Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"Ananas" - tutorial now released

Announcing the release of the tutorial for my "Ananas" necklace.

This is the largest tutorial I have so far written - 30 pages with 115 full colour illustrations.

I designed Ananas last year for teaching at Beads by Blanche, New York and it is the second of four designs all made for that teaching gig.

The shapes in the rope remind me of pineapple skin thus the name Ananas.

I hope you enjoy "Ananas"

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Pansyface" - tutorial now released

In March 2016, I shared images of my "Pansyface" necklace
 - one of the four classes I was to teach at Beads by Blanche, New York, in June 2016.

Today I am showing the necklace again as I have released the tutorial from my teaching portfolio.

 So if you are interested in making "Pansyface" - a two sided (reversible) necklace
just click on the large image below or on my Artfire link on the right hand side of my blog.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Introducing "Rio"

My first post this year..........apologies for my tardiness.

Last week I released a new tutorial for a fun necklace and possibly the most colourful 
piece of jewellery I have yet designed.

My inspiration came from watching the Rio Olympic games opening ceremony. 
I remember thinking "look at all that colour they used!! Wow!!!

At the time I was working on a multi-coloured design - using six colours - and was feeling 
a bit ambivalent about it. 
Seeing the Rio colours made me put aside the piece I was working on, choose colours
more like the games and begin again. 

I am glad I did and thus I called this necklace "Rio"

May "Rio" put an end to your winter and a beginning to your Spring.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Introducing "KingStar" - a kitted ornament

Three posts earlier I showed you my collection of Christmas Tree ornaments, 
something I really enjoy designing.
I have designed another and I am pleased to introduce my latest tree ornament for Christmas.
I have named this one "KingStar" as I think it is the best I have made so far.

In the past I have only ever made kits for classes I am teaching. 
This is my first kitted design for immediate release. The kit contains everything needed to make one KingStar.

I have kits already in USA so clients can have a faster delivery and save on postage - go to my ArtFire store - see link on side panel.

I also have kits in Sydney, Australia, for other parts of the world - go to my Etsy store - see link on side panel.

I released the above KingStar kit about a week ago and I am most grateful and thrilled with the response.

Alongside is a colour variation with slight changes to the original design. 
So I wrote a KingStar addendum tutorial - three extra pages - and sent it to all those who bought the kit as a Christmas gift from me to them saying thank you for buying my first kit.

From now on, anyone who buys KingStar will receive tutorial instructions for both.  

I intend having this design in my portfolio for some time and will continue to
make and kit colour variations.
NOTE: the tutorial is NOT available without the kit.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

In another magazine and on the cover too

My latest published design - a pendant called 'Rosette' - first time something of mine is in Bead & Button Magazine and first time my work is on the front cover - only a small image but still the front cover - see the pendant on the bottom left of the cover.

It is very rewarding to finally see your work published and I am thrilled.

This was designed almost 18 months ago, and it takes a very long time for everything to be placed with publishers, tutorial to be written, contracts sorted and signed and then the long wait for it to be published.

You get to the point when you forget about it but when it finally happens it is great.

So, if you would like to check it out you need to get the latest Bead & Button magazine December 2016.

It is a very feminine, pretty pendant, using a Swarovski rivoli, crescents, triangles, and Czech fire polished.

You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Inspiration - what inspires me !

This week my friend Regina Krawets and I went to the NSW Art Gallery to see an exhibition of Frida Kahlo's art, along with some Diego Rivera pieces.

I was very glad I went as in 2008 I visited the San Francisco MOMA to see a Frida Kahlo exhibition and saw a lot of her artworks, so I wanted to see what else was being shown here in Sydney.

This exhibition was more about her life with Diego, having lots of photographs but not a great deal of her paintings. There certainly were things I had not seen before and some lesser known drawings of her early work. I am glad I went.

Frida Kahlo is an artist that really inspires me. I guess it is the ethnicity of her work along with her choice of colours and inclusion of pattern in her artworks. Not to mention her own attire. Her floral hair adornments really inspire my beadwork and I love her quotation. "I paint flowers so they will not die"

I can certainly live by that quote when beading flowers.

Another of my favourite artists is Matisse. In particular a period in his artwork where he depicted a person in a room with colourful backgrounds and lots of pattern, one example being Matisse's "The Red Room."

I have done a drawing of a nude with a Matisse influence (on the right)

If you google Matisse you will find lots of his images and it is obvious I am not the only person he inspires with this period in his artwork.

I then remembered seeing some modern day photographs of models in colourful settings with a Russian ethnicity about them.

These images inspire me enormously. I love their vibrancy of colour and revel in the play of one colour against another colour.
Look at that blue in her dress against the cerise of the wallpaper. Look at the lines of yellow, green, hot pink, blue of the eggs in the foreground. This makes me sigh with awe……Wow !!

