Monday, December 29, 2008
Even though the big holiday crunch is over, I've managed to retain my ambition regarding projects. I've got several of them in progress, so I've decided that Mondays will be Works In Progress day.
I made a lariat out of the autumn leaf bead that I posted about earlier - the first lariat I've ever made - and after test driving it, I've decided to make several more. I raided my stash of leaf beads and pulled out a few that I think will look nice. The problem will be getting good pix of them. Here's the first one I'm working on. The colors in this piece are beautiful but very subtle. I put the piece on my scanner, but the colors just don't show up well. The leaf bead is a mixture of gray, amber, and some very subtle hints of blue. The veins are black, and the leaf has a few smatterings of fine silver dots. The bead above it is a mixture of blue and deep olive green, encased in clear with a few very faint blue lines around the circumference. The body of the lariat is done with various sizes of seed beads in rootbeer, iris peacock, silver, charcoal, light sage, and transparent aqua with a greenish cast to the center.
I must be in a neutral mood these days - the second piece in progress is done in very similar colors but I'm thinking about livening it up with a bold splash of red. This will be a short necklace, and I'm thinking about attaching this center piece to a chain rather than beading the whole piece. We'll see how it goes... Along with my leaf and accessory beads, I've included some Czech glass leaves, a few wired coral beads, and some wired labradorite beads. I can't wait to test drive this one! I think it will look fabulous with a "little black dress".
Earlier today I was looking at the Etsy Treasury that was used to create the front page I happened upon, and when I hit the big blue arrow to go back to the Treasury I saw that it had come from Treasury West. I also saw that the blue box was just about to appear, so I managed to create another treasury. Here's my latest curation in Treasury West.
And now I'm off to work on these jewelry projects so that I can finish them up and get them into my Etsy store. Hope you all have a creative day!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I actually started writing this post on Tuesday, and while I was in the middle of it I got the Treasury "blue box" on Etsy. Here's the treasury I put together. I thought that tranquility would be a nice subject for the holidays.
I just finished making 2 loaves of pear bread, 4 dozen oatmeal scotchies (cookies), cranberry orange bread, 4 dozen cranberry oatmeal pecan cookies, and a really tasty salmon spread to go with the brie, goat cheese, pate, and roasted red bell peppers with cream cheese. I'll be serving all that up Christmas afternoon - anyone want to stop by for a snack? C'mon down! We no longer exchange Christmas gifts, I just do a lot of cooking and baking and have folks over for food and conversation. We all like that much better.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Of course, I found the perfect fabrics for the "background" of my little village - how could I NOT in this pile of stuff?
So now I can finish up my decorating while I'm listening to my Afro Celts CDs. These folks are wonderful - in fact, I put together an Etsy Treasury that was influenced by their song "Rise Above It". You can hear this song on YouTube HERE. And check out an Afro Celts performance featuring Johnny Kalsi (Dhol Foundation) HERE - wild! Anyhow, I was on the torch the other day listening to "Rise Above It", and I started dreaming up this treasury. I caught the blue box last night, so here it is.
I really enjoy putting treasuries together - I always find new artists to add to my list of favorites. And, of course, it's always a thrill when I see the gold star in the list of treasuries. Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers has a great idea. Whenever she is featured in someone's treasury - which happens very often, her work is gorgeous! - she displays that treasury, then displays an item from the treasury curator's shop that she likes. Perhaps I'll borrow her idea and show more treasuries on my blog. I'm a hopeless treasury addict!
OK, I'm off to finish my decorating - then it's time for a cappucino break. Happy Sunday to you all!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
OK, all you folks who live in 4-season locations have no sympathy for me, I know - BUT... Since having moved to the San Francisco Bay Area 30-some-odd years ago, my blood has thinned considerably. So this arctic blast we're getting is doing a number on me. I was putting trash out last night and by the time I got inside, my nightly blueberry tea ritual was more appealing than ever! We've got snow all over the Bay Area. Check it out in the pix posted on SFGate. I'm particularly fond of this one in the Carmel Valley - that's a bit south of me, and snow is very unusual there as well.
Snow in Carmel Valley
Now I'm tempted to load my fur kids into the car and haul them off to the hills to see this strange white stuff we call snow. To my knowledge (they're both rescue pups), they've never seen it before. This could be fun - but it'll have to wait until tomorrow, I'm going to be cooking up a batch of beef stew before I go teach my class tonight. They're probably just as happy where they are. After I finished my breakfast this morning I went back into the bedroom to make the bed, and there was Peanut - playing in the snow was not on HER agenda...
