Snippets from a bead artist.


Lots O Stuff

Well wow, I didn't realize I hadn't blogged since January... oops!  I'm sorry to be such an unreliable blogger, but am so grateful for all of my friends who still wander by and pop in to see what I'm up to. It's been a bit of a weird 'end' of winter, with totally psychotic weather patterns here in VT, freezing cold, thawing out and raining with sun, back to freezing cold, and it has resulted in lots of colds and aches and general misery.  My Dad ended up with pneumonia and back into the hospital, but is now recovering well in rehab and will hopefully be home again soon; my elderly chow has been having a horrible time with her arthritis and trying to get around, and my husband's joints hurt so much he's hobbling right along with her.  Me, I've just managed to get by with sniffles and coughs, so far - cross your fingers for me, please!

I have some upcoming things I'm really happy about - I shall have photos of my work in two new, soon to be published books (yay!!), I'm taking part in Battle of the Beadsmith 2014...

(waiting for partners to be announced now, tap tap tap), I am taking part in the Bead Soup Blog Party 8 (yay! and I have no idea how our hostess, Lori, is managing to keep everything going as bad as she's feeling now with her health, but love and prayers to her and many thanks, too)

... and have sent out soup to my partner, Lisa Knappenberger.  I am also really excited that Karen Williams' proposed book on freeform peyote bead weaving was successfully funded on Kickstarter - oh YES!! :)  If you didn't get the chance to stop by and help her out with the funding part, I still highly recommend wandering by and checking out her video and getting all excited about the release date, because it's gonna be awesome!!  I also got to make a pair of earrings for the beautiful and delightful Marcia DeCoster (yes I DID squee!).  I'm not sharing pictures until (if) she does... but she did say she loves them!!

In between all the excitement of these things, I did manage to get a new tutorial out in my shop, called Princess Natalia's Locket.  It's super cool and (I hope) super pretty, and lots of fun to make, too.  :)   The focal piece of the necklace is a working locket created mostly of peyote stitch, wherein you can store a keepsake or a charm, and it hangs from a pretty chain made of right angle weave and herringbone.    If you haven't bought the tutorial yet and you gottagetchasome, here's the link to my Etsy shop.

Today has been a good beady day in one way, with a lucky snag of a set of new beads by Caroline Dewison of BlueberriBeads

...and not such a great beady day because I ran out of the size 15 Duracoat silver beads I was using to construct a new Trellis necklace.  This rope is bigger than my previous Trellis necklaces, in that I decided to make a CRAW rope for the inner bit rather than a three sided RAW rope, and it increased the girth quite a bit.  It also EATS 15s on the outside, it's taking almost twice the amount used for the smaller rope, because you're making four repeats of all of the elements, including the netting all the way around.  But I think it looks mega cool with these beautiful lamp work beads by Judith Billing (of Icarus beads).  These beads are exquisite - the finished photographs, taken by Sherwood, will no doubt show their glory much better than my feeble attempt here.  They look like little galaxies, with shiny milky way stars... *sigh*

I changed up the 'flower' bits at the edges of the rope, too, and added in 2mm Swarovski rounds and omitted the size 15 center to the 'flower' to make it a little more elegant looking for this piece.  I'm having fun with it, anyway - I hadn't made a Trellis in ages and forgot how addictive they can be.  It's going to be a long wait (even if it's really a short one) for my 15s!!

I have also just been playing, messing around and using colors that made me happy at the time.  This little doodad is a hexagon rope with some layers of single strands of embellished beads on top...  it looks like a big pile of beads, and won't go anywhere, but it was fun to play with.   :)

I spent some time last week making beaded bead eggs by Sharri Moroshok - I LOVE these little guys!!!  Totally in love...

Off to see what appears on my bead mat while I'm waiting for those 15s... hope to blog sooner rather than later this next time!  (Somebody elbow me...)


Joy!!! And lots of photos....

I am so massively happy and excited and just over the moon - I am in Marcia DeCoster's new book, Marcia DeCoster Presents!!  This is a huge honor, and I am floored to be in this book with some of my favorite bead artists EVER - including Marcia herself!  It is an amazing feeling to be in this book with so many of my friends - and I can't believe I am friends with many of the most incredible bead artists around.  This is a part of the book's premise - that the internet has allowed such artists the chance to connect and become close through social media, and to form relationships and partnerships in ways that would never have been possible without the computer era.  The online beading community is huge, varied, beautiful, inspiring and uplifting.

This isn't a project style book, but rather a compendium of interviews with artists from all over the world, who are sharing their inspirations and techniques and tips about their work.  From cover to cover, it is FULL of nothing but gorgeous; the artists themselves are gorgeous, their work is gorgeous, Marcia's thoughtful presentation of each artist and their work is gorgeous...  beginning with the cover of the book itself:

The inside just gets better.  And one of the absolute best things about it - my late friend, Linda Jones, is a featured artist.  I can't begin to say how wonderful this is to me.  That Linda's work will be seen in a wider format than ever, and that she has the chance, even now, to inspire and bring out the artist in each person her work touches... priceless.  Because Linda's work was and is incredible, not only for her sense of color, but for her bold, exciting style, and her love of the medium.  Linda started out with polymer clay as a medium to express herself, and moved into beadwork gradually at first... and then it just overwhelmed her passion for clay.  She tried so many different types of media with the beadwork, and brought her own unique art to each one.  Near the end of her life, she had begun exploring painted lace combined with beads and Huichol style beadwork, and was making masks with it; she considered beading her radiation treatment mask as well.  Linda meant more to me than words can really express.  She was my second mom, my best friend, my inspiration and my rock - she helped me in every way possible, always, including giving me a gentle kick in the butt sometimes when I needed it.  When I received my copy of Marcia DeCoster Presents, I cried a lot, lot, lot, lot - and am a little now as I type.  Seeing Linda's work in print means so much to me - and her words mean even more.  Thank you so VERY much, Marcia, for including Linda here - and for including ME here!!!

Linda Jones - Radiance

Linda Jones - Serendipity

Linda Jones - Handpainted Lace and Bead earrings

Linda Jones - Untitled Mask

It was so fascinating and absorbing, to sit down with my tea and read each of the segments in the book.  I was amazed by some of the pieces I saw - no matter how well I knew the artist, I found a new piece that I hadn't seen before, or had an insight into the person and their work that I hadn't had before.   I was thrilled to be introduced to some artists that I had never met (online or otherwise) and immediately set out to see more of their work, and to find them if I could on Facebook or the web - one of the reasons that this blog post is a little overdue - you can get lost in the web when you're looking at beadwork, oh yes!!

Here's a taster - just SOME of the work of the lovely people in the book - and if this doesn't inspire you to run out and buy the book, I don't know what would!!  (Below the name of the artist and the title of the work you will find a link to their website, blog, or shop. )

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel

Isabella Lam - Joy

Kinga Nichols - See No Evil Cuff

Ann Braginsky - New Age Valkyrie

Beki Haley - Ancient Seas

Betty Stephan - Guardians

Edgar Lopez design for 2012 Battle of the Beadsmith   

Edgar Lopez

Heather Collin - Faerie Lights

Heather Kingsley-Heath - Spinning Wave Pendant

Helena Lang-Tim - Maharani

Kerrie Slade - The Fairy Doorway

Kerrie Slade - The Fairy Doorway

Miriam Shimon - Alexandrina

Melissa Ingram - Tequila Sunrise

Zoya Guitana - My French Garden Necklace

Petra Tismer - Rose Bracelet and friend 

Sian Nolan - Spike Bracelet 

Patrizia Tager - Crowning Glory

Susan Blessinger - Impending Bloom

Marsha Weist-Hines - Poseidon's Garden

Martina Nagele - Encrusted Kepler Star

Patrick Duggan - Tribute to Art Deco

Marcia DeCoster - La Navette

Marcia DeCoster - Robbin's Nest

Me, Regalia Earrings

There now, don't you want to see more??  :)  Grab yourself a copy, you won't regret it.  And thank you again, Marcia - this is a dream come true for me.   

There should be something new in the way of tutorials coming soon, too...  ;)


A Really Good Start to the Year

I don't know if any of you remember that I had started to take part in the Bead Journal Project a year or so ago... I think it was 2012...but never did finish.  I only got four squares done before I ran out of steam.  I have always truly wanted to really have a go at this, as I think it's a marvelous skill building project, and one that can mean a great deal to each person individually.  Very simplified and basic, the BJP is a visual journal in beadwork, just like writing a journal, but in beads.  The idea is to make one piece per month, telling your story for the month.  You can choose to have a theme, or choose to go about it in a completely improvisational way each month, although you may want to have one element, or one shape, as something that holds your pieces together as a whole, you don't have to.   I got alllllll excited to try it again and do better this time, when I saw that the founder, Robin Atkins, had started a Facebook group dedicated to the project this year.  She also gave more freedom in the 'rules' (they aren't really, they're guidelines at the most) and I was intrigued and began thinking furiously about what I could do with it.  I really love improvisational work, and freeform work, and think that sometimes that is what I am best at - it is certainly where I get the most passionately creative, and have such joy in the beginnings of each project.  I think having the group in FB is a big thing for me, as well - I spend a lot of time there, and I enjoy that there is so much interaction.  The BJP by blog only felt kind of lonesome to me, and it was harder to really get to know the participants.  I fully intend to blog along, but I am REALLY enjoying the company on the group page.

The last time I tried, I think I gave myself way too many parameters and rules.  I had a set shape, I had a theme (quilt squares in bead embroidery only, no fabric), and I was pretty well set that I would only do geometric shapes in the squares.  After four of them, my muse said forget it - and the fourth was exhausting to make in many ways, as I felt it had to be about the tragedy in Japan.  It sapped all the excitement out of me, and I gave up.  If you'd like to see the ones I made that year, the posts start here.

This time, I am happily going forward with only these things in mind - I love freeform bead weaving, and I love embroidery and I want to try to use the Artist Trading Card format, which is 2.5 x 3.5".  I want to leave plenty of room for incorporating anything at all into them, whether it's fabric, or fiber, or paper, or metal, or rocks, or... you get the idea.  In fact, the more mixed media I can add into it, the happier I will be!!

I was, in fact, so excited about it this year that I began work on it (by cutting out the ATCs from Lacy's) on Dec. 31st!  I then spent all day yesterday and part of this morning, finishing up the first one.  I didn't want to stop working on it at all, and was wondering if I should have used a larger template per month, but then was concerned that some months I might not be able to fill a larger space... Robin suggested to me that I could do more than one per month if I felt like I still had something to say, or I could make a lager, OPTIONAL one per month if that felt better, too.  Sometimes I have a hard time giving myself permission to play, or permission to change things up, and it was hugely refreshing to have Robin give me permission to give myself permission, lol!!!  :D

I was thinking of gratitude while I made this one, gratitude for my loved ones and friends, and of my friend Julie in particular (who gave me the gorgeous bronze button in the upper right), and about how good it felt to be excited to start something again.  This last year has been rather overwhelming and exhausting, and I was so relieved to feel some real creative energy as I began.

I like that there is so much freeform both in the weaving and in the embroidery.   I like that my husband saw several different things in it (he's male - he saw a city and a computer processor board), while I saw different things (I saw a queen's crown or a jester's hat, or a theater curtain).  I like how I felt while I worked on it, and I like that I still have creative energy even though it's 'done.'  The edging and the backing aren't done yet, as I am not sure how I want to finish everything off at the end of the year.  Maybe they'll just be little individual bits, but maybe I will want to piece them together somehow... so I haven't completed the finishing touches.  I'd love to hear what you 'see' in it, if you'd like to share in the comments!

I know that the dark, metallic sort of soup that I used doesn't instantly bring gratitude to mind, but it represented it very well to me; I love this mix and use it a lot, and it's soothing and relaxing and energizing all at once, rather like the universe and staring at the night sky.   The button definitely represents Julie, and how she shines on my life like a sun, and shows just how well she knows me, that I would adore a little medieval village scene.  Maybe, at the end of the year, I will look back at this one, and see a lot more things than I do now.

I have a lot of beady soup left... and I really think I may do something else with it, perhaps a larger piece, if I can get my hot little hands on some more fabric!!  I have next to no fabric stash...  But I have already started another ATC, I couldn't help myself, and I'm immersed in chocolate cherry raspberry beads!  My Dad is doing really well, Sherwood has been doing better the last few days (he's been having an awful time with his back), and we've had two days of relaxing and spending time together... all in all, a really good start to the year.  :)

If you'd like to learn more about the BJP, visit Robin's blog BeadLust, or her website, and come and check it out on Facebook, too!!


New Tutorial for the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!!  I hope your new year brings much love and good times to each of you!!

I published my last tutorial for 2013 today, called Changeable Chain, and I have to say it was soooo much fun playing around with all the variations on the basic chain idea.  It's all right angle weave, and it can be changed up so many ways... I did six versions plus one for myself !  ;)   The basic chain only needs two sizes of seed beads, and the variations call for some cylinder beads as well, and some nice 2mm beads.  (I am seriously in love with swarovski 2mm crystal rounds and am heartbroken that they are being discontinued - grab some up while you can!!!!)  If you don't have 2mm's you can always substitute a size 11 bead or a 3mm crystal or pearl if you'd like to go larger.  I'm still toying with variations... they would work as purse straps for small embroidered bits, or straps for a pendant, or maybe three little ovals would look nice as earrings, and a short bit could be a ring very easily...  :) :)   If you'd like the tutorial, it's available HERE in my Etsy shop.

I wanted also, to take a second and to just say thank you - to everyone who I'm friends with on Facebook, and everyone who follows my blog, and everyone who supports NEDbeads in any way... you are all, each and every one of you, completely awesome and wonderful!  I am so grateful for all of the love and encouragement and support that you have all given me this last year.  I hope to find some ways to pay it forward in the coming year, and I appreciate it all so much.  I'm looking forward to new pathways in beading and explorations of the beady world at large in the new year, and have set myself a goal to try to complete a full year's worth of the Bead Journal Project, too.  All my best wishes on YOUR new endeavors in the new year!