Thursday, August 28, 2008

My inner geek

Blue Eye and
Green Eye.

I've doing some beadwork this week, but mostly focusing on trying to get some older pieces photographed & on Etsy. What I'm really been doing is geeking out. My mom runs a computer repair shop located next door to my gallery. When I have time, I rummage through her discarded pc parts and pull things I think might work in jewelry or artwork. I've been pretty successful with my pc windchimes, but would much rather make jewelry. Every geeky fashionista needs some bling.

I give you, Geekware, my new line on Etsy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Etsy Beadweavers September Challenge

As I mentioned in my last post, I joined the Etsy-Beadweavers group. One of the things the group does is a monthly challenge. September's challenge is "Complimentary Contradictions." For this, I decided to merge metal and wood as the contradiction, using gold-tones in the metal to compliment the wood. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

The gold beads are 2mm gold-plated brass beads which are brick-stitched over wooden rings. There are two rounds of brick stitch on each wooden ring, with the center dark ring containing a textured 6mm brass bead. The clasp is a toggle, with the last ring being the hole and the bar made from gold 11/0 Delicas using peyote stitch.

The Etsy listing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

sniffle sniffle

I've been absent with a stuffy head and playing catch up at the gallery after missing work for 2 days, but I'm back! I'm also a member of Etsy-Beadweavers now, meaning that I'll be participating in their monthly challenges, which is a great kick in the pants. I need a little extra boost to get my brain moving in new directions. It also means that I have to post the piece on Etsy, which means more listings and more work for sale. Huzzah! The challenge for September is "Complimentary Contradictions" and is due by the 5th, so I must get cracking.

Yesterday, I received my advance copy of Bead&Button's October 2008 mag. In the center of this edition are the 2008 Bead Dreams finalists featuring moi! I am so incredibly thrilled to have my piece pictured alongside Sherry Serafini's work and in the same category as Heidi Kummli. These women are two of my design heroines. Do yourself a favor and get their book, "The Art of Bead Embroidery." It's eye-candy and inspiration.

I also stuck my neck out and contacted the Objects of Desire Gallery in Louisville. Everything they carry is wearable art and I need to get my stuff into galleries in larger towns. I love Lebanon, but many of my pieces don't exactly speak to my clientèle here. Besides, I'm supposed to be working on promoting myself, right?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Woodland Art Fair

This weekend, I'll be at the Woodland Art Fair in Lexington, KY. I've been several times to this fair, but only as a shopper. It's a beautiful setting, in Woodland Park just off Woodland Ave, which is around Euclid and Main and in between Kentucky and Clay Avenues. I'm really excited, as I've heard nothing but good things about this show from other vendors. It's sponsored by the Lexington Art League, of which I'm a member, so I should know several of the other vendors. My friend Jamie Brumm and her husband Bill will be there and she makes some pretty neat jewelry herself out of anodized aluminum.

I'd like to get some jewelry made while I'm in the booth this weekend (working on pieces will sometimes garner more interest in the pieces that are already finished), but if I'm too busy selling and talking to get any jewelry made, I think I can live with that ;-) Festival sales this year have been down, thanks to a slow economy, but I'm hoping that it's coming to a close. Gas prices have started to drop and people are already thinking about the holidays. We'll see!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Almost two years ago, I filmed a spot for HGTV's "That's Clever!" It was grueling, but enjoyable at the same time. I was told to contact Weller-Grossman to find out when my segment would air. I was told that I was episode 419 and that series 400 would begin airing in January 2008. This meant that my episode should air in late February or early March.

2008 came and That's Clever! wasn't airing. Several crafters, including myself, couldn't get hold of anyone to find out what was going on. Another crafter blogged last month that she'd called HGTV and the woman had told her that the show had been canceled.

I contacted both Weller-Grossman and HGTV to see if I could at least get a copy of my segment. Today, I got this in my email:

Hello and thank you for your email.

First, please accept our sincerest apology for the lengthy delay in getting back to you with a response. We've been experiencing intermittent mail server issues of late which has caused a significant delay in getting back to our customers.

The 400 series of That's Clever will air, however, they have been moved to premiere beginning January 2009. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Best regards,

Scripps Networks Customer Service

Looks like it will air! I don't really create pieces like what I'm doing on the show, but maybe I should brush up on my wire work! The piece above is the one I'll be making on the show. It's a PMC pendant with three cabochons, sterling wire and coiled, coated copper wire.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dutch Spiral

Thursday, I decided to attack the Dutch spiral, a stitch that I've heard a lot about, but one that I've never tried. It's different from regular peyote spiral in a couple of ways - in regular tubular peyote, you add a bead just like the one you went through. For example, in the cellini spiral that I previously blogged about, I made a wavy spiral by varying the size of the beads. Each time I added a bead, I added one exactly like the one I'd just gone through. If I'd passed through a 15/0 gold, I added another 15/0 gold. If I added an 11/0 transparent blue, I added another. And so on. Pretty easy to remember. With the Dutch spiral, you add the matching/like bead BEFORE you go through it.

