Monday, December 31, 2012

Design Process

I'm often asked where do design ideas come from, or about the process of design.  If I examine the answer closely, more often then not it starts with play, which results in a component or a focal piece and then the rest of the design must grow to meet that original concept.

Oh every once in awhile I see an entire piece in my minds eye, or I work from a sketch of something seen in a movie or a store window or a costume jewelry book.  But for the most part I pick up a pile of beads, often a Swarovski elements fancy stone and I begin to bead.

I may change my mind along the way about colors or embellishments.  I might decide on an entirely different shape, but in the end I usually have a piece of beadwork waiting to become jewelry.

Such is the case for this lovely, large and bold piece.

And for the observant, yes I am just that messy, pushing wrong choices out of the way and generally making a mess on the tray.  For me I love the colorplay that happens on the tray.  The fucshia , green, gold and turquoise ab2x is a burst of color I find exciting.

But back to design.  First this was going to be a pendant, then a cuff, then a bead embroidered cuff, then.....For right now I think I will just continue to stare at it and mull over the options.  I'm leaning towards cuff, big and bold.

How does your design process work?  Do you start out with a vision or a pile of beads, or a little of both?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year preparations

No, not those kind...we always do New Years quietly, what I am talking about is working out a plan of what needs doing and when during the course of the year.

I have a few large projects, all competing for their share of time, so a little planning goes a long way to not having 'surprise' deadlines.

I just finished proof reading 'Beads in Motion' and it's looking good.  This will probably be the last task on this one until it is released in fall of this year.  There are some really nice projects, including the first time I've published Rings of Saturn. How could I not, given it was the inspiration for the books title.  Lot's of other cool projects, all incorporating motion of some sort of another.

I am about half way through with the projects for 'The Bead Within' and I am very very happy with how they are turning out.  This one still has a long ways to go though, and all of the writing and illustrating that goes along with it will be complete by mid summer.

I am also curating a third book, and that work will be due in January.  Which is good because it will then leave me time to continue preparations for the Master Class at Bead and Button.  I will be doing a presentation on designing with components and providing lots of inspirational design ideas.

January also will be my first trip to City Beads in Chicago which I am very excited about.  I am hoping for a snow storm that leaves me enjoying the beauty without interrupting the travel plans.  Wish me luck.  And if you are looking for Southern California I will be at Beadology on January 5th.

Also this year in March is Beading by the Bay and my Pacific Morning glory will need to be kitted in three colors.

Also in March Sabine will travel with me down the coast of California, doing a bit of sight seeing as we go, and then joining me in my home studio where I'll be hosting a workshop.  That promises to be a fun time.

I'm going to Bead Creative in New Hampshire in May and meeting a long time Facebook friend for the first time which will be very exciting.  I'll also be meeting a fellow beader who lived in my home town of Norwood Massachusetts and attended the same high school.  She signed up to take my class at Bead Creative. That should be great fun.

Creative Castle, my long term California venue will be in July this year.  I love that I can travel there by train which I will mostly likely do again this year.

In August I'll be at Fusion beads again, and I'll be meeting a friend and enjoying the Chihuly exhibit in Seattle for a second time.

September I will be cruising to Alaska with Dallas Lovett and Nancy Cain.  I loved my first Alaskan cruise two years ago and am super excited that this one will return to the Tracy Arms Fjord which was my favorite visual on the last trip.

I'll also be at Beads Gone Wild in West Palm Beach Florida before getting ready for a month long European trip where I will teach twice in England and then making the trip over to Germany for a long weekend of teaching at Das Perlament.  I'll also land in London and spend a few days vacationing before joining Stephney in the midlands and Lynn at StitchnCraft in Dorset.

When I get home from Germany I have a week off before traveling to Beads by Blanche and there may be one more trip after that!  Planning is still in the works.

So now a session with the planning book, making sure I'm well prepared to meet all my deadlines!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The forgotten blog

Very unlike me......I had the usual holiday busy-ness, but that is really no excuse.....I've been in a bit of a beading lull.  Somehow between houseguests and a trip up North, then Christmas company, I got a little bit out of synch with the studio.

We did have a very cozy Christmas Eve and daughter Casey indulged my love for candles with a calla lily candelabra.

We also added to the blown glass ornament tradition.  Mark's ornaments have always been ocean themed, as in lighthouses, boats, and mermaids.

I have been visiting with Paisley, my all time favorite traveling bracelet, and it went with me to Santa Cruz where we visited and had breakfast with Rachel Nelson Smith and husband Colin.  Also along was baby Smith, due to meet the world in late March.

Today I made it to the gym, and managed to grocery shop for a healthy new start.  I'm starting early, no waiting until New Years Day, that is just permission to indulge more then I should, so tomorrow starts a new push for healthy eating and healthy exercising.  I've been here before, but I have a lot of inspiration  and I intend to succeed.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa Cruz

We grew up our family in Santa Cruz and now our children are growing up theirs.

