Studio Musings

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coming Down to the Wire

Staging area and supplies
It's coming down to the wire for the Uptown Art Stroll and I put in a 10 hour day at the studio yesterday continuing to try to get stuff done. 

Last week, I was still trying to clean up after myself as I went along, but that meant I'd put things away just to have to drag them back out again the next day or even an hour later.  This week I've decided that my cutting table is my staging area.

It's actually a sort of organized chaos, with separate areas for wireworking tools, glazing cabochons, resin work, packing, and bead sorting.

I definitely need to rethink my bead storage.  My large plastic containers are great for storage, but it's a pain to keep hauling them out when I'm working on a number of smaller beading projects, with differing color schemes all at once.

I've ended up simply sorting the beads I've used by color group on top of my cutting table.  That way I can grab what I need for a particular project.  When I'm done, they get sorted back into the rainbow.  It's working surprisingly well.

As part of the Uptown Art Stroll, all of the artists are supposed to be actively creating a piece of work throughout the day.  The organizer, bless him, agreed that I could bring a work in progress.

Since there is going to be a judging, I wanted to do something more than little beaded rings, but there'd be no chance of finishing a larger piece in the time allotted.  So here's my jump-start.  This is two full days worth of beading - I'm thinking I might need to do a little more beforehand to insure that I can indeed finish the darned necklace on Saturday.

Starting to unfold the papers

And since my beading is so slow, and my hands needed a break, I dyed another batch of papers yesterday.

This entails folding each sheet of acid-free tissue paper into little tiny logs or triangles, then dipping them into little batches of dye.   I don't have any photos of these stages - note to self - take process photos.  The thing is, it's really messy; even with gloves several of my fingers ended up dyed a deep rosy color.  I hate to think what I could do to my camera with my hands coated with dye solution!

In this first photo, the papers have dried enough that I could start to unfold them.

The latest in studio floor coverings
The unfolding is one of the trickiest parts.  If I try to unfold them while they're still too wet, I rip the papers.  But if I wait until they're completely dry, then the dye seems to fuse the layers together and I rip the paper as I try to unfold it. Kind of a catch 22.

The key is to unfold them when they are at just the right stage of damp.  And I can't unfold them all the way at once.  Unfold one or two layers and the paper's too wet to unfold further.  So my studio became a giant drying rack as I slowly unfolded each sheet from my latest batch.

Ironing and sorting the dyed papers
Once they were unfolded and dry, it was time to iron them.  Each sheet had to be ironed individually.  Well, I suppose I didn't HAVE to, but the designs really pop out once the pages are ironed.

As I ironed, I sorted the papers into two stacks.  The second, thankfully smaller, stack was of those papers that tore during the process.  I'll have both available for sale on Saturday.

Ready and waiting for Saturday to arrive


  1. Thanks Lori! I rolled the papers up to take them home from the studio, and then I HAD to take a picture because the colors were so yummy!

  2. Oh I wish I had beads just like yours and email me at