And Niki is STILL in her "waiting for the mail to come" spot in our front room...
Once again, tonight is the last night of my latest 4-session Beadmaking 2 class. This one went by so quickly - we had classes 2 nights a week rather than one so we wouldn't bump into the holidays. So we'll be doing some complex twisties, floral cane, and applying flowers to beads. This has been such a fun class - I'm really glad that these students have joined our SGB Norcal group! I'm bringing my camera with me tonight for sure.
I'll probably be making more "color of the year" demo beads tonight. Yesterday I did pull out some of my yellow glass, but I noticed that I had a leaf sitting on my work table - a real one sent to me by the wife of an old college buddy of mine from Connecticut. Rather than do a bunch of yellow beads as I had intended, I made a leaf with my yellow glass layered with several other colors. I think I'll send this leaf bead to my friend who sent me the real deal. She'll get a surprise for sure! Here's the real deal along side of my leaf bead. It was a real challenge keeping this one from cracking without overheating it, but it was fun. I'll be doing more of these for sure!
And now I'm off to the kitchen to get my stew going. I have to leave for class in 2 hours - yikes! Have yourselves a warm and cozy evening!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Doesn't it figure?! Pantone has chosen Mimosa as the color of the year for 2009. Here's a swatch from them - and you can read the associated article HERE.
Why do I say, "doesn't it figure?!"? Well... I love yellow. It makes me feel good. It warms me up when I have the chills. It was my late dad's favorite color and the color of my very first car (yeah, he helped me pick out the car...). Pantone says, "Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation." And face it, I can use all the sparks of imagination I can get. But... I cannot wear yellow! I look absolutely horrible in yellow. With my skin tones, yellow makes me look very sickly. Now THIS makes me very sad, since I love this color. So I have to find other ways to get my "yellow fix".
The other day I created a Treasury in Etsy based on Mimosa, the upcoming color of the year. In fact, I called it "Pantone COLOR OF THE YEAR". Of course, I had to put some punch into it so I jazzed it up with yellow's complement and a bit of green. My inspiration for this treasury came from that gorgeous crocheted necklace made by "aysetugrul". Check out all of her wonderful creations!
Once in awhile I make beads with yellow glass. A few years ago I made some leaves in a combination of sage green, purple, and yellow - the colors of Mardi Gras. It was an accident - I thought I was using a rod of amber glass and boy, was I surprised when the leaves came out of the kiln the next morning - not amber, but yellow! They turned out to be some of my most popular leaves, too - who knew?! I think I tend to stay away from this glass because of the fact that I can't wear yellow - and because the various opaque yellow glass colors tend to boil easily. But from time to time I "break out of my 9 dots" and make something yellow. Here are a few beads I've done recently on a base of yellow, or actually yellows (no, I can't make a base bead in a single color) - before I knew that yellow was going to be big in 2009. Both of these beads are on sale in my Etsy shop - Jumping Jack Glass. I'm starting to get myself into a mood to make more yellow beads, which is very unusual for me. Perhaps tomorrow...
Quite some time ago, I hauled out my size 5 triangles and made a peyote stitch bracelet in shades of yellow and amber. This one, I embellished with one of my lampwork leaf beads, my lampwork branch bead, and other assorted goodies. It's rather weighty, but I really like the feel of something substantial on my wrist.
Here's the bracelet - I think there will be more of these in my future!
Speaking of yellow, I'm teaching session 3 of my "Beadmaking 2" class tonight, and it seems that my students really like the "yellow apricot" glass. I like it a lot as well - it's my favorite new demo color. For the longest time, I made all my demo beads with "periwinkle". I donate all my demo beads to Beads of Courage, and I decided that the kids needed something other than periwinkle beads so now they get sunny happy yellow beads. So it looks like I'll be making more "color of the year" beads this evening. Perhaps tomorrow when I work in my own studio, I'll pull out all my yellows and see what I can mix up.
Now everyone's probably yellowed out for today. And it's time for me to get ready to go to class, so I'll leave you on a sunny note. Have a wonderful evening!
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Several of you folks have signed up for my newsletter over the years and I've had a horrible time with my emails. Folks just don't get them, so my newsletters only reach some of the people on my list. I've decided that for now, no more newsletters. What does that mean? Well, I'll be putting all of the information that would have gone into my newsletter here in my blog. If you'd like to get up-to-the-minute (or at least up-to-the-week) news about Jumping Jack Glass, just subscribe to my blog and you'll be able to know what's happening before it actually happens! No more missing my shows due to lack of communication. No more missing out on bead specials. And you can actually sign up for my classes before they're full!
