Friday, June 29, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party

I can hardly believe it’s been so long since the last Bead Soup Blog Party.  This time Lori Anderson put together a list of 400 participants and 3 separate reveal dates.  My reveal date is July 28th.
This time around my partner is Raida Disbrow of Havanna Beads.  I’m jealous – Raida lives in beautiful Florida and I live in beautiful Michigan.  Except for the seasonal stuff/ uh, snow! We’ve been exchanging emails and getting to know one another.   It’s good to be able to communicate a head of time – You wouldn’t want to send green beads to someone who absolutely hates green, would you? 

This is information I pulled from Raida's profile I thought you'd enjoy and the two photos are from her Etsy site - Gentle Wind Designs: "My name is Raida Disbrow and I live in beautiful Stuart, Florida. I have been making creative items my entire life. Several of my lampwork beads and jewelry designs have been published in Step by Step Wire, Beads 2011, and Bead Trends Magazines. I love to create unique lampwork glass and ceramic pieces for others to enjoy and create with."  Already we have so much in common since we both work in metal, glass, and ceramics.

I’ve been playing at the torch and getting just the right combination together to surprise Raida now that I understand her likes and dislikes.  She’s a very open artist and easy to talk to.  I’m just a little afraid my request was a bit of a shocker for her.  You see although I create holiday themed beads I rarely work with any and I asked if she might include those in her Bead Soup Mix.  It is challenging to me since it is definitely not my usual fare but I’m hoping I can really do this justice.  Now what kind of holiday beads (there are lots of holidays you know) I’ll leave the exact nature of those beads up to Raida.  I hope she doesn’t think I’m too crazy.
Hopefully, my bead soup will be ready to send on Monday/Tuesday – My plan is to work diligently on it over this heat spell.  It is one of the areas I truly luck out in.  My torch is in the dungeon (basement) and my home is blissfully air conditioned.  Since I don’t plan on any long trips in this heat wave, except maybe the beach, I’m hoping my early reveal date will keep me moving.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

DIY Successful Thinking

It's over the hump day - hallejulah!  It's been a busy busy week.  I needed to add a little "juice" to my week since I have not been as focused as I need to be and while Internet surfing I ran into this list from photographer, Chase Jarvis.  It's his:  The Hit List: 13 Things Crucial For Your Success [In Any Field], written in November of 2011.

Success is each to his or her own, but let’s call it like we see it: when you survey the landscape of your creative world, your industry, your career or hobby–whatever field you’re in– there are several fundamentals to achieving success, regardless of the measure. There are commonalities that are undeniable. So here’s a list of thirteen such things that you should be doing right now – let’s call it your hit list:
1. Get shit done.
Over-thinking, pontificating, and wondering are tools for the slacker. People don’t care what almost happened, or what your problems are or why something wasn’t. They care about what is, and what will be. That requires actually making stuff happen. Pros do, make, ship, send, publish, post and deliver; amateurs sit around and wonder, or worse, scratch their arse.
2. Educate yourself.
Think someone else is responsible for your education? Think again. And don’t fool yourself that being in school, in class, or in the seminar actually equals education. Education is incredibly active and it should be self directed in some capacity. Seek information. Knock down walls to get it.
3. Make your own rules.
There are a million paths to get to any single destination. And while it helps to know the rules that others have played by in the past–those you admire who have come there before you–don’t let those rules alone define your rules or your actions. Be respectful as you make your own rules, don’t be rude. But be prepared to chop your own path through the weeds and fend off the naysayers, because if you’re doing something worthwhile there will likely be resistance to your way.

4. Want to be a legend? Affect change.
5. Want to affect change? Get to work. See #1
6. Iterate.
Nothing–and I’ll say it again, but louder–NOTHING will spring from your creative self fully formed. Genius, clarity, vision–whatever you want to call it–will come in fragments at inopportune moments over days, weeks, months, years. Be ready to catch each one of the iterations and push it out of you. The summary of those iterations will aggregate into something special.
7. Look inside.
Understand that the best way to make something new and fresh is to look inside you. The answers are in here, not out there.
8. Don’t underestimate the fundamentals. Know your craft.
Vision and big-picture-thinking are important, but not at the expense of the fundamentals. You’ve got know the nuts and bolts of what your doing. Skip this item at your own risk.
9. Take a deep breath.
Life, work, art can be hard. Anxiety – not to be confused with the positive stress of deadlines and forced production schedules – is counter productive. So when shit is getting hairy, take a breath. Everything is going to be okay. When you re-center, see #1.
10. Take delight.
Your work should be fun. Not always fun like a birthday party fun, but fun like you’re doing the right thing sort of fun. Stimulating. Positive. Energizing. Take delight in what you do, and for that matter, what others do too. Celebrate successes, pop champagne or Diet Coke when you break through tough challenges. Stay up all night when the ideas are flowing, because you can. Enjoy the process, because from moment to moment, the process is reason for the season – it’s all you’ve got. If you don’t take delight, your career will be short, either by choice or by fate.
11. Seek out good people.
Think you’re on a solo journey? On the contrary. Making your work, your career, your life, will involve others taking to you and what you do. Therefore, make effort to know, connect, collaborate with, mentor under, the best people you can find. Screw that, the best people you can FATHOM. And once you identify them, seek them. Make an effort to cultivate those relationships and take those good people with you – figuratively and literally – on your journey. Good people tend to attract other good people. And so for similar reasons, it should go without saying, avoid jerks, d-bags, and haters. It’s hard to soar like an eagle when you run around with turkeys. Negative energy is like a black hole for creativity and inspiration. And remember, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
12. Find some quiet.
Noise, stimulation, and adventure are good for creating the raw building blocks of creativity, but they suck for the most important part of creativity — the synthesis. Synthesis–the gluing together of your ideas–requires some sort of quiet, be it just a moment or bunch of moments. So carve out this time.
13. Help others.
When chasing success too many people play the ‘me’ game. It’s all about ‘me’. Well, contrary to what it might seem, success ain’t just about me. Most people who achieve success are concerned with helping others. Helping others cultivates understanding, humility, compassion, and your network – not to mention, a better world. So don’t just reach up and pull yourself there. Be sure to reach sideways and down too, as often as you can muster.

Thanks. Spread the word.

Friday, June 22, 2012

And I'd do it again...

The Amazing Holly Copper

 The last of the classes I took at Bead and Button was a lampworking class from Holly Cooper.  Admittedly the worst problem I have with lampwork is stringer control.  It has been beyond my grasp for a very long time.  Holly is an expert at stringer control.  She places it perfectly on her beads every time and in every place she wants it.  Her beads are rich with pattern all done with stringer.  I love them.  They have an ancient look about them, like a well-loved vase or statue that takes on a patina of its own as it is touched for centuries.

Holly was a kind and patient teacher.  She works exclusively on a hot-head.  To think she does her amazing work on what most people consider a beginner’s torch is just amazing.  Holly said there isn’t any use in changing what works for her.  And who the heck can disagree with her kind of success. 

So, if you’re wondering if it was worth it to take the class – oh hell yes.  I have never laid a stringer on so straight as I did with Holly’s approach to using the flame in that way.  Was I perfect with it right way – no hell no – but I can certainly see that about ten beads from now it’s going to get a whole lot better.  The only thing I need now is some PPP (practice, practice, practice).
Would I recommend this class to others?  ABSOLUTELY!  Holly was patient – she even had handouts (now when have you seen this with a lampworker – and it’s about time!) – the technique is totally solid and doable.  I’d even take a class with her again and I don’t repeat many instructors. 
Thanks Holly.  It was a great experience and love the way you do things.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun with Tila Beads

I don’t usually do bead weaving anymore but couldn’t resist a class using Tila Beads from Miyuki      Anna Elizabeth Draeger, Associate Editor extraordinaire, at Bead and Button Magazine, was our teacher.  She taught 3 different patterns – Two beaded beads and a ring.  I’m not much into beaded rings so I just concentrated on the two beads.

