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.

http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com

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. 


Saturday, June 28, 2014

BOTB results

Well, I didn't make it to round two.  Am I sad?  A little, but I have met so many new friends through this competition that for me it is a win-win situation.  I thought I'd share a couple pictures of my two nieces modelling the necklace for me.  These were taken BEFORE I realized the neck strap was too long and so they necklace does not lay correctly on the collar bone.  Guess I need to get them to do a little more modeling for me.  Thank you Emily and Mallory Noel. 



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Battle of the Beadsmith 2014

I was quiet for about two months when I was working on my BOTB 14 or Battle of the Beadsmith 2014 challenge piece.  Yes, I said TWO MONTHS!  Of course I was doing other things as I was working on this, but it took up a whole lot of my beading and thinking time.  First off, it was a complete challenge as I skated into the months of February and March drawing up ideas for a beaded doll for the challenge.  Then I read the rules (one should always read the rules before starting to design anything) and realized it was for WEARABLE ART!  My heart almost stopped.  I wrote to Steven and asked if it really had to be wearable art...and yes, he said yes. But in Steven's marvelous way he coaxed me on with suggestions.  I decided to put the beaded sculpture ideas and drawings aside and to focus on jewelry, jewelry, and more jewelry.




I wanted something that looked heavy without being heavy.  A beaded collar was out of the question as is would not contour to the body's form, so I started to draw component pieces and play puzzle me out.  Then the fun part began.  I went deep down into Dot's Art Cave and found crystals that I'd hoarded away and probably haven't seen the light of day for years.  I then stopped over at the big wall of seed beads and randomly chose colors that would make me happy.  I forgot that I did need some sort of bead backing so without turning on the lights, I pulled out a piece of Nicole's Bead Backing and rushed upstairs.  To my amazement, I had chosen some colors that I've never worked with before and the color of the backing was PINK!  Really?  PINK?  And I chose brown iris, cranberry, brown, red, and bronzes.  The crystals and Rivolis were brown and pink.  Yikes!  I merrily started to bead and to my amazement the colors liked each other and were purring along.  I got the major component with the large crystals completed and I'm talking about edging and backing and all when I realized I did not like it.  That was a whole week of work and I did not like it at all.  So (oh yes I did it) out came the scissors and the first major rip apart began.  I was pondering why didn't I like it.  Then I realized, there was nothing that actually popped out at me.  I tried adding pearls, but it just wasn't enough.  Then I picked up a bag of sequins and opened it up.  A few spilled out and landed on the focal component.  I could not believe that those green sequins were the answer.  So green joined the party and back to beading I went.  I decided to not totally encrust this piece letting the pink backing show as it added more contrast to the crystal and bead colors.  I liked that a whole lot.



Then I began the edging AGAIN.  I redid the edging twice before I landed on the idea of circles encircling circles using the cranberry and brown.  I sat back and thought about some of the baroque picture frames I'd seen at all the museums I'd been drawn too, so I came up with the name Cranberry Baroque for the piece.  Happily, I began using the circle idea to join the components together.  It was done. Finally, and three weeks before the deadline.  So I took the necklace to my niece Emily's graduation party and had both her and Mallory do a little bit of modeling for me.  Their young innocent beauty worked so well with the beads and crystals.  I was excited.  Then I began looking at the pictures and to my horror realized the length of the necklace strap was too long.  All the components were hanging down past the collar bone instead of hugging it.  What to do? What to do?  So out came the scissors and a shortening and another idea to have two different ways to clasp the piece so that anyone with a smaller or larger neck could wear the necklace so it would caress the collar bone instead hanging.



I was indeed happy.  Then the picture taking. Chris and I tried three different cameras, lighting, and backgrounds before only four suitable pictures were usable.  I definitely have learned that we need a better digital camera if I want to do any more competitions, better lighting, and definitely a tent or background screens.  But finally everything was sent off.  Now, I'm a part of the 2014 Battle of the Beadsmiths.  It was fun, and challenging and educational as well.  But the best part is taking time to look at all the other gorgeous pieces of wearable art completed from 256 global  bead artist.  A special thank you for Stephen in organizing this challenge spending countless hours posting pictures, matching Battle participants, and keeping the tone of the Battle amusing and fun. 


Thursday, June 19, 2014

apology


Dear abandoned blog.  Shall I say I am sorry for forgetting about your existence these past six long months?  Shall I say I've been busy beading and creating and didn't have a moment to think about you?  Or should I just tell you that I've spent so much time posting on Facebook that I really have forgotten your existence?  That last one if probably more of the truth of the matter. 

