New Years in Philadelphia Means Mummers

Here is a video I took at last years’ winning champion in the Fancy Brigades, the South Philly Vikings performing Ka “Light” Oscope: Harness the Power of the Spectrum

Want to learn more about the Mummers and see some cool archival footage?  Press here and here.

A New Beading Angle

Well, it’s not really new. I have always had a fascination with beaded beads. I could not rest until I learned how to make the Puffy Heart which is really a beaded bead made from the two strand version of right angle weave known as cross weaving or the Hachinojiami or Kousa-ami stitch that one often sees in Japanese three dimensional bead work. For a simple project pattern, press here.

Arguably the dodecahedron shapes above and below are not really right angle weave because the beads don’t all sit at right angles to one another.

These beads are cubic right angle weave which is a wonderful stitch. It works up quickly and you can turn out shapes as if by magic. I was tearing my hair out trying to learn this stitch until I realized that it started with a beaded cube and the rest of the stitch was just a continuation of the cube. So I was able to figure it out on my own. But my mind works in funny ways. I am still stymied by the fax machine in the office where I work.

Anyway, I looked at a few on-line videos because I wanted to teach the stitch to Beading Yoda, (who is the Empress and number one Ambassador of flat right angle weave).

Most of the videos took a straight forward technique and complicated it to the point where it resembled Chinese Algebra rather than beading. And that’s not a good thing.

But then I came on this video by Heather Collin. It’s lucid, understandable, and you can see what she’s doing. Take a look.

I’m winding up with a picture of some more beaded beads including new Klimt inspired beads. I’ll post more on these later. I am still experimenting and have not gotten them out of my system. Yet.

On-Line Ideas and Inspiration for Jewelry Makers

I troll the Internet in search of ideas and inspiration.  Here are some new finds and some old favorites I want to share:

Nancy LT Hamilton offers free metalsmithing videos on sawing, riveting, soldering,  making findings and other techniques.  She offers a few metal working tools and her site is full of  useful  information about tools, metal, measuring, ring sizing, drill bits and more.

Beaducation sells jewelry making tools, books. DVDs and findings.  In addition paid on line classes,  Beaducation offers  free on line classes in several mediums including metalsmithing, felting, resin jewelry making  and beading

Brenda Sue Lansdowne  sells cool  vintage jewelry supplies on her web site, B’Sue Boutique  and her  blog, Jewelry Making Outside the Box  is chock full of interesting information.   She also offers free on line videos  showing how she uses her products to make eye-catching  mixed media jewelry.  The videos and blog are great places to get ideas and inspiration.

Speaking of ideas and inspiration,  I found these silver plated serving forks at a flea market.  I plan to saw off the handles and make the serving ends into pendants. 

If you think you have seen it all when it comes to jewelry made from spoons, knives or forks, you must watch this  video  by Italian Artist Giovanni Scafuro.



Jewelry from the Trash Can

I have been exploring textile arts and learning  techniques for incorporating them into jewelry.  And making up a few of my  own.  The bracelets below are from recycled materials:  old clothing dyed, stamped, painted and shredded, cast off electrical wire stripped and straightened, scrap stained glass tumbled and drilled, some gilded twigs from the sidewalk, pieces of old jewelry, and old plastic bangles or wire forms,  There is no plan; I just start to wrap and embellish.   I hit some of the bracelets with a heat gun to see how it would affect the fabric.  Depending on the fabric, it will burn, seal the frayed edges, or melt the fabric to reveal  what’s beneath.  I got this idea from a video by  Textile  and Mixed Media Artist Maggie Ayres.  There is so much information out there.  Don’t limit yourself to what you already know or think you have to take a class (unless you are learning how to use a torch, or another technique where proper safety instruction is vital).   Don’t be afraid to try something new!

More Christmas Ornament Ideas

It’s the time of the year for Santa’s workshop to be in full swing.  I am making ornaments again, and this year I am incorporating felting with the polymer clay.  I could use some elves to do the needle work for me, but I find needle felting very relaxing (when I don’t stab myself with the needles-thankfully not too often) and mixing the different yarns and color of roving reminds me of painting.

The ornaments here are mostly needle felted over styrofoam balls.  I wet felted one base and decided that needle felting worked better for me.  The embellishments are pom poms, additional yarn and roving, and polymer clay canes and beads.

The Internet is full of sites offering free felting directions. Feltmakers List FAQ is a good place to start.  YouTube has lots of videos and some are quite good.  And since crafters  have diverse ways of doing the same thing,  it’s always helpful to read a few sets of instruction and watch a few different videos.