Occasional beadwork project: fossil coral cab

Taken in the sunshine, which isn’t the best for showing the beads or for accurate color – but shows the cab well – is an occasional beading project sitting on my work table. It’s fossilized coral, and the large beads are carnelian. I don’t think I’m going to do much more around the cab, but finish the row I’m doing of the 15s, and trim and back, with an accent hanging off the bottom tip. I think I’d like to do the necklace part with some interesting structure, and not just stringing.

Julie Powell in Ornament Magazine

Ornament is a lovely magazine. Subtitled the “Art and Craft of Personal Adornment,” it really is. The current issue has a feature article on Julie Powell and her beadwork, and is fully available online. Powell’s work was the inspiration for my recent multi-strand herringbone necklace. Enjoy!


I realized I forgot to blog this, a gift I made in July.

It’s a mixture of mostly mohair and mohair blends, wool, and cotton. This was my first foray into mohair, and it was a bit of a challenge. I thought I was being smart by bracketing each mohair warp with a slick cotton warp (or at least not two mohair together), but that just wasn’t good enough to make it easy. When I crossed the warp, they stuck together with great familiarity.

Off the loom, pre-washing, you can see the variety in the warp – something like two cottons, three mohairs, and the gold wool. The weft was just two different mohairs, the lighter and darker grey.

I made this as a gift, finishing it at 1pm for an evening wedding. I hand washed it, and then draped it over an air conditioning vent with an additional fan.

A light open weave, it dried with hours to spare.

SAORI Six is on the loom. NO mohair. (But I have a mohair boucle with gigantic loops that emulates Persian lamb. When I feel like a challenge again, I’m going for it.)

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

Now at the Dayton Institute of Art are grand, elaborate, beaded tapestries made by Xhosa (and one Zulu) women from rural South Africa, “Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence.” Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages. In the article on Dayton Local, Amy Dallis writes that the beadwork is contemporary in style, and covers contemporary issues such as HIV/AIDS as well as the universal themes of family, community, and hope. The largest of the 31 tapestries is 15 feet high, and seven women worked for a year to complete it. I wrote about this exhibition earlier, during it’s inaugural showing at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, and now it’s on tour.

This touring exhibition is in Ohio through September 10th. The tour is being managed by International Arts & Artists, and tour dates so far include the Flint Institute of Arts; the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (a lovely museum, I’ve been there); the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk; and the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne, FL. I’ll see it when it gets to Iowa next summer.

Meet Nosey

I took a dimensional needle felting class at the public library, taught by Marlene, a teacher from the Textile Center. Here’s the progression, first body-head-nose:

Front legs and shoulders.

Out of time at the class, now working later at home to assemble most of the rest:

Next to a more realistic panda, I see that this one has quite the nose. Much needle felting of the nose commences, to try to bring it more into line. Now, ears!



Still on the nosey side!

Native American beadwork to enjoy

Three items have come across my desk/email lately that celebrate Native American beadworkers, and I wanted to share:

The Summer 2017 cover article of First American Art is beadwork by Marcus Amerman. The interview with the artist includes questions about creativity, what he needs for his creative process, his travels, his dream project, and his hopes for his creative legacy.

Reading from the preface, long-time Minnesota Historical Society curator Marcia G. Anderson wrote A Bag Worth a Pony: The Art of the Ojibwe Bandolier Bag as the culmination of a “three-decades-long love affair with gashkibidaaganag [bandolier bags]. I have scoured archives, museums, and other sources to learn about their origins and makers; I have met, learned from, and become friends with many contemporary Ojibwe bead artists, tribal government representatives, and keepers of the history of these communities.” Lois Sherr Durbin writes it is “Beautifully illustrated, carefully researched, and sensitively written…” I’m a big fan of MHS books – and this one is no exception.

And finally, New Mexico’s Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian presents the exhibition, “Beads: A Universe of Meaning” through April 15, 2018. “The exhibition traces the history of imported glass beads as a medium of exchange, artistic expression, and identity for indigenous peoples throughout North America.”