Friday, December 13, 2013

Bead and Button Commemorative Beads

One thing I was certain about from the beginning of this project is that I wanted the last beads to look just like the first beads.  Start to finish - 200 beads - June to December

Here is a photo of the very first beads from the project - the one closest to the camera I rejected - it just did not quite look like the original.

These are some of the very last beads

I will let you decide if you can tell the difference.

Just this past week I completed my 200th Commemorative Bead.  Well, actually the number is a wee bit higher.  There was, of course, the original bead (1), 200 ordered beads, 10 donated beads and two rejects - a total of 213 very similar beads.  Certainly not identical, but close. 

They have been a joy to create and they have been difficult too.   I can hardly believe that I can go down to my studio tomorrow and do whatever I want!  Now, I have to decide what that will be.

The beads have all been cleaned, I just need to pack these puppies up and send them to the Bead and Button Show. 

The Math:
Each bead consists of 112 dots, 48 presses and 64 rakes
Total for 213
23,856 dots
10,224 presses
13,632 rakes

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2014 Bead and Button Commemorative Bead Update

I have been working hard.  Purple beads - many, many purple beads.

They have an official name: Purple Lupine Ottoman 

They have an official description too:
This bead is part of my current series of work entitled "Ottoman Beads".  In general my glass work is inspired by many things, including architecture, pottery, textiles and nature to name a few. This current series of work has strong influences from Moorish architecture, ceramics and nature. I am drawn to the recurring motifs of arches, flowers and calligraphy found in Moorish traditions; the flowing lines and intersections of color and pattern in ceramics; and the intricate patterns found in the blossom of a flower.

More specifically, both the purple color and the shapes used in this bead remind me of one of my favorite flowers - Purple Lupines. A truly multicultural species, variations are found all over the world - North and South America, the Arctic, the Andes, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. I have admired lupines growing by the beach in California, in Texas where they are the official state flower, and in Eastern Canada where they grow in an amazing abundance. Every year I try to grow them in my own garden too.

And they form part of an official Artist Statement:

My work is also about footprints. The footprints we leave behind in each and everything we do and say. The footprints of glass that can be manipulated stretched or pushed. Each influences the elements surrounding it. One footprint pushes the next, but never supplants it.  It's a metaphor for living that I try to live up to.

I have had some fun stacking some of the up and taking pictures. 
They are just stacked on top of each other.  There is no glue, no hidden bits of wax, no wires.  Just all stacked (rather precariously) up!  It is a silly thing I like to do with the beads.

I recently hit a milestone of finished beads - 50!
Here are fifty beads in a box!  This was actually taken a few days ago - I hit 80 today!  Some are still in the kiln and some need to be cleaned.  So I have not had a chance to photograph all 80 yet. 

I have been listening to books on tape to help pass the time.  It is helping.  I started my beadmaking adventure by listening to one of my all time favourite books - Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel.  I loved that book and have likely read it at least three times since it was first published.  It was fun to listen to on CD as well.  I have also listened to Kim Edwards' newest book, The Lake of Dream (which was great) and The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian (spooky! and enjoyable).  Currently, I am listening to Dog On It by Spencer Quinn.  It is a cute book - told by Chet the dog - he and his partner, Bernie Little, are detectives. 

I have been learning all about new technology and apps for getting audiobooks.  There are books on CD and there are books that are just electronic files - it is as if they hardly exist at all.  You can use an app to download them directly from the library - OverDrive and OneClick are connected to local libraries here.  And there is a site where you can purchase books too -  The nice thing about purchasing from Audible is that the books don't automatically return themselves before you are done.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bead and Button 2014 Commemorative Bead update

I received the official announcement on June 19th!  Number 11.
Would you believe I was not at home when I received the email.  I had no idea which one that was!
I was intensely curious - which one was 11 - all I could initially determine was that it had to be a round bead, the bicones where all at the end of the list.
Then I realized that I had access to a copy of the letter sent to Bead and Button.  This told me a little more - Ottoman Layered Bead in Purple.
I was pretty sure I knew what it looked like, but not exactly.  There were so many beads.
As soon as I got home I looked at my records and was thrilled with Number 11.

Here it is.  It had it's picture taken by a pro in Milwaukee!
It has also been renamed "Purple Lupine Ottoman Bead"

You can order one here. 

I really did not expect to hear so soon.  I was anticipating starting in September.  I have been quite busy.  Had a small holiday to Manitoulin Island.  Spent a week at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass studying with Wesley Fleming and then headed to Rochester for the ISGB annual Gathering.

But I have been working away as much as I could.  As of today I have made 22 beads!

 My strategy for creating so many of the very same bead is to listen to books on tape and just get into the meditative-ness of creating.  So far so good.  Working my way through one of my favourite books - I think I have read it at least three times - but it is fun to listen to again - Clan of the Cave Bear!

Any gripping books that you can recommend would be appreciated. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bead and Button

I love attending the Bead and Button show each year in Milwaukee.
I had the pleasure of helping out my local bead store, BeadFX, at the show way back in 2002 and 2003.  I was thrilled to be there - I worked hard, had next to no money to shop but had a blast.

I started returning in 2008.  I took a wonderful two day class with Akihiro Okama.  The next year I took an even better Master Class with Kristina Logan.  Then I started to teach at Bead and Button. 

My first year teaching was in 2010 - that makes this year the fourth in a row I have taught!  The class was held early in the week, so it was quite small.  All the students had a good time and it is wonderful to get to know them and have so much time with each person.

I also  had really big news to share.  A few months ago I received the most wonderful email - inviting me to be the 2014 Commemorative Bead Artist for the Bead and Button Show Commemorative Bead!  I nearly fell off my chair.

