Thursday, October 30, 2008

Notes to Self - I Apologize

I have been reading some other bead blogs and I realized how much we apologize for things. A comment was added to one design and the caveat was 'sorry for my english.' Well, I felt like I had been given a mighty smack: I had not detected any problem with the english. I have seen some pretty bad stuff on the internet: I mean the written english language. Wrong verb tenses, incorrect punctuation, misuse of words - either in definition or incorrect placement. And lots of other mistakes, too.

Well, what language do beads speak?

Exactly my point!

Music is an international language. When well done, music can soothe, enthuse, inspire, include. I mean include every listener. There are no borders or boundaries.

I learned something at a performance given by Ravi Shankar, the great Indian devotee of the sitar. At the beginning of his performance at Stratford oh, so many years ago!! he told everybody that the way musicians in India acknowledge fine playing is to shake the head back and forth. In the West such a movement is negative, usually followed with a strong 'NO.' I was glad to learn that little nugget. When you close your eyes you can be uplifted by the music: it has no race, colour, religion, politics - it's music.

In the same way, beads have no race, religion, politics. But it has lots of colours!! And textures. My next door neighbour is blind: she has some vision but not enough to enjoy what sighted people can see. She asked me to make a brooch and she came over to look at the piece in progress. She held it at about nose distance and could see all the lovely colours. And she could feel the texture of the piece as well. I delivered it yesterday and she phoned me last night to thank me. She loved the texture: she could enjoy the piece basically with her eyes closed.

You may have to keep your eyes open when dealing with beads but even with your eyes closed you can enjoy the textures.

Beads have no language: as music is the language, so beads and beading is the language.

We don't need to apologize for our 'poor english.' We just need to seek, find, spread the good word about the great beading and beaders we have found.

Well, that's what I think.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Notes to Self - Spanish Bracelet and Serendipity

I made a cuff bracelet - actually many cuff bracelets. It's artisan jewellery and that is what I do. I submitted a bracelet using beads on memory wire. I struggled with the memory wire and it cost me a flare up of arthritis. I threw it out - well figuratively speaking I threw it out. It landed in such a way that it looked pretty cool on the wrist. My sister was the inspiration and now she wears both bracelets.
Well the falling of the memory wire bracelet was serendipitous: it saved its life and sent my mind off in search of a new memory wire technique.
The next serendipitous happening occurred just about a week ago. My sister and I were watching TV and she suddenly noticed an incomplete cuff bracelet on the table. The only reason it was still in existence is that I hadn't cannibalized it (cut apart and beads and salvageable wire returned to my bead wall). She expressed her delight. Now I have to finish the piece.
Sometimes a failure in your eyes is a success in another's. When you are unhappy with your work and it is not technically flawed, put it down for a day or two. If your attitude doesn't change, stand it in front of a mirror and look at its reflection in the mirror. Pretty good, isn't it!? If your attitude still doesn't change, ask the opinion of somebody else.
Except when the work is technically flawed, don't automatically do the frog stitch (rippit, rippit) when you make a 'mistake.' Is there some way of salvaging what you have done? Maybe you didn't make a 'mistake' at all. Why are self-taught people inspired and inspiring? They had nobody telling them they did something the wrong way.
Take care of your ego, it gets you up in the morning, ready to face the world. Don't tell yourself you are a failure, or you can't do __X__. There are enough people out there who are happy to tear you down - don't you be one of them. Look for the serendipity angel - she exists.
Helene Glass0Beads

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Commissioned Work

I've been away: it seems like forever. Have you missed me? I haven't been bitten with the writing-bug so I've not been tending to my blogs. For shame.
I've met some really lovely people, strengthened (I hope) some online friendships. I've even been blessed with some purchases and a couple of commissions!! Now how about that!?

An RN where Marg works asked me for a necklace.
The particulars: she will be in Phillipines over Christmas and it will be hot. She has a certain strapless red dress that she wants the necklace for. And she wants a woven look like my father's watchband (it's my everyday watch - to paraphrase, "wear this in remembrance of me.").
Now, the picture on the right doesn't show the finished piece. And, silly me, I didn't take a picture of the final version. And, what's worse, I can't find my sketch book where the notes were made. I know, sometimes I bumble. If memory serves me ~ and my memory is somewhat suspect now ~ it was a nice tight netting technique. I wanted some air to penetrate the necklace just because she was going where there is humidity and I thought something a bit airy would make wearing the piece more comfortable.
The finished piece has a standup 'collar' ~ like a Nehru jacket collar ~ and had to be made a number of times because I just couldn't believe how small her neck was. I tried to be true to the measurement guidelines for a slender neck and it just kept coming out too big.
Yup, again, silly me: at no time did I think to measure her neck. Mm-mm! It would have saved so much effort. But it is an item of glass bead artisan jewellery.
So, there is my commission.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Notes to Self - Wire Coil Techniques

