Beginning Flat Peyote Stitch

I mostly love the how-to videos available on YouTube.   I mean they have everything!  I learned how to make striped lamp worked beads,   how to replace the gasket on my refrigerator door, how to remove an appendix (only kidding there.)

There wasn’t any YouTube when I first started seed beading.  My friends Sara Caldwell, who later started Blue Santa Beads and Carole Haines showed me a basic peyote stitch which enabled me to make my first lumpy amulet bag.  I bought books and taught myself the basic stitches.   My friend Gladys Glass, who owns the Woodstock Trading Company,  taught me how to crochet with beads. Since then, I have taught basic bead stitches and bead crochet to friends, mostly for fun.  And Beading Yoda has taught me innumerable tricks and tips.

When my friend Cynthia told me she was interested in learning off loom bead weaving, I went to YouTube in  search of beginner’s videos to recommend and I was somewhat taken aback.  The first one I saw described starting the first rows of flat peyote stitch as a “nightmare.”   I don’t think you help newbies by telling them that what you are trying to teach them is difficult (unless it really truly is.  But we are not training Navy Seals here.  This is beginning beadwork).  People learn in different ways and an effective teacher facilitates learning.

In other videos, the teachers talk for several minutes before getting into the beading.  Unless this digression covers a well-edited review of tools and materials, or something equally interesting, like in Leslie Rogalski’s video (below) I don’t see why all that chatter is necessary.  I get impatient.  And bored.  But Leslie’s video is concise, concrete and informative.

 

And sometimes, you don’t need  words at all, like in this great animated video from VP Biser.   You can turn off the music if it gets to be too much.

 

 

When you’re ready to graduate to more complex beading and projects, I recommend the videos of Heather Collin, Jill Wiseman, Beading for Perfectionists.  

It’s best to use larger beads (like Perler beads) when you a beginning beader, at least to learn the basic stitches.  Now, Cynthia thinks this does not apply to her because her first knitting project was argyle baby booties. And the project was successful.    And while I haven’t seen the booties, I believe her.

Delica Beads are a good choice for beginner’s projects because they are uniform in size, a fact you especially appreciate when you start beading.    (One reason my  first amulet bag was lumpy was that I used cheap  beads.)  Yes, they are more expensive, but they are easier to use.  And you can always rip out your work and start over if you don’t like what you’ve made.

Blue Santa has a great selection of Delica beads, plus all kinds of needles, threads and a great staff to answer all your questions. Beading Yoda swears by Discount Delicas who has a big selection. I like Farmer Jerry on Ebay .  They don’t have every color, but they have great prices and  offer free shipping on orders of $20.00 or more.

Happy beading.

Street Art in Lisbon

Last week’s post on the Philadelphia Fashion District referenced the Streetsdept.com blog which chronicles street art in Philadelphia.  I love street art because it’s free for the viewing,  usually relevant to current events, or a chronicle of  past events that need to be memorialized.  People have been drawing and writing on public walls since ancient times.  Street art can be viewed as a crime or high art.   I prefer to think of it as  public art.

Lisbon in Portugal has a lively and vibrant street art scene as I discovered on a  trip there earlier this year.  Here are some highlights:TheFoxLisbon89

The Fox covers the side of a building and is made up of junk and recycled materials.

Read more about the artist, Attero Bordalo II, here.

 

The Alfama District is home to some great street art including a mural dedicated to Fado singer Maria Severa Onofriana.

LisbonWalkingTourAlfama13Respect Stpry of Old Women Graffifi Artists

Here’s one of my favorite Lisbon murals.  It’s called “Respect” and is also in the Alfama District.  Apparently there is a whole cadre of senior street and graffiti artists in Lisbon.  We were told that this mural depicts one of them reacting when a younger colleague does not show her the respect to which she is entitled.  Read more about the older artists here.  Read the real story behind the Respect mural here.

Some more  Lisbon street art picturesLisbonWalkingTourAlfama76 2LisbonWalkingTourAlfama10IMG_7923IMG_6967IMG_6949IMG_6872IMG_6862IMG_6860

If you want to learn more about Lisbon street art, the Camels and Chocolate  blog is a good place to start.  Better yet, go to Lisbon and walk the streets.

 

 

Philadelphia Fashions a District

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I had some time after a visit to the hand doctor today, so I decided to check out the Philadelphia Fashion District.

