Studio Musings

Friday, January 25, 2013

Focus on Life 4/52 - Create Art

Choose a media and run with it, Sally suggested in this week's photo essay prompt.  Create Art!  I already knew what I'd be working with - the cultured sea glass beads from ZnetShows which had arrived the previous week.

I love sea glass.  My husband teases me when we go to the beach because I spend so much time searching for sea glass along the tide line I forget to look at anything else.

And here was 'sea glass', with it's soft matte finish and not a sharp edge anywhere to be found, delivered directly to my door.  Lovely!  And so much of it.  A true embarrassment of riches. 

Apparently they sent their packets out in 'color families'.  Mine, as you can see, was very, very green.  After getting over my initial shock at the color, (I hadn't designed with green in ages) I began to sketch.  Then to stitch.

I just wish my hands worked faster.  This is as far as I've gotten:

New Growth, freeform beaded necklace with cultured 'sea glass' shards by Karen Williams
New Growth, freeform beaded necklace with 'sea glass' shards
New Growth, freeform beaded necklace with cultured 'sea glass' shards by Karen Williams

The green glass shards reminded me of the new growth from my earlier post, so I decided to give them an enchanted garden to grow through.  I think it needs more layers, but am letting it rest for a little first, just in case it really is done.

This piece - very much still in process - also works with the green shards.  It was inspired by a photograph of a clump of sea grass from one of my favorite books, Archipelageo: Portraits of Life in the World's Most Remote Island Sanctuary. Destined to become a pendant, I turned the design upside down.

More fringe to go, then vine work around the ring leading up into the bail.  Not sure what I think - I'm reserving judgement for now.

Now let's go see what everyone else cooked up this past week by visiting the Studio Sublime.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Focus on Life 3/52 - My Friends, the Rockfish Gang

Meet my good friends, the Rockfish gang.  I haven't seen them in ages.  But Sally's prompt for this week was to 'Take Time'.  Time to play, time to do something for ourselves.

As soon as I ready her prompt, I thought of the Aquarium.  I love the aquarium! The fish are so beautiful and ugly, alien and familiar and different and cool all at the same time.  Like my personal favorites, the Rockfish.  They always make me smile.  And want to break out the camera or sketchbook.  Then there's these little guys, hiding in their barnacle condos, complete with fancy landscaping:

I spent a while trying to come up with something else to do.   Something that wouldn't take quite as much time.  But as soon as the thought popped into my mind a part of me latched on like a bulldog and wouldn't let go.  Like I'd be breaking a promise if I didn't follow through.

So I listened, and rearranged my schedule.  Showed up right as it opened.  That's definitely the time to go.

I had the dome almost entirely to myself for a good half hour. Even broke out my sketchbook!  Here's my first sketch of 2013. 

Thanks for the suggestion Sally!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm in a Podcast! And I'm CoHosting a Design Challenge and Blog Hop!

Mandi Ainsworth over at Bead Circle contacted me earlier this month to see if I'd be willing to do a podcast interview about freeform peyote beading, my work and my design process.  I was stunned and tickled by the invitation and promptly said 'Yes!'  Then immediately started wondering what I'd gotten myself into.  Some of her other podcast interviews have included interviews with Marcia DeCoster and Jean Campbell; hard acts to follow!  

Today's the day it goes live!  I haven't actually heard it yet (since I'm really writing this post on Tuesday, set to launch Wednesday morning while I'm sound asleep) and I'm more than a little nervous and a lot excited.  We had such a great time talking, and Mandi promised to edit out my horrendous flubs.  Yeah for editing! Thank you Mandi!!!

While we were setting up the interview, one of us commented 'wouldn't it be fun to do a Freeform Peyote Challenge and Blog Hop'.  That's something I've drempt of doing for ages now, but never quite felt like it was the right time.  But now the time has come! 