In my September effort I learned 2 new techniques: both are wire coils but they are each different from the other. The one is a 3D spring that can be wound upon itself to make a really interesting bead. Leaving it as a spring without the extra twisting gives you a bugle bead. Play with the colours of the wires you use, even the gauges of wires gives such interesting versions on the lowly spring. It uses a 'Gizmo' TM but any knitting needle, shish kebab skewer, ... will do. That's its picture in the top left.
The 2nd method is a flat coil using a pair of round nose pliers. Instead of each round being the same size and shape as the previous, each spiral goes around the last and gets bigger and bigger. It is a flat coil. Oh, but what you can do with a flat coil. That's its picture in the bottom right.
I also learned something about memory wire: let my godlette, Serendipity, help you. My hands ached and throbbed and refused to make a fist and had difficulty holding important things - like my pliers. Thank goodness one holds one's teddy bear in one's arms and not in one's hands.
What I had decided was a complete flop turned into quite a decent shape - even for memory wire.
Do you want to know the techniques for wire coils? I've added them to my other blog.

September - Spanish Cuff Bracelet

Hiya, everybody. I had some effort getting started in this Bead Journal Project08. I didn't understand exactly how the whole thing worked. In my defense, I have a lot of trouble following instructions. Even when I read very slowly I miss key instructions.

But I did get started. I had decided that I would make a different piece of artisan jewellery each month and there certainly are enough categories to cover all the months, and then some.

I tried really hard with September's chapter: a cuff bracelet built on a memory wire frame. I made some wrapped wooden beads to use in the cuff. I got out some goldfilled tube beads. I dug out my copper wire. Everything I tried to keep that cuff shape was defeated. More times than I wish to remember the whole memory wire frame exploded in my face. It got to the point that I refused to get down on the floor again to retrieve the wee beads I was using.

I gave up only to go back with a new idea. It's hard to let an inanimate object get the better of you. That's what I think.

Then along came the Fall Bead Oasis Show in Toronto and I went to my day long workshop with Jelcy Romberg: a wirework class. Hah!! I knew memory wire was to be part of the instruction. Now, thought I, that memory wire cuff skeleton will finally be beaten into submission.

The wire cuff Jelcy showed us wasn't what I had expected. I wanted a cuff like a bangle and her technique was a cuff like a snake wrapping around the wrist. She also taught wire coil beads.

I gave it a shot when I got home: I added my floss wrapped wooden beads, my goldfilled bugle beads and some rocaille beads, too. I added some of the wire coil beads. I did it all one night. And I allowed my memory wire cuff to sit.

Truly, when I got up the next day I had given up on my snake coil memory wire cuff.
I made another bracelet using a different wire coiling technique. It was pretty rough but my sister, the recipient of the finished project, approved of it. So I made up a good version and liked it well enough to add a pair of earrings to match. It met with approval from my sister and from some of her colleagues and family members of some of her clients.
I really like these earrings and, generally speaking, earrings are quick to assemble. I've decided to make a different pair of earrings each month to 'go' with the main project for that month.

The day after that I noticed the snake-y memory wire cuff bracelet lying where it fell when I tossed it onto my workbench. Perhaps it was the way the light hit it. Or maybe it was the way I was holding my mouth. Then again, it might have been my powerful meds had finally started working. It really doesn't matter: I thought the failure cuff bracelet was a success.

My sister wore it to work yesterday and got even more compliments on it than on the other wire coil bracelet. It was Serendipity, one of my personal, favourite godlettes, at work: there's no other explanation.
So, to summarize. I went from having a big zero entry for September, not a good start to the project, to having 2 very different bracelets and a pair of earrings. Not too bad.


Notes to Self - New eSMArts Member

Holy Doodle!!

I've just been accepted into a new group over at Etsy - the eSMArts group. In common is the handmade nature of our work and the desire to market our own 'stuff' as well as help others of the group sell their 'stuff'.

Well, how welcome do I feel? Very welcome indeed. Imagine my surprise and delight when I opened up this blog today and discovered my 'followers' had jumped to 5. Yup - FIVE. Don't I just feel the best !!

I began to check up on my new followers and discovered the blogspot. Okay - I did say I was new at the game. And I didn't say I was the sharpest pencil in the box.

Again - Holy Doodle!!

I found one of my pieces of artisan jewellery pictured among some really amazing 'stuff' and it didn't look out of place. OOOOOOO I do feel good.

Thanks, you eSMArt-ies you.

Now, how can I live up to their example? I have to find a way.

Check out some of their sites: you won't be sorry. The 'stuff' moves from fabric to jewellery to paper to ... Now's the time to start your Christmas shopping and where better than in the comfort of your own home at your own computer with your own coffee, tea or hot chocolate steaming in the mug beside you.

If you don't know what to get for Great Auntie Jewel or Uncle Neddie, these Etsy stores will offer you some suggestions. And, of course, a gift certificate is the receiver's gift of choosing exactly what s/he wants. Perfect for that mother-in-law who returns everything you have ever given her.

Artisan jewellery is somewhere between Estate Jewellery and Tiffany's Fifth Avenue. It is the estate jewellery of the future. And you can find some pretty spectacular items in the Etsy Shops.

Well, that's what I think. Helene...