11.30.2009

Redeemed in My Own Eyes

Ta Da!
Carmella

This just makes me smile. I need to refine my design a tad - make the arms a little more narrow - and I can attach her to a keyring or make her into a tree ornament, hang her from a pin finding or use her as a pendant on a chain. I really like the keychain idea, myself.

11.29.2009

YIKES

When I was a kid, back in the 50's, I had this little beaded necklace - the strap was a daisy chain and the pendant a little peyote stitched figure made to resemble a Native American in full dance regalia - headdress and all. I loved it. I can't imagine where it is now - gone like so many of my childhood memories. The older I get, the more I realize I've lost.

My learning objective with this project was to suss out a way to recapture a bit of that childhood memory. I may have achieved that goal, in spite of the problems I've had with this one. First off, I have no idea why it has to be done in odd count tubular peyote. I find it hard to keep track of the number of rows I've done, and it's tedious to keep going back to count them up. I chose my colors using the face bead as my guide, and they were much too muddy. And I don't care at all for face beads. They define a piece in much too narrow a set of terms.

When I made my art dolls, the selection of the heart shaped gemstones for their faces was deliberate. When you hold one of my dolls and look at their faces in just the right light, you see your own face reflected there. When I made my beaded journal, each page contains a representational figure of myself, not an actual depiction. It gives more of a sense of universality to things. I'm having trouble explaining myself and for that I do apologize.

Personal Opinion Alert:
I really don't care for jewelry with human faces. I've seen those "amulet bags" that look like beaded doilies folded in half with a doll's head stuck on top. GAH! I think they are hideous. I don't much care for cameos, either. Moon faces and sun faces I can deal with, but wearing a human head around your neck or pinned to your clothing strikes me as, well, disturbing. And creepy.

So I made the "Mortimer the Figure Pin" and must confess. I haven't made anything this ugly in a very long time.
I dislike everything about this - from concept to color. I gave it a mullet to try and lighten it up, but it's still a nightmare. I've taken it apart. Normally I keep my practice pieces, but honestly - the lessons learned with this aren't worth the beads I'd be wasting by not recycling it.

I figure if I substitute glass pearls for the hands, feet and head, use just one color for the whole body and make the arms, legs and torso from shorter even count peyote tubes I just might have something more interesting. We'll see.

Next time: Project Six My Way.

11.27.2009

Project Four Complete; Project Five Abbreviated; Project Six Begun

The purse is complete.  My objective in doing this project was to practice tubular even count peyote, a bit of odd count peyote, and following a chart.

Set The Controls
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The chart I created is my own version of a Native American sun symbol.  I decided to make a wristlet strap with beaded crochet instead of the longer, braided leather strap I initially intended.  The finished dimensions of the purse are approximately 4.25" wide by 4/5" tall and .5" deep.
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Now to Project Five:  Two-Carrot Earrings, designed by Liz Manfredini (Creative Bead Weaving, pp. 50 - 51).  I read over the directions and realized I didn't have any felt in any color on hand.  I figured I could just make the beaded form then stuff it with polyfil, which I do have.  So I began and as the carrot started to take shape I knew it was much larger than anything I'd ever wear.  I scaled it down considerably by making the starting round with only 12 beads and making it much shorter. I made the carrot leaves smaller and shorter as well.  I made a baby carrot and it didn't need stuffing either.  It wanted to be a pendant, not a pair of earrings, so that's what it is.
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 One Carrot Necklace
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I've now begun work on Project Six, Mortimer the Figure Pin designed by Merri Beth Hill (Creative Bead Weaving, pp. 50 -52).  I'm looking over the materials list and I see it calls for a face button.  I don't have face buttons, but I do have some glass face beads.  I've got everything else, so looks like I'm good to go.  The techniques are odd-count tubular peyote, decreasing, and fringe.  I'm thinking I might do a bit of surface embellishing as well.  

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Here's a little bonus.  I've been going through my bag of old pieces that need reworking/remaking/recycling.  I found a leather pouch with a beaded accent piece that I haven't used in a dozen years.  I reworked the piece into a necklace.  It's my goal to finish taking care of all the pieces in the rework bag before the end of the year.
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Cheers!

11.24.2009

Project Four - Home Stretch

After completely finishing the principle beadwork, lining the bag and attaching the magnetic clasp, I sat back to decide what sort of handle I'd like on this.  That's when I realized I'd finished it UPSIDE DOWN.
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A few hours later, after completely finishing the principle beadwork, lining the bag and so on, I've decided what sort of handle I'm going to make.  But that's for the final post on this project and another day.
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Attaching the chamois lining to the top.
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Preparing to stitch up the bottom.
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I want to have this done before Thanksgiving, as I'm kinda eager to get going on Projects Five and Six (Two-Carrot Earrings and Mortimer the Figure Pin).

11.16.2009

Project Four In The Middle


Made a few changes to the chart, and the colors.  This is more fun than I thought it would be.

I made a cardboard support tube to keep the bead weaving relatively even, since I'm using different types of seed beads.  Just 'cuz it says size 11 doesn't mean they're the same dimensions.


It's a little bit wavy in places, but I'm going to try blocking it to get that to even out.  In so many ways this way out of my comfort zone.  Bright colors, following a chart, no improvisation - I'm actually enjoying this.

