll be happy to do that for you as well (just ask). 





And I've been experimenting with the form making a few more fish to add to the school of Funky Flashy Fish.  Join me in Columbus Ohio April 23-26 for lots of laughs, fun and true adventure.