Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bad Dancing. Good Beading

Honestly, for a weekend in which I did things other than beading, I got a decent amount done.
 Two colour-ways for Triangle Slide at Bead&Button.
I think I might be the only person in the entire United States who doesn't think everything the Alvin Ailey dance company does is incredible and wonderful and perfect; I honestly just don't get their aesthetic. Not that the dancers aren't accomplished and talented yadda yadda - they are - but most of their pieces I kinda hate, both music and choreography. Just does nothing for me, and I wish I did like them because they keep coming back and I keep finding tickets to their performances in my subscriptions and I really wish I didn't.

So that was Friday. Watching them made me a bit grumpy to tell the truth.

The beading makes me pretty happy though.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Really, It Doesn't Stop

As it turns out, there's always another kumihimo necklace.
This one was almost exciting because I was this close to running out of thread.

The back is smooth, and every three inches or so, I use a slightly bigger/more sticky-out (that's a technical term) bead on one of the threads and there are three sizes of sticky-out, so by the time I reached centre front I realized that this was a pretty long one but the thread I cut was the same as for a necklace six inches shorter, though I tend to have waste.

As I neared the finish, a couple of the threads were too short to be securely wrapped around the bobbins, so I tied a great big honking knot at the end of the thread (to prevent fall-offage of beads) and I finished with no more than an inch or two to spare.

Yeah! Livin' dangerously!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Oh And Also

I finished this kumihimo necklace while I was in Chicago. To be perfectly honest, all I did was the clasp, but I did spend a small amount of time on another necklace too (which I just finished braiding this evening).

I didn't start the next necklace (for which I had brought beads and thread) nor the one after that (ditto), and I also didn't work on my sock, let alone finish it and start on the next one.

Yup, foolishly optimistic.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fun with Beads in Chicago

I was invited to teach at Studio Beads in Chicago, and I'm not yet home, but it's been so much fun.

Donna and Jessica have one of the best beads stores (especially for a seed beader) that I've ever visited. The space is absolutely gorgeous, they have a wonderful selection of seed beads (in terms of sizes, colours and shapes), as well as a dazzling array of rivolis (yup, they make me weak at the knees too) and anything else a beader might need.

Jessica graciously put me up in her guest room, and while I couldn't bring my cats with me (and quite frankly wouldn't want to! They'd complain bitterly and hate me a bit) I wasn't cat-deprived as her cat adopted me.

The weather in Chicago has been lovely: bright sunny days with a slight nip in the air, perfect for walks and luckily the snow from earlier in the week (I'm told it snowed on Monday) has completely dissipated.

The students have been great, very easy - no prima donnas, no one hopelessly inexperienced for the level of skill required, and even those who hadn't for example done cubic right angle weave were well-rounded enough that they picked it up really well.

In truth I shouldn't act as though I were surprised as my less than ideal teaching experiences have been few and far between; I always meet interesting and talented multi-faceted people who ensure that I continue to do this.

Yesterday's class was bigger and more intense: there were more gotchas and more questions and less repetition; today's class was smaller and more straightforward and more repetition. Quite relaxing.

We all had a good time. People made really good progress on their projects.

I had a good time. I shopped...

While class enrollments weren't quite as high as we'd hoped (next time we'll get classes agreed upon earlier), Studio Beads at least didn't lose money on me, and I had a great time, met a bunch of entertaining, talented and all round fun people.

And a new cat friend.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Packing Frenzy

So the samples I've been making?

For classes I'm teaching at Studio Beads in Chicago next week.
I stopped there on the way home from Bead & Button last year, and found it a lovely bead store (I dropped a bunch...) so I'm pretty excited to be teaching there - plus everyone I've emailed with arranging it all has been super-nice, so it promises to be a good time.
 It'll be three days of classes.
Two full-day classes and one day with two half-day classes.
I've taught all of them before, some pretty recently. Should be fun! You should come! There's still space! (I think).
 This is part of what it looks like.

The yellow things are Stax lids - you know, those potato-chip adjacent snacks that are not Pringles but also come in a tube? I used to use Pringles lids until they changed them: they started using a much stiffer plastic, and the lids instead of being completely smooth inside had a sort of gutter around the edges, which made them less useful, so I switched to Stax lids which are unfortunately yellow.

