Double spiral in process

Okay, here’s a sample of the double spiral in process, the beads I got from Marilee that I wrote about here. I tried adding the triangles on the exterior occasionally, but they got lost. I bought this button at General Bead in San Francisco, hoping it would work. I don’t like buttons for clasps because they don’t feel as secure to me as a lobster claw, or toggle. But, I also don’t like to bring in a metal clasp when there’s no metal anywhere else in the piece. So, I’m going to use a button, and try to size the loop well.


(Look, a better picture!)

Split Rock Arts 2008

Split Rock has turned 25! And, registration opens today.

It used to be at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, which is where I attended two different workshops, the first led by Joyce Scott, and the second by David Chatt. They were hugely rewarding, invigorating, and challenging. You check in Sunday night, work/create all day Monday through Friday, and go home after breakfast on Saturday. There’s a meet-the-teacher event (Tuesday?), an open studio night (Thursday?), and a great (hilly!) campus and city to explore. I keep looking to see if there’s another that I could take.

Split Rock moved to the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus. This is my metro area, so both more convenient — and less of a retreat. There are 3 workshops this summer that caught my eye.

Karen Searle is teaching a “short” (not the full week) in June, Creative Adornments in Knit and Crochet. From her website:

She judged something I entered once, and I met her in passing. She has a fabulous reputation as a teacher.

Another that looks interesting is Making the Ordinary, Extraordinary: Hand Felted Scarves by Chad Alice Hagen. I kind of like taking the idea of something that appears narrow in focus, and spending a week exploring it. Here’s an example from his website:

The other one that caught my eye was Digital Nature Photography: A Retreat. This one is taught by Craig Blacklock at the Cloquet Forestry Center, a campus for the University of Minnesota a bit southwest of Duluth. This is a beautiful area, and Blacklock is a well-known outdoor photographer specializing in the North Shore (the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior). Here’s his website, and here’s the cover of his book:

I’m not going this year, but I’ll keep watching for another class. It is well worth it!

Bugles and right angle weave

It’s been a really nice day. I “got stuff done,” and had some time to play with beads, and time to read a novel. Here’s the result of the playing:


I’d like to make this into a bracelet, but I would like to simplify the method. I would want this on the diagonal, like in the picture. These are size 1 Japanese bugles, size 15s to cushion them, and size 11 beads on the top of the points.

I have a dislike of clasps that stand out as different from the rest of the piece. What would be ideal is if the edges would just seamlessly go together without any visible clasp. That’s not happening. The alternative is to make the clasp some sort of focal point. Hmm. I’ll have to think on it.

Double spiral with swap beads

Towards the end of last year, I participated in a swap on All About Beads. I haven’t participated in a materials swap for a while as most specify no seed beads — and that’s really what I like best. This one was a spiral swap, and I sent out some blue, tan, and cream beads. From Marilee, I got some great earth tones:


I wanted to bring out the coral lining in the beads on the left, and make the green cast stronger, so I added those two beads. When I added those two, the triangles didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. I removed them, and added a light colored size 8 core bead.


Marilee sent a lot of beads, so I’m making a double spiral necklace, probably about 16-18″ long. (The colors are truer in this second picture. I’m going to get better at this!)

Ancient Traders Gallery

Ancient Traders Gallery is in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, an area with a significant Native American population. It’s nearby, but I was unaware of the gallery until I read an article in the local paper about the current show, Generations, Legacy, and Tradition. There were carvings (pipestone, horn, alabaster), paintings, quilting — and beadwork. I have a beautiful glossy brochure — you can see a pdf of it on the website, under current art exhibit -> opening event flier (I can’t get it to link, sorry – and the show is until February 23rd, so the document will probably be removed after that).

My favorite quilter was Vi Colombe (Modoc); her bio from the gallery includes that she received a 2006 Bush Artist’s Fellowship, has a degree in fashion, and has been a wardrobe coordinator for a national rodeo finals competiton. Great color combos, interesting and pleasing modifications of classic quilt patterns.

Dwayne Wilcox (Oglala Lakota) had some great ledger drawings, and is also a Bush Foundation Fellow. Great sense of dark ironic humor. One painting is called “Cheese with that Whine,” and depicts an Indian in regalia, holding a piece of paper saying “broken treaties,” and being served government cheese and port by butlers, image of it here.

There were 3 beaders whom I particularly liked. I picked up a card with a picture of a turtle medallion done by Doug Limon (Ojibwe/Oneida). The center of each medallion is a turtle, and the center of the turtle is various metal objects such as buffalo head nickles. They were well-displayed in eye-catching groups; I think smaller things can be more effectively displayed this way.

Karen Beaver (Yupik/Mandan/Hidatsa) was another great bead artist. She had a shadow box about Jim Thorpe that I particularly liked. On a medallion was a very realistic beaded image of Thorpe, also two medallions that looked like gold medals, ink drawings, a quote saying that he was the greatest athlete ever (from the King of Sweden, I think?), and more. Late last year, I saw other pieces of hers at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Todd Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota) and his story sticks! He’s continuing to keep a family 7-generation winter count on them. There was one in the gallery, it’s not the one on this website, but similar. The pictographs are amazing. I couldn’t walk all the way around the piece though, I wish I could. (Actually, I wish I could pick it up, but that wasn’t happening either!) He also beaded (and put an animal head on) Pez dispensers. The title was “Reservation Diabetes Dispensers.”

Here are some other images of the pieces in the gallery. If you are so inclined, take a browse!

Then I went to gift shop/trading post next door. A gentleman came in with a great carved walking stick with a horn handle with metal inlay while I was there, and also pulled out some pipestone carvings that he’d made. Negotiations commenced. There was beadwork there, both for sale and old pieces on exhibit. And, well, I bought beads….

A great way to spend a couple of hours!