Friday, April 27, 2012

Lark book review-500 Rings

I'm so excited.  Saturday I received a package with two Lark books inside with letters from Ray Hemachandra asking if I would like to review some of Lark's publications.  I could not believe that they accepted my offer to review books.  I'm in heaven.  First off I have to state here that this is one of the things that way back when I was a Sophomore at Ohio State trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up I wanted to do as an adult.  I wanted to work for a publishing house as either a editor or copywriter.  As you can tell, that didn't happen.  But now, I'm going to be given a chance to brush up some of those old skills and write reviews for one of the most successful publishing companies: Lark Books.

The first book that I am going to talk about is Showcase 500 Rings: New Directions in Art JewelryLark has revamped their very successful 500 Series.  Showcase 500 Rings is a relaunch from the 2004 publication 1000 Rings.  This gallery book has taken 500 rings from some of the world's best jewelry designers from all over the globe to give you a book that will literally knock your socks off with dazzling eye candy.  You'll get to browse finding inspiration from 341 jewelers.  The variety of work is stunning and each page is filled with eye grabbing photographs that will trigger your Muse. 


Bruce Metcalf writes in his opening : This book is a celebration of the imagination.  Look at the wild variety of work we've included, the extremes of artistic approaches."  Mr. Metcalf looked at over 6500 images picking out these ones that show the traditional approach of rings to the kitsch designs.

 Each time I open a page of this gallery Showcase, my eyes delve into the picture getting lost in all the different textures and materials used in each ring.  The only thing that I wish after looking through the book many times is to actually see each of the 500 Rings in person.  Wouldn't it be fun to try them all on?  To see the designs from the simplistic all the way to the outrageous?

I am not going to post any pictures from this amazing book, but have decided to send you my reader on a trip looking at some of the websites of a few of the fantastic artist.  I'm sure that with each viewing of this book, I'll find that I need to search on Google to find another jeweler and launch into their mindset by taking a journey through their websites.

I start with fellow Buckeyes: Roberta and David Williamson.  I have been lucky to have seen some of their work at the Ohio Craft Museum's Best of Ohio several years.  The rings  that caught my eye are called Specimen Collection.   Here is a sample of their insect collection and one of their beetle rings.

Naturally, my eye caught sight of seed beads which drew me into the work of Aurelio Castano.  Page 216 is Garden Pond Ring.  The rings are just amazing to view and naturally I browsed the gallery and found beaded creatures.  I was in love with all of them.

The next artist that caught my attention was Felieke Van Der Leest rings called Candy Rabbit Rings on page 221.  They are all crocheted and so adorable I can see young girls (and older ones too like me) wanting to wear these just for fun.  If you check out her gallery, you'll see that she works with plastic animals along with other materials. Take a moment and look at some of her other pieces on her gallery page.

Anther artist that made me investigate further is Elliot Gaskin.  Silver Machine on page 309 has a blend of silver, wood, string to make a machine that once attached to your finger would keep to constantly wondering what does it really do?  And if you don't think an amazing ring will catch the public's attention that check out this amazing necklace will pulleys.

And who just doesn't love jewelry with model railroad landscape material?  Well, I'll raise my hand here as I love these rings from page 355 called Landscape Sample Rings by Sarah Hood.  While viewing her portfolio, I came across her organic series that just made me suck in my breath as they are so beautiful and the colors just called to me.

Time for one more?  Of course.  On page 398, I fell in love with Jillian Palone's Pseudopads. I just about feel out of my chair when I went to her gallery page and saw all these organic forms with colors that reminded me of the Hoh Rain Forrest or the slopes of the Napali Coast of Kauai.  I loved each and every one of her designs.

I've just highlighted six of the 341 artist presented in Showcase 500 Rings.  I am going to spend more time leafing through this gallery book and then going online to find more images and information about these artist in the upcoming months.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to dive into design, color and imagination.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of  products from Lark Books, I receive the book above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by  Lark Books for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pleasant Weekend

Leslie Molen

After working 6 long long days in a row, I was able to just forget about test tubes, blood, and numbers for three marvelous days.  Saturday morning I headed up to Akron to take a class with Leslie Molen making Chun Woo.  I've always wanted to take a class with Leslie because her dolls are amazing, and I just love her personality. sewing skills are not good enough to challenge me to make clothes.  My friend Pam who put on this event convinced me that I could do it.  I'm happy I did even though my sewing skills did put me to some problems.  AND, I didn't read the instructions correctly so I showed up with a head to be needle sculpted that was made of cotton fabric instead of the knit.  No problem...Leslie did not give me grief at all & told me to just use this head as a practice and join in.  In a sense this was a much better idea for me to just sit & observe as I picked up more technique and ideas by being forced to just watch instead of performing.  We made eyeballs that are so wonderful that I don't think I'm every going to have to buy eyes for my dolls again. 