Choose Your Own Adventure - Freeform Peyote Challenge and Blog Hop

Signups:                         January 16-31st, 2013
Blog Hop & Reveal:     February 23, 2013

To Signup:
Email Mandi or myself including your name, email address and blog URL.   Or leave a comment with your email address on this post, telling me you'd like to join in. If you don't have a blog but would like to participate, let me know - as long as you can email me photos and text, I'll make sure you're included in the hop. 

Mandi and I will compile a list of participants to include in our posts for the reveal date, and also keep you informed of any changes or special happenings.

Everyone is invited to join in, whatever your familiarity or skill level with freeform peyote.  The goal here is to challenge yourself and choose your own adventure.  

On the reveal day, post a photo (or photos) of what you made and include a paragraph or two about your piece.  If this is your first time working with freeform peyote, tell us about your experience.

Planning for this challenge, I started a new group on Facebook: Freeform Peyote Beading that is already turning into a wonderful source of inspiration.  To join, you'll need to send me a request through Facebook and I'll happily add you in.

And I've launched a new Freeform Peyote Beading Facebook Page where all you have to do is hit 'Like' and it's added to your Newsfeed stream.

I'll also post a series of links to additional resources later this month.

What's a party without party favors?  Leave a comment on Mandi's blog telling us what excites (or frightens) you most about freeform peyote for a chance to win a copy of my book on freeform peyote.

If you already own a copy of my book, share what you like most about it and if your name is drawn, I'll send you something else of equivalent value, likely a bead soup for freeform peyote. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Focus on Life - New Growth

This week's photography assignment was to capture some essence of the word we chose for the year.  I'm a little different than most in that I choose a tarot card rather than a single word or phrase, as I mentioned in my earlier post.  I like the layered meanings associated with each card, and that it's chosen, sight unseen, and then I have to deal with it.  Like much of life.  This year The Fool turned up in my draw.

I'm sure I'll reflect on many different aspects of the card over the course of the year, but right now what keeps striking me is New Growth.

Having been sick most of the fall, my garden is still cluttered with the brown, shriveled detritus from last year.  Yet here in the second week of January, new shoots are pushing up through the old.  Through the morning frost.  So green and fragile looking.   Determined to grow.

Should I clear away the old growth, or does it provide insulation?  I dither, trying to decide on the best course. 

 My Crocosmia.  Right now they're just little green shoots.  Come midsummer they'll sport starburst drifts of glorious red.

To see everyone elses' entries for the week, check out Sally's post over at The Studio Sublime. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Upcoming Classes and Freeform Peyote Beading on Facebook

Fusion Bead's class schedule - with my Corset Beads!
I don't have a lot on my calendar right now in the way of classes, but I do have a couple of gigs coming up in February, both focusing on Beaded beads. 

Sunday, February 3rd I'll be teaching my Corset & Stays Beaded Beads in a three hour workshop at Fusion Beads.  They even included a picture of my beaded beads on the cover of their current class schedule.  How cool is that?

And on Tuesday, February 5th, the Northwest Polymer Clay Guild has invited me to be their guest speaker.  I'll be demoing my Caps and Stays beaded beads as a way to potentially showcase their members' handmade polymer clay beads.

Actually, the schedule says I'll be demoing my Corsets and Stays beaded beads, but I think the Caps and Stays are better when your base bead is something you really want to show off.  So I figure I'll cover both.

The sample here is simply one of my painted beads, but you can see how the beadweaving frames the view. 

Freeform Peyote Beading on Facebook

And on a Totally different topic, I've just set up a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group for Freeform Peyote Beading.  My hope is to create a gathering place for like-minded folk interested in the medium.  This morning I set up the Page, but then I started wondering if that's what I really wanted, since what I'm hoping for is to generate an ongoing conversation, so this afternoon I set up the Group while laughing at myself for my indecision. 

From what I can tell, Pages seem to corral everyone's comments besides the administrator into one box over on the right-hand side, while a Group lists everyone's contributions in a far more egalitarian manner, including them in the main timeline. 

Right now, both are pretty much empty - who am I kidding, they are empty.  But they won't stay that way for long.  I plan to spend some time working on them this weekend, but would love your input.

What would you like to see?  Do you have a preference - page or group?

And I'd love to see you join in, whether you're an accomplished freeform peyote artist, are just starting out, or are simply interested in the medium!   Right now they're awfully lonely. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Focus on Life - 52 Images

I have joined Sally at the Studio Sublime in her challenge to document 2013 through a year of photos - one per week for the next fifty two. 

Assignment one:  self-portrait

self-portrait by Karen Williams - holding a beaded ornament

self-portrait by Karen Williams - journaling

From my vantage point - this is what I see.  My hands.  They are what I use to create, to write, to type, to communicate.  My fingers are often stained with paint or ink (witness the top photo above).  They look more and more like my mother's hands as the years go by.

I wish I could have figured out an easy way to take a picture of both hands at the same time.

But I need at least one hand to hold the camera and take a photo.  Or two, when I'm trying to take a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror.  I decided to take the photo above so I wouldn't feel like I'd chickened out by focusing on my hands. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Out with the Old Year, in with the New

Every year on the Solstice, I draw a tarot card from the major arcana to act as a meditation focus for the coming year.  No surprise, I then use the couple of weeks between the Solstice and New Year as a time of reflection, looking back, looking forwards.  What went well, what didn't. 

Last year's draw was the Magician.  He was a really fun one to work with - the alchemical/magical process of manifesting thoughts and dreams into reality.  The card became sort of my 'patron of the arts', encouraging me to go for it.  It's funny how little it can sometimes take to go from 'no way' to 'maybe I can'.

A lot has happened this last year.  I published my second book, Corsets, Caps and Stays: Elegant Beaded Beads with Right Angle Weave, taught two classes at Bead Fest Texas, participated in a number of great blog challenges and two Bead Soup parties, added a number of kits and patterns to my Etsy Store and continued to write and meet new people here on my blog and on my Facebook page

Also had a few set backs, including the news last month that none of my classes were accepted for Bead Fest 2013.  Not even my Fancy Fish.  That definitely hurt!  And due to some health issues, I missed a couple of proposal deadlines this fall.

Going into 2013, I have a number of UFOs; isn't that always the case?  Two in particular I plan/hope to finish in the next couple of months.  One is the collar I started using Kristi Bowman's copper focal for the clasp.  Below's a collage of my bead work in process and her lovely focal. 

UFO to be finished in 2013
What's my card for this year?  I drew The Fool - the first card in the major arcana.  My deck shows a scomorokh, a wandering clown of medieval Russia, walking blithely along the edge of the cliff, with a wolf/dog twining around his legs.  Common interpretations for the card include "innocence, new beginnings, blind faith, simplicity, folly and extravagance".  My hope is to tap into the 'beginners' mind set' without actually falling off any cliffs, literally or figuratively.  Wish me luck! 

I'm definitely looking at doing a few things differently.  Here on my blog, I hope to feature the works of other artists who are also working with freeform peyote. My goal starting out is to showcase two artists per month.  We'll see how that goes. 

I enjoyed my weekly series on the Elements of Design, but had a hard time keeping up with it on that regular a basis.  Expect to see periodic additional entries into that series.  I'd like to make it a regular feature, but am trying to figure out the frequency which will give me enough time to give each entry my best effort (I am not a fast blogger and they take a fair bit of work). 

I'm also thinking of a couple of different possibilities for online teaching - I'll be writing about that more in the next couple of weeks and hope to ask your opinions.  So there are some of my thoughts on the new year.  Now how about you?  What do you hope for 2013?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my deck is an older version of the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg.  It was a gift shortly after I returned from Russia and remains one of my treasures because all of the images are in the style of medieval Russian folk art.  They remind me of the designs on their beautiful lacquer boxes.  I mostly just look through and admire the pictures.