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.

Antique African Djenne trade beads

Meet the oldest beads I own. I have strung these Djenne beads into a 27″ triple strand necklace with Italian seed beads as spacers. Lois Scherr Dubin, in The History of Beads, writes that “all the glass beads excavated from Djenne in Mali date to the later phases of the Islamic period, c. A.D. 1000-1400.” They are beautiful things, some with the iridescence that glass can get when it is buried for a very long time. I am honored to be their custodian.

Knit glass from Carol Milne

I’ve been aware for a couple of years that the Glass Art Society has a fashion show at their conferences, and have seen pictures of some really fun creations. Before their last conference, I read in a Northwest Designer Craftsmen newsletter about a project that Carol Milne was doing for the fashion show, and immediately, I wanted to be a part of her crowd-sourced piece. Carol Milne creates knitted glass.

I just love this. The costume that Milne created is many of these linked together. Simplified, this is lost wax casting. I believe she knits in wax, then creates the mold from the wax piece. For my contribution to her glass costume, I received one unit of the final piece. I am working on a different, simple cord to replace the waxed cotton. Enjoy a brief video of the finished costume below!

French pumpkin herringbone complete, again

The herringbone rope sample that I decided to not use in my trio of ropes has been lengthened to 20″, a length I can wear as a necklace or wrapped three times around my wrist. It is now, finally, time to put these beads away.

I have a new traveling project that includes beads and crochet, but not in the usual fashion, and another traveling project waiting behind it. I have a stringing project that includes some antique beads, and another stringing project following that one. I have a second and improved class sample to make for a class I’m teaching this summer (but a picture for publicity is due sooner). And, what do I want to tackle for my next home project, where I can have bunches of beads out, messing up my cleaned workspace? I think an embroidery project with a fossil coral cabochon I purchased. Or that beautiful piece of larimar?

First up needs to be the class sample. But tomorrow, I plan to weave…

French pumpkin herringbone necklace complete

This makes me very happy. This is a project I’ve been beading on and off since last May, mostly as a traveling project as herringbone ropes are great for that. The necklace is 26″ long; the inner rope is four-around herringbone with stripes, the center rope is six-around herringbone with diagonal stripes, and the outer rope is eight-around herringbone with squares of other colors. I’m generally pleased with my clasp solution. I’m not generally pleased with my photography, but that’s okay. It’s done! I did not use my original rope with the wide stripes of all these colors. It’s now my traveling project to complete as a bracelet.

French pumpkin herringbone options and 2017

I still love to bead – and/but I’m developing more interests. I’ve tried a lot of things this summer and onward, and they generally are still textile arts; I stitched a tiny bit of sashiko embroidery noodling around in an embroidery class. Not complete. I took a class on coiled basketry (from Sandra Brick!). Not complete. I will finish these two projects, but I haven’t yet done so – it truly wouldn’t take much time. Both are projects I can see repeating if the fancy strikes, or if I want to make a gift for someone who would like one of these projects.

I took a class on flameworking beads, which I don’t think is something I want to explore further. The time and equipment (and money and space) needed to learn how to make something even close to good would be significant. Hats off to those who work with glass! I took a class on block printing where I carved a block of dense foam (vs. the linoleum blocks from high school art) into a really goofy-looking beaded daisy chain. Fun, but I believe I threw the block away.

Just this month, I made a modified accordion book in a class, which was pretty successful and enjoyable, and something I can see repeating on my own in a modified fashion. In another class, I created a paper collage design, then manipulated it with a computer, and that was printed on fabric. The fabric is in the mail, and I will get to use it soon. I’ve started to consistently do more sewing, and I’m really pleased with my last project, a heavy wool casual winter coat. I could design more fabric and have it printed, combining these last two items.

I took a SAORI class (I’ll get back to weaving in a minute). Also, I do a fair amount of cooking and baking. I read books. I work two professional jobs which usually adds up to four days of paid employment per week. So where does this leave beading? Good question. I have to figure this out – setting some 2017 plans seems a good time to start. I want to make all the things!

There has been some beading done. I made some Christmas presents, did a restringing project for a friend, and made earrings for others and myself. And every once in a while, I go back to these herringbone ropes with the French pumpkin beads that I love.

I’m not completely happy with this. While I like the center rope, I’m not convinced it goes with the other two.

I think this is better. Using all wider stripes would work as well, but my current thinking is that this eventual necklace is going to be all about the pumpkin. Also, I’ve completed more inches with the heavy-on-the-pumpkin theme.

Now: weaving. I’ve ordered a SAORI loom, to arrive shortly after the first of the year. This is a significant investment in both money and my future time. Since I took that class this summer, I have really been wanting one. This is a plain weave loom only, with the process of weaving as its purpose.  Typically, there isn’t pattern and design; a weaver just picks the next color, weaving beauty with the lack of intention.

So, considering how I want to use my time and creative energy is what I need to do. What do I truly want to make, and how much time can I spend on each? The main contenders are beading, weaving, and sewing (plus cooking, reading, etc.). Do I want to see if I can find an outlet for selling things that I make, and do all the non-creating work that goes along with sales? I also need to overhaul this website. I think 2017 has lots of possibility. I’m registered for three classes for next year already – tapestry weaving, tin thread braiding, and making a leather tote. It’s a wonderful life…