Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tubular Peyote: Deceptively Simple. Or Is It? With Pictures

At the aforementioned Pasadena Bead Show on August 1, I saw some work done by the President and Vice President of the LA Bead Group. Sorry, don't know their official name. They had made some tubular peyote neck rings and the work was so tight and fine that the rings were nearly rigid. Either that or they had wire inside. The bead weaving was still very tight, though.  Beautiful. Admirable. Something to aspire to.

I wanted to try something similar. So I tried, four times, to start a tubular peyote tube with a lovely golden 15/0 seed bead. Each time I missed my mark on where to step up, and so the entire tube fell into devastation. Clipped it apart, tried again.

On try number 5, I got sick of it and worked each successive round in a different color, one round gold, one round a lovely fuschia purple. This gave the effect of stripes. Not what I wanted, but at least the tube was working. Once I had the tube established, I switched back to all gold. 

For some reason, when starting ANY peyote project, I struggle with the first three rows or rounds, sometimes a few more. This may be common, I'm not sure. I haven't taken and classes to watch anyone else do it, and any online video tutorials make it all look soooo easy. But I really hate that my first rounds are loose and somehow I can never get them as tight as the later work.

The first picture is of the initial tube, with stripes, and then, where I transitioned over to all-gold.  The tube is in two parts because I ended the thread badly without a proper knot, and it just fell into two parts! But I kept going on part 2, first weaving in a purple diamond, then starting a purple spiral to mark where to step up each round.  The picture is hard to see because the gold is so sparkly. 

The second picture is of my first Cellini spiral, from an article in the new Bead & Button, the Cellini Sampler, by Anna Elizabeth Draeger.  While it is a very straightforward tubular peyote stitch, the variation in the size of the beads makes it spiral. With other types of spirals, you have to increase & decrease to get the spiral, but with this one, it's super easy. I figured out the secret is that whatever bead you just sewed through, that's what you pick up. If you just sewed through a color B, pick up a B. If it's a D, pick up a D. And so on. So you always know exactly where you are. 

You would think that the straight tubular peyote would be as simple. For me, it's not. From one end of a round to the other, even if each round is only 5 or 6 beads, I can't count as my mind wanders to other thoughts. And there I am, wondering where the heck I am.

Oh, to be such an expert that starting and continuing on tubular peyote is easy!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Long Time No Update, ETSY!!!

So, what have I been doing, you ask? Or maybe you don't ask. 

In any case, I've been actually beading. Oh, and getting my ducks in a row to get the Etsy store working.

Many ducks, many rows. Needed a new gmail account so I could get a new Paypal account so I could set up the Etsy store. 

Then there were the struggles with the photos. I did find time to do some new pieces.

The first one is Tibetan Silver, coral and turquoise. So is the second one, but with different silver beads. Both are for sale on Etsy. 

I also have some better pictures of my second amber piece and the seaglass necklace. Somewhat better. Still not perfect. If I could get them all to be like that first Tibetan silver piece, I would be ecstatic.
I have some ideas for my next pieces, as well. I bought a ton of small color-graduated tourmaline strands on our last trip to Mendocino. Time to work something up with those. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Testing the emailing of blogger posts with images

Because if this works, I will be able to build this feature into our new software product. I've actually been working on this all along,
developing new features and starting the refinement of the interface.
I've got a marketing meeting next week, as well.

BeadEnCounter, the Software, could be big. I hope it will be!
It might look something like this....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More From Pasadena, Very Productive Weekend!

Several more vendors from the Pasadena Bead Show either caught my eye for future purchases, or had some really great stuff.

First was Out of Our Mines, which had really truly wonderful quality stones. They don't enhance, dye or heat-treat their stones, and have many unique cuts. Quite a selection and the prices are pretty good on the website. Unfortunately, like many other vendors we came across later in the show, we had no budget to buy anything by the time we came to their booth. See what comes of turning left instead of right?

Next was Kate's Treasure, a great collection of exotic beads. Many Tibetan silver/bone/gem combinations. We didn't get anything there, but had fun looking.

And last (for now) is Kochyan Valley, importers of very nice beads. They had a lot of Afghani lapis and other Afghani stones, such as a beautiful olive stone that turned out to be jade from the region. I purchased some lapis strands, both large (12mm) and very tiny heishi, at great prices. Wonderful quality stones, too. I may try out some kumihimo with thin wire to try to replicate a piece I saw at Santa Monica. I'm not too attracted by learning to do either wire crochet or Viking knit, but I love the look.

The weekend was very productive, after my search for findings. I got two necklaces finished, the second amber piece and the ammonite piece with bead embroidery. Both have clasps and are complete now.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit queasy for some reason, and I slept most of the morning. Feeling like I had to get something done, in the early evening I put together a whole necklace, from sea glass, quartz in several forms, African trade beads I found in Mendocino, and a gorgeous silver clasp from Clasp On, Clasp Off.

