Wednesday, June 27, 2007

YOJ Week 25 and preview of Week 26

This is the 2nd Lantern Jewel I've made, I call them Victorian bird cages, as that's what they make me think of.. Especially this one, with black crystals. I don't think I'm going to darken this one, I like contrast between the black and the whitish of the silver.

I made this piece in the hotel room last Friday night. It's kind of funny really, I was hammering away like at 11pm, and realized I wasn't home in my studio and I probably shouldn't be hammering away at 11pm in a hotel where I could possibly be keeping people up. I got so lost in the creative process I just wasn't thinking!! Fortunately no one complained so hopefully that means no one minded; I would hate to add to someone 's bad day or anything.

This is especially funny when I think that 3 months ago I didn't carry my hammer, block and wire to shows. I didn't feel comfortable doing wire work around other people, I only liked doing it in my own studio by myself. Now most art is sort of a lone occupation, it really doesn't invite company. You tend to ignore other people ( or the time! LOL) if you get into a piece. But it wasn't that absorption I was afraid of.. I just didn't feel competent to play with wire with others around. After all I've been doing this jewelry stuff for over 10 years, I have something of a reputation to maintain. I am somewhat like my name sake, a cat... if I make a mistake you will never know it.. because like a cat I am always on my dignity. (think licking the paws like nothing happened after a fall, that's me!) Well now I am either competent enough or I just don't care anymore, I just want to play. I love to have my wire with me, so if someone wants something alittle more complicated or a ring re sized, I've got my basic hammers, block, cleaning cloths, wire, and ring mandrels. I would carry all of my wire tools ( I am the proud owner of 3 different bracelet mandrels, and 1 neck, and new new texturizing hammers woo hoo!) but Jerry would kill me, he thinks I haul too much around at shows as it is. He's probably right, and I have to agree with him they are darn heavy. One time I wanted to take the tumbler to a show.. I think that's the closest I've been to divorce yet. So I settle for a couple basic sizes of wire, my favorite chasing hammer, block, and few minor tools.. whatever I can fit into 1 Plano box. (my normal equipment for shows: set of pliers/tools, full stock of crystals in 4mm and 6mm, a selection of bigger crystals, a "small" variety of other beads and findings.. and now my box of wire tools. It probably weights 50 lbs for my "just in case" beads and tools at a show. you never know what you will need, but you really can't drag your whole 400 + sq ft of studio with you!!)

Another habit I've really been working on is sketching whenever I get a good idea. Sometimes it's impractical, like at the $$ job, I'm sure my bosses just love me whipping a sketch pad out and telling the customer on the phone, "pardon me while I diagram this earring idea I just had, just takes a minute!! " Still I carry a pad in my back pack and on breaks and such I have been known to draw and doodle. Another strange thing: I've noticed some of my best ideas come to me while I"m either heading to, during or walking back from the bathroom. Not sure I want to explore the whys of this 2 closely, as I think it might reflect badly on my personally.. LOL. Still I was telling Jerry the other day I need to buy extra sketch pads and just leave them in the bathroom, to save the mad scramble of trying to figure out where I put the pad the last time.
My last show went very well, and just about my favorite part: someone bought Winter Queen's Crown (see )and was so enchanted with it she wanted a matching necklace and earrings. Oh how I wished I had all my wire stuff on me at that moment!! Not that working on that large of a project at a show is practical... fortunately she's very understanding and I'm to mail it to her when I'm done. It's all I've been thinking about this week, and it's been the main thing I've worked on ... I now have all the pieces flatten and I think I have the arrangement that I'm pleased with. Right now it's spending 2-4 hours in the tumbler. Since I will be adding pearls I pre-tumble. Tumbling with pearls is risky at best. Below is a sneak preview of Winter Queen's Crown II & III: I"m going to use it as my YOJ: week 26. I can't wait til next week when YOJ 3rd quarter starts... it invites lots of thinking about concepts and techniques so even when I don't follow the topic, it's a growth artistically. It feels soooo good to stretch muscles, artistic or otherwise!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bead & Button pt II & Year of Jewelry: Week 24

Sat I had my class- Kanto Lantern Jewel (Janice's website: ) Let me start by saying, I've taken 2 classes at B & B prior to this class, and I've been vastly disappointed. So while I really looked forward to this class, I had major anxiety. I"m very happy to say the class went great, I learned new skills, had a blast learning and she even talked me into a set of hammers!! ( ) Ok she didn't have to talk me into it very hard!! LOL !! I love tools. Here are pics of my Lantern.. though I have to say it makes me think of Victorian bird cages more than Japanese lanterns. I've already got pages full of ideas and scribbles modify the basic construction, to make them my own. I think I actually impressed her alittle.. instead of eating lunch ( you get a 2 hour break) I grabbed food, bought a quick strand of large beige faceted pearls and and was back in 1/2 hour.. I just wanted to keep working on my pendant. I finished it differently than anyone else has done in her class.. I ran wire through the bottom loops and strung crystals and the bells on it... to create more of a fringe effect than dangles. I needed the larger pearl because only tiny pearls came in the kit, and I really wanted 1 large dangle on the bottom.. again I"m thinking Victorian cages here. Since I had the strand, I also made a chain, bail and clasp to go with the pendant. I had it done by the time she came back from lunch! LOL I get so excited sometimes When I"m creating things, that's why I love making jewelry.. especially wire jewelry, you just never know where it will take you, and the ride is fun to boot. (and I"m counting this as week 24 to catch up.... I've had so many shows I've gotten behind on YOJ... bad Kat!! For those who are keeping score, yes, I'm temporary skipping week 23.. I've actually got a piece I'm working on for it.. I just don't have it ready yet!! )