The Pringles lids would deteriorate and crack very quickly, but these hideous yellow ones seem to last forever luckily - so I don't needlessly eat junk food. Eating junk is the sort of thing one does if one is human and does not have superhuman willpower, but in my opinion it's also the sort of thing one should do as infrequently as possible and thus as mindfully as possible.
 I also had an email from one of the students in one of the classes who was wondering if I'd be bringing Mace kits.
I guess I am. If I can get it together, I'll also have a third colour-way, but no guarantees.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Last Sample (For Now)

I've probably said it before and I'll probably say it again but when I don't overthink colour combinations and just grab the first thing that looks as though it'll sorta kinda work, I end up with fabulous colour combinations, but all too often when I plan very carefully, it can be blah - or worse.

The first version of this necklace I ever made used mostly bronze beads and an assortment of crystals because I didn't have enough of a single colour, and it worked out really well.

The first kit/class sample I made was pretty similar (barring the beads that appear to be discontinued) even though I didn't do the multicolour thing (I stuck with the crystal colour that I liked the best) and turned out nicely.

The second sample I must have started at least three times, each time with different combinations and even though I made as if I liked the second one, I really didn't and it's due for the scissors Real Soon Now.

This third one, I wasn't sure of. While I was stitching I was a little bored of the sameness of it all, kicking myself for not varying the palette more, but I have to say, seeing it laid out here, in it's rich, deep bronziness with its pools of deep turquoise (green sphinx and caribbean blue opal if you must know), I'm a bit in love all over again. 
Yes, it's slightly delicious.

It's a bit like that they they gave me coffee with honey and lemon zest in the Arab market in the Old City of Jerusalem: I thought I knew what I'd taste, but when it hit my tongue, it was and it wasn't what I was expecting, and the sameness was pleasant (I like coffee after all), but the differentness was a delightful, bright surprise that took the whole somewhere else entirely.

So all my samples for my classes at Studio Beads are stitched and I'm into the Packing Kits and Printing Instructions phase.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Delicious Dichroic

What's not to love? Black and clear and sparkly and textured and green?

Yum yum yum.

Like kale, only better (I'm not a huge kale fan as it turns out).

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spiky Samples

The last colour-way for the Spike Earrings. Even though I'd probably never wear these colours (that blue!) I really like them together somehow. Probably analogous to the way I always want to make floral beaded things but can't bring myself to put them on my body (mostly).
 It's weird how I seem to have the hardest time with the colours that I like the most and that really out to come easy to me. I thought I knew what I wanted, but when I tried it, it was awful and dull and dark and dingy - not deep and sludgy in a good way at all. I too out all my purples and all  my golds and greeny-golds and mustardy-golds and the one I was looking for was nowhere to be found so I tried to go shopping and bought another different purple, sure I had the right gold at home, but when I returned home I really wanted the other purple and then the gold just magically and mysteriously  revealed itself underneath some other beads and then it went together pretty quickly after that.
Although it turns out I used the wrong size fifteens along the bottom edge.

Friday, April 4, 2014

It's Just More Things With Beads. Nothing Else Today

This little beaded bead was sort of experimental. The jury is still out.
 The earrings I really like though. It works very well when you can use chain instead of head-pins which in my experience always get somewhat bent unless they're ridiculously short and then quite honestly, what's the point?
 The necklace turned out quite well. I pretty much love these pale transparent iridescent fringe beads used this way. In most of the stitching projects in which I've tried them, they just got lost among everything else, but here they enhance the focal bead just perfectly.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Quick and Not-Quick

I made a couple of quick samples for Tuesday's class in which students made tiny little spacer beads in two styles, one of which had three variations. Fun, quick stuff.
 While I often tend to gravitate to somewhat complex projects that students have a hard time finishing in a couple of hours, it's a nice change of pace to be able to complete about three and a half beaded beads in a couple of hours, even starting a little late (traffic was awful).
Mostly what I've been doing in the beading department was this class sample, which is not even slightly quick. The colours and finishes are more ethereal than I usually end up with,  and while the colours and effect didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned it, I'm not disappointed.