Studio Musings

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Other Pumpkins Said this was The Place....

I had an amazing time at Bead Fest, and promise to tell you all about it.  But the tickle in my throat while I was there, combined with the flight home, has turned into a raging, knock-me-off-my-feet sort of cold.  So I thought I'd share a bit of Halloween brightness with you instead.

Every year, almost like clockwork, we can expect to open our front door one fall day to find our front porch covered with pie pumpkins.  One year they spelled my husband's name.  More often they're simply scattered like a mine-field.

They're left by a couple of our friends as a hint that it's time for Joe to start making his scrumptious pumpkin pies.  But I guess they hear that we've both been pretty much down for the count, because this is what we found most recently on our front porch:

The seal wasn't broken when we brought it in, I just didn't snap a picture quickly enough.  It's a box from Dahlia Bakery.  And inside:

Isn't he cute?  So Happy Halloween all!  I think I'm going to go turn back into a pumpkin myself.

I will have a Bead Fest post up by this weekend, with pictures - promise!

And thanks John and Sue - you're the best! Turns out it was Nathan and Leah who left the pumpkin, taking a riff of of John and Sue!  We do have the best friends. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Time to Stitch - Right Angle Weave

Today's the reveal for the Time to Stitch blog hop sponsored by Christine of One Kiss Creations and Therese of Therese's Treasures featuring Right Angle Weave or St Petersburg stitch.

Well, it seems as if pretty much all I've done this past month is right angle weave.  I've pretty much ate, drunk and slept the stitch as I worked to finish my new book and prepared for Bead Fest Texas.  Mostly, I've been stitching samples for kits that I'll be taking with me to Bead Fest, then posting on my Etsy shop hopefully next week.  

So here are a few of the pieces I finished this week:

Just finished this one on Monday

Snowfall - an look it has sequins! 
Bead caps and bail using right angle weave
This one's Random Right Angle Weave
Finished this one earlier this month, but it's all right angle weave, so thought I'd show it again
Now I need to go and finish packing.  But be sure to check out what the other pariticipants have done with the two stitches.

Therese Frank and Christine Altmiller
Nikki Byers
Kristen Stevens
Shirley Moore
Sonya Stille
Karen Williams

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Almost Live....

Front Book Cover: Corsets, Caps & Stays: Elegant Beaded Beads with Right Angle Weave
I have an ISBN number!  My newest book, Corsets, Caps and Stays: Elegant Beaded Beads with Right Angle Weave, is at the publishers.  And while I don't have a physical copy of the book itself yet, I do have its ISBN number (two actually):
      ISBN-13: 9781480074910
      ISBN-10: 1480074918
I can't tell you how exciting it is to see those numbers!

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while have likely seen the book progress. It's pretty much taken over my life the past several months, though I've tried not to write about it too much here in the blog for fear of boring everyone to tears.

editing interior book pages - successive edits
color coded edits & several takes on one page
It's such a slow process - on good days, I might finish putting together the illustrations and text for a two-page spread.  Or maybe I'd do initial layout for several pages.  Or stitch another sample while taking notes and process photos, then upload everything into my computer for revision.  Every page required multiple, multiple revisions.   It seemed at times like a never ending cycle. I came up with a color coded system to track the various edits (pink for text edits, yellow-illustrations, green-photos, blue the page's ready to print for the next review!)

But I had a hard deadline, as I want to take copies of it with me to Bead Fest Texas, which is just around the corner.  Which meant that I needed send the book to the printer in time to get it proofed AND printed.  And time kept slipping away....

PDF proof of Corsets, Caps & Stays
PDF proof from Createspace with ISBN numbers!

So I worked twelve hour days on it last week, and over the weekend.  On Monday, I spent eight hours doing a final proof, then saved the files to PDF (separate files for the interior and cover) and uploaded them to Createspace.  They promised a 48 hour turn-around for a digitial proof, but when I checked at 5:00am (yes, really) the next morning it was in.  Yeah!

Except they said that one of my images was under 300DPI, the recommended printing resolution.  Not Yeah!  So I opened my InDesign file to find the offending image.  And since I was already in the file and they'd created such lovely proofing options, I went through the book one more time.  Another three hours of proofing.

Besides sending me a PDF copy with trim marks, they also have a cool virtual proofing option that tries to show you exactly what it will look like as a physical book.  I took a screenshot so you could see what I mean. 

virtual proof of Corsets, Caps & Stays
Virtual proof - they even tried to simulate page turns

The digital proofing system is new since my first book and I thought it quite nifty.

Back Book Cover: Corsets, Caps and Stays: Elegant Beaded Beads with Right Angle Weave
I have a barcode, too! 
This project started out as a class handout, but kept growing. When I taught my Corset Beads at the June Seedbeader's meeting, the handout stood at a healthy eleven pages.  Based on that class, and questions that came up, it grew to twenty five pages.  Which I thought would be it.  But I couldn't stop thinking about it, asking 'what ifs'.  So I decided to let it do what it would.  The final version topped out at 51 pages.  A short book, but a long tutorial, which is the way I still think of it. 

It's a very hands-on and project oriented, with explicit bead counts and stitching instructions.  This is so different from my freeform peyote beading that I'm still vaguely stunned that I managed it.  I spent an entire summer counting stitches and making diagrams!

Unlike Freeform Peyote Beading, which starts with an extensive design section, this one dives right into the stitching.  The first chapter reviews the stitches - all the different aspects of single needle right angle weave used in the rest of the book, talks a little about needles and threads, and has a quickie tutorial on painting wooden beads.  Then it's off into the projects.

Chapter head: Corsets, Caps & Stays Beaded Beads
Chapter Head Screen shot
There are three chapters on different styles of beaded beads, each with multiple samples and design variations. First up are the 'solid' beads, completely covered with bead weaving.  My Corsets & Stays beads, with their central band of beading laced onto the base bead (hence the reference to corsets) come next.  Then my Caps & Stays beads, with two beaded end caps connected by right angle weave stays.  I rounded the book out with a chapter on Finishing Touches, including a beaded bail, the spiral twists and the leaf from the bead shown in the proof above, a beaded rope and toggle and some ideas for incorporating the beads into larger designs.

So now all I have to do is wait for the books to arrive.  That will be like Christmas.  And a little scary too - there's that little fear, too.  What have I done!?!

In the meantime, I'm working on kits for Bead Fest and to add to Etsy.   I'm finally starting to get a system together and streamlining things there, too. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Complimentary Colors and Opposites Attract

Can't believe it's been a week since my last blog post!  It's been rolling deadlines for the past month and looks likely to continue through Bead Fest at the end of this month.  But I did get the class proposals in last week, and just submitted my book project for review - should hear back on that by tomorrrow, keeping my fingers crossed.  In the meantime, I've promised to write a post on complimentary colors.

Fall is my favorite season.  I love this time of year, as Summer and Winter fight it out for supremacy. The days are still sunny and warm here in Seattle, but the nights are cool and chill.  We're still using our summer sheets, not quite ready for flannel yet, but I had to find an extra blanket for the bed.  And I love the colors.  One of the trees outside our house has turned a bright scarlet while the other is still mostly green - a perfect complimentary color combination.

Everywhere I look the trees are layered with red, orange and green leaves.  And since we're at the end of the dry season, there's golden brown grasses and bright blue skies.  It's funny that once the rain begins the grass will green back up and stay green through the winter, but our 'sunnier' days will tend to have bright white skies instead of blue.  So I'm definitely enjoying the blue while we have it.  To top it off, the sunrises lately have been magnificent; in shades of violet and purple and gold.

I seem to particularly like blue/orange color combos for earrings
Like Summer and Winter, complimentary color combos draw both warm and cool temperatures into play.  You're pulling not only from opposite sides of the color wheel, but also from opposing color temperatures. 

