Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday, but not too freaky

This is what I made today....the centerpiece is a Tamara Knight lampwork bead Keith bought for me at Bead With Me a few years ago. Awhile back I incorporated it into a very fancy silver and red necklace I made with big link chain and all kinds of beads. The necklace was beautiful, but not really my style....I'm finding I prefer a much simpler presentation. In the end, I took it apart and set the lampwork bead aside, not knowing what to do with it....until today....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Today's stuff

Today was fun and productive. I got together with my friend Pat, a new beader, and we made a bunch of stuff (I taught her how to make a surgeon's knot, an easy teachnique for closing a stretchy string bracelet). Also, I found a good deal on rattail cord (half off at Hobby Slobby). I made a bunch of other stuff too but all the pictures came out blurry.

This necklace has a very fancy center bead that I bought at a bead show. I have never had an adequate way of displaying it (except that I did put it on a BeadHanger at a couple of points), so I haven't worn it much. Now it is ready to go. If I get tired of it and cut it up, I'm wasting 50 cents worth of cord. Not too shabby. I like the simplicity and elegance of the spiral.

Last night I made Tasja a pretty bracelet with some kind of blue stone beads and sterling fishy links. I wanted to help her feel better because her throat is still really sore. Plus I knew she would like the fishies. She started a club at her school called FISH, and she wears a fish necklace, so I thought it would tickle her fancy. Now I just hope that after she recovers she will enjoy the bracelet and not remember how miserable she was when I gave it to her.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stuff I've Been Doin'

Here you can see what I've been up to. I've always liked spiral knotting (as in the necklaces at the top). It's very soothing, and I am very pleased with the visual effect of the spiral. Plus I have like a gazillion focals to use up. So I'm making a lot of spiral necklaces, and getting better with practice. They work well as chokers but can also be adapted for longer lengths. They are easy to close with a knot and loop; you just have to learn to construct it correctly. I have also been doing lots and lots of bead and wire link bracelets like the white one. They work well for giveaways and for charity, because it is easy to make a wide variety with a few medium-sized beads and some wire. You really don't have to do anything to fancy to get a nice effect, they are durable, and the silver or copper sparkles beautifully. I like Czech glass best for these, but there are about a zillion options. The best sizes are 6-10 mm. I went through my bead stash today and pulled everything I have in those sizes so I can make a bunch more. The one with the leather and all the round beads is one I'm keeping. The beads are borosilicate, and the leather was tied to just fit if I roll it on over my hand. That's the type of thing that has to be custom-fitted and is therefore not much good for giveaways unless you happen to find the person with just the right size hand and wrist. The last one I'm not sure what to do with. I created it with the idea of packing a bracelet with a lot of dichro and sterling. Not sure I like the result. It looks kind of boring to me. Not sure if I will leave it alone, deconstruct it, keep it, give it away, or dance wildly twirling it over my head. Well, probably not the latter. =-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shifting Focus

I've gotten away from posting here, and that's really too bad; it's fun to write and post. I have decided to mix more "life stuff" in with the art stuff. Since my readership currently is really small, and basically composed of people who seem to be interested in my life (i.e. friends), I'm guessing this shift will work okay. If not then I suppose people won't read it, but that's okay.

Well, the last couple of days have been pretty quiet. Tasja had her tonsil surgery yesterday, and seems to be doing okay (she has discovered the wonders of Vicodin). Mostly I have been frantically making jewelry, driving Keith back and forth to work in Woodridge (his car fried and died), and making mushy food. Throw in some laundry and some Internet, with a side order of phone calls and some doggy care, and you've got my day. I'm really enjoying how quiet it is.

My job has gotten to be awfully stressful--but hey, I have a job, so no complaining, I guess. It's just that we are being given less and less time to accomplish more and more stuff. Enough of that. The point is that when I come home, I want to recharge, because more often than not my day leaves me burnt. Those who know me well know this ain't a new song I'm singin'. But it is more true than it used to be. Thus why I'm frantically making jewelry. Frantic, not because I'm under pressure, but because I like working at a fast pace. I find it more challenging. Today I have made two spiral knot necklaces, two stretchy kids' bracelets, and two bead and wire link bracelets (sterling). Now I am making a bead and wire link bracelet to keep....out of borosilicate beads I have had for about three years now and have been trying to decide what to do with. One set is blue and green, while the other is aqua and brown. They don't exaclty match, but that is part of the zing of using them together; they are related, but not closely, like second cousins. Will take a photo when I'm done.

