Snippets from a bead artist.



Nah, I'm not talking copyright or designs. One of my necklaces is gone. I know I transported it to the gallery, but it's just gone, and right before they were going to feature my work, they contacted me to let me know that although they had this one necklace, they didn't have the other, but it was listed among my pieces, and did I know where it was? So I looked. Maybe I had taken it to the other store? Thinking that I might be losing my marbles, I checked at the other store that has my things on consignment. Nope, not there. I feverishly dug through my entire beaded stash. Maybe I had left it behind by mistake? Nope, not there. It is, in fact, nowhere.

Well, it IS somewhere. Most likely with the person who took it.

I'm not angry. Isn't that odd? I don't blame the gallery, or the other store, or myself. I blame whoever walked away with it. But I'm still not mad. And I have no idea of where it was stolen FROM, I am only sure it didn't walk out of my home, as we are hermits and no one ever comes to visit.

What I am, is really sad. I loved that necklace. It was my first attempt at free form right angle weave, and had the most awesome one of a kind (aren't all stone cabs one of a kind?) honey onyx cabochon as the focal. And cool fringe. And really nice colors, soothing, lovely colors that reminded me of honey, and cream and butter and pound cake... I was proud of it.

You know what makes me saddest, though? I was thinking of giving it as a Christmas gift to my friend's mom if it didn't sell. Because she really liked it. No other reason, just because. I love how someone's face lights up when you give them something you know they like, something they really wanted. A really long time ago, I was selling some barrettes I had beaded, they were in the shape of hearts (3 across), and there was one that was all rainbow colors. It wasn't an expensive piece, because I was just starting out and didn't have access to semi precious stones yet, the fringe ends were only 8's. I was only asking for $35. So there I am, hoping against hope that someone will like one of them enough to buy it... and along comes a mother and daughter. Obviously they were not wealthy; they were wearing clothes that had seen a lot of use, and the mom's handbag was really worn. The daughter, a girl of perhaps 6, stopped to look at the things on the table, and her eyes just LOVED that rainbow barrette. Her mom let her look for a minute and then told her that they really had to get going. As they walked off holding hands, the little girl looked back, right before they turned the corner. And I couldn't stand it, so I did a quick-walk after them, and gave her the barrette. How she smiled! It made my whole week.

The whole reason for the above story is this: if the person that took it had come to me, and told me that they loved it, but that they didn't have the money for it, was there any way that we could work something out... I would have given it to them. I would so much rather have given it to them.

Silly, to sit here and cry over something like that. But there it is, I can't help it.


Talk About Blog - Handmade Division

It's time for the October Handmade Division Talk About blog post, and our topic this time is how we acquired the skills that we have today. Instead of rehashing my older post, where I discussed how I had actually come to beading, I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to talk more about how I found the skills and how I use them differently now.

Brick stitch was the first stitch I learned, and the ONLY one I learned directly from another beader. Once I had the stitch down, I swear I spent two solid years making brick stitch earrings, brick stitch bracelets, and just plain old swatches of it. During those two years I looked for every book known to man (back then - and there weren't that many) to try to find more stitches. I longed and ached and NEEDED to learn peyote, I was amazed at how other beaders could make it into so many different shapes - especially and above all, self-supporting vessels!! My entire goal in life at that point was to make a bowl or a box or an urn...anything that would hold something else and be entirely made of these gorgeous little tiny seed beads. And it was HARD. It looks so simple, on the diagrams. You just skip over a bead. How could this be so difficult????? I couldn't get the tension right, I couldn't get the beads to lay right (I was using only czech beads at that point), I couldn't figure out how to shape it....and there were NO books that explained how you went from skipping a bead to making it hold together with increases and decreases and how that would make all the difference. It took me two and a half years to finally get proficient enough in the stitch to feel that I had made something that I liked. This seems incredible to me now; most beaders who talk about it these days say that peyote was the first stitch they learned. And there are so many examples of how to do it!! You can't pick up a beading book that doesn't have instructions for not only the stitch itself, but how to do those darn increases and decreases!!! I still struggle with free form peyote, and was sooooooo proud of my first bracelet...well, you all know that, I posted Mystic Pathway everywhere I could! I think that it is still hard because I still don't have confidence in my basics; to get everything to line up, before branching out into unknown waters. I know I can do it; but I don't have confidence in doing it.

