Looming — Inspiration

What’s the image that I’m doing, and how did I choose it? One of the feeds in my feed reader is Eye Level, done by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. February 29th’s post was of Hans Hoffman. Hoffman was born in Germany, came to the United States, and was an important influence in Color Field painting.

I liked the painting shown in the blog, Fermented Soil, and wanted to see more. I clicked on a link in the entry, and it took me to Technorati tags for the artist, and in another blog, found Autumn Gold. Chris Abraham had been to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and wanted help identifying this painting that he loved.

Someone helped him out, and provided the NGA’s information on the painting, image below courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

I printed it out with no resizing or editing, and decided to do it as is. My printer, which has seemed to print color out as I expected in the past, made the colors richer and deeper. Well okay then. I like that too! So, the orange is now a rich orange-red, and the other colors are more intense too. I took a Sharpie and outlined the shapes, deciding where I wanted the edges of the colors to be when they are more blended in the painting. I don’t have all the colors in the size 10 French and Italian beads, so I’m substituting. It will definitely be Hans Hofmann’s painting, but probably only recognizable to those who know his work well.

On to looming, part 1

I went back and read my previous warping posts, and it took me more than 6 hours to set up the loom. My guess is that I can cut that by perhaps a third next time (provided I don’t make a mistake back at the beginning of warping and have to take it back).

It took me a very long time to do the first few rows. I can’t string an entire row of beads at a time — I don’t know exactly the number of colors I need to match the image behind the loom. The first row was all red, that was easy. Then it’s counting the spaces, bracketing by the warp threads, in each color, putting on maybe 15 beads at at time. This piece is 74 beads wide. So, I string the beads, put the needle between the warps for at least the distance of the beads I’ve strung, then exit out the front of the warps. Then I coax one bead between each set of warps. This can be awkward — and then some will just daintily fall into place. Then I look at the picture again, grab another bunch of beads, put the needle back in between the warps where I came out, and continue.

I wonder how others do this, if they try to string the entire width of the piece at one time?

After completing a row, I change the warp to the opposite it was, lock in the beads, and start on the next row.

The beads I’m using for this piece are size 10, all French or Italian. My warp and weft are both dark green, and the look of the piece almost looks like miniature tile or mosaic to me, with the thread between the beads looking almost like mortar.


French blogs….

I enjoy reading bead blogs from other countries. The styles and color choices can be different than those in the Midwest region of the United States, where I live. I follow a few French language blogs (or to be more accurate, I look at the pictures in these blogs, as I don’t know French). I added a new one today to this blogroll and my feedreader.

Here’s the list of all the French language blogs I have listed in the blogroll:

And the German blog that was already on my blogroll, so I didn’t include it with my earlier post of the NEW German blogs that I added a few days ago:

I can pick up a few words of German, but not much…

If you have any favorites you’d like to share, leave them in a comment — I’d love to see them!

Warping a Mirrix, part 3

I had a lot of time for my next foray into getting this ready, which is a Good Thing because I most certainly needed it! It took me 1 1/2 hours to get the rest of the heddles on (which is faster than before). I did end up holding the second warp in the pair with my middle finger.

Then, on to using a needle to go over one set of warp threads, and under the next (to lock in the beads, so when you take the piece off the loom, the beads don’t just fall off). This was very hard to see at first. Hard. I spent 25 minutes to get from one side of the loom to the other — and then there was one thread left, not two. Sigh, found my mistake back at about the third stitch from the beginning. Pulled it out, started over. In another 30 minutes, wove from one side of the loom and back to the beginning. Now I’m ready for the beads!

I think it took me 3 hours to do 2.5 rows. I do not have this motion figured out. I’m speeding up a little bit, but at this point, I’m moving at a glacial pace. And, AND on the second row, I noticed that one of the heddles looked funny. The right way to attach the heddles is to have one thread in the warp pair to be heddled to the top heddle bar, and the other to be heddled to the bottom heddle bar. When you rotate the copper tube up, it pulls the bottom bar and its heddles out away from the neutral position. Rotate the tube down, and the top heddles are pulled out. I had attached one side of this particular heddle loop to the top bar, and the other side to the bottom bar. So rotating the copper tube did nothing.

I at least had compensated, and didn’t have to redo the beading. So after finishing 3 rows (I was hoping I could get away with not fixing it, but decided it was too risky), I took back the heddles on the bottom, where it should have been attached. I grabbed the recalcitrant warp with a new heddle, cut the badbadbad heddle off, and managed to put it together again without dropping a heddle.

I’m hoping I’ll get better at this….


New blogs in the blogroll

I got lost in German blogs today, and added 6 to my feed reader and to this blog. There are some fabulous geometric beaded beads, some amazing bead crochet, and more. The following are the ones I added:


From an Amazon email, I learned that there is going to be a book on Monkeybiz, a South African project reviving beadwork by providing beads to disadvantaged women in Cape Town. They can work from home, and still look after their family and avoid transportation costs. This nonprofit organization puts profits back into the community through fair payment for bead art, and provision of community services. Their beadwork has traveled the world, from Norway to Madison Avenue.

There was a collection of Monkeybiz beadwork on display November 2007 at the Hennepin County Government Center (where I helped display the Bead Quilt several years ago). I took some pictures, and got them out of my files to share. Enjoy!









September 26, 2014 EDIT:

I think I bought THIS elephant!

I was in a local thrift shop this week, and I saw a flash of pink beads as I was walking through the home decor area. I tugged out a pink beaded elephant from the bottom shelf – someone had bent the legs to fit on the shelf. I thought, “Monkeybiz?” – and bought it. I brought it home, image searched it, and found the picture – on my own blog. In my defense, if you glance at the post date on this, I wrote this in 2008, and I saw the beadwork in 2007. Now, sitting down to reply to a kind comment that the original link was broken and fix the link, I look at the picture again. On the blue part of the head, you see a jag in the diamond by the lower part of the ear as the artist left out the pink beads. The one I bought? The same thing! Wow.

Warping a Mirrix, part 2

Okay, I’m another hour and 45 minutes into it. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to wind off enough thread to complete warping it, wrap that onto a paper tube (worked great), and to finish warping it. (I made a mistake and had to go back probably 5 warps at one point.)


Then it’s on to figuring out heddles. In 30 minutes, I’ve put on 1″ of heddles (this is about 6″ wide). In that time, I did have to go back and pick up a warp pair that I’d left out. I need another hand, or something, but there’s not room for it.


I’m right-handed, and the instructions say to work from right to left if you’re right-handed. So, I pick up the next pair of warp threads. Keeping them both on my right pointer finger, I’m using my left hand to loop a heddle over the heddle bar, around the first warp, and over the heddle bar again. Then repeat with the other warp in the pair, and the other heddle bar.

I think I need to try to have the second warp in the pair rest on my middle finger? That way I can use my thumb and first finger on my dominant hand to help loop the heddle around the warp, that might speed it up.

Watching me warp a loom is like watching paint dry. Be glad you’re not seeing this in real time!!