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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

June Bead Journal Project

I haven't done a post for the Bead Journal Project since way back in January, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on pieces to complete my series of Hoarded Treasures.  So instead of pulling out months of pieces to show, I'll jump in at June 2014 with these two necklaces I completed with cameos I found while looking for clasp to complete my Battle of the Beadsmith piece. 

I had someone at work tell me that I must have been in a "blue" mood since I didn't make it to round two of the BOTB14.  Not really.  I just found these two pieces in a cigar box filled with cameos I'd bought from who know whom who knows when.  I might have gotten these from eBay, or from a bead store, or they might have been gifts from someone.  I just can't remember.  But on the day I found them it was rainy outside and possibly that is what triggered my Muse to pull them out of the box and take them upstairs to put on my Bead tray.  I also tried crystal chain as a component.  It was tricky as I had to actually cut the chain and on one of the necklace I was a tad bit short, but I think I made it work out.   I also used a few of the wooden rondelles I'd gotten from Byantium all those years back.  I've never been able to find these any place else and I do indeed hoard them all.  The light blue pieces of glass I got at 1Stop Bead Shop during a trunk sale.  They'd brought them back from the latest Bead and Button Show.  The Rivoli, I found also in a box of items.  And the silver beads were left overs from the class I took from Amy Katz. 

I have to say that I really am not a fan of blue.  I rarely work with blue.  I don't know why as it is a very popular color, but not actually one of my favorite colors.  My Father loved blue. My Mother loves blue.  And when I use to teach at Byzantium, I'd always make more blue kits than any other color as most people like the color blue.  I wondered what the color blue says about a person's personality and about their experiences.  I did a little search and came across a website about color psychology.  Interesting ideas about the color blue.  So in essences using the color blue doesn't mean you actually are blue in spirit.  It has so many more meanings that are positive and reaffirming.

The Color Blue

The color blue is the color of trust and responsibility
This color is one of trust, honesty and loyalty. It is sincere, reserved and quiet, and doesn't like to make a fuss or draw attention. It hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way.
From a color psychology perspective, blue is reliable and responsible. This color exhibits an inner security and confidence. You can rely on it to take control and do the right thing in difficult times. It has a need for order and direction in its life, including its living and work spaces.
This is a color that seeks peace and tranquility above everything else, promoting both physical and mental relaxation. It reduces stress, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order - we certainly feel a sense of calm if we lie on our backs and look into a bright blue cloudless sky. It slows the metabolism. The paler the blue the more freedom we feel.
In the meaning of colors, blue relates to one-to-one communication, especially communication using the voice - speaking the truth through verbal self-expression - it is the teacher, the public speaker.
The color blue is idealistic, enhancing self-expression and our ability to communicate our needs and wants. It inspires higher ideals.
Blue's wisdom comes from its higher level of intelligence, a spiritual perspective.
Blue is the color of the spirit, devotion and religious study. It enhances contemplation and prayer. On the other hand, blue's devotion can be to any cause or concept it believes in, including devotion to family or work.
Blue is the helper, the rescuer, the friend in need. It's success is defined by the quality and quantity of its relationships. It is a giver, not a taker. It likes to build strong trusting relationships and becomes deeply hurt if that trust is betrayed.
Blue is conservative and predictable, a safe and non-threatening color, and the most universally liked color of all, probably because it is safe and non-threatening. At the same time blue is persistent and determined to succeed in whichever endeavors it pursues.
Change is difficult for blue. It is inflexible and when faced with a new or different idea, it considers it, analyzes it, thinks it over slowly and then tries to make it fit its own acceptable version of reality.
Blue is nostalgic. It is a color that lives in the past, relating everything in the present and the future to experiences in the past.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BOTB Reflections

Round two for Steven's Battle of the Beadsmith is starting.  I'm enjoying seeing new photos of each piece that has moved up.  It made me thing more about things I should have/could have done in the competition. First and foremost, I want to emphasis that this was a friendly competition with no prizes.  The biggest prize to all 200+ artist was a chance to have the whole world view their designing and artistic skills.  With that I'm so happy.  And for me one of biggest winning prizes was meeting other designers and adding them to my "friends" list on Facebook.  One night I actually spent hours texting with another designer who didn't make it to round two like myself.  We connected and learned more about each other deciding hey we had more in common than beads and I was delighted when I saw she sent me a friend's request so know I can follow her Timeline and be a part of her life. 

One thing I told her was that her piece was a winner!  It was just luck of the draw that she had been paired with another piece of work just as stunning, just as creative, just as much a winner.  I strongly encouraged her to wear it out into the public and let the world beyond these small windows see what she'd created and admire it in all its glory.  I can't tell you how thrilling it is to have a person come over gushing all over your creation.  I myself wore Cranberry Baroque to Worthington Mall and had five strangers come up to me wanting to see my necklace.  All three asked for my card and one even directed me a gallery that would love to show my jewelry.  In the real world, you don't have to use photographs or words to explain what you have done.  It is right there in three dimension doing all the work for you.  Don't let the word "loser" even work into your mind!  It will destroy confidence and put a big brake on your creativity.  Show your work online, but also wear it and let it blaze a path.

So another things I did learn from BOTB is that I need to really concentrate on WORDS.  I know, above I just wrote that sometime they shouldn't be so crucial, but in competitions where your words can be the door to get people to actually look at what you've so created choosing the right phrases and focusing on your creative process is just as important as having the right camera or backdrops.  One of the things I didn't focus on with Cranberry Baroque was stating that I intentionally left the fabric showing as the pink of the fabric was the backdrop for the other colors making them all pop out.  I also should have used a fabric that was more intricate with patterns that would enhance the bead work.  Once again should have/could have, but I did learn that creativity and words need to ride a competition entry hand and hand when the judges can't see the work in real time.