Saturday, July 16, 2011

Some new-ish work

Black Beauty
Somebody remind me again why I decided six months ago that it would be a good idea to (a) launch an online store, (b) start a blog, (c) continue going to graduate school and (d) keep my full-time day job.

I finished several pieces in time for the crafts show last month, but haven't had time to take photos until today.

Above is the first beaded rope that I have made entirely on a marudai, not a handheld foam disk thingy. It was inspired by this necklace, which was made on a foam disk thingy. That piece had so many admirers that I knew I wanted to made more versions of it.

The previous necklace, as explained in the April post, was made in two parts. My original plan was to make this new necklace long enough that I could simply tie it into a square knot, lariat-style.

It's plenty long, but the knot proved clunky. So I decided to simply join the necklace by adding a slider made with Czech fire polish in a simple right-angle weave band.

Here are some closeups, but I must say the silver-lined beads are so glittery that they make this piece hard to photograph well:

One of the reasons I wanted to learn to use the marudai is because everyone said braiding went so much faster on the stand than on a foam disk, because you move both hands at once. That's true for textile braids, as I learned in the kumi workshop I took, but when you're making an eight-strand braid and dropping a bead at every turn, it's less so. You can try to move two strands at once, but you have to make sure the beads "catch"--i.e., that they're in the proper position at the point of braiding so that subsequent strands lock them into place. For me, that translated into dropping one of the tama (bobbins) at almost every turn to poke the bead into place with my finger. 

I'm sure I'll get faster with practice. Eventually, I'd love to take a kumi workshop that focuses specifically on beaded braids so that I can make jewelry like the amazing Adrienne Gaskell (which probably means, duh, taking a class from her. I've been eying her touring schedule for months to see if she's coming anywhere near me.)

And here's a non-kumihimo project--a Cellini spiral necklace that I blogged about back in April. It was going to be my donation to a silent auction at my daughter's high school, but it was taking so damn long I was afraid I wouldn't finish in time. 

Golden Glow

At the crafts fair last month, this was the bling on my table that stopped people in their tracks and made them come over to stroke it, squeeze it, study it to see how it was made. (But no one bought it.) 

I made matching earrings using some clever findings from Fire Mountain Gems-- tiny perforated beading disks that fit into post earring findings. They, too, had admirers (including my daughter), but no takers. 

They remind me of fireworks--so much so that I had planned to post a pic of them on the 4th of July. But Hell already has enough roads leading to it that are paved with good intentions, so I'll take a detour.

I've completed some other pieces as well, but these were all I had time to photograph and list in my Artfire shop. (And the next task on my to-do list is to to figure out why my pics look so dark and crappy on ArtFire. They look better on my blog. Are there otherArtFire artists out there who can solve this riddle for me?)

I know that learning to take great photos of jewelry is an art in itself. This blog has already made me a better photographer. (Lesson 1: Turn off the flash. Lesson 2: Find the macro setting on your camera. Lesson 3: Clear your local Target's shelves of daylight-spectrum lightbulbs and commandeer every small lamp in your house when attempting to take photos with no natural light available.) See?


  1. Beautiful!!!! I only have the foam disk, but I do like the repetitive nature of the work. Where did you take your class??? It sounds like great fun!

  2. Your works are great,but I love the first one!! I think it's not simple to work beads with the kumihimo disk but your works are perfect!!!!


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