Anna Elizabeth Draeger
Isn’t that rectangle bead going to look great mixed into necklaces with lampwork?    It’s from Anna’s Cutie Cubes Bracelet (we were given the pattern for the bracelet too).   
Cubic Cuties by Anna Elizabeth Draeger

What I’m going to do with the triangle bead is a little beyond me right now but Anna showed us how to link a group of them together to form a sumptuous chain.  Maybe I can make a bead to fit into the interior of the triangle.  I’ll figure out something yet to do with it.

The beads I made in class - I better loosen the tension!
Anna has a book out titled Crystal Brilliance and next year she will be publishing again.  I saw some of the beads that will be in it and they’re stunning.  Hopefully she’ll be teaching those next year because I’d love to take another class from her.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Goodies - I feel like a Queen

This is part of the stash I got from Bead and Button.  I just love beads and who can resist strands at $1.00 a piece.  That's what the crystals were.  The African beads were pricier but I have earrings in mind for them and was willing to part with the cash.  And the odd batch - well, it's just my pure silliness at work there and they were inexpensive too.  Besides these goodies there was ICE Resin, a whole bunch of Jax Patina's, Gilder's Paste and miscellaneous findings.  Whew!

Plus the gift from Lori at the party and gosh - the Knotty Board to play with.  See - - - feeling like the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee.  Maybe not that good since I have to pay for this stuff but it was still way fun.  I can't imagine what it would be like to go to B&B with an unlimited budget.  You'd have to get a truck to take it home.  Or maybe open a bead store.  I wonder if people who own bead stores get sick of beads.  When I made chocolates I got sick of them.  Something to ponder I guess.

I have just a few more B&B posts left to get up and then I'll get on with what I've been doing...okay, but don't hold your breath.  I'm working on plasters I wasn't to show you that I'm using for Pewter casting and I'm playing with the Knotty board.  Gheeze Sandra makes it look so easy.  It's easy - or will be with more practice.  I'm just being picky.

Onward and upward...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Night Beader and Bead Dreams

Saturday nights at Bead and Button used to be reserved for the ISGB party.  The Glass Bead Guild would have a drink and dessert bar gathering in the Polaris room at the Hyatt.  Alas, they have abandoned that get together.

That get together was where I met Mallory Hoffman several years ago.  She was at the next table and I overheard someone refer to her as Rosebud – her nickname – and I just had to introduce myself.  We’ve been friends ever since. 

Mallory suggested a fun replacement for Saturday night – Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party Dinner at the Doubletree.  Lori had been planning it on Facebook (unfortunately I haven’t been available on Facebook lately and missed it.) She had made all of these great arrangements with a little help from her friends (do you hear a song there?)  For a salad bar dinner and round table for all of us “anonymous” Bead Soup participants.  By anonymous I mean we might know one another by our blog handles or via .  Facebook but most of us have never met in person.
There must have been 30 or so of us there at the dinner – who knew we were all at Bead and Button!
I was able to meet Heather Powers – someone I have long admired – not only for her beautiful work but for her extraordinary blogs.  Cassie Donlen was there, Lorelei Eurto, and Marianne of MAKU Studio too.  Whoopee that Raku heart with the nails in it is beautiful.  So much talent and so little time to get to everyone.

There were gifts from Lori (from her personal stash) a few fun games and conversation.  What a great time and all courtesy of Lori Anderson, Bead Soup maven and all around wonderful person.  Thanks Lori – for ALL that you do.

These are someof the photos I was able to take of the Bead Dreams competition at Bead and Button.  I didn't get many because they were in glass cases that reflect easily but I think you'll see the quality of the beautiful work there.  I tried to get the artists name in where I could.  Enjoy!

And Now A Break From B&B News For An Editorial Comment - or Ten....