 

The Gallery Shopping Mall in downtown Philadelphia has been completely renovated and reopened to the public in September as  Philadelphia Fashion District.  No one shops at malls anymore, so the developers couldn’t just follow the old model of retailing in a renovated space.  So in addition to the standard  mall retail therapy establishments, the Fashion District is offering some intriguing opportunities for artists, makers, and entrepreneurs.

The Fashion District has invested one million dollars for art installations geared to “making museum-caliber art more accessible to the city, while also elevating the beauty of The District.”  The Bridgette Mayer Gallery has a display there with art for sale.

Conrad Benner, whose blog StreetsDept.com, chronicles street art in Philadelphia,  has been charged with curating an exhibit of the work of Philadelphia street artists. These works are currently on display on the lower (concourse) level of the Fashion District through the end of this year.

The Fashion District has provided space for RecPhilly, an organization who provides co-working space, recording studios, visual labs & conference rooms for creatives.  RecPhilly membership is financially accessible and has proven to so popular that there is now a waitlist.  But new memberships are sure to open up in the future.  Read more about RecPhilly on their website here.

The Fashion District is sponsoring more art-related events than I’ve written about here as well as planning to open up movie theaters, restaurants and performance spaces.  They are trying to do a lot and we’ll see how it goes.  Here are some pictures.

 

Polymer POST

I have published several posts about one of my favorite local art programs, the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST).  But this year is the first time I have ever encountered polymer artists on the tour.   My friends Patty Pickup and Terri Powell (ArtSci designs) joined together in West Philadelphia to showcase their work for this years’ Open Studio Tour West.   They were the only polymer artists on the tour this year, but I am hoping this will change as more people start to recognize polymer as a serious art medium. 

p4
Patty’s Spruce Hill home was a great place for the display

Patty has an incredible, huge studio on the third floor of her home.  To see pictures of Terri’s studio, press here.

Patty’s latest work.  Her color washed-pendants are very popular.

ArtSci designs yummy carved and backfilled bracelets look good enough to eat.  I own a set of these and love wearing them.  If you are interested in purchasing any of Terri’s work, you can contact her through her web site here.    Patty does not have a web site yet, but I’m sure that’s only temporary.

 

 

 

 

Retreat to Pittsburgh

Patty’s car died so we decided to take the bus from Philly to Pittsburgh rather than rent a car, or go by train or plane.  It was pretty easy for me since the bus station is a few blocks from my house and my husband dragged my suitcase for me which was filled mostly with a pillow, some clothes and some beading implements.

OurBusIt’s a free for all when people disembark from a bus.  People don’t wait for the seats in front of them to empty before entering the aisles like they do on planes.   It’s like everyone on the bus forgets his manners or else they think someone on the sidewalk is giving out twenties and you won’t get one unless you trample the person in front of you.  But I found out that if I waved my arm cast around, people would stop in their tracks.  I had already decided that the cast looked like part of a super hero costume and I was right!  I wave it around and people fall aside like dominos. TAKE THAT!

MyNameTag.
I dressed my cast with this lovely name tag when I got to the Retreat.

WorkroomWe had a large and lovely work space although it soon became clear to me that I could not do much beadwork.  I can bead left handed but supporting the work with my right hand was not comfortable.  So I put the beadwork away and schmoozed.

KoiPondSpiratancenterI also got the changc to wander the grounds of the Spiritan Center where the retreat was held.  They  have lovely grounds and an incredible Koi pond.

Typing is still a bit uncomfortable for me.   So here are some pictures from the retreat for you to enjoy.  There was a lot of talent there!

Going to Pittsburgh

They are busy awarding Nobel Prizes this week.  And I know I will never get one.  Why?  Because, as my doctor informed me today, the hand surgery  I had  a week ago was major hand surgery.  And yet tomorrow I leave for the Pittsburgh Polymer Clay Guild’s retreat.

I will not be bringing any clay.  I will be bringing a bottle of Jim Beam because I have stopped taking my prescription pain killers and I need some other way to console myself.  I will also be taking my Delicas and working on my geometric beadwork.

I was born left handed and still do many things left handed.  I am not ambidextrous.  I am merely mixed up.  I can bead left handed and I started doing it when the whole flare up that led to the surgery started.  I recently learned that while I can’t saw a straight line in metal with my right hand, I can do it with my left.  Go figure.

Boris inspects my sling

This is Boris rooting around in my arm sling for a treat I threw in there.  I had a notion that I was going to make him a Cat Taco costume for Halloween.  He told me to get that thought right out of my mind and to bring more treats.

bracelet

They took out my stitches today (ouch!) and made me a thumb splint.  I told them I was leaving for Pittsburgh tomorrow.  “What for?” they asked.  “A thumb wrestling conference,” I replied.  ONLY KIDDING!  I like the way the cuff bracelet dresses up the splint.  But I had to take it off and replace it with the third padded strap that goes with the splint. ginkgo

I am not going to Pittsburgh empty handed.  This is a bronze clay ginkgo leaf pendant for the Pittsburgh Guild’s auction.

LPCNo poker chips for Left Right Center.  But I have some glass cabs and ceramic components I made awhile ago.  I think these will work.

What a Lot of Crafting Can Do

40 years of pot throwing, metal forging, sewing, beading, knitting, cat chasing, knee slapping, and assorted nonsense means basal thumb joint reconstruction surgery, DeQuervain’s Tendon Release, a shot of cortisone for possible Carpal Tunnel, and a bed of frozen peas for the swelling. It hurts less today than it did yesterday. I will go to Pittsburgh to hang out at the retreat next week, but no claying, or much of anything else, for now.

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12 Chairs and 2 Actors = 1 Enjoyable Play

 

I saw a play last weekend that I’d like to recommend.  It’s called 12 Chairs (not to be confused with the Russian story with a similar name), and it’s playing at Buttonwood Studios  in the Callowhill or Loft District just north of Chinatown.

12 Chairs, a one-act play written by John O’Hara, tells the story of  daughter Louise and her mother Ann from the time Louise is seven years old until Ann dies in a nursing home years later.  While there is nothing extraordinary about these women’s lives, the play manages to be compelling, heartrending and humorous.  The script is tightly written, the direction is expertly paced and the acting is a real treat.

1220chairs20theatre20philadelphia

The two actors who make up the cast, Marcia Ferguson and Amanda Schoonover take on an additional ten roles between them (besides the mother and daughter).  Using a minimum of costumes and props, they bring the additional characters to life with their acting skill.  And they are very skilled.

The set consists of 12 folding chairs on a low proscenium a few feet in front of the audience, and nothing more.  The actors make the story come to life.

You still have time to see this production of 12 Chairs which has three performances left.  You can buy tickets HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

Opera on the Mall and Bok Party

Lots going on in Philadelphia arts-wise last weekend.  First up was Opera on the Mall a broadcast of La bohème in front of Independence Hall  Opera Philadelphia.  The event  kicked off to their Festival 019.

Two Screens
Plenty of room to stretch out, two screens and great sound.

CheckInWasEasy
Check in ran smoothly
TheCrowd
Some people brought their dogs.  I am sure there are Canine opera lovers.

 

FoodTrucks
Lots of food trucks

FamiliesEncouraged
And activities for non-opera lovers

 

OpeningScene
Act I begins.

 

BugRepellantAnkletsJustInCase
Bug repelling ankle bracelets just in case.

 

The next day was the family day block party at the Bok Building.

Glory Hole on9th Street!
Glass blowing on South 9th Street

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Pottery
Pottery for the kids who could have their finished product fired and mailed to them.

 

OutsideBok

InsideBokDrawings

No block party iscompletewithoutone
No block party is complete without a bouncy house!

 

 

Fleisher 121st Annual Faculty Exhibition

exhibit

I’ve started a new semester at the Fleisher Art Memorial but can’t do much in the pottery studio because of my hand (surgery next month).  But I went there today anyway  to check out the 121st (yes, you read that right) Annual Faculty Exhibition which is in full swing  and will be open for another week.  Here are some highlights from the show.

Bermudez
Henry Bermudez The Girl
TheGirlDetail
Detail

 

Budayev
Aleksandr Budayev Two Figure Drawing
Stirton-Broad
Carol Stirton-Broad  Dashes and Dots
Woods
Joni Woods Shuttle
Brett Lukens
Emily Brett Lukens Near or Far

 

There are many other fine works in the show which closes on September 21, 2019.    Don’t miss it if you are in South Philadelphia.