Sunday, February 15, 2015


I thought I was done with the evolution of this pendant but it turned out there was one more improvement that had to be made - which I didn't figure out right until the end. No worries; these things are never written in stone.
 The back is pretty too.
 I also finished another kumihimo rope. Love the focal bead so much I bought about four very similar beads last year at Bead and Button.
 I also made a sample for Tuesday's class.
 Close to twenty years ago I took a lampworking class which was so much fun that I went and bought a starter kit and made beads like there was no tomorrow. I wasn't comfortable spending hndred of dollars on a kiln, so all the beads were small beads (bigger beads will crack if they aren't cooled slowly and carefully in a kiln) but that was OK. A friend of a friend was a glass artist who made lampshades and other big pieces and I bought a kiln from him for about fifty dollars which much to my horror had only an on-off switch and a voltmeter on the front and came with terse instructions about stringer wilting at just the right temperature but I never bothered got around to calibrating it and eventually I lost interest (sort of) and stopped making beads.

Then about fifteen years ago a friend who was starting to do lampwork mentioned the name of an artist on eBay with whose work I promptly fell in love though it was horrendously more money than I'd ever have considered paying for beads (some of her bead sets went for as much as seven THOUSAND dollars, and I once saw a focal bead of hers sell for over four thousand), so I worshipped from afar, pined and whined and lusted.

The boyfriend at the time looked up this artist's website, saw bead sets for sale for a couple of hundred, rightly thought that would be a lovely birthday present but sensibly (since he had mostly not very good taste) decided to get me a gift certificate for her beads instead of trying to pick them out himself.

Sadly she'd stopped selling gift certificates and beads for two hundred and fifty dollars (I would too if people on eBay were foolish admiring enough to pay thousands for exactly the same effort) so the boyfriend decided to give me a gift certificate to buy artisan lampwork on eBay, but there were no such gift certificates at the time, so he gave me the money instead, stipulating what it was for.

That was the beginning of a bit of an obsession because not only did I spend the birthday money, but there were all these other beads, beads that kept appearing week after week after month after month and I found it hard to stop (even though I carefully and frugally was able to buy many more beads with that birthday money that I think either of us intended) and after a while I'd see beads and think I could make them and so I started up with the torch again although I still couldn't make the huge luscious beads I liked so much (no kiln, no oxygen/propane torch, just a cheap little Mapp gas torch) but I still made beads until I realized that my time would be better served supporting glass artists who were actually good at it while I focused on things I was better at, so the glass and supplies just took up space in a corner of my workbench for years and years and years.
 And then my son told me that a college friend of his was doing lampwork.
I have to say, I love it when I find a good home for something which has given me so much pleasure but which I've been waiting to close the door on.

Between beads that I've bought and beads that I've made that aren't hideous and wouldn't embarrass me to be used in jewellery, I'll never run out unless I live to about a hundred and seventy-five, and that's assuming they can do something about my hands which will be crippled long before then. And it's not as if I don't succumb (hard) every now and again in terms of acquisitions.

So my actual big plan this weekend was to finally make the curtains for which my bedroom has been begging since I moved into this house. The existing window treatments ("decor" has a much too positive connotation, "covering" isn't entirely accurate, "curtains" isn't exactly right either, nor "drapes", "sheers" or anything else I an think of) are hideous but somehow there's always something else more pressing, so they have remained.

With the bathroom renovation everything in my house was covered in terracotta tile dust which made these window thingies appear even more ghastly and since I've had the fabric and rods stacked against a studio wall since just after Thanksgiving, it seemed it was time.
 I put the carriers into the rod and joined two of the pieces together and considered how much of the third piece needs to be removed (fifteen inches) and sketched out in my mind the order in which I would make hems and casings and bought buckram (only it's not real buckram but it'll do) and two kinds of hooks and laid the fabric on the floor and measured it again and tidied it up after the cats hid in it and instead I sewed a zippered lunch sack because I'm tired of the stupid holey recycled grocery bags every weekday:
 And a faux fur pillow for the chair because I was reminded of a Jonathan Adler bench reminiscent of a Flokati rug I saw at a store in DC last May when I was there to see the Bolshoi and this seemed to be the next best thing that was immediately in my grasp and apparently today I'm all about the instant gratification so no, I don't have new bedroom curtains yet.
 Besides, there's no ways I can possibly install a one hundred and fifty inch traverse rod by myself so really, there's no hurry, is there?

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