Sometimes colleagues in any field can disagree.  Learning to disagree isn’t easy.  Agreeing to disagree often doesn’t work and you are just left with the disagreeing part of the equation.  In fact, it’s often painful to all involved but it’s as necessary as, uh – using the toilet.   It’s a growth thing – like a wart.  I wasn’t inclined to post about this topic at first.  I’m not the one who opened the door to blog about this disagreement, but on my end this officially shuts it with my two cents worth.

I’ve stepped on a colleagues toes.  Yup, I did it.  That part we can agree on but it’s unlikely I’m going to change my mind.  Techniques that are generic are just that – generic.   There are a million (well maybe not a million but a lot) of people who stamp words on metal, on polymer, and on clay.  And, there are only so many ways it can be done or enhanced.   I do not see all of the metal stampers getting upset with one another for stamping the same words or phrases on metal…uh, been stamping those since college.
My intentions were not to hurt, copy, or deny anyone their just desserts in making a living off of their art.  To that end I am doing with my stampings as I have done with all of my pieces and mixed it up with my other work.  I am and have always been a mixed media gal and I always will be.  I don’t say this for the colleague whose feelings I hurt but for all those who have now read her blog post and are running over here to mine.  She already knows how I feel and how this came about – we have communicated.
I’m 62 this year (Hello Social Security) and to say I ain’t new to this art rodeo is an understatement.  If we start with college – holey crappers – it means I began doing art in earnest in the year 1969. 

My husband and I began the art show circuit together – me as a multimedia jeweler and he as a toymaker.  That was in 1982 although I had done the jewelry since college.  I was also working a full time position with the State of Michigan and as my responsibilities grew there (and with our children) something had to give.   Oh how I wish I’d of had the luxury of someone supporting my every artistic whim.   I slowed down the jewelry and totally quit exhibiting or competing in juried exhibitions.  I had been in quite a few gallery exhibitions – in many mediums.
In college I took many subjects (painting, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, figure drawing – heck all of the fine art goodies) and my interests lie in multi-discipline pieces.  I can paint in three mediums pretty well – although I have to say I don’t have any particular love for acrylics.  I draw or sketch daily and created the silkscreens for my husband’s toys – which I also designed.   And this doesn’t cover all of it.

I’m certified as a PMC Instructor (I learned how to do that when I lost the CMC joint in my left thumb and spent a gruesome six months unable to hold metal tight enough to work with it) and it’s when I returned to using clay of all kinds, art clay and ceramic.  It was as good for the rehab of my hand as it was for the rehab of my soul.  You’d have a good laugh at the fact that my 50 pound boxes of clay have been in the basement since that surgery (in my daughters high school years – she graduated in 2000).  Like I said, not my first art experience or rodeo, as it is.  I’m still using the tonnage of earthenware.  My daughter learned to throw pots while I was rehabbing and we played in the mud together.
Luckily I was able to take a class with Jennifer Heynan at a previous B&B who re-tuned my ceramic skills and made me lug even larger chucks of clay upstairs.

LOL – Some of my chasing tools and metal stamps are older than some artists I know and love.  I was excited when the first Kismet set was brought out by Beaducation.  How divine to have new fonts to work with.  I bought Kismet and plenty more as they hit the market.
Well, having been around as long as I have I know that not much is new.  I have tortured materials with stamps, hammers, hydraulic presses, rolling mills and rolling pins, and oh so much more in lampworking, ceramics, printmaking, and painting.   My studio is well equipped with all of them.   I’ve done the same over and over with all mediums.  The only one I truly learned after college was glass.  We didn’t “do” glass in college or I’d of gone there too.  But as soon as those hotheads hit the market I was on them.

Oh how did we get to the disagreeable part? Well – it’s like this…or so I surmise.  And the surmising part could get me in trouble if I didn’t know it was the case.  Well meaning “friends” informed my colleague I was copying.  I actually think they got her pretty worked up about it.  Well, I get it.  I understand how it must seem.  It’s not the first rodeo – right? I know my way around the jury system of an art show, how to make slides, magazine submissions, all of the above and below.  We frequent the same shows and generally know the same people.  What no one bothered to consider was the fact that I do not consider myself competitive with my colleague – or a threat to her domain. I didn’t even blink an eye when lampwork beads were in her booth.  There is room for everyone in the sandbox.  I didn’t email her – call my friends – or get concerned where she learned to do enamels on glass.  Why would I?  She’s a great person – a kind person – a good artist, and if she wanted to add another medium to repertoire – well, why not?  They go so well together.  As far as I know she might not even being doing them anymore or never went any further than the ones I saw a long time ago.
What else can be said about this………..not much.  Except maybe to the “well meaning” friends who might want to consider Paul Harvey’s ending/beginning  laments, “and now for the rest of story…” and try butting out or growing up in the way they “bring things to people’s attention.”  Some people like drama and if others are involved in it then they get to sit back and be all self-righteous and consoling to “the offended”.  I often wonder whether those who are threatened enough to overreact and drag decent people down their path actually have an artistic background enough to flex or if they are just too threatened because their corner of the world is so tightly bunched up in their crotch like a thong in an ass they couldn’t conceive of more than one person doing the same thing.  Okay, now – everyone doing coffee cups or bowls better stop right now – There can be only ONE!  (leave it to me to quote something as silly as "The Highlander")

Too much said…..and I’m not talking about it again.  Continuing on with art of all kinds…

Kindly refer to the post on Zen – This too will pass.

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Metal Book

After Pewter class we (Susan Lambert and I) passed the classroom of the irascible Kim St.Jean.  Susan knows Kim from Charlotte, NC.  In fact, Susan taught Kim to solder using paste solder, oh so many years ago.  We stopped in to say hello and Kim gave us a tour of her latest and greatest projects.
She is super prolific and creates the trendiest pieces.  WHAT display tables!  She must have had three eight foot tables full of class examples and more.  If that doesn’t inspire a student I don’t know what would.  Thanks for the tour Kim! 
While we were there we also picked up Kim latest tome, Metal Magic.  It’s chalked full of tips…..and I know a lot about great tips and useful information.
Metal Magic by Kim St.Jean

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Making New Acquaintences at B&B

One of the fun things at Bead and Button is meeting new people and renewing old friendships.  Mostly I'm a pretty quiet person. You wouldn't know it from this blog - LOL.  This year my usual anonymity was off kilter by the use of cane - gosh I felt old - dang arthritis was kicking my butt.  So, with my slower pace and an inability to make the fast get away I spent quite a bit of time talking to lots of other artists. 

While limping about I stopped to admire Bob Burkett's stunning cast jewelry pieces and we struck up a conversation.  I recognized the wax that he was using must be a blend.  Yeah yeah, some people blend teas or coffees - caster's blend wax. I've been using a red injection wax for my carving and a what is called "perfect purple" for touch-ups.  Bob melts the two together for an incredibly flexible blend.

In our all too short conversation he showed me how he pours this blend into mold to create a very flexible wire.  If you've ever used wax wire you'll understand how significant this is.  Purchased wax wire comes in a blue.  It is brittle and sloppy to work with.  It doesn't easily hold its shape when it's warm and has a tendency to break or fall apart when you least expect it.

What a tip Bob gave me and how generous of him to share. I could have stayed and gabbed all afternoon about casting.

Bob will be teaching soon across the world and hopefully some where in the Midwest.  He is on Facebook and will keep everyone informed as to his teaching schedule.  I know as soon as he is close to where I live - I'll be there!

What's not to like about work that looks like this -

by Bob Burkett

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bead and Button Classes

Let's talk about the classes I took at B&B and all of the fun stuff that was seen and done.  First off there were hundreds of different classes offered.  I already know quite a bit about casting precious metals but not a lot about casting pewter so I took a pewter casting class offered by The Glass Bead Company.  Debbie and David Austin  (the delightful owners of the shop) were the instructors, primarily David.

