Friday, January 24, 2014

Bravery vs. Stupidity in Jewelry Alterations

Imagine, if you will, that the piece of jewelry you've most coveted from an artist whose work is amazing in every way is now yours.

Now imagine that the fit was ever so lightly off. Not a lot, but enough that you think ... maaaaaybe it should be a little different. The artist would, without hesitation of any kind, offer to resize it immediately. Obviously.

But, let's say that you weren't totally right in the head. Now let's say that person was me and the bracelet in question was this one from Nancy Dale, who was recently featured in Marcia DeCoster's new book Marcia DeCoster Presents: Interviews with 30 beaders on Inspiration & Technique:

Black Ice by Nancy Dale
Photo Credit: Sherwood Lake, Jr.

So, clearly, you'd say, "Oh no. Not a bit of it. I don't want to wait one second more than I have to to wear this magnificent piece of art. I'm a competent beader. I'll resize it myself!" Now imagine the maniacal laughter. Alright, I'll admit it - no one's ever accused me of taking the cautious path.

Black Ice v.2 by Nancy Dale
Just a teensy bit too big.
Maybe I should have given Nancy an accurate wrist measurement ...

Now ignore the part where I've been ill with pneumonia for almost a month and the bracelet would have been there and back already. Details, details. But now that my energy level is starting to come back, and now that today the weather is actually warm enough for Sawer's school to be in session I thought I'd finally get down to it. Fortunately Nancy was kind enough to tell me how she put the components together and where I should nip and tuck.

Black Ice v.2 by Nancy Dale

So I was feeling pretty confident. I could totally do this. I had my handy Fiskars snips, my instructions, and a quiet house. What could go wrong?

Black Ice v.2 by Nancy Dale

What the f*^# have I done?!!?!?!

Thankfully, however, the reason that everyone loves Nancy's work is because she knows what she's doing. I'm still not sure my cuts were precisely what or where they needed to be, but the toggle loop and the rest of the bracelet were, as she said they would be, perfectly sound. Now I just needed to recreate her loops and connect the toggle loop to the two remaining chatons.

Black Ice v.2 by Nancy Dale

Mischief managed! Thank goodness! If I could do it again would I? Yeah. I would. Part of why I was so determined to take this on for myself was to get more familiar with the beaded connections that Nancy's so great at, which I've struggled to wrap my head around. Just the process of following the bead path to anchor and weave in my ends was instructive. Plus, after seeing the cut chaton fall apart, I'm sort of programmed to take a deep breath and git r dun no matter what. So that moment did give me new clarity about how to reconstruct the loops, fortunately!

Black Ice v.2 by Nancy Dale

So, do you think I can still show my face to Nancy without embarassment for ruining her work? lol. I know she was concerned about the resulting aesthetic - since the ends wouldn't be symmetric, but I think the two chatons flow into the toggle loop just fine. I love it! I'm so glad that I can wear it in perfect comfort now! Thank you, Nancy!!!

When's the last time you had a panic attack in the middle of a delicate project?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In Awe of Freeform Peyote Beading

First there was Christmas, then the New Year along with two amazing shows and several classes mixed in to make my December pretty chaotic. But most of my recent silence has ween wading through three weeks of pneumonia and the utter and complete exhaustion that goes with it.

Needless to say, I've been anxious to find anything to help mix things up.

Whenever I'm in a creative slump with my lampwork or metalwork I usually turn to beadwork. By it's very nature it forces you to slow down and take a breath. You get to wade into a world of color and texture that is, for me, rejuvenating.

I'm not an expert beader. I'm competent at following patterns and can manage designing simple projects, but my lack of mastery has me in awe of beaders like my amazing friend Nancy Dale (wait until you see what I commissioned from her!!) and freeform artists like Karen Williams of Skunk Hill Studio. So I was so very excited to see that Karen is working on a third amazing book, Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading: Designