New Work from the Beading Yoda

I dropped in on my friend and neighbor Jeri Schatz (AKA Beading Yoda) to show her the rings I have been making and to get some tips and constructive criticism.   (Jeri studied goldsmithing at the Kulicke-Stark Academy in New York and served an apprenticeship there before she moved to Philadelphia and began beading.)  After we were finished, I asked her t what she was working on, and she took down to beading central so I could see for myself.

 

BeadingTable

The Beading Table

BeadedBeads

Beaded Beads

Bracelets

Bracelets

DuoandRAW

Super Duos combined with seed beads

Multi-layered Geometric Bracelet

Hands

 

InProgress

New  necklace design

 

LacyBracelet

A geometric bracelet that moves wonderfully when you wear it.

Sampling

Geometric, Herringbone, and Peyote

Sampling2

More bracelets with Super Duo beads, triangles, bars and seed beads.

A New Twist on Viking Knit!

One aspect of creativity is combining ideas.   Finding new ways to use and combine materials is another one.   I have been interested in Viking Knit for some time and between experimenting with alternative ways to do it and alternative tools to make it,  I came up with some new ideas to give single weave Viking Knit a new look.

Cloth, Fabric

I found this beautiful fabric on a discarded window treatment. This is what it looked like after I washed and dried it. The blued and coppery hues reminded me of the copper wire I use in Viking Knit. And I love the contrasting look you get with using ribbon with stones or metal.    

Viking Knit 5 sided

Why not thread some of this luminous looking fabric through the Viking Knit?  

viking knit chain and fabric

Ok, the first thing I learned is that you do not, I repeat do not pull the chain through the draw plate before you thread the fabric through- do it before.  Just make sure the  fabric or ribbon is long enough to fill the length of the knit after its final pull through the draw plate.     The fabric does not make the chain any thicker or harder to pull.

Closeup

I’ve used 24 gauge copper here.  See the fabric inside?  I  don’t recommend using fabric inside of  double or triple weave because you really won’t see it.    Besides, double or triple weave is beautiful on its own.    

So, what can you do with your ribbon filled Viking Knit?  Here are some ideas.  Run with them.

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This is a necklace that I’ve finished with bands of flat copper wire run through a rolling mill.

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I braided the ends of the wire.  The ends are purposefully left raw and unfinished for a funky look which might not be for you.  

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These pictures are of a Viking Knit that’s around 20 inches long (excluding fabric ties) that I’ve made into a multi-strand bracelet for a  funky bohemian look.

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You can try different fabrics, add beads, finish the ends however you want- the sky’s the limit.  Make something that looks different from what everyone else is doing! Play and have fun.

 

Felted Jewelry and Beads.

I had said in an earlier post that I had been in a felting frenzy. I made a few felted Christmas ornaments.  Here are some of the beads and jewelry I’ve been working on.

This bracelet incorporates my polymer clay and lamp work with the felted beads.

 

The bangle on the left is needle felted and for the one on the right, I sewed needle felted beads onto a ready-made felt bangle.

 

Needle felted bangles

 

Some needle felted beads

 

Earrings.  Felted earrings are so light!

 

I prefer needle felting to wet felting although for the bracelets, after I needle felt the wool onto the core rope, I like to give it a bath in hot soapy water and work it so it’s more durable.  I am experimenting with needle felting  bracelet and bead cores from polyester fiberfill (cheaper)  and using the more expensive  colored roving over them.  I have also needle felted undyed  (cheaper)  roving over the fiberfill and then have dyed the beads (you can use food coloring and vinegar) before drying and embellishing.  I have just started  cutting tiny simple designs out of craft felt and needle felting it on to the solid bead.  For one thing, you can make lots of felt dots with a paper hole punch and needle felt the dots onto the bead.

There are plenty of felting supply retailers in the Internet.  Don’t forget Etsy and eBay.  Check out the Red Barn Farm storefront while you’re on eBay.  If you’re interested in trying felting, they have some supplies that won’t break the bank.

Here is a good beginners video from YouTube.

The Best of Step By Step Beads

I got a nice surprise this week when I learned that  my Tokyo Rows beaded bracelet project made it into Interweave’s  collector’s edition of  The Best of Step By Step Beads.


The Japanese Flower motif is not original with me but I love it because it lends itself to so many variations.   It’s easy to take one flower and make a simple pendant, and that’s just one example.

Here are some brooches based on the same motif

I once thought that  Japanese bead work made the most interesting use of the beaded flower until  I saw some stunning Brazilian pieces using this motif when I visited Rio De Janeiro a few years ago.  Here is one of the bracelets I bought there, that’s a variation of the design.

With forty projects, there’s plenty of material in The Best of Step By Step Beads to keep you busy for awhile.  The best part of developing a design, however, is when someone takes it in a new direction.   Triche Osborne ‘s  Candy Wheels Necklace is just one example of how you can take a beading concept and make it your own.

Thank you Interweave!

Bargello Exercise (and Bracelet!)

Here is my take on the Bargello Bead exercise  from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.     I started the exercise  by picking three three colors from my collage.  Then  I  located them on  a  color scale I’d made to give me some idea of how to mix them.

I made a new batch of my primaries first.  I found I had problems  mixing my magenta,  even though I’ve mixed it countless times!   I had to put in more medium red to get the right color this time.   I think it’s because  I had used my old Premo fuchsia in the batches I’m mixed before,  but the brand spanking new package I used this time came from a different  dye lot.  But I got the color I wanted  by altering the mix a little bit at a time.