Because of all the trials, tribulations and time involved, I think that I value peyote stitch more than the others that I have learned. When you really really have to WORK for it, you are so much more pleased with your results. I love my bead embroidery, but it comes so easily. Freeform work there is simple, I just pick the beads and let them decide where they want to be - and this has been said of freeform peyote, but it just doesn't work the same way for me!! It curls where I don't want it to, it tightens up in the wrong places and drives me nuts when the beads try to tell me where they want to be, as they don't arrange themselves in the same way at all. I would love love love to make a freeform necklace with peyote stitch. It's one of my goals for myself this year.

I have been working on using Beverly Gilbert's book, Beaded Colorways, as a sort of stepping stone in this. Using her three bead netting technique as a base, I have an easier time shaping my piece before beginning to add some peyote in here and there. The bracelet I made recently as part of a trade is my first one; and I can still see where things are curving in a way that I don't care for. But you watch! I'll want it to curl so that it will drape nicely as a necklace, and it will stay perfectly straight, you wanna bet?! I'm not giving up, nope. I am going to keep at it and see what happens - after all, it sure took a long time to get to the basics...

And I had a thought about perhaps using some fibers in as well, and maybe that will make some more of a difference. And, it may help to simply let other stitches creep in there amongst the others...

Make sure you stop by the other team members' blogs to see what they have to say!!!


October's Goddess and Fall in New England

Autumn is finally here, and I couldn't be happier! I adore this season, it has always been my absolute favorite. The leaves are starting to change (a little early), and the breeze is crisp and lovely. Time for gourds and pumpkins to make their yearly debut on the neighbors' porches, and for me to start making some pies, stews, and roasts.

I have been a busy busy beader! I just finished October's Goddess, and it is now on display at New Enland Beads in Keene, NH. I cannot tell you how happy I was to get this project finished, or how many times I had thrown it into a box of UFOs, completely disgusted with it... for some reason, I had the hardest time finding a way to complete the design, and was furiously rearranging components over and over and over...well, you get the idea! But I was in love with the colors, and the bead soup I had made. It was interesting, really, in that it seemed as if this necklace was pushing me to finish it (instead of me pushing myself), and it wouldn't leave me alone. No matter what project I was working on, it would keep popping into my head and whispering at me that it MUST BE MADE. It's been going on for months, and I was starting to wonder if I was suffering from multiple personalities! So the last time I took it out of the box of UFOs, I sat down and - you guessed it - started rearranging the components, and voila! This time, when I put them down, they seemed to fit. (Even though that same exact arrangement had looked completely horrible the last 20 times I had tried it.) I instantly began making connections, terrified that I would lose that 'right' feeling, and pretty soon it really started to come together. Then I added the strap bits and sat back... and began hating it immediately, finding connections that I felt just didn't work, etc. I decided that it must be shorter. I cut apart the straps and then put them back together. I still hated it. I made myself finish the clasp, and put the rest of it together, seething. Finally, having gotten it together at long last, I gave a huge sigh, slung it over a display and left the room. (Thinking as I left that I didn't HAVE to ever go back in there, lol.)

The next morning, I steeled myself and entered the room. I looked at it sternly... and was quite surprised that I actually liked it. Squinting at it from various angles, I found myself thinking that it wasn't as bad as I had thought it was. After twenty minutes of staring at it, I convinced myself that it was actually pretty. I put it on, to test weight and see how it felt around the neck, if anything dug in, etc - and ended up wearing it for three hours. The more I wore it, the less I disliked it, and the happier I felt with it. It was comfy! It didn't move so much that it ended with the focal up around your ear when you moved around yourself! It wasn't too heavy! The fringe wasn't too long! it is. Finally and at long last. And I love it:

I have now started on the cuff for my wonderful friend, Lynn Berry, who won my giveaway, and so far I really really like the design - oh please I didn't just jinx myself - and I have had my first sale at the Sharon Arts Gallery, which has me all in a dither. I've been invited into a new group of beaders - all of whom I love - and am thinking of opening a new shop, this time on Artfire (I would continue my Etsy shop as well). I even have two new ideas for beady things running around in my head... So I am still busy busy, and am having a grand time.

Autumn is awesome!!!!!