I have been making beads for months, keeping track of all the colours, sorting, trying new things.  I think I rejected many more beads than I actually offered Bead and Button to choose from.

I wanted the beads to be presented as something special.

I found this adorable box.

I carefully strung each bead and gently wrapped them all in tissue.

I gleefully gave the Box to Marlene Vail, the show organizer. 

Now I wait.  Which one will they choose?  I will let everyone know, just as soon as they announce the official bead for the 2014 Bead and Button Show.

I am honoured to have received this wonderful opportunity.  Wish me luck on making them all - initial order is 200 beads - yes 200 identical beads.  And if they are well received they may order more!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April 2013

Funny how time goes.  I have been gearing up for April for months and months.  It loomed large in the horizon for so long and now, poof, it is over.

I truly had the most amazing April this year.  I squashed so much fun and beadmaking into this past month. 

First off my daughter accompanied me to the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas.  She brought a friend with her - Horse (with no name) as we were going to the desert!

Horse has accompanied me all month.  He is my new official mascot.

One of the highlights of the trip to Vegas was a charity demo.  I actually felt a bit nervous the entire time, but Sam Hibler was great to make beads with and she kept me and the onlookers very entertained. 

We were able to stay an extra day in Las Vegas and had a chance to visit the Valley of Fire state park.  OH MY!  What a beautiful place.  If you ever are in the Vegas area, don't miss the opportunity to spend a day in the park.  And, remember to pack a lunch - there is NOTHING around - I really mean it NOTHING.

Next stop in my April Whirlwind was Corning.  The Corning Glass Museum is one of my favourite places.  They just updated their Chihuly - it received a cleaning and now has green and yellow bits.

My class was full class at The Studio at Corning.  I had the best students.  It is such a wonderful feeling for me to see the light in people's eyes as they get as excited about melting glass as I do.

Before I even had a chance to catch my breath after Corning I was headed out west to the Whistler Molten Experience Bead Retreat.  I was invited as their guest artist.  Talk about an honour.

This is the view from the Edgewater Lodge where we stayed.  That is Whistler - they were still skiing up there! 

I did a few demos and watched a few more.  I met so many wonderful people.  I ate the most amazing sushi in Steveston on the way home too!

The retreat was fantastic.  It was very special to be selected as the guest artist.  I was happy to share my techniques and enjoy the tranquility of the mountains. 

The skunk cabbage was in bloom - seems a pretty nasty name for something that looks so lovely.  Apparently it can give off quite the odour!

In the background you can see the gazebo where the demos were held.

So, that was my April.  Life should be fairly quiet for a bit.  May I will be in Dallas, June is my annual trip to Bead and Button and then a bit of home time before Gathering in Rochester. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Twenty Steps - Week #5 - Corning, New York

This weekend I had the pleasure of teaching a two day intensive raking and masking class at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York.  

Spring is really happening in Corning - I am jealous, it is just barely awakening here in the Toronto area.  

I saw so many daffodils.  This patch of them is just outside The Studio.  I love that pale off white colour.

It was a great class and it is such an honour to be a Corning teacher.

Next week I am off the Whistler Molten Experience, in Whistler, BC - hopefully spring has really sprung there.  I am very excited about this weekend retreat.  I am the featured artist and will be doing a demo of an Ottoman bead for the group.  There will be many other demos and the whole event sounds amazing!  

This project was started by Nicole Valentine-Rimmer - Her blog is
Also participating: Mixed Metal Mimi:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Twenty Steps - Week No. Four

So very busy these days.  An incredible happy busy - This is supposed to be published every Monday - just a day late this time!
I took this picture just the other day - Winter's last hurrah!
Hopefully, we have some greenery to show soon!

Heading off to Corning for the weekend to teach at The Studio!  Hopefully, I can find a cool spot for a photo twenty steps from my door there.  
This project was started by Nicole Valentine-Rimmer - Her blog is
Also participating: Mixed Metal Mimi:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Bit Late - Week #3 of 20 steps

April is full of travel for me.  This week I was in Las Vegas at the Glass Craft and Bead Expo.
Tried to take a photo near the front door - pretty boring hotel parking lot, so I think I will share a photo from a wonderful park we found called Valley of Fire State Park. Certainly not 20 steps from any door at all but much nicer than the photo I took of the light in front of the casine/hotel where we were staying.

If it helps, this one is taken no more than twenty steps from my rental car!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Twenty Steps - Week Number Two

We still have snow!  Can you imagine - this photo was taken yesterday in the backyard.  You can actually see last week's fella in the background.

This is Kaly (short for Kaleidoscope - but nobody has ever really called her that).  Lately, I call her "Daddy's Girlfriend" - she loves the man of the house!  Funny little cat she is - she is afraid of most things, in fact she was quite afraid of my husband for a very long time and then my daughter moved out and "Daddy" is now the man!

This project was started by Nicole Valentine-Rimmer - Her blog is
Also participating: Mixed Metal Mimi:
By Shena:
Ken Miner:


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"20 Steps From My Door"

This is a new project started by another lampworker, Nicole Valentine-Rimmer. 

20 Steps From My Door - one photo per week, taken not more than 20 steps from my door.  I decided to make "my door" the side door to the house - this will give me both the front of the house and the backyard!  Lots to look at and give me a different perspective with camera in hand.

This fella lives on my shed.  I purchased him a few years back at the One of Kind Show, here in Toronto.  The artist's name escapes me, but he is from out Kingston way - Westport?  I cannot find him.

So, here is my week one submission: