Basket Exhibit

Today was the opening reception for the invitational basket show I was in and it went well...two of my baskets were sold and a couple of the other artists also had sales...not bad for an afternoon that started out very wet then ended in a lovely sunset.
I worked on the 8th basho piece a bit earlier this afternoon, but I'll really work on it tomorrow...the fish pin is on hold as I think it may need something, but what that may be isn't coming to mind just now. I'll give it a few days and then finish it...
I'll have to remember tomorrow is April Fool's Day...



Thanks to andrea from coloring outside the lines for posting this cool slide on her blog...

Basho - First 7


Mo Better, I think...

I like this one much better...I still have to do the finishing and put a pin back on it, but it's almost done.


Belated Birthday

Wow, time flies! I just had my first "birthday" on blogger...my first post was march 25th, 2006...and this is my 160th post!


I Don't Think So...

The beaded bezel covers too much and since the cab back wasn't flat (has a slight curve), I also had to net it a bit...and I don't like it.
Next move is to drill a couple of small holes and sew it on...then I can just outline it with beads (like in the last post) and won't have to cover up any of the front of it.
Any opinions?


Back to Work

Started the 8th Basho piece, Unganji, and am beading a carved bone salmon cab this week.


Tiny Baskets

I'm done with baskets for a while...I have a dozen and one to spare and all of them together will take up less space than one "regular" basket, so hopefully, they will show them all.


My first bottle cap pincushion

A special thanks to jen segrest for posting a how-to tutorial on flickr for her darling little bottle cap pin cushions. I've been wanting one tiny enough to fit in my bead box and this is it. It certainly would have never occurred to me to make one like this...kudos to her generosity and cleverness!
Of course, being a beader, I had to add a couple of beads for the birdies eyes and a tiny glass ladybug bead...
Here's the URL for the tutorial on flickr...



A Weekend's Work

Doesn't look like much, does it! (that's a rhetorical question, by the way...;)


Glass drop basket

I made this one with the larger size 8 beads and the drops made by myuki with a few 11's for sizing...the actual color was just about impossible to catch, as it's a kind of soap bubble color in the sun, but it loses all the AB in the photo when the color is correct....maybe I need a better camera!


Kurobane done...

Number 7 is done...I may start #8 tonight. I'm not having a lot of luck with baskets since my hands still aren't quite up to what my mind sees...

This morning's view...

I slipped a couple of tiny pearls in....can you see them?


And yesterday's progress...

5 Things about me and beads...

Lonebeader tagged me to participate in a meme...apparently I have to state 5 things about me I haven't written about before. I feel the need to change that a bit since this is my beading blog, so I'll list 5 beady things about me...

1. My first remembered exposure to beads was as a Bluebird in grade school....the bluebirds were part of the Campfire Girls organization, and you got brightly colored wooden beads in different shapes for doing all sorts of tasks and activities.

2. My second encounter with beads came in college, where I made myself a few simple necklaces with japanese seed beads.

3. Next I took up macrame in the early 70's and used some lovely ceramic beads as embellishment to my wall pieces.

4. In the late 80's, a friend of a friend came to visit from california and had some pretty crystals she'd peyote'd around and then strung on lovely necklaces with bead stars, hearts and other neat shapes. I'd never seen these kind of beads before (and couldn't find any locally at that time) but I did buy a book and learned how to peyote around a small crystal. I made a few of those necklaces and then my interest died.

5. Early 90's....I quit smoking and needed to find something to do evenings, so I visited our local bead shop and tried peyote again...this time around tiny perfume bottles. And this time the hook was firmly set...no matter how I wriggled I couldn't get loose and I've been hooked on beading ever since!

(not) The End (just the beginning!)


Further along the way...

Got a bit more done today...even after all these years of beading, it still sometimes surprises me at how long it takes to do what seems like a minimum of beadwork.



I'm finding that before I start each piece, I read all of the translations I have, even though my favorite translator is Sam Hamill....it's nice to have a fuller feeling about each place. And to see it from many different eyes.

Station 7 - Kurobane

I arrived safely at the town of Kurobane, and visited my friend, Joboji, who was then looking after the mansion of his lord in his absence. He was overjoyed to see me so unexpectedly, and we talked for days and nights together. His brother, Tosui, seized every opportunity to talk with me, accompanied me to his home and introduced me to his relatives and friends. One day we took a walk to the suburbs. We saw the ruins of an ancient dog shooting ground, and pushed further out into the grass-moor to see the tomb of Lady Tamamo and the famous Hachiman Shrine, upon whose god the brave archer, Yoichi, is said to have called for aid when he was challenged to shoot a single fan suspended over a boat drifting offshore. We came home after dark.

I was invited out to the Komyoji Temple, to visit the hall in which was enshrined the founder of the Shugen sect. He is said to have travelled all over the country in wooden clogs, preaching his doctrines.

Amid mountains mountains of high summer,
I bowed respectfully before
The tall clogs of a statue,
Asking a blessing on my journey.


And finished.

Before I start on the next one, I'm going to try to make a couple more baskets for the show next month...maybe a little larger ones this time.



Basho #6, Nasu, is started....

A friend was living in the town of Kurobane in the province of Nasu. There was a wide expanse of grass-moor, and the town was on the other side of it. I decided to follow a shortcut which ran straight for miles and miles across the moor. I noticed a small village in the distance, but before I reached it, rain began to fall and darkness closed in. I put up at a solitary farmer's house for the night, and started again early next morning. As I was plodding though the grass, I noticed a horse grazing by the roadside and a farmer cutting grass with a sickle. I asked him to do me the favor of lending me his horse. The farmer hesitated for a while, but finally with a touch of sympathy in his face, he said to me, 'There are hundreds of cross-roads in the grass-moor. A stranger like you can easily go astray. This horse knows the way. You can send him back when he won't go any further.' So I mounted the horse and started off, when two small children came running after me. One of them was a girl named kasane, which means manifold. I thought her name was somewhat strange but exceptionally beautiful.

If your name, Kasane,
Means manifold,
How befitting it is also
For a double-flowered pink.

By and by I came to a small village. I therefore sent back the horse, with a small amount of money tied to the saddle.



I'm starting to put the stations (pieces) in order...reading from top to bottom, left to right and then up from the bottom in the second column...the fifth one isn't quite done, but I wanted to see where it fit best...



I guess my last series before I began the basho pieces was the Diane Briegleb faces. I've always loved hands and faces and I had some of diane's wonderful ceramic faces that had been waiting for the right moment. I started with a really large piece and then this was the last one I did. Still have a few set aside for the next inspiration.
I think that pretty much brings my creative bead history up to date...I hope some of you folks reading here will be inspired to share a bit of your creative history too?

A Little Side Road

After the guardian spirits I began teaching beginning beadwork at our local bead shop. I've always admired the gals who could develop their own designs and ideas but didn't really think that was something I'd ever be able to do.
However, I was working on a tubular herringbone piece and someone mentioned that one end of it looked a bit like a seahorse...hey, they were right. So I played around a bit and came up with a pattern for a seahorse...loosely speaking....since I never make them quite the same twice. Same general process, but with differences.
Here's the first few I did...


Yet More Milestones

My next level came when I decided I needed to add an element of spirituality to my work. I'm not into organized religion, but I do feel that there is more to reality than just the physical and I wanted to incorporate some of my feelings about that into my pieces.
By this time, I was totally loving bead embroidery and hand images have always been special to me, so ultimately I came across the hamsa hand from the middle east...a stylized hand image that's been used in the middle east for hundred of years. In the more traditional hamsa hand, there is an eye in the palm (to ward off evil) and although I like the protective aspect of the hamsa, I decided to make my hand into a "doll" by adding a face and hands, some literal and some iconic. But the shape always stays the same. When I had a number of them done, I began to call them "guardian spirits"...and as I worked on them, I tried to infuse them with peace and love and healing.
Here is one of my guardian spirits and you can see earlier ones on my webpage, if you like.

More Milestones

After finishing the head, I took the lessons I'd learned from it and did a couple of years of RAW jewelry, most of it using vintage nailheads and charlottes or truecuts (when the size 11 "charlottes" came out, I was delighted!).
In 2002 I saw a retrospective done by a friend of ours who is a visual artist who works mainly on paper and was just so blown away by it that I went into a funk and let my doubts get the upper hand. You know...that little voice that says things like, "who do you think you are?" and "your work is no good and neither are you"....that voice that we all have to ignore to get anything done at all.
After I managed to mute it a bit, I got to thinking about what it would take to make my beadwork 'art' and I decided that for me, concept combined with technical skill would be the way to go. So, all I needed was a concept...yeah, right! That was easy...NOT! But, I finally was gifted by the universe with the idea to do beaded hand portraits of my friends who did beadwork. I asked 11 of them to make me an outline of their non-dominant hand, I took those simple outlines and reduced them 50% and used the reduction to cut out pellon-backed, commercial cotton fabric hands. Each fabric was chosen to represent not only the individual beader but their own personal style. So it was a portrait of both them and their work. It took me over a year to finish them but when I had 13, which I called, "A Beader's Dozen", they went into an exhibit I did with several other friends in 2003. I was fortunate enough to have an image of 5 of the hands used on the exhibit postcard, so I still have a lot of wonderful postcards with the hands on them.
Here's one of the hands...this is Cat, a wonderful painter and doll artist who uses beads in her doll costumes...there are a few more photos on my website of some of the other hands if you'd like to see more.
And this is the image used on the postcards.


I was thinking of robin's comment about how each time you work on something beyond your skill and/or comfort level, you eventually achieve that level, although it may take a while...it sure did for me!
I thought I'd post a few of the milestones in my beading life...
I started beading seriously (like every day or close to it) in 1991. Of course, I'd done some beadwork in campfire girls and as a teen, but I'd do a bit and then go on to something else.
In 1991 we had just moved back to the coast (in Oregon) and I was working as a graphic designer/typesetter for a local printer. I had been making and showing computer/digital art for several years, but I found that I couldn't work all day at the computer and then come home and make art on it for another few hours, so I shifted to something totally different and started doing beadwork. I was extremely lucky to find an awesome beading group here, due to the efforts of two older gals, Deon DeLange and Jeanne Bard. Deon had written several books on brick stitch and was about to open a store of her own in a small town about 15 miles south of us, and Jeanne had opened a bead store, a few years before I started beading, in the town I now live in. Between the two of them, there was a really large group of very good beaders for such a sparsely populated area. This is when I started beading in 1991.
I started with the peyote stitch, since I wanted to bead around three dimensional things (like tiny perfume bottles) and I made a bunch of them, using mostly size 12 3-cuts, so they were very sparkly...I was hooked!
Not too long after that I saw some of don pierce's loomwork and was introduced to delicas for the first time. I started making simple peyote bracelets with delicas and when I had a bunch, I took them down to one of our many local galleries and submitted them. I was really thrilled when they decided to carry my bracelets and I made my first sales fairly quickly.
I kept on learning new stitches and using more types of beads, but I was still just doing off-loom stitches. I took a class from don, but the loomwork just didn't hook me in the way the off-loom work did.
I was really happy when I saw the first book or article (can't remember which) on freeform peyote, because it meant I could use different sizes and types of beads on the same piece...freedom!
Then in 1995 I saw a piece of david chatt's work and decided I needed to learn right angle weave. I contacted david and asked if he would teach a class down here and he told me his terms and I organized a 4-day workshop and learned to do 3-D RAW...neat!
Somewhere around 1998, a couple of friends took Nan C Meinhardt's master class, a whole year of meetings and classes that aimed to put the gals who took it to a new level in their work. As I couldn't begin to afford the thousand dollar tuition, I decided to give myself a master class and I choose RAW to work in. I wanted to do something that would really challenge me and something that I hadn't seen done. So, I got an almost full size glass head and decided to bead it. The concept was that we are all alike under the skin, so I decided to divide it into 4 visual quarters...one representing white, one black, one yellow and one brown-skinned people. It took me two years to finish (and I don't know how many beads!)....I used charlottes - a detail bead people will appreciate! - on the base and all sorts of fun beads for the hair, including a bunch of tiny dentalia shells for the brown-skinned quarter. I have to say the piece itself was both a success and a failure, with the success far outweighing the failure. I didn't solve all the technical problems but the whole piece itself was just one long 2-year learning experience and I certainly felt I'd "mastered" RAW by the time I was done! Shortly afterward I began making jewelry using RAW, with charlottes and 3mm nailheads, which is probably still to this day, the most beautiful work I've ever done. It was a great time!
Here's a couple of pics of the head...it was loaned to a couple of friends who smoked and some of the dentalia shells turned a bit brown, but I like to think it just adds patina to the piece!



I got some new nailheads today and thought they'd make good rocks around the pool at the foot of the waterfall...

Basho #5 - Nikko

This is the beginning of the fifth piece, which I'll work on today and then I think I'll take the first 4 parts and see how well they hang together and if I can get some idea of how to put them all together...I've never made a traditional quilt, but this seems like it will be sort of like putting quilt pieces together...of course, these pieces already have an order, so it will be more like retrofitting, I think.