Take the Blue/Orange compliments: here you're combining orange, the hottest color on the color wheel, with blue the coolest.  This makes for a particularly dynamic color scheme, but also poses its own sets of problems as the two vie for dominance. 

reds and greens in my Autumn Rain freeform peyote bracelet
I created my Autumn Rain freeform peyote bracelet nearly five years ago now, attempting to capture the particular colors of the season.

It's funny in that I usually think of it as "red", but in truth, it has a strong green component.  The green is simply more muted and darker, taking on the role of branches and shadows while the reds do their best to steal the show. 

 I also love how the transparency of the beads, glowing just the way that fall leaves do when the sun hits them just right.  I've never been able to capture that as well in any other medium.

Looking at the combinations on a standard color wheel, I noted the following, which I thought I'd share:

Orange and Blue: some value contrast, strong color temperature differences

Purple and Yellow/Gold: strong value contrast, some color temperature differences

Red and Green: smallest value contrast of the complimentary combos, some color temperature contrast, too.

burnt orange & phthalo blue acrylics color mixing study
And if you mix two compliments together, you end up with really interesting neutrals - sometimes greys, sometimes blacks, sometimes browns.

It's funny, but I really don't seem to use the purple/yellow colorway in my beading.  Looking through my work, the closest I could find was a thread painting sample I made years ago.  It's free motion embroidery, which I haven't touched in ages but is very nearly as slow as bead weaving.

Think I may have to look at a project in purple and gold.  In November. 

For now I'll just keep trucking away.  And in the meantime, I'm slowly adding to my latest Pinterest Board on, you guessed it, Complimentary Colors

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Working on Class Proposals for 2013

Interested in taking a class with me?  I'm currently working on class proposals for Bead Fest 2013.  I'm applying to teach at Bead Fest Philadelphia as well as Texas for next year.  Seems like so many people I know attend Philadelphia, I'd love to be there too, but the deadline is Thursday.  Yikes!   

What am I hoping to teach? 

Of course I'm proposing to teach Freeform Peyote.  I'd be walking on air if they'd accept one of those classes!   I'm putting together several other classes as well, including my Lacework Bracelets.

And now I have a question for you.  If you could take any class of mine you wanted, which of these (if any) would most interest you?  Why?  Does it help knowing I'd have kits in multiple color ways available for each class?

Peacock Spring, Freeform Peyote Bracelet - 6 hours
Spanish Dancer, Freeform Peyote Ruffles - 6 hours

Corset & Stays Beaded Beads - 3 hours

Sky at Midnight necklace - 6 hours
Is it better to offer the class as a 3 hour stand-alone beaded bead or as a 6 hour class where you'd make the bead, then learn my favorite methods for a RAW rope, toggle, smaller beaded beads and more to make a really cool necklace that I'm still struggling to photograph adequately?

Flameheart Earrings and Pendant - 3 hours

Lacework Bracelets - 3 hours
Freeform Peyote Beaded Beads - 6 hours
 I'm trying to come up with a fun name for this class.  They remind me of little planets, the beaded topography of each totally unique, but a catchy two or three word phrase hasn't struck me yet. 

And last, but not least:

Fancy Fish - 6 hours

Yep, I'm hoping to teach my Fancy Fish. I can just see a school of these guys swimming around the conference, can't you?

Anything you think I'm missing?  Something you really think I should propose as a class?  (Just thought I'd throw that out there).

I'm still working on the pictures.  Keep setting up my studio, taking more pictures, loading them into the computer and deciding I need different pictures. 

I'd love to teach a larger freeform beading project like my August Bead Soup project, Wrack and Ruin, but it would really need to be a two-day workshop.  So I'll toss this out there:  I am more than happy to travel and would love to teach in your area.  If you know of a bead store or other venue that might be interested in my teaching a workshop, let me know!

 It's been one deadline after another around here lately, so I'm afraid that the next installment of my design series won't be out until next week.  Guess it's become an 'almost weekly' series.  :)

Time for me to get back to photo editing, sigh.  Thanks for your feedback and keep your fingers crossed for me!