Today we babysat and it was pretty magical. We've shifted now, we 're Grandma and Grandpa and she takes pride in repeating that. She has so many words and sentences now......'Grandpa went to the store in a car to get waffles'

We walked and cuddled and read stories and watched iPad movies. She is just darling!

Here she is walking with her Grandpa

Enjoying her new necklace

And her new knitted things

watching movies on the iPad

What beautiful times to share the joy of a child.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Color Play

I give you eight more color combinations....and then I must, I really must turn back to some real work that awaits me.  These however have been a blast and every pair is destined for a gift, along with the eight pair already gifted.  I did however keep one pair for myself, although I do hope that I'll carve out some time to make some more 'after the holidays'.

You know the 'after' when you are sure you will have great gobs of available time because it is 'after the holidays'.

Can you guess which pair there are two of, one of which will be mine?

I have been toying with the idea of making kits up of some of my favorite color combinations here.  I know that not everyone has access to coordinating pearls and crystals with just the right accent bead.  A ready made package of just the right beads together with a really easy and doable pattern might be something folks would like.

I'll give it some more thought, you know, 'after the holidays'!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thirty minute earrings

I know because I timed them.  Admittedly I've had practice, since I've now made in the vicinity of fifteen pair.  Almost all are destined for gifting, which of course is a lovely thing to do, but I find I want a pair of almost every one getting them down to thirty minutes is great.

I posted this version a few days ago here.

And since then, I've discovered the combination of 3 mm Swarovski pearls works really well with the Swarovski element crystals and I also love the 3 mm Tierra Cast metal beads which add some heft to them.

And on top of that I've added chain, so they swing delicately from your earlobe.  Having a stash of 3mm crystals and pearls really helps the design process.  I love it when you can play with color in such a small place, with totally different results.

Each new pair is my new favorite, so I am currently loving the muted platinum pearl with light gold metallic crystal and purple haze drops.

But the pair on the right have burgundy ab2x crystals with Tierra cast metal beads and some 2 mm gold aurum crystal as the embellishment bead.

You need to know cubic right angle weave, but this is a great project for learning it.  So have some fun with it, and if you do, send pictures.  I'd love to see your color combinations!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Paisley Traveling Bracelet

It was my exceptional good fortune to come home from the post office after mailing off the Asian Crane and Kilim traveling bracelets to find on my doorstep a box.....It was the right size, but nobody mentioned wanting to send me one so I was perplexed.

But I carried the box inside and opened it to find Paisley, sent to me by Marty a friend of Sig's who I've never met, but was kind enough to help me along with my quest.

I will tell you that this one's timing was perfect.  I have had quite a lot going on and an awful lot of things to get done and was feeling pretty overwhelmed.  This kindness, and the beauty of this bracelet gave me a moment to pause, catch my breath and feel cared about.

I decided we needed an outing, so yesterday we went to the Fish Market on the water for a sushi lunch, followed by a walk to Seaport Village.

Here is Paisley with the San Diego skyline in the background.

Paisley - Traveling Bracelet
You can see the stormy sky, making for me a perfectly lovely day.

I have loved every bracelet I've visited with, but this one I clamped on my wrist immediately and have worn every day.  First off it fits perfectly.  I suspect all bracelets were made with the same bracelet blank so I'm not quite sure why, but this one just feels entirely right.  Then I laughed as I realized, of course, it's black!  It goes with everyone of my outfits.  This is the second one I just may have to take time out and make.  For now it will travel with me to Santa Cruz, visit the ocean, family and friends before being mailed off early next week.

I do try to be a good steward of the bracelets, playing by the rules, updating the paperwork, providing Sig with posts about their time, and sending them along to someone who's asked.  So should you like to help me with my quest to visit with all of the bracelets, I'd be happy to host another for a week.   You can always check to see which ones I've had here.  For the record, Paisley is number eight for me!

Knitting Little

Knitting for little ones is so rewarding!  Malayna is at an age where she loves her clothes and even more so if they are pink!

Last week I knitted her a little shoulder wrap ponchette, and it seemed only fitting that she should have some arm warmers to go with her poncho, for the full fashion effect.  At 22 months she is quite the fashionista, being the only little one to have matching leg warmers for every outfit, when she attends her gymnastic class.

Although I've been knitting much longer then beading, I am not a knitwear designer by any stretch of the imagination.  Now admittedly there isn't much of a design feat here, but I did sort out the right number of stitches and worked tubular garter stitch ridges and stockinette in the round using the 2 circular needle method.  I put 2 increases in every 5th stockinette round to flare them a bit (although a toddlers arm most likely won't need this feature) and then I cast off using the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn cast off so it would be extra stretchy.

I love the effect a bit of garter stitch has with a variegated yarn, where the color change is so prominent.  We'll be enjoying a visit with family next week, and I'm hoping that Malayna loves her new Grandma knits.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Traveling Bracelets!

You may remember my quest to visit with all of the traveling bracelets?

Well I was fortunate enough to receive both the Asian Crane which had traveled to China with Phyllis Dintenfass  Remembering my quest she was nice enough to send it along.

My other recent bracelet came from Judith Bertoglio-Giffin.   This one, Kilim was especially wonderful because it started out on the East Coast and was driven by Judith across many states before arriving in Arizona.  The desire for this particular bracelet is that it be the first to visit every state, and a state chart accompanies the paperwork so it can always continue it's journey onto a new state.

It's also special because along the way, Judith and Kilim stopped in New Orleans where they visited with fantastic bead artist and friend Bev Herman.

I am truly enamored with the design of Kilim, the one little shiny bronze bead in the midst of all the saturated matte colors was brilliant!

I wasn't out and about in the bead world during these visits, but I did visit family,

I made sure that both, but especially Kilim visited the San Diego iconic hotel, The Del Coronado for  her first Pacific Coast experience.

I do have Maya poses, but Valentine, daughter Casey's new pup, stood in as a very competent model.

And as I get ready for the Holidays, Kilim was my tree topper!

As always, the many stories of the Traveling Bracelets can be found here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

felted ball necklace

An easy and crazy fun to do necklace for a little girl who is in love with necklaces.

I strung a really long length of double 6 lb fire line, and added a stop bead to one end.  I pierced the first felted ball, alternated a few size 6 and size 11 seed beads and pierced the next ball.  A few striped lampwork disks added to the whimsicalness (I'm pretty sure that is not a word, but it should be), oh and a plastic owl or two.  Once I had the right length, I went back through the first stop bead and felted ball.

Then I did some random embellishments on a ball and passed through the seeds to the next ball.  The most fun was coming up a pattern for each ball.  I left a few plain so as not to overwhelm, and not seen here, but I did add alphabet beads which spell Malayna.  

I'm pretty sure she's going to like it...I'll let you know!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Easy Peasy Crystal Earrings

These do require knowing cubic right angle weave, but after that they are very simple, quick and make a great gift.

They do require 56 3 mm Swarovski Element crystals for the pair, but when have I ever designed something with less?

On double fireline, I create one column of 3 cubes with the 3 mm crystals.  In this case I used one color for the walls and a contrast for the floor and ceiling beads.  I embellished the spaces with a size 15 bead, then used a head pin to stack some additional accent beads and a larger crystal, but any accents would do.  I wire wrapped the top and hung from a simple ear wire.  The earring card is my business card with holes poked using my very sharp Tulip awl.

So far I've made black and silver with red accents, silver with green and red accents, green with gold accents and gold with green up I'm going to use some 3 mm Swarovski pearls with a nice big 6 mm Indigo crystal on the bottom. 

Fun, easy and a nice little bit of sparkle for the holidays!

I tuck these in my purse and gift them as the opportunity arises.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Late to the two hole party

So many brilliant designs have been done with two holed super duos and twin beads, and yet so far I've not participated....why, the two holes intimidate me.

I think I just need to pick up a pile, and see what happens, but so far I've not made the time.

I have however used the one hole two sided peanut bead, and I love the result.  It makes a nice textural and hefty piece of beadwork.

One thread path two sides.  Almost has a cubic raw feel to it.

Now I hear of another new bead, fat like a super duo, but with only one hole.  It is called the RIZO and it will be released mid December.  Sabine Lippert has teamed up with Hynek Strand to develop this new bead and the German girls and English girls have been playing with it's possibilities with excellent results.  Perhaps I need to get some RIZO's and have a play myself.

They will be available several places in Europe and in the U.S. at Beads by Blanche, not sure of the timing yet, but I intend to get on the list to have some!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Knitting break

Sunday was a grey day in San Diego and I took in my head early morning that Malayna needed a poncho, knit by grandma of course.

A search of Ravelry revealed Squishy Love a simple ribbed pattern and an easy knit.  I raided the stash and found this beautiful hand painted soft worsted wool. A day with Ipad movies in my favorite chair and this was done.

Now to find a perfect little out fit to compliment it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A tradition of Ornaments

It started the first year Mark and I were together and he came home from a business trip with a blown glass ornament for each of us.  From there, each year we had an outing to pick out an ornament.  Over the years there were pickles and artichokes and clowns and birds and a few more traditional choices.  I always picked a Santa, giving me a smaller range to choose from and helping with my indecisive nature.

As our children have grown and have families of their own we've passed their ornaments on to them.

So I thought it might be time for an new tradition!   This ornament, hand painted and crystallized with Swarovski crystals, by the Crystal Ninja will be a perfect start.  M could be Mark or Marcia, but in this case it is for my precious Grand baby Malayna!
Crystal Ninja - Kellie DeFries

Kellie has a big selection of colors and styles.  There are clear ones with 'crystal dust' inside, and I just ordered a white one with Rose crystals.  Should you like to start a tradition of your own, visit Kellie's Etsy Shop.  Kellie is an exceptional artist and you are able to pick your own favorite colors.  I would love to have a tree full of these!