Well, tomorrow, I absolutely HAVE to make beads! So perhaps you'll get to see pix of what comes out of the kiln. In the mean time, I'll leave you with a work in progress. Here's a bracelet I started the other day. I haven't decided what kind of clasp I'm going to make for it - I'm still deciding whether or not I like the components the way they are. I got these 2 chunks of coral at the Intergem show over Thanksgiving weekend, I made the hollow bead (yep, it's hollow) a long time ago, and the round stone is "African Turquoise", which is actually Jasper. Any comments? Suggestions? Should I rearrange it? Go back to the drawing board? I'd love your input, I'm just not sure about this one. I do love the "chunkiness" of it, though.
Until next time...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
By now you're probably wondering what I'm talking about regarding the elliptical machine and the torch. I'm going to point you to a film that'll explain it all. It's a 15-minute video - if you turn up your sound, you'll have an "almost like being there" cultural experience along with the visual information.
Felt Maker In Iran - a Dying Breed
Perhaps the "little man" who comes in late in the film will continue the tradition. It's a shame to see these old world arts die out. It's also wonderful to know that folks like the Raissnias are trying to revitalize felt making in Iran.
Here's my work in progress - it needs to shrink down about 20% before it's wearable. With nuno felting, the process has to be slow and gentle because you felt the wool into a silk chiffon base. If you felt it too quickly, the wool will felt to itself before it has a chance to come through the silk. This is the second scarf I've made, or I should say "will have made" - I'm not there yet. I was really pleased with my first one and decided to continue with this very time-consuming process. For this peacock-colored scarf here it took me many hours over 3 days just to dye the silk chiffon and then lay out the fibers. It was like painting a picture with fine tufts of wool and silk. I already have my next scarf planned in my head and I've made some wool "components" for it.
Felting is such a nice change from bead making - I can actually touch it while I'm creating it! Touch a glass bead while you're creating it in the torch and it will be an experience you'll never forget. Trust me, I know...
So now I'm off to fill my bucket with warm soapy water and begin the rolling process. Hopefully I'll still have enough arm muscle left to make beads tomorrow - I have a few orders to fill before Christmas, as well as make something to put into our annual SGB Norcal holiday party silent auction. All proceeds from this auction go to the Beads of Courage program.
And in case you're wondering, SGB Norcal is the Society of Glass Beadmakers of Northern California. We have around 100 members and meet once a month for chit chat, watching and giving demos, sharing food, and general camaraderie. If you are interested in glass bead making and would like to join our group, just give me a holler - I happen to be in charge of membership.
Now to go play with wool... Have a wonderful rest-of-the-weekend!
Friday, November 28, 2008
My stepdaughter Alison brought over the fixings for her "annual pumpkin cheese cake" and put it together in our tiny cramped kitchen. She employed the assistance of her friend Rob - gosh, I love seeing a guy working in the kitchen.
While the cooking was happening, we got a phone call from my stepson Adam, who lives up in Portland (OR) with his lovely wife Ines. Gosh, we sure miss them! Alison couldn't pass up an opportunity to chat, and she's great at multi-tasking...
So today is Black Friday and I've decided to help some of my favorite vendors get into the black today. No, I won't be Christmas shopping - I'll be heading over to the International Gem & Jewelry Show to replenish some of my jewelry supplies. I have a show coming up in February and I'm completely out of some components that I need. So I'll go fight the crowds - yeeha!
Here's what I'll be dealing with later this afternoon...
And then tonight I'll start making more jewelry, yeah! I have so many rocks in my stash it's crazy!
Speaking of Black Friday, I've put every item in all 3 of my Etsy shops on sale today! If you're out there shopping in cyber-land, come and see! I have all of my beads on sale at Jumping Jack Glass, my jewelry is on sale at Shirley Cook designs, and my fiber art is on sale at Flames & Fiber.
Tomorrow I'll be heading down to the Kaleid Gallery in San Jose to help put up our glass ornament installation. This is a show/sale put on by the San Jose Glass Artist Alliance. We're installing ornaments to cover a 60-foot wall! I can't wait to see it completed - that's an amazing number of ornaments. I'll definitely bring my camera for that event.
So I'm off to fight the crowds, and maybe I'll come home with a few unexpected treasures. How fun is that?!