This one took about three hours, though I had collected and auditioned all the beads beforehand, and had done some tryouts on the order of the stringing. All that helped get it done faster.  Oh, and I tried my hand at wire-wrapping for the first time. I'm sure I did everything wrong, but the necklace itself looks really nice. I'm going to have to wear it a few times to test for wearability and comfort, because I don't want to sell anything that isn't comfortable and well-made.

And that brings me to the latest news. I have gotten my Etsy store registered! I haven't finalized the details of payment & such, nor have I actually listed anything. But the BeadEnCounter store is there! Yay!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Scrounging for Findings, More Bead Stores

Why does it always seem that just as I finish the construction of a piece, I bang my nose on the need for findings? I don't mean the clasp...I generally know which one I want to use when I begin. I mean the bits and bobs you need to attach the whole shebang together. The crimp beads, the crimp covers, cones, or what have you that mostly live behind the neck, and so must be sturdy, comfortable to wear, easy to manipulate, and above all, match the piece and/or the clasp.

I'm always either out of or low on those items. I finished my second amber necklace, and wanted to use the wonderful bronze clasp I'd acquired in Pasadena. Are there bronze findings? No. The best I could do in visiting 2 bead stores and calling another, is antique brass. And for some reason, when you choose that finish, the designers seem to think you want ornate and decorated items. 

I ended up getting a substitute clasp that will accommodate the triple strands of the new amber piece. I will not be using the intended puzzle clasp and will save it for something else. 

Aside from special clasps, though, I wonder how other people go about having enough of what they need on hand as they need it. There are so many types of "finishing bits" that can be used. Do you all just shop as needed for each piece? 

This is really dangerous - to the budget. I spent some time at Pudgy Beads, and got some things I needed. Today I visited Beads Beads and got the rest. But, ahem. I was very good and only bought four inexpensive quartz strands (for the current project, I swear!), and some wire-wrapping wire, other than the findings, and I still spent more than I intended.

Pudgy has a great selection of vintage glass & lucite beads. Their store has wide aisles, and it's easy to maneuver. Not so great in the findings area, but their prices on the wide range of semi-precious are good, and they generally have a nice section of African beads.

Beads Beads is a great big bead store crammed into a tiny space. Much of it, including the back room where they have a large half-price rack, is very difficult to get to for someone in a wheelchair. Luckily, what I needed today was up front. They have an amazing selection of findings in all finishes. I noticed their prices and selection on wire are also great.  And the service couldn't be beat.  I shared part of my visit with a teenage girl, there with her (very patient) father. You could see she was in the first throes of bead fever, and on a seriously restricted budget. Oh, has any decision been agonized over so much?

I suspect she'll be back. So will I.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Few Nuggets from the Pasadena Bead Show

Yes I went. Yes, I tried to limit my spending. Yes, I failed. Though not miserably. Perhaps mildly crankily.

But I saw many many coooool things. Way cool. OooooOOoooh that's cool!  Nifty even.

Some I purchased. Some I merely yearned for. Others I marked for future session of bead-lust.  I think the part I liked best was talking to the folks. All were pleasant, many were complimentary of my amber necklace, which I was wearing (pictured in the previous post). It's always nice to have unsolicited comments. Everyone was willing to take time to socialize, imparting useful information, even if we weren't purchasing at the moment.

Most cool, I think was these clasps, designed by an engineer and an artist. They are very easy to unclasp, yet designed not to do so by accident. And they're beautiful. No gold ones, but they do come in bronze, so you can remove the patina to get a goldish color. The magnetic clasps are wonderful too.  I only got one clasp, as we found this booth late in the show and my budget was blown by then.

I'll be purchasing more as budget allows, though.

I got a few sweet lampworked beads from the ladies at The Glass Studio, and admired but didn't buy any of their cupcake beads. So cute! Their website is apparently not working yet, but they did say that they were opening a retail store, in Highland Park, CA, soon. So keep checking! Very worthwhile to seek out.

Next most favorite was the borosilicate glass in multitudes of shapes and sizes from Unicorne Beads. They must have some busy elves, because their selection is immense. I got a few teardrop beads, which have the colors in the depths, and then a magnifying cover of the clearest borosilicate glass imaginable. Nifty! My dear sweet husband was giving me mixed messages at this booth. He kept finding really cool things and shoving them under my nose and then saying "but don't spend too much!" The booth vendor tried to hire him, his sales technique was so good. 

Of course there were 300 vendors there, so I couldn't spend quality time with more than a fraction. In addition to bead vendors of every variety, there was also a plethora of fabric and wearable art vendors. In my beading frenzy, I only gave most of those a passing look. There was a great selection of finished pieces for inspiration too, of all levels. Several kit vendors. Some metallic clay and glasclay demos, which I wish I'd had more time to see. 

I collected quite a deck of vendor cards, so I'll review some more in another post. It was a quality show!