The other difference are the beads that are added that you don't pass through again. They're "along for the ride" as Carol Huber Cypher says in her instructions from Mastering Beadwork: A Comprehensive Guide to Off-loom Techniques. Depending on the size of the beads you choose, these beads hanging out there can create a very dense feel or, as I chose to go, a very open, airy feel.

I used lime green 11/0s red 8/0s and a vial of multicolored E beads for my first try. Do I have a picture to show you? Nope. Left the bracelet at home. I'm such the absent-minded artist sometimes. Rest assured, the pic will be along soon.

However, I tried my hand again yesterday, this time challenging myself by using long bugle beads for the added beads. Oh my! It created a very nice look, but entailed adding increases and decreases along the way to compensate for the bugles. After about 2 inches the first time, I ripped everything apart and started again. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

This piece uses Miyuki fringe beads, lined 11/0 seed beads and twisted bugle beads in the Dutch spiral. The ends use the 11/0 and bugles in herringbone with a toggle bar in square stitch and loops in peyote. Kind of its own little sampler!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Death Spiral

Okay, so maybe "Death Spiral" is a little harsh, but it's done! I wasn't sure how I was going to do the ends, so I slowly decreased for a bit and then took the piece down to 15/0 seed beads, giving the ends almost an end cap feel. I'm pretty pleased with it. So pleased I'm looking at ordering oodles more seed beads :-D.

Up next - Dutch spiral & African Helix. I also bought Diane Fitzgerald's The Beaded Garden and am anxious to tackle some of the flowers in the book.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Neverending Spiral

I've been working on the spiral off & on, spending most of Sunday working on it. Unfortunately, this has prompted me to get "this is the spiral that never ends" caught in my head, as sung to the tune of "this is the song that never ends." The piece is now 14.5" long and near completion. By near completion, I mean I'm almost out of one of the beads, so once those are gone, I'll taper off the ends and tie it all together. Pictures posted when the project is done.

I'm already looking ahead to the next project. One of my problems (well, not really a problem...) is that I have oodles of beads left over from other projects. I'm going to challenge myself to work on something utilizing a multitude of those beads.

But I still can't help buy eye the the Fire Mountain Catalog. Darnit.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Downward Spiral

Much of the time, I pick up a color palette and just start beading, not really sure where I'm headed. however, I just finished a huge project for Maker's Mark and desperately needed to do something besides bead embroidery. So, I got out the magazines and books and looked around.

I came across my copy of Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher and looked through it. There was my inspiration on page 60, what Carol called the "Undulating Peyote Tube." I've seen versions of this stitch before and always wanted to try it.

Tubular peyote is pretty easy if you've got a grasp of flat peyote. It's just like flat peyote except that it can become quite sculptural without changing much. I've done tubular peyote before for simple chains, adding teardrop fringe beads for a nice, slow spiral. But this piece includes 4 sizes of beads, 15/0, 11/0, 8/0 and 6/0 in 7 different colors. What I thought would be difficult came pretty easy, as long as I remember to always pick up a bead just like the one I just passed through before passing through the next bead. I'm still not sure how I'll end the piece, be it put it on another rope, decrease the ends, add a large clasp, etc., but it will become a large necklace. And when I say large, I mean it! This thing is 1.25" at its thickest and .75" at it's thinnest.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Testing the Waters

While I'm not new to the world of blogging, I am new to blogging about my craft. In the 6 years I've been designing jewelry, I've tried my hand at a lot of mediums... beads, silver clay, wire work, warm and hot glass, macramé, but I always come back to the beginning - beads.

The beading began when I was pregnant with my daughter. I'm a painter and sculptor, but my OB kicked me out of my studio and I needed something to keep my hands busy. I started with simple stringing, reading lots of magazines and books along the way. That led to experimentation with other media, but the beads lured me back. My pieces became more ornate and I started to really see the potential of jewelry as wearable art.

I've been running my gallery, These Precious Things, in Lebanon, KY for a little over 4 years now while also doing 10-12 arts & crafts festivals throughout the year. I carry 29 central Kentucky artists in the gallery and create most of my pieces during the day while I'm here. I added coffee into the mix last year, telling people to "Come for the coffee, stay for the art." It's working and I'm pretty happy with the setup.

So, welcome to my little corner of the world. I tend to ramble and can get pretty non-linear and go off on tangents, but hey, I'm an artist!

As soon as I get my act together, I'll post pics of the Cellini Spiral I'm working on and we'll go from there. In the meantime, check out my sites, (artwork & jewelry), (online jewelry sales) and (the gallery).