Studio Musings

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crunch Time and Sneak Peeks

The end of February is fast approaching along with deadlines; several self-imposed, one external.  It is definitely crunch time! 

This first image is of a series of cabachons I've trapped using a combination of right angle weave and peyote stitch so that they might be incorporated into larger projects.  Speaking of incorporating them into larger projects, they are all samples in an ebook I hope to finish in the next week (yeah, right!) about this very subject.  Originally I thought it would be an 8-page pattern featuring one sample.  It's grown to well over twenty pages, and includes random right angle weave and any number of variation and will include at least one finished project (incorporating the trapped cabochon into a larger piece).  Stay tuned.

Then there's the Bead Soup challenge.  (Check out Lori's latest post "Where is Everyone Coming From" - it's impressive!) The reveal is this Saturday, and while my piece is considerably further along than this picture, I still have quite a ways to go.  Trying to decide just how much I can show in a sneak peak without giving it all away. 

I think I'll leave it at the one picture, but the style is more in keeping with my Hunting Fae necklace, than with most of my other freeform beaded pieces.  It's a combination of freeform peyote, right angle weave and random right angle weave.  The larger beads were all made by my trading partner, JJ Jacobs

Cheryl's bracelet in process
Meanwhile, I taught a class on freeform peyote at my studio on Saturday of President's Day Weekend.  Only had one student - turns out scheduling a one-day class over a long weekend causes scheduling conflicts with many of my potential students.  Oops.  But since I'd already penciled it in my calendar, I decided to run with it.  And I'm glad I did. 

Since there was only one student, I went ahead and let her run the show as far as what she wanted to learn.  We spent the better part of the first hour looking through my samples and discussing techniques, bead choices, and colors. 

While Cheryl really wanted to learn freeform beading, she was trepidacious because by nature she felt herself to be a very 'pattern-oriented' person.  So we discussed the underlining patterns.  Despite all of that, she was as she said a quick learner and made a huge amount of progress on her bracelet.  And had a great time working with the freeform techniques.

And here's the bracelet I started on Saturday.  I continued working on it on Sunday and it's almost complete.  Too bad I took the picture 'upside down' - the leaves are supposed to be on the lower edge, just realized that. (The background is a lovely sweater crocheted by my favorite sister). 

Like the paper clip?  A quick way of trying out a button
 I'd had a vague idea of submitting it for Art Bead Scene's February challenge (I really love the images they choose each month), but my colors shifted as I worked and there really isn't an art bead focal, so it doesn't fit.   This may well be the first jewelry piece I post on Etsy.  When I get it finished, and have time to set up my store. 

So that's what I've been up to lately, how about you?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Backdoor to Jewelry

Wire Twined Baskets by Marilyn Moore

 Thursday night I attended the NW Bead Society's general meeting for the first time, excited to hear
 Marilyn Moore speak.  I've admired her work in galleries for some time.

Based upon the size of their Seedbeaders group, I expected the general meeting to be positively huge.  In fact, it was smaller than the Sunday meetings.  Still a good crowd, I'd say forty-ish people in attendance, but I'd put the Seedbeaders at half that again.

Met several new people - thank you to those who took time to speak to the newbie in the crowd.  You know who you were.

And then it was time for Marilyn's presentation.   A wonderful overview of her artistic career, spanning several decades, her slideshow was filled with lively stories and humor.  The title for this post is from her introduction.  As Marilyn put it, she "came to jewelry through the backdoor of basketry".

I always find it interesting to learn other artists' stories, so I'll share some of hers here:

Although her very first basket was twinned from natural materials she quote "discovered she didn't like being wet".   That said, she turned her attention to pine needle baskets, (while the pine needles are usually worked with damp, they're small enough you stay quite dry) and worked in that media for over ten years.  During that time, Marilyn experimented with shapes; creating some lovely, organic forms as well as more traditional 'baskets'.

Somewhere along the way, she discovered Teneriffe embroidery, which heavily influenced the decoration of her pine needle baskets and her early jewelry.  Its influence can still be seen in some of her work today.