Tomorrow I am getting a big box of wire in the mail. The best part? Completely free! I had about six years worth of scrap wire, plus some wire in gauges and shapes I didn't want to use, so I sorted it (hours of work), bagged it, boxed it, and sent it to Rio Grande. I included a note to them telling them what to send me back, and in what proportions (by percentage). Turns out the stuff was worth well over $400! Who knew? So I have a big box of wire coming. That ought to keep me busy for awhile. The moral of the story: always save your sterling and gold-fill scrap.

Monday, November 24, 2008


As some of you know...long ago I made jewelry. Lots of jewelry. Lots and lots of jewelry. I sold most of it, took some of it apart, and gave some of it away. Then I painted for two years. Then a colleague at work had me restring some old beads for him and WHAM! The bead bug bit me again, completely sidetracking me. Sigh. This is one of the side effects of having ADHD with a slight side order of OCD. So now I am obsessively making bracelets and necklaces again. Not selling them though, mostly, and not keeping it as I have already gone through my ridiculous cache of jewelry and thinned it what to do with the sparklies? I've started keeping a RAK bag in my purse and giving them to random people just for fun. I've also started giving them to some charities for their fund-raisers. Occasionally I keep least temporarily until I talk myself out of keeping it (if I do). Will try to take some pics soon. Will I go back to painting? Certainly. When? Dunno. Maybe later this week I will do some of each, but for now, I'm plying my pliers......and clipping my wires.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Horsin' Around

Things have been.....interesting. I'm studying to take the GRE tomorrow (woe betide me, it's been 20 years since I did most of this math) so I've been studying for that. But in between memory hiccups I've been painting and playing. I have some new abstracts coming along, plus a couple more watercolor crayon drawings. Front and center I've been working on some model horses. The gold and white one is a rescued wooden statuette I bought for less than three bucks at a resale shop. I gave him a wire tail and am now adding mohair. His mane is going to be pearlescent paint (partly done). Clearly he is not intended to be realistic, but he is fun, and a good learning project. The white one is a Breyer plastic model horse which I've modified by sanding off the mane, cutting off the tail, etc. I added a horn, making him a unicorn. I think he is going to be dark blue with a black mane and tail. Why models? Because I used to collect them and have always loved them, and because I am having fun painting 3D objects. I am also continuing to work on my containers, albiet slowly. Between the trip to England we took and the GRE, my art time has been pretty limited. After I take the GRE tomorrow I plan to reward myself with some real art time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Abstract Fun

This one is called Wave Form. It's on an 8" X 8" canvas board. To be honest, it's much more interesting in person because it has some slight 3D aspects that are not apparent in the photo.

I am also working on painting some containers. Starting with paper mache boxes, I am using layers of gesso, paint, and gel medium to add color and durability. I hope to photograph some soon. The first one I did was the color of my daughter's dog, Sharky, so I put silver letter stickers on it to spell out her name, sealed it, and gave it to my daughter to be a memory box. I also did one in black with interference paints that turned out pretty. Now I'm working on a blue and gold, a lipstick pink, and another black. I'm also working on two wooden boxes with handles, both black, with interference paints. Will try to photograph soon.

Finally, I am on a major horse kick. In addition to the winged horses I am (still) cranking out, I have started painting model horses and little horse statues (wood and plastic). The one I am working on now is wood and will be painted/haired as a palomino (though the color is too bright to be realistic, it is intended to be more decorative than representational). My mom just asked me to paint her rocking horse that her grandfather made for her when she was little, and I am really excited about what is sure to be a very involved long-term project. I still remember and very much love my great-grandpa, and have several treasures from him, but to work with something he made with his own hands will be an unprecedented privilege. So my current work can be practice for this much greater project.