So what have I been doing since my post so very long long ago?  Well, I've been making dolls for proposed classes to Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay.  I've been making jewelry for competitions and weddings and just for fun.  I traveled out to San Francisco with my beading buddies to take classes at Beading by the Bay and to SHOP, LAUGH, and EAT!  I took two amazing classes with Amy Katz in Farmington Hills Michigan through the Great Lakes Beadworkers' Guild.  And I've been ridiculously addicted to Netflix watching old television series I never had a chance to watch.

I decided to go natural and now my hair is all white and gray.  So all in all, it has been pretty much normal time for me.    I have so many things to share and now that I am back (or shall I say I finally remembered my password) expect some pictures of things in the works and things already done. 


No more snoozing...time to start blogging!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Memory's Forrest

To continue my journey with the Bead Journal Project, I decided to dip into my hoard of beading treasures and create one more piece for January.  I'd completed the pendent before the last week of January, but the actual necklace portion kept eluding me.  Finally, I decided to finish it off with rings connected with rings.  I then began to let my mind take steps backwards discovering why I'd chosen these hoarded objects, and why they had to all be used into making this necklace.  It all reminded me of walking through Shawnee Forrest trying to find my way back onto a familiar trail that would lead me out to a clear path.  If you are unfamiliar with Appalachian forest let me tell you that off a beaten trail there are brambles and stray branches trying to deter you from certain pathways.  You weave around finding a safe road, and along that meandering path you can experience sensory emotions that will stay with you for you life.  The smell of wet leaves, the smell of bogs, the smell of hidden wildflowers are within you.  The sound of the winds blowing the heavy trees to and fro, the slithering of snakes hidden among the leaf covered floor, the screech of birds of prey in the tree canopy, the gentle foot falls of your own feet.  Shawnee Forrest is a part of my family as we were one of the first families in the Ohio River Valley centuries ago.  My Father's dying wish was to step one more time into the forest and walk among the trees and skies. 


I think it is the thought of my Father's last wish that originally made me pick up the ceramic owl that I'd gotten from Marti Conrad, the gemstone donut I'd gotten from Lora Tobias, and the crystal Rivoli that I'd gotten from Byzantium.  Each of these pieces brought back memories of loss.  The rivoli along with so many other items that I hoard are from Byzantium bead store which closed years ago in Columbus.  It was there I first discovered my love of creating with beads.  It was there that I was allowed to teach my first class and learn that I loved to teach and share my ideas.  It is gone, but the items I brought home with me that last day and the people who still are a part of my life keeps Byzantium alive.  The donut I received from Lora was at the Beading on the Beach Retreat my friends on Delfi Forums and I created and keep alive to this very day.  We all became very close that weekend filled with joy, beads, and friendship.  Lora is gone.  She passed away from cancer, but I when I touched that donut the memories of that week came back instantly.  It still centers me. 


I have never seen an owl in Nature.  I believe I've heard them before, but never seen one with my own eyes.  But when I chose the ceramic owl, it wasn't the owl that I thought about, it was the kindness a stranger showed to me on Facebook when Arwen and Frodo died in 2012 less than two weeks apart.  Marti Conrad was that stranger who sent me a heart with pawprints embossed in it to help me with my grief over losing my two Scotties.  She is a stranger no more, and I enjoy seeing her work every single day.  I am also lucky to have gotten some of her original pieces.  I bought a grouping of these ceramic owls just wanting them because they were unique and lovely, but also because they reminded me of her kind heart.  It also gives me a physical object to see how grief can inspire love from others.
Me, Daddy & Jerry 

As I put all these pieces from my dream state journey through memories wandering from one piece to another it all came fluid to me that we need not feel grief for loss as though corporal bodies are long gone, the memories of those others are still with us.  We reach down inside and they are still there.  Rings of love are inter mingled together creating strength and structure out of chaos.  The beaded rings in my necklace are the image of all the rings of friendship, love, and desire that have found me along my path.  I might think certain distractions are not part of the plan, but it is the distractions that cause me to stop and just BE!  As in my other January Bead Journal Project necklace, it is the times that we are silent that we are the most alive.  Stopping even for a second to look with inner eye at where I am and those who are still with me give me strength and joy.  Each step, each click of a key, each word creates more rings of love, friendship, and loyalty that strengthen and harden my endurance to live on.  Each are with me still and until I breath my last breath.

My Five Scotties who are long gone but still with me:
FalaPink, SkyeBlue, Frodo, Arwen, and Fiona
 
SkyeBlue and FalaPink
SkyeBlue, Fiona, and Frodo

Baby Arwen