As her stitching covered more and more of her forms, coming to completely obscure the pine needle cores, she moved from pine needles to coiled baskets using polished hemp as the core.  And she began experimenting with the color grading that is one of the outstanding signatures of her current work. 

When her daughter graduated from high school, both of them decided to enroll in college.  This made me smile, as my Mom and I did something similar.  (My mom majored in art history while I majored in Russian because I thought it more 'practical' than majoring in art, but that's a story for another day).

Not quite sure when she began working with the wire wrapped baskets that I equate with her work. I'm pretty sure I saw her work in a basketry show at the Fountainhead Gallery not long after we moved to Seattle, back around 2001-2002.

Besides her slide presentation, Marilyn brought a wonderful trunk show for us to admire.  Her current work reminds me of firebirds, oilslicks and living gems waiting in secret caverns.  Their saturated jewel tones radiate heat and vibrancy, even on the cooler side of the color spectrum.  While I admire her larger, sculptural works (definitely check out her gallery), I am particularly drawn to her miniature baskets, sized perfectly to fit in the palm of your hand.  The photo at the start of this post is one I took of a collection of these and doesn't do their colors justice.

To see more of Marilyn's work and a picture of the artist herself, check out her page on the NW Basketweavers site.

Guess I didn't talk much about her jewelry.  Oh well.  I love her baskets!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Protection from Being Bored

I love to travel, but I hate the boredom that comes from long waits in uncomfortable airport seats or long plane flights.  In self-defense, I pack a bag of supplies as 'protection against being bored'.  Art supplies are always high on my list of 'must brings', but they can be both heavy and cumbersome.  And tubes paints are pretty much verbotten if you're doing carry-on these days.

My ongoing quest has been to find the lightest, smallest, most useful supplies and in the past couple of trips, I believe I may have finally perfected my selection. 

I packed my beading kit with supplies for two different projects:  finishing the beaded back of a cabochon setting, and experimenting with ideas for the Bead Soup challenge.  The beading cloth fits an airplane tray table almost perfectly. As long as I have day light, I can get a fair bit of beading done.

If I'd remembered my camera to take process photos, I could have easily finished the cabochon back, but I didn't.  Sigh. My camera will likely come with me in the future. I'd left it behind figuring I could use my iPhone to take vacation pictures.  It's is great for a lot of things, but not macro photographs.

 And of course, I needed a sketchbook and some drawing materials.  In the past I've been known to bring 2-3 sketchbooks of varying sizes.  This time, I ran with only a little moleskin (same as my Alaska trip).  The paper is thin and bleeds through, so I only use every other 2-page spread, but that still gives plenty of drawing space for a one-to-two week trip.  Add a drawing pen, an home-made watercolor box and a water brush, and you have a complete kit that fits in a largish pocket and can be used anywhere. I've painted on planes, standing in line, on the beach and any number of other odd places. 

Housed in an Altoid tin, I filled 24 empty half-pans with my favorite water colors attached to two layers of heavy cardstock with double-sided tape.  The top layer lifts out and can sit in the lid (which can also serve as a mixing tray) or any flat surface.  Add in a small napkin or tissue for cleaning the brush so you don't have to use your clothing and you're good to go. 

This particular trip was to Disney World resort, where I met my folks, brother and his two kids for a week of park hopping.

My drawing set came in very handy protecting both my 5 year old niece and my 9 year old nephew from incipient boredom while waiting for the buses to take us to and from the parks. 

I love Emme's six-legged unicorn and her snowman with its rainbow dress (I was informed it was a dress, not a cloak).  Sam focused on planes with rocket propulsion and massive guns.  Notice that both proudly signed their work.

So what are your favorite art supplies/kits for traveling?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting Stuff Done

 Sometimes the hardest thing is simply getting started.  Winter can be especially difficult that way; the dark grey days sap my energy and leave me wishing for nothing more than to curl up with a book.  But I've got a lot I want to do; lots of ideas and experiments that I'm itching to complete, if I can just get up the energy to start and keep going.