Have a productive Friday, everyone!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
On the first night of this class, I gave a demo of making a plain donut-shaped bead. I don't teach bead decorations on the first night but I always decorate my plain beads with at least some dots here and there. I told my students why - it's because I donate all my class demo beads to the Beads of Courage program. I want the kids to get a bead that's "happy". If you aren't familiar with this wonderful program, please click on the link above and check it out.
Anyhow, I noticed that one of my students was listening to my talk about Beads of Courage with rapt attention. I also noticed that she had no hair and was wearing a head wrap. Last week I had a little chat with her about her cancer treatment, and decided that even though she isn't a "kid with cancer", going through this kind of experience definitely requires courage and she needs to have a purple heart for making it through the end of her treatment. Her course of treatment isn't finished yet - the radiation treatments are yet to come. I can't even imagine what she's facing, and I wholeheartedly applaud her for attitude and courage. She told me she wants to get better at making beads so she can make purple hearts for the kids in the Beads of Courage program. Wow!
Well, here's to you, Caren - I hope you like your purple heart bead!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Speaking of twisties, here's a group of "twisties" - the Flame Dames! This picture showed up in the latest issue of "Profitable Glass Quarterly" and was taken by Greg Fuchs at the ISGB Gathering in Oakland, CA in August. Holy cow - we are now famous. Yep, I said "we" - I'm one of the dames. Now that's REALLY twisted!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I'm a new member of the San Jose Glass Artists Alliance, co-founded by Janett Peace, who is one of my fellow instructors at the Bay Area Glass Institute. When Janett saw my glass leaves, she asked me if I would make several for the ornament show/sale and, of course, I said I'd be delighted! Unfortunately, this was only a few weeks ago. And then suddenly, everyone wanted to buy my leaves and I've been selling bunches of them. Since I only have about 15 left to put into the show, I need to step it up - 15 would be a very meager showing on the 60-foot wall that will contain all of our ornaments! Then last night when I went to bed I got thinking (now THAT's dangerous!)... perhaps I should make other things as well as leaves. But my first deadline is in 2 days, so that doesn't leave me much time to be creative. Let's see... snowmen... gingerbread people... snowflakes... I don't even make these things in glass! Well, why not?
Now I'm thinking about way back when I first moved out here to California - 1974! The company I worked for hired a new graphic artist named Heidi, and Heidi and I became good friends rather quickly. So good, in fact, that she was my maid of honor several years later - and I was her matron of honor (matron... now THERE's an unpleasant-sounding word) two years after that. So back to the ornament thing... Heidi the artist - as opposed to her friend Shirley (me) the software geek - thought it would be fun to make Christmas ornaments out of bread dough. She got the recipe, invited me over, and we spent an entire day and evening in her little 800-sq. foot apartment molding, sculpting, baking, and painting ornaments. I was amazed at how well mine turned out considering that I had absolutely no artistic ability. There was a snowman, of course, and a dog with floppy ears and a big bow around his neck, a camera for my hubby (he's a professional photog), and a few other things I can no longer remember. Heck, if I could get creative back in my geek days I think I should be able to come up with a few things today. Thanks, Heidi, for bringing back some great memories and being my muse today!
I'm also thinking about my time in Italy at the beginning of 2006. I took a glass sculpture class with the world-famous glass maestro Lucio Bubacco. Perhaps I could draw from that experience today - try to relive the feeling of being in his studio in Murano, ready to start another day at the torch. Wow, now THERE's a great memory!
Here are a few pictures my friend Janice took from that class. I'm the mesmerized one in the pink sweater. Wow, Lucio is absolutely amazing! If I can recapture that experience even just a little, I think I will have a successful day in the hot shop. Perhaps tomorrow you'll get to see some of my creations. Wish me luck!
Monday, November 17, 2008
I now have 3 stores on Etsy. I decided to sell my creations that way because they fall into 3 categories. First and foremost are my beads. I still love working at the torch, and I teach lampworking at the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI) in San Jose, CA. My second Etsy shop is devoted to my work with fiber - a new love of mine that started in February of this year. I love mixing my glass work with my fiber work, and it's gotten rave reviews! And lastly is my jewelry shop. This is where I sell the wearables that I create with beads of all kinds - my lampwork, stones, pearls, wood, other glass, precious metals, etc. etc.
So now that you know a little of what I've been up to here, I'm going to go rejuvenate - i.e., get some sleep! - so I can spend a long day at the torch. There's an ornament show coming up at Kaleid Gallery in San Jose, and I'm making glass leaves to sell in the gallery. Here's one of my glass leaves that's in keeping with the holiday season. I'll be making lots of other kinds of leaves as well. Busy busy...