After my class we gathered a group to go to the safe house, which is a theme restaurant based on you guest it, spies and espionage. ( ) It's pretty fun, however we were next to a bridal shower who believed in getting the bride so drunk she couldn't walk anymore, and hey, had a few themselves!!! Truthfully, a few of our party also indulged, but I"m not mentioning names.. if I do, then I have to kill you. ehehehe. Seriously you have to have a pass word to get into the safe house, if you don't they make you do silly things ( we were penguins) which are shown on close circuit telly to everyone else in the restaurants. Clapping as you finally make your way into the restaurant is not unusual... After the safe house, we walked around town, it was a lovely night! and hit a chocolate bar in a really upscale hotel.. really.. the bathrooms are nicer than my house!! yummy!!! (the chocolate, not the restrooms) then we retired for the night to our respective hotels, to get beauty sleep and rest up for a few last minute shopping sprees. Sunday we shopped alittle, packed and started to say goodbyes.... worst part of B & B saying goodbye to my beady Internet buds of like 8 ? years now.. then hop into the car for a fairly tame ride home. It always seems longer on the way home.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bead & Button Report, part 1

Boy! I've been busy!!! I've had shows every weekend since the beginning of May... the only break I've had wasn't really a break, but it was great fun... I went to Bead and Button Show June 7th through 10th!!! I've been to bead and button every year except 2 in the last 8 years. Last year I couldn't get the time off the day job to go, so I went ahead and signed up for a show.. then I found out I could get the time off, but I was already committed. I did managed to run up for 1 day to shop, as my art show was only on Sat. I don't ever want to do that again.. yes I got a decent haul of kewl new beads and findings, but the best part of Bead & Button is the social contacts with long distance beady friends. Fortunately I managed to get the time off from work and Thursday drove up with 3 of my friends: Abigail ( ), Anne, and Julie ( ) We left for Wisconsin around 830am, and had a grand time driving up. Once we hit the city that changed though. Now if you live in Des Moines, this next bit makes sense... but they have Milwaukee more torn up with construction that Des Moines's Keo Way is!! Didn't think that was possible!!!! Original plan was to park in the bus depot's parking, as it was only $3.00 a day last year, instead of the hotel/mall parking of $15.00 per day. (extra bead money that way!!! ) Problem was that lot no longer existed... completely torn up, and they were building a building on top of it. We hit town around 245pm and wanted to rest up and get ready for the preview shopping ... Anne and I headed out to park and drop Julie off at her hotel.. after over half an hour of sheer frustration, driving around the construction, hitting 1 way streets that all seemed to go the same direction.. we said the hell with it and parked in the lot by the hotel. We got back to the room finally!! At the room we hooked up with our other roomies, Liz ( ) and Audrey. and headed over to the show to do some power shopping. I love shopping at the preview session.. it's not as crowded as on the other days, and some booths literally run out of stuff the 1st day. Abigail and I did some heavy sterling buys together, and after shopping for a couple of hours we headed to Apple bee's for a late supper. Not so good this year, the service was way down.... but eating with our beady buds made for for it!! For supper we hooked up with another group of Iowa Beaders, Lorna, Pilar, and Karla. Then trooped back to the room for gabbing, presents, and show and tell. Friday, Abigail headed over early as she had an all day class... Liz, Anne, Audrey and I went to the traditional breakfast: George Webb. Then shopping.. this was my power shopping day as I had a class Saturday, so we mostly went our own way til 6pm. I bought and bought and bought... can't wait to see my credit cards!!! Below are some pictures... pearls, silver, art glass, lovely stones, yummy!!!!

I met up with Anne as she was my "date" for an invite only reception to Tierracast. I love their products, and the reception was very nice... wine, lovely little sandwiches, yummy breads, and of course freebies and samples!!! Check out for the finest quality pewter findings and beads... really lovely stuff!!

Fri night we had the most fun!!! This year Bead and Button had an area set aside for beaders to gather at any time of the day or night. We all met up again and had pizza delivered and actually beaded! if you can believe it!!! We stayed til like 1130 or so I think... I really hope Bead and Button have this area again next year!!

part II hopefully tomorrow!!!