That's where my Getting Stuff Done playlist comes in - 100 songs guarenteed to make me want to DO something.  They're all vocals - when I'm beading I need my music to have words.    (I have another playlist called writing music, which is all instrumental).  I think the vocals occupy that portion of my brain that the beading doesn't, and everything just seems to flow more freely.

Today was a Getting Stuff Done sort of day.  And it worked - I accidentally left my camera at the studio, so no pictures today - but I'll try to add those tomorrow.  In the meantime, here's a sample of my playlist:

  1. "Road of the Gypsy", Adrenaline
  2. "If You're Gonna Play in Texas", Alabama
  3. "Roam", B-52s
  4. "Manic Monday", The Bangles
  5. "If She Knew What She Wants", The Bangles
  6. "Walk Like an Egyptian", The Bangles
  7. "If I Had $1,000,000", Barenaked Ladies
  8. "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", Blue Oyster Cult
  9. "Live Before You Die", Bon Jovi
  10. "You Give Love a Bad Name", Bon Jovi
  11. "Another Saturday  Night" Cat Stevens
  12. "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" The Clash
  13. "Bad Moon Rising" Creedence Clearwater Revival
  14. "Misguided Angel", Cowboy Junkies
  15. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" Cyndi Lauper
  16. "Gimme Da'ting", David Lindley & El Rayo-X
  17. "Hide in the Rainbow", Dio
  18. "Romeo and Juliet", Dire Straits
  19. "We Know This Town" The Fox Hunt
  20. Go Home, Girl!, Gaelic Storm
  21. "The Banana Boat Song", Harry Belafonte
  22. "Get Out the Map", Indigo Girls
  23. "Great Balls of Fire", Jerry Lee Lewis
  24. "Jack in the Green", Jethro Tull
  25. "Volcano", Jimmy Buffet
  26. "Pencil Thin Mustache", Jimmy Buffet
  27. "Somebody's Eyes", Karla Bonoff
  28. "Faithfully", Journey
  29. "I'm Free, Heaven Helps the Man", Kenny Loggins
  30. "Trouble", Kym Tuvim
  31. "Strangers in a Car", Marc Cohn
  32. "True Companion", Marc Cohn
  33. "Good Girls Go to Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)", Meatloaf
  34. "Bat Out of Hell", Meatloaf
  35. "The Safety Dance", Men Without Hats
  36. "Pop Goes the World", Men Without Hats
  37. "Walk on Water", Men Without Hats
  38. "Never", Moving Pictures
  39. "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", Pat Benatar
  40. "We Belong", Pat Benatar
  41. "I Know What I Know", Paul Simon
  42. "Let My Love Open the Door", Pete Townshend
  43. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn", Poison
  44. "I'm Gonna Be" The Proclaimers
  45. "Bohemian Rhapsody", Queen
  46. "Under Pressure", Queen
  47. "I Want it All", Queen
  48. "'39", Queen
  49. "Bang Your Head", Quiet Riot
  50. "Freewill", Rush
  51. "The Pass", Rush
  52. "War Paint", Rush
  53. "Rock You Like a Hurricane", Scorpions
  54. "The 59th Street Bridge Song", Simon and Garfunkel
  55. "Cecilia", Simon and Garfunkel
  56. "Royal Forester", Steeleye Span
  57. "Boys of Bedlam", Steeleye Span
  58. "The Joker", Steve Miller Band
  59. "Shout", Tears for Fears
  60. "Birdhouse in Your Soul" They Might Be Giants
  61. "We're Not Gonna Take it", Twisted Sister
  62. "The Boat Song", Lyle Lovett
  63. "Eye of the Tiger",
  64. "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner", Warren Zevon
  65. "Boom Boom Mancini", Warren Zevon
  66. "Piano Fighter", Warren Zevon
  67. "Werewolves of London", Warren Zevon
  68. "Hungry", White Lion
  69. "All Join Hands", White Lion
  70. "All You Need is Rock & Roll", White Lion
 So, what do you listen to while you work?  What songs get you moving?