Then I   mixed the  orange, green and purple from the collage.  I found I needed more blue to make the purple  in the collage.  I added it bit by bit until my purple resembled the color from the magazine clipping.  The picture below shows the finished purple with a bit of the color I had originally mixed on top of it.


Here are the finished colors.

The object of the exercise is to mix  increasing amounts of mud into your three colors so you can see how it makes the colors shift.  I am leaving out  parts of the exercise, but all the information is in the book.

I got a surprising (to me) result.  Look at the picture below.  The purple in the stripes on the right shows hardly any gradation.  This was a “smack myself on the forehead” moment for me, as I remembered that darker colors shift less that lighter ones.  I added some white to the purple and  made the sheet on the left.  You can see the purple color shift in that one.  Much more interesting.

The next part of the exercise is to slice strips and lay them on a sheet of mud to make patterns.  Here are some examples.

Then I started to make the beads.  You don’t see any here because   my attempts at bargello  beads are now vying for a place in the permanent collection of the Museum of Ugly.  In a moment of inspiration,  however, I grabbed a bracelet blank I bought from Melanie West and made a bargello bracelet instead.

OK, what did I learn?   I got a practical example of the way colors shift and how darker colors shift less.  I also feel a bit empowered because I was able to replicate the colors from the collage and correct color problems.  For me, that is a giant leap forward.

New Products and Old Favorites

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Pardo Clay and Precious Metal Paint from German Company Viva Decor. At the time, no one I knew of in the U.S. carried Precious Metal Paint. It looks like that is going to change. Poly Clay Play has limited quantities now and hopes to have more available for sale in the future.  Check the web site for more information.

pmp
Some Poly Clay Play shipments from Europe were delayed, but will be available as soon as they arrive. Trish Hodgens of Poly Clay Play is taking pre-orders on the large 480 gram (about 1.05 lb.) jars of Pardo Clay for $21.95 each and the small jars 75 gram (2.6 oz) for $4.95 each ($1.00 off the suggested retail price.) For more information, check out the web site or email Trish Hodgens.

No one sells brass or copper bezel wire. If you don’t have a rolling mill to make it, you can make your own from 28 or 30 gauge metal. Even that is hard to find unless you want to do a roof. But I found a supplier!!! The Whimsie Studio carries 6″ X 12″ sheets of 30 gauge copper and brass. The price and shipping were reasonable (even by my cheapskate standards). And the stuff comes pronto.

You don’t need a saw to cut the bezels. I use Fiskars Utility Scissors I bought at Polymer Clay Express. They work like a charm,

fus

except I still can’t cut a straight line. That’s why God made files.


Speaking of files and all sorts of cheap metal working tools, if you are just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money, try Harbor Freight. Besides hammers, files, anvils, Helping Hands for $2.99 and other goodies, you can buy stuff, take it home and figure out what to do with it. I used their Body and Fender Set to make bracelets from spoon handles. If you want, but can’t afford a disk cutter, try their Hollow Punch Set and a sturdy hammer. It really works.

I’m a Fool for Faux

I love to make faux beads from polymer clay and have been obsessed with it lately. Here are four of my favorite books. They contain plenty of recipes for making every kind of faux substance you can imagine.

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I use a vibratory rock tumbler instead of sanding and I’ve gotten great results. I promise I’ll do a post on it soon.

Beading on the Copacabana

I am so cold! I disagree with T.S. Eliot. February is the cruelest month.   It was 14 today in Philadelphia and I wish I was below the equator where it’s summer now.    The hot sun, the white sands of the Copacabana and some Samba music would be be nice. I always like to buy local bead work and crafts wherever I go. Here is a picture of a bracelet I got on a trip to Rio De Janeiro.

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I think I’ll wear it and pretend I’m back on the beach in Rio.

beach-at-sugar-loaf

Klay Kismet

A couple of years ago, I spent a few days at Arlene Groch’s house claying nonstop alongside Arlene, Ellen Marshall and Melanie West. During the course of the claying frenzy, I made some bracelets with long beads usinga variety of techniques.

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In October, Barbara McGuire taught a master class in Philadelphia and was the guest artist at the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s monthly meeting. She saw my bracelets and remarked that I had used oneof the stamps she designed. Then I remembered admiring one of Arlene’s stamps and using it to texture some of the beads.  Arlene bought the stamp on Barbara’s web site.

designwire

Barbara McGuire is the author of two of my all time favorite polymer clay books,Foundations in Polymer Clay Design and Wire in Design. So I was  looking forward   to her demo at the meeting.  I was not disappointed.  And the members who took her face canes class gave it rave reviews. The Guest Artist Program is one of the best perks of PAPCG membership.

If you want to see pictures from the meeting, go to the guild’s Flickr site. If you’re in Philadelphia this weekend, try to catch the  PMA Craft show where Melanie West is participating as an emerging artist.

And not for the last bit of Klay Kismet:  Arlene happened to go to school with my boss.  How Kool is that?

Beading from Las Cruces to Cape Town

It’s a long way from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Philadelphia where I live, and an even longer trip from Philadelphia to Cape Town, South Africa. I like to bead on long plane rides, so I started a bracelet on the Las Cruces trip, making a base then starting to embellish it with beads of many colors, shapes and sizes. I finished the bracelet on the trip to Cape Town. Then I submitted it to the Bead-A-Day Beading Calendar for 2009 and it was accepted! You’ll have to wait until the calendar comes out to get the instructions for making the “Las Cruces to Cape Town Bracelet.” You’ll also find many other beautiful beading projects in the calendar-one for every day of the year.

Here is a slide show of some of the things I saw in Las Cruces and Cape Town.