What a sweet, patient, and encouraging instructor.  I'd recommend a class from either of them at any opportunity - whether at Bead and Button or at their studio.

While Dave was teaching us how to carve the plaster for pewter casting Debbie was busy working on tin tube beads for the show.  She graciously showed me and Susan Lambert how to make them during a quiet moment in the class.  What a kind gesture...and of course that was all it took for us to dig in to those kits she had and buy a few extra goodies.  I can't wait to make some tin tube beads.

Betty Boop Bead by Debbie Austin
The pewter casting was great fun and I'm sure I'll be adding plenty of pewter pieces to the Etsy shop soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lost in Bead Wonderland

Sorry I haven't posted any photos or anything but I've just been awe struck by all the beads and the talented people here at B&B.  What fun this has been.  Today was the last day of the show and after a day or so of rest I'll start posting some photos and tons of interesting things from the show.

You see goodies on everyones necks, wrists, and ears.  And then there are the cases full of it for the competitions.  Since it is all behind glass I will do my very best to get photos.  I will never be able to list them all since there have to be at least a hundred or so exhibit pieces.  And, that doesn't even count what everyone is wearing.  I'll do my best to keep my camera flash in check and show you a little of what I am seeing.  But, like I said ---- it's such a fraction of what is actually here

In the meantime here is the link on the Knotty Do It All and a bracelet by Sandra.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Notes from B&B

Welcome to one of the first photos from Bead and Button. Is this Sharon? LOL - I wish. This is the very perky and total quirky in an awesome way . She is Sandra Younger the creator of the Knotty Do It All.   Just look at the the beautiful necklace she is wearing and the bracelet.  She is a tiny gal in stature so you wouldn't think the necklace that fits her would fit me as a bracelet but in a matter of seconds she wrapped the necklace around my wrist and voila' it was a trendy bracelet and it FIT.  She could have done the same thing around my neck.  It looks like it is a multi layer necklace but it is actually one length.  A wonderful new product from a totally nice girl.  Tomorrow when I pick up my "Knotty" from her booth at the show I will give you her email addy and web site info.

Sandra Younger of Knotty Do It All
I am so looking forward to seeing all of the new products tomorrow and meeting the vendors.  There are a few people here who I've dealt with through catalogs but have never meet them in person or even seen them at shows.  It will be nice to see Micro Fasteners in person and so many others.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm Not Packed Yet and Other (Zen -?) Thoughts.

I never thought of my mother as being very "Zen".  My Grandfather was but then he'd grown up so very differently.  When I think about how I am so very busy lately - I leave for Bead and Button tomorrow - it feels like I'll never get the kinks worked out of the new computer platform, get used to the new keyboard, get caught up on TAO, get the beads labeled, and on and on and on.  I don't know about you but I start making lists.  Sometimes I swear the lists begin with numbers and then deteriorate very quickly to alphabets, roman numerals, and bullets.  By the time I get to side notes and colored ink I know I'm obsessing.  When I start obsessing it gets debilitating because I gain feet of cement.  I simply quit moving forward.  It's about then I remember what my Mom used to say when I'd get like this and start complaining, "I'll never finish".  She'd just look at me and smile gently and say, "This will pass."

There were times that was very calming and times it just plain wasn't.  I think the times it was calming was because I matured and realized tomorrow would arrive regardless and there was nothing earth shattering that would happen between now and then even if I didn't "finish". 
I do hope I passed that on to my children.  Life some how seems "bigger" these days - this century of information at our finger tips. The world will turn another revolution and life will change - or not. 
Off to pack - leaving at 5AM tomorrow.  I'll write from the road but for now I'll leave you with this Zen story.
It Will Pass

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, "My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I'm constantly falling asleep. It's just horrible!" "It will pass," the teacher said matter-of-factly.

A week later, the student came back to his teacher. "My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It's just wonderful!'

"It will pass,"

the teacher replied matter-of-factly.