I stayed at Pam's house Saturday night which is always a delight for me as Pam & I get along so well.  It was fun to get to know Leslie even more. And imagine how happy I was when I found another women who not only loves Science Fiction but loves some of the wild television shows I watch.  Leslie & I spent over 15 minutes talking about the ending of Justified!

With the head Leslie made and my clothes.
Sunday, Leslie actually gave me the head she'd just as her demo doll on Saturday & told me if I could catch up then I might be able to get most or all of my doll done.  WOW!  I listened as she talked about the makeup and putting the doll together with the costume, as I did the cloth overlay, cut out the eye sockets, and did a few other assorted things to catch up.  Now I did say my sewing skills aren't too good right? Well, it seems that while misreading the part about what fabric to use for the head, I wasn't paying attention too much & instead of making a jacket for the doll (which Leslie told me would have been much much easier), I made a dress.  Oh well, at least now I know how to make a jacket! pants! headdress! and a dress!  I just need to practice.

Leslie and Judy Brown

The other thing that made this weekend such a delight was the group of women.  Most I know from the Time for Dolls Akron area doll makers club I belong to. The others, I have met at AFIC or the Dollmaker's Gala in Aurora Ohio.  We sat all weekend talking and laughed.  There was a connection as we went from one topic to another and back around.  The people I work with are all difference ages & from different cultures so it is so difficult for me to relax while talking to them.  Notice I said talking to instead of with?  It does make a difference to be with a group of people who have the same background and time understanding that you do.  That is why I just "let my hair down" and let pour out of my mouth anything that I wanted to say without fear of offending or having to back track and explain what I mean.  Joyce one of our oldest members thought I was interesting!  Wow, no one has said that to me in ages.  Oh and one person coined me as a Southerner.  What?  Me? Then I realized that to someone from Cleveland, I truly was southern.  LOL! 

I'm trying to hold onto all this joy that I felt this weekend.  I decided that I need to reach out to other women my own age group in my doll maker guild and my beading group.  I miss feeling comfortable and a part of something bigger than my studio.  Oh, I can talk to my dolls, but mainly they don't talk back & if they do...well...they probably won't listen to me either!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Canceled class

I just woke up this afternoon to see a note from Chris telling me that 1 Stop called & said my Spiral Infinity amulet bag was canceled.  No one signed up for the two day class.  I don't know if I should be really sad or really happy about this.  Let me talk about why I'm happy first.  Well, I hadn't done the instructions in the first place.  I know...bad teacher!  I guess when I went into the store two weeks ago and saw no one had signed up, I knew right then and there that it would be canceled.  Lisa gave me some advice on how to attract students using expensive silver seed beads or doing whimsical things. Then this Saturday when I went in to take Amy's Cherry Blossom beaded flower class, I once again saw no one had signed up.  The display itself was situated in the back making me realize it wasn't a sample that people wanted to look closer at.  Then yesterday, I burned the tips of three of my fingers causing instant blistering.  How?  Let's say that Dot did not wear her gloves when she reached down to try to fix a stalled lawn mower & the bare skin sizzled on the mower's manifold.  Yes, very bad burn.  I can't feel anything & spent yesterday with a bag of ice wrapped around my hand, but I did manage to make it to work.  So it would have been hard for me to teach this class anyway.

Now for the sad.  I love to teach.  I do it at work all the time, and for me the greatest joy is when someone has that look in their eye of "I GOT IT!".  I like to share my achievements and my mistakes to get another person psyched into creating Art.  I do love doing Square Stitch.  It was my very first bead weaving technique I taught myself.  I went crazy with it in the beginning making bracelets for everyone I knew.  I even sold many of them. Then I made a few amulet bags which I gave away, and started playing with dimensional Square Stitch.  It has never been a very popular bead weaving technique, but it is one that I still enjoy as it has a rhythmic trance producing path that lets me escape into my inner being.  I knew that plus the fact that this was a level three (intermediate) class that might put people off.  Then it was split into two sessions of 2 2 1/2 hours on Friday nights.  Not good either.    So here I am with a big graph and half written instructions.  I am not going to just ditch this project.  I intend to finish it up and maybe send it off to a magazine as it is a very nice design & makes a lovely bag.

So what has this taught me.  Well, first off, I have decided to not submit anything to teach for the Summer.  I really need to take a few steps back and wrap my head all around this.  First off, do I want to continue to try to teach at the local bead store, and if so what do I do to try to build up a student following.

 Lori Anderson during these past month was asking people to send her inspirational photos that helped you beat the Muse and create.  I sent her my picture of Kauai which she used in her new motivational e-book called :  Follow the Path which can be purchased at Lori's website.


I read the e-book, and it made me start to think about where exactly do I want to go with this blog. Which made me even think "where do I want to go with my beading career?".  The book gave me lots of ideas and took my brain on one sweet roller coaster of a ride.  I'm still digesting all the information and contemplating where do I want to go from here using her ideas and suggestions.

One thing is that I definitely need a new banner for this blog.  I haven't beaded a beanie in years, and I do love dolls almost as much as beading. But then, I love my Scotties too...and the beautiful city I live in. So like Lori, I'm going to just blog about what I want.  Definitely a new banner is in store!

Second I decided to take this Summer to back track a little with my teaching.  I want to use the advice Lisa gave to me.  I definitely need to scale back my classes to things that people can complete in a weekend or even in the limited time set aside for a class.  I need to also look at whimsical themes as they always attract my attention.  I was trying to go for elegant, when that definitely is NOT me!  I like crazy out of the world or amazingly cute things.  So I'm going to sit down and design easy fun classes for the Fall term.  I know people cannot commit to the tons of hours I do in my personal projects, so I have to do simple things: Fun simple you got to learn to make that things.  I'm going to give it my best try.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beginnings of Syndergy project

I decided to start working on my collaboration with a local Michigan lamp work artist on our Synergy: Bead Detroit project.  The lamp worker Guild in Michigan and the Great Lakes Beadworker's Guild based in the Detroit area are doing this challenge matching lampworkers and bead weavers together.  We have until August to get this project done, but I wanted to get a head start.  We chose to do Belle Island with my doing the sculpted doll and stand while my partner works on the flowers and possibly fish.  We'll definitely have to spend some time together this Summer to work on building this assemblage.  Haven't a name yet...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cherry Blossom

Yesterday was Friday the 13th.  Nothing bad happened to me at all, but I'm not a very superstitious person so maybe that is why I decided to go out & enjoy the fabulous weather here in Central Ohio.  Started the day with Chris & my baby brother, Victor, with a nice lunch at Cheesecake Factory over in Easton.  I promised myself to get something besides the Orange Chicken but when the waitress took our order, I automatically said "Orange Chicken".  It was so nice to get to spend some time with my brother.  He lives way to the south of Columbus, and I live way north of Columbus.  But now we text!

Then after a nice nap, I went to Janet's studio over in Valleyview where the Guilded Lilies were invited to come and look at teacher's applications for next year's Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay.  Wow is all I can say.  Some people are really going to have a very hard time next year picking out which classes they want to take. And yes, I'm holding my hand up already.

Carolyn posing for the camera

I think practice will make perfect with this technique. But I love it.

This morning, I didn't mind that Fiona woke me up bright and early.  I needed to get my class supplies ready to take a French Beaded Flower class over at 1 Stop this morning with Amy Gaspard.  Amy and I met at a teachers' meeting and seemed to like each other.  Her classes fill up very fast so I felt so lucky that after a phone call, Amy opened up two more spots for the beginner's Cherry Blossom class.  It was fun & imagine my surprise to see Carolyn & Andrea sitting there in class with me.  It was fun & though we only had 3 short hours, everyone got at least two blossoms completed.  Amy let me use her bead spinner.  I KNOW I have some someplace and now I must clean that desk to find my good scissors still AND I need to go through a cabinet where I think the bead spinner resides.  I think I've found something pretty and addictive.  Oh no...something else to keep me busy.  Thanks so much to Amy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finding negatives

I've been working on several photographic projects for work & my 40th class reunion.  I knew I had taken photos from the laboratory 20 years ago when taking a black & white photography class and while hunting for those (which I still haven't found), I came across an old packet of negatives I'd borrowed from my Mom long ago.  I was going to give them back to her after I'd taken that class, but I forgot & it seems so has she.  I'm glad to have them as there are so many negatives in there from when I was a little girl before we moved to Los Angeles.  I'd developed some of them (which I can't find either) so this is a wonderful escape to the past for me.  Chris used his Epson photo scanner to scan the negatives and through some Photoshop magic captured this image of me, my Dad and I believe my cousin Bob.  I definitely am going to get that negative scanner for Chris as I want to see the rest of these before I decide to really give them back to my Mom.  One picture is the negative Photoshopped and the other is my playing around with some of the filters in Photoshop.  I love looking at old photos.  I think that is one thing I truly inherited from my Mom.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My own backyard

Bleeding Hearts

Apple blossoms with our first butterfly

Crab Apple Blossoms

Flowing Phlox
An inquisitive Scottie
Where else can you find beauty except in your own back yard.  We have been blessed to have Spring arrive 3 weeks early.  Luckily we are back in our average temperatures which seem cold after March's blast of heat, but everything is doing so well in our garden.  Lilacs are starting to bloom and I see the Lily of the Valley are pushing up out of the soil.  Some pictures using my iPhone which I am really enjoying.  Now I need to learn to hold it steady, but so far, so good.

Friday, April 6, 2012

1 Stop Bead Shop Classes

I am going to be teaching a new class at 1 Stop Bead Shop in Dublin Ohio.  It is a square stitched amulet bag on April 20th and May 4th.  This class is to be split into two 2 1/2 hours sections so students can get a chance to work on the amulet bag for a couple weeks before learning to put the bag together and do the fringing and embellishments.  Both classes are in the evening at 6:30 pm and is $50 for both days.    For this class it is a plus to have some experience in other bead weaving.

Spiral Amulet Bag

Square stitch is also called off loom bead weaving.  A graph similar to that used in counted cross stitch is used making it easy to read the pattern.  Please join me in this fun class.  Once square stitch is learned, you can make bracelets or even dimensional creatures.  I'm thinking that I need to explore this forgotten bead weaving technique a little more and develop some new pattern.

Beading Arts

I feel so honored that Cyndi from over at Beading Arts has a post about my inspirational work behind our vacation in Kauai back in 2010.  She asked people to send pictures from either vacation spots or just your own back yard and write about how they inspired you to come up with jewelry.  Of course, my favorite place recently has been the Napali Coast at Kauai.  It was so magical, and I still find myself going to that same color palette over and over again. 

Kauai Sunrise from balcony

Beading Arts

Also take a look at Beading Art as Cyndi is so generous sharing tutorials and sometimes even chapters from her e-book on bead embroidery.

Fabric Embellish cuffs

I started up a few fabric bracelets when I was teaching this class last month at 1 Stop Bead Shop.  I decided to finish them up and came up with 4 similar but different bracelets.  As with my class, I use the pattern of the fabric to dictate the embellishment.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Some experimenting

I've been experimenting with Right Angle Weave this past year.  I got out a few chunky pieces of gemstone that I'd gotten from BeadWright.  I thought I'd try caging this uneven shaped piece using Right Angle weave with a RAW necklace to match.  I used these mat chocolate looking magatamas for enhancement and to make the RAW rope more rigid.  When I finished this looked like Chocolate Caramels to me.  What about you??

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More Bead Embroidery

Using the smaller metal blanks from Land of Odds, I made a couple smaller bracelets using scrap book pieces I found at 1 Stop Bead Shop.  I usually don't work in blue, but I wanted to challenge myself to go all blue. These both are called BlueBelle

Back to bead embroidery

I used some of the bracelet blanks that I got from Land of Odds with my winnings and decided to make a bead embroidered bracelet.  I used Nicole's Bead Backing for this as it was stiff enough to use this larger cabochon.  I decided to call this Starlight Elegance because of the fantastic star scenes this past month with Venus and Jupiter in alignment with the Moon.  Every night before I went to work, I'd stand out side just open mouth looking at the stars.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Finish up another kit

This one is another class by Met Innmon.  Can I say that she's one of my favorite designers up to date.  Her instructions are just amazing, and if you are ever lucky enough to attend one of her classes you'll find that she is very open and free with ideas.  This is how she cages Rivolis into a pinwheel.

Finishing projects

Last month I finished up several projects from the classes I took in Detroit area.  This is from Met Innmon's bracelet class called Kudu Spiral. I loved this class and though the bracelet is beautiful, I just had to expand it and make it into a big necklace.  The clasp is one I found at 1 Stop Bead Shop in Dublin.  I really love wearing this.

Met is going to be teaching this along with several other amazing classes this year in Milwaukee at Bead and Button.  I would LUV to take Bali Breeze in Milwaukee this year but two and time.   She'll be teaching that June 3rd & 4th.  The Kudu Spiral she'll be teaching on June 8th.  I've seen the Cascade necklace & it is stunning.   Maybe next year. 

Here is Met's website to see some of her other work & to order kits.  Met Innmon