I love the inclusion of many patterns as it makes my eye travel around and around the image, noticing not just the model's face but what else is there.

Look at all those patterns in the image on the right - too many? - are your senses overloaded? - are you inspired also? - does it work for you? - are your eyes travelling around and around to take it all in?

Mine are.

Here is another image (on the leftt) with an even greater abundance of pattern to delight in. The colours are not excessively bright. The wallpaper is muted in tone, and yet her apparel more rich and lush in colour. The reds of the skirt make it come alive !!

Having said the above I also find inspiration in an image with more simplicity, like the one on the right. Here we have no pattern, just a reliance on the colours and the image itself. The luscious vibrancy of that red against that blue - the Wow! factor for me - set against the monochrome of the remainder of the picture.

This image looks so tranquil and her expression so pensive,
yet the image is pregnant with the symbolism of the eggs. What symbolism comes to my mind with an egg are

Birth, new life, fertility, new ideas, creation continuing, life goes on, sustenance, hard shell, containment, just to name a few.   If you google "symbolism of an egg in art" you will get a gazillion explanations…….what comes to your mind?

I wanted to share how something as rich as these images influence my own creativity.

Have you found what makes you go "oh…WOW!!"

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Collection of Christmas Ornaments

It is a pleasure to introduce the most recent addition to my Christmas Collection of ornaments - "Starlight so Bright" - above.

I had fun designing this one and was happy to play with the new Swarovski fluoro pink rivoli, combining it with hot pink and orange seed beads.

As usual I like to make more than one and wanted to do something I hadn't done before - an hombre colour palette - different for me and one I will repeat. I hope you like them both.

I thought I would do a much needed blog post and share all the Christmas pieces I have done over the last few years.

These two images are the front and back of my "Anahata" Star. One of my favourites.

Then there is another one I did around the same time in gold, red and green - on the right.

I made these Christmas Trees last year and they have been a tremendous success with customers.

Lastly, my seven point star "Stellar Australis" also successful with customers and continues to sell well each year.

I am sure I will design many more. I have so many ideas in mind and every year we celebrate Christmas.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Gratitude and some soul searching

I have just watched the movie "Julie and Julia" for probably the fifth or sixth time. I do enjoy this movie and the characters are so well played by Meryl Streep and Amy Adams - if you haven't seen it make the effort, it is a "feel good" movie.

As I watched Julie writing her blog, it occurred to me how irregular I have been in my own blog writing. When I first began this blog I went from 29 posts in 2010, to 95 posts in 2012, to only 12 posts in 2014. So far this year I have done 13, certainly an improvement on 2014. I ask myself what happened with my regularity?

I can account for some drop in posts. In 2012 I didn't write tutorials. In 2014 I started writing tutorials.

Writing tutorials takes a great deal of time. Every step for making the beaded item needs to be illustrated, along with the instructions being concisely worded for ease of understanding. It can take a whole week to complete a tutorial. The tutorial for 'Ananas' pictured alongside took me 46 hours to illustrate and write. That is a weeks work for some. And to think I have done all that work and not been paid - at least not been paid yet!!

So writing tutorials takes you away from beading/designing and accounts for some of the drop in my blog postings.

What else has contributed to fewer postings? I look at all the posts in 2012 and notice I was sharing all the items I made as well as sharing the "works in progress".

I no longer share my W.I.P. and the reason being - I was copied ! - before I even had a chance to write the tutorial. That tends to put a sour taste in my mouth and has made me a lot more guarded as to what I share these days. So now I make a design, write a tutorial, then share what I have made - the spontaneity has been taken out of my passion!!  and the passion has been taken out of my spontaneity!!
I am sad this has happened.

I started beading with the idea that maybe I could earn a few extra dollars to subsidise my retirement. I didn't know I would be okay at it, I didn't know I would write instructions for creating my designs and I didn't know these instructions would be sold around the world. I also didn't know I would be in demand to travel and teach.

All these things contribute to a new career for me, one I never expected to be living.….at this late age!!
I know, I know, you are only as old as you feel. I don't feel old, I still feel spritely and have a good outlook on life. I am now approaching 66, an age I expected to be slowing down, an age for pottering around the garden and maintaining my home. Two things that have sadly been neglected for a couple of years.

I have worked for 49 years - that is a lot of working!!

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love beading, I love getting up each morning and I love sitting in the quiet and playing with beads. My love of beading will never change. The dilemma I am facing is "Do I want a new career?" "Do I want my life to speed up when I expected to be slowing down?"

So now that I have poured out my thoughts, I am asking what is the point of this post?

I am wanting to share with those aspiring designers/teachers out there in cyberland that there is a LOT of things to come up against, to learn, to process through, to decide, to consider, to define and a lot more work than I ever expected. Some of it is fantastic, some of it is exhausting and time consuming.

I guess I am trying to communicate that when you fall in love with something that you are passionate about, the Universe supports passion!  I honestly can affirm this. My passion has been supported every step of the way and has brought me to this stage in my life….and a pretty good stage to be in!!

I am most grateful for this journey. I feel the next steps are just beginning. But!! where do I want them to go? How do I want them to be?  Faster or Slower??

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Purchases - Putting Away the New Stash

It has been awhile since I did a post. I had every intention of doing a regular post whilst in the U.S.A. but you get caught up in meeting people and doing other things and my blog gets forgotten.

I returned home just over a week ago and didn't feel like doing anything when I got back. I did a lot of cooking and sitting watching Television, catching up on my favourite shows. I didn't do much TV watching whilst overseas so I enjoyed just doing very little.

It is time to put my bead purchases away - or attempt to find a home for the new stuff !!
I thought I could take pics and share what I bought as I put it away. Every beader loves to see what other beaders pick up in their travels - well I do anyway !!  LOL (click on images to make them larger)

First up are the tubes of seed beads. Mostly colours I already have with a few new colours & sizes. I thought I had better get some red as it is the one colour I don't have much choice in.

The next image (on the right) are packs of beads I have not worked with before. I always like to get a sampling and play with them before buying more.
There are the arcos and minos beads in the foreground (red and turquoise), some new cabochon beads (middle foreground), snap clasps to try, a whole variety of earring packs to see if I like them, silver grey thorns, tiny daisy flowers in purple, pink and a strand of lovely gold, mustard drops I wanted to replenish having already used these before, 2mm pearls, also the new beads in the centre called Ripple Beads. Fun times ahead!

This next image is a kit I bought from Diane Whiting, who showed me how to make a tassel. I bought the kit and while at the show I found some really colourful small tassels, along with antique gold chain tassels. The black tassel is for me to play with but I bought that only yesterday. I think you will be seeing tassels in my future designs. They do seem to be popular at the moment.

Now this image (on the right) is of two textured pieces (not buttons), rivolis and lunasoft cabs I picked up. I like to collect centrepieces. There is also a large rivoli which was a gift from my host, Lorraine. Very generous.

I have quite a large collection of 4mm druk (round) Czech beads. I can never have too many as I use them a lot. Needless to say I bought more whilst at B&B - not shown. The image on the left is of 6mm strands I started collecting. I am putting larger beads in my work more often so I thought I had better start collecting. Well that is my excuse !!

Now alongside (left) are packets of montees as well as cup chain. I have quite a collection of cup chain, I just love taking them out and wrapping them around pieces to see if the colours work. This little grouping will be added to my collection.
I hear they now have 'snag-free' cup chain. Sheeeesh….more to be collected in time.

This image (on right) is a picture of freebies handed out at the show, as well as gifts people gave me in my travels. There are two beads from Patricia Larsen, a great lamp work artist from Hawaii. Also that orange ball in the centre - that is a foam ball holding pins with A,B,C,D,E….etc on the pins. The idea is to stick these pins into your bead mat to mark the beads for when reading a tutorial - a great idea I think.

Next (on left) is an image of some lamp work beads I bought. I don't do a lot of designing with lamp work beads, but it is never too late to start. I really like the mushroom shaped orange ones. The purple pieces are vintage lily and flower shapes. I may work these into a design one day. Also the bangle blanks are for experimentation in the future, never having tried these before either.

I did buy some practical things. Two small storage boxes, a pack of wax which is great to use and a new tool I had not seen before. It is called an awl, you use it to unpick your work. I was using a sewing unpicker, but you run the risk of cutting your thread and have to be mindful where the blade is when using it. This awl is not sharp so it does the unpicking beautifully. Fast becoming my favourite tool. Naturally I bought quite a few, gifts for my friends, one in US and some here in Australia.

This next pick (left) is a gift I received. The carry case, small bead-on-it-board plus a box of orange and gold beads for me to create something was so generous. As you can see I have already started working on the tear drop centrepiece. Missing from this pic are four tubes of seed beads as I put those in the first pick top left.

The last image is of a variety of colours in the new cabochon beads - I bought these from ACL Patterns and More, from my friend Aurelio Castano and Edwin Batres. Also a whole lot of sew on Swarovski crystals and Heather Kingsley-Heath's book on Albion Stitch, which I naturally had her autograph for me.

I think I did alright in the purchasing stakes, I have put some of it away as I took the pics but there are still a lot of new things I have no place for as yet. Isn't it always the way?

I have collected these items for me to play with. I still have not wrapped my head around purchasing larger quantities for kitting as yet. That will be next me thinks !!