I need to get back to the beading.

11.12.2009

Beaded ArtVenture; Project Four: The Early Days

We're still plowing our way through Carol Wilcox Wells' book, "Creative Bead Weaving."  This time, I'm going to attempt the Maui Evening Purse, designed by Catherine Harris (pp. 46 - 49).  I've read through the directions and I'm going to do this one my way right out of the gate.
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I'll be changing the colors, using my own chart, leaving off the flap and the loopy fringe, swapping out the fiber cord for leather lacing and attaching the cord to the outside of the bag instead of inside, lining it and giving it an interior snap closure. 
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Basically, I'm keeping the dimensions and the techniques.  
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The materials list includes size 11 seed beads - YAY!!!!.  I won't need the accent beads since I'm not doing the looped fringe but I will need some size 3 seeds for the strap.  Cardboard tube - hmm.  I didn't use one with the last project, but this one is much larger in diameter so I'll give it a shot again.  For my variation, I'm also going to need a big snap and some lining fabric.
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The techniques include even count tubular peyote and odd count flat peyote.  Since I'm not doing the flap, I won't be decreasing, but I got plenty of practice on that with Project Three.  They don't call reading a chart a technique, but I think that's a skill, too, and I'd like to work on that.  Not only reading a chart, but creating one, too.
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After a few years of "test-driving" the software, I resolved to get serious about creating my own charts and I purchased the program.  It's BeadTool 4, and it is AWESOME.  I spent a few days trying to chart my design with bead graph paper and colored pencils, wasting a lot of time and not being able to read my own pattern.  With the BeadTool I had exactly what I wanted within an hour.   I couldn't be more delighted.

Now, this doesn't really reflect what I'm actually going to do as far as the colors go, but I know what I'm up to and that's what matters.  Finally I can get down to the beading!

11.08.2009

Project Three Complete


Momma's Sunday Suit
When I finished this today I sat back and looked at it and was completely taken by surprise.  It reminds me very strongly of my mother's favorite church-goin' wool suit.  Salt and pepper tweed with fancy buttons.

I guess I ended up doing this my way after all, with the exception of the seed bead type.  I really would have used seed beads instead of cylinder beads.  One of the lessons I learned from this is that tubular peyote with cylinders results in a very stiff structure, and I prefer a much more supple weaving.  I also got lots of practice making uneven flat peyote and fringe.
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How I changed the pattern:  I used a mix of colors instead of solid blocks of color.  I left out the "window" in the back of the body of the bag.  I decided to use the front window as a buttonhole and used a vintage button for a closure (Kathy's pattern uses the window as a decorative accent).



Instead of splitting the strap and connecting the halves with bicone crystals, I worked short pieces of uneven flat peyote and connected them with Picasso jasper cubes.  I was running very low on the beads after I finished the fringe and decided to finish the strap with chain and give it a toggle clasp (Kathy's pattern has a continuous strap with no closure).
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So with this one, I'm gonna call it good.  One's enough.  But it DID confirm my opinion of cylinder beads.  And whenever a pattern calls for them, I'm going to do my dead level best to substitute seed beads.

Next time:  Maui Evening Purse (massively modified)!

11.07.2009

Still Working on Project Three


I opted to work on the flap separately - it was easier to manipulate the piece what with the decreases and putting in the 'window.'

This is a shot of the front with the flap open.  I started the strap as I attached the flap to the body.

And this is the back view.  Kathy Robin's pattern has a "window" in the back, but I thought - what would be the point of that?   And as I look at the one on the flap, it looks like a buttonhole to me.  Next thing I know, the box of vintage buttons calls to me . . . 
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I'm looking over the directions for the strap and I don't think it's going to work for me.  More adaptation ahead - but the fringe!  This pattern calls for THREE ROWS of fringe!  If I didn't know fringe technique before, I sure will by the time this is done. 

11.04.2009

Working on Project Three

Project Three being "Electric Blues Amulet Bag" designed by Kathy Robin, from the book, Creative Bead Weaving (Carol Wilcox Wells), pp. 40-45.  Going through the materials list, looks like I can substitute all of the accent beads for things I have on hand.  But . . . cylinder beads.  Again.

This is my second try at coming up with a color combination.  The first one was so bad I ditched it faster than I could record it for posterity.  I want to remember my mistakes - that's how I learn.

This is turning out to be a much bigger headache than I anticipated - primarily because it's those freakin' teeny cylinder beads again. I don't have anything like enough of one color for this project, and it's taken me three tries to be happy with the solution I'm settling on. Which wasted my entire day off.


I really like this combination - has a sort of winter tweed feel to it.  Of course it means I'm tossing out the charted pattern, but I am keeping to the shape of the design. 

In the materials list, it says "cardboard tube."  As I started the beading I really tried using one, but it felt so clumsy, I decided just to use my fingers instead. 




I know I was supposed to finish making the body of the bag first, but I was so curious as to how the mechanics of making the bottom of the bag would work that I went ahead and did that.  And it was interesting.  It certainly broke up the monotony of doing the tubular peyote part.  By tomorrow I can move on to the next technique - uneven flat peyote with decreases.  Should be a challenge.