Monday, November 23, 2015

Bead and Button Classes. And Other Stuff

So I mentioned last time that I'm teaching a bunch of classes at Bead and Button next June and I'm really pleased with the selection. They're all projects I've really enjoyed working on, and most of them cause strangers to stop and reach for my chest. Umm necklace.

So in no particular order, Buttress which really requires students to be comfortable with cubic right angle weave and especially with joining cubic right angle weave. It's fun because all the bits are smallish, and parts repeat so it's not as though every single thing is something new, and if you're good with three-dimensional things it'll all be very obvious. And there's a bit of peyote stitch of relaxation if you need it.

This is a full-day class and while the law of averages dictates that not everyone will finish, I'm pretty sure some will.
 Next up, Chou-Fleur. My friend Amy said it reminded her of cauliflower but I've yet to see a head in any of these colours. Perhaps I'll work on a colour-way in shades of white and the palest of greens.

This one is a lovely large pendant, about two inches across and it comes with one of those bead hanger bar thingies with a screw-off ball at one end and a loop on the other so you can put it on a chain RIGHT AWAY (because I know how important that is).

It's much easier than you'd expect actually, mostly because there's so much repetition (twelve chatons to be captured and embellished). You build the base and then start adding florets until it's full - so basically there are only two things to learn. It does require a little dexterity because it gets quite full towards the end, but that's the extent of the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (by the way, spell-check agrees that this is a real word. Thanks, Mary Poppins!) skills you'll need.
 Lacrima is a newer project using mostly cubic right angle weave (for the bezel) and tubular herringbone (for the necklace and its clasp) with oddments of netting and whatnot thrown in for fun. What I enjoy about this one is that the crystal is an oval, but it's bezeled to look like an upside-down teardrop which I think is a fun trick.
 Pentamate are the cutest little beaded beads using three different two-hole beads - only one type per bead so your beads make a lovely varied yet related set. I think it's crazy easy if your mind naturally gravitates to pattern and structure and if you're good at reading your beading, but even if you don't roll that way, it's not extremely complicated, and I guarantee that by the second or third you'll not be bothering with the instructions.
I wore my Ribbon Necklace last year and it elicited quite a bit of interest because it's a completely new dimensional spiral: it's herringbone stitch with symmetric increases and decreases such that there appears to be an inner surface and an outer surface. There are two pattern rows that get repeated (though the ends taper) so it's one of these great zen projects - you just kinda relax into it, switching colours in and out. There's quite a bit of stitching! I like to keep the inner surface in one colour and use up odds and ends for the outer surface, and the kits all contain about six or seven colours for the outer layer.
 These Giza beaded beads work up fairly quickly and look absolutely gorgeous when strung somewhat sparingly in a necklace - I have a necklace in the metallic-y colour-way below in front and I'm delighted every time I wear it. Their holes are actually big enough for a fairly fat chain or a cord, but they can be strung on regular beading wire using beads just bigger than the holes to keep them even on the wire.
 My hotel room is booked and I'm thinking about starting the increasingly fast slide into panic leading up to Bead and Button!

Of course I also teach at my favourite local bead store, and these are the last two of the classes I'll be teaching here February through May.
 It's funny how I always think I won't have enough new classes (they're always all new) and then at the last minute (or more precisely, the week before they're due) I have a burst of creativity and somehow come up with my favourite designs.

Like Swirligig above. I saw a slightly cupped peyote square which swirled, so I massaged it into a five-sided swirling bezel for a rivoli (you can see the back on the right above) and then extended the pattern to make a broad pentagonal flange which I stiffened with a cubic right angle weave frame. As usual, when I don't think too hard about colours, I just LOVE these (though the picture makes them look a little bolder than in real life).
I like the idea of setting a round rivoli into a square bezel (which I've actually done before) but I wanted some air between the bezel and the outer frame, and this just worked out so well. It's a versatile little component that can be used in many ways which pleases me no end.

Thanksgiving weekend I have Big Plans. I'm going to refinish my junky formica kitchen counters with cement. If I plan it just right I should be able to apply a few layers (sanding between each), seal and cure them, and apply a few finishing and strengthening coats of sealer by Sunday night.

In theory.

I thought my cork floor would take one weekend: Saturday to remove the old floor and Sunday to lay the new one and I couldn't have been more wrong about that.

I have done quite a bit of research on the countertops thing (and by "research" I mean that I read a bunch of DIY blogs. Quite a lot of them) and people said it took anywhere from two days to almost a week but naturally I'm being rather optimistic, in part because my kitchen is small and there's not a whole lot of countertop to be finished.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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