Sunday, August 15, 2010

Large Hole Beads

At Gathering I purchased a selection of number 8 seed beads (not too small but not too big either) and some thread to crochet with.  I used to crochet these little bracelets with number 10 or 11 beads.  I was obsessed for a time!  Then I made a promise to myself to try to use my commuting time productively - sitting there reading is very nice, but perhaps my time could be better used?

So, I began crocheting some necklaces - they stitch up pretty fast and I can pretty well do one in a week.  I realized pretty quickly that all my mandrels are the wrong sizes so off to Nortel for some more.  The new ones are great - one is a bit snug but the other fits beautifully.  I had some fugly attempts at Ottoman in such a short space - but I am making progress.

 I really liked this one.  I have a hard time doing the same thing over and over again - I want to make it more interesting or mix it up somehow.  This sometimes works beautifully, but there are some beads I made this past week that I am not taking pictures of!

Then, today I made one this one.
It instantly has  become the new favourite!  It is always the newest bead that is the favourite!  I have a really cool green crocheted rope all ready and I think I will put it together and wear it!  I really need some cool bead caps.  I am hoping to take a pmc class at BeadFX soon.  I have been resisting the precious metal clay for a very long time - but I think I am ready to succumb!   We shall see how that all turns out!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Playing with new colours of glass that I bought at the Gathering

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers annual Gathering was recently held in Rochester, New York.  I am so glad I attended.  As always, I learned a lot.  I think that is one of my favourite things about beadmaking - there is always more to learn. 

At each Gathering there is a room with a number of technical vendors.  This year I bought a wee bit of glass from Frantz Art Glass and two new tools from Arrow Springs.  Sometimes my tool choices just don't work out so well, but this year I think I got two great new tools. 

The first new tool is a teeny tiny rod holder - it holds little rods of glass and is also pretty tiny itself.  I am loving it - I use a lot of stringers in the work I am currently doing and this is coming in very handy.  The second tool is a small pinched tweezer tool used for pulling stringers and twisties.  I used it today to pull a twistie and - WOW !!  - I am so pleased.  Usually you have to hold onto the tweezers and squeeze tightly the entire time you spin the glass out - well, not anymore - this is going to make things much easier.

As for glass I think I am in love with Spanish Leather - In real life I think it looks a bit redder than in the photo.  It is a great deep red that is holding it's own against the ivory.  That ivory - it wants to take over everything!
This next one is probably pesto (I have used it for the main top colour) - I purchased both pesto and biscotti - they seem very similar in my test beads, and frankly I can't tell you for sure which one this is.  The base is CIM olive or commando (again - not sure exactly) - but it is a great soft pale green. 

This one is called Cinnamon Choco-Lotta - on this bead it is the base colour and all the little dots.  It looks browner on the rod than it turned out - kind of a wishy washy colour  that is not really giving me any sort of a thrill. 

I am still playing with hearts and flowers - This one the base is again, Spanish Leather.  I bought a bit of tag glass and that is the brown bits - I am sure with some coaxing I could get it to be prettier, but I certainly prefer a glass that will get pretty without all the striking and cooling and reducing and striking and wishing and waving and hoping that I usually have to go through - and then the trying to remember all those steps!  I like to be in control and I guess I just don't feel like I have any control when I am so not sure how I got there, but those colours can be sooooo pretty - it is hard to stop trying to achieve all that prettiness!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Back from Gathering in Rochester

I could probably go on and on about what a good time I had at the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) Annual Gathering that was held this year in Rochester. I have been able to attend the last 3 out of 4 Gatherings and I have had an amazing time each and every year I have attended. It is basically a jam-packed 3 1/2 day conference. You can stretch it out longer if you take some classes, but this year I pared it down to the bare minimum and drove down on Thursday evening.

We started the event with a reception at the George Eastman house - WOW! is all I can say. I was so very sorry that I did not have my camera in my purse. I almost turned my phone back on to use it's little camera, but I had vowed to keep the telephone off to save money.

Turns out that keeping the telephone off and using the hotel phone for the 4 or 5 calls I made was a poor decision on my part. More research was needed and, I expect many of you know this, but using that telephone in your room in the hotel is like throwing money right out the window! Never again! I will suck it up and pay my cell phone provider their roaming charges and data packages and at least know what I am getting into - the hotel managed to surprise me with a $90 bill for those measly 5 phone calls.

This guy was hanging out in front of our hotel room window. I was intrigued - just who is he? Peter Pan? Nope - he is Mercury. He was unveiled in Rochester on January 29, 1881. He was designed by J. Guernsey Mitchell who was commissioned to build the statue by brother-in-law William S. Kimball. Kimball wanted the statue to grace the chimney of his new tobacco factory. The statue remained up until 1951 when the building it was on was demolished. Mercury was put in storage for a period of 23 years, but he was put out once again. He really is adorable standing out there reaching for the stars.

Speaking of reaching for the stars, I collaborated recently with Heather Taylor to enter a piece in an ISGB show called Covergence II. The idea was to create some fantastic piece of jewellery that would / could be worn by an real or imagined person. Our piece is entitled Poetical Science for Ada. The piece was designed for Ada Byron (Lady Lovelace). Ada was the daughter of the poet, Lord Byron. She was a poet and a mathematician – she considered herself a “poetical scientist”. The piece made it into the show. Currently, the pieces are being shown in Rochester at the Nan Miller Gallery until August 21, 2010. On Friday evening at Gathering I took the Gallery Tour and attended the Nan Miller Gallery and a couple of other galleries. It was great fun to see all the pieces and especially exciting to see mine again. We are in very good company and the pieces will travel around the US for a whole year, ending up at the Bead and Button Show in June 2011. I have every intention of visiting with her again in Milwaukee - in fact I have sent off proposals to teach there again.

All day Friday and all day Sunday of Gathering is spent watching demos and lectures on many bead related topics. This year's theme (though by accident I am sure) was insects. Teeny, tiny off mandrel insects. I was enthralled to watch Wes Fleming and Michael Mangifico work. Wow! is all I can say. I tried some fairy wings, but they are not good enough to photograph. It is very difficult to work tiny like that with soft glass.

Saturday of Gathering is a great big bead fair. We had the best time and this year I even took half a table!

I am already looking forward to attending next year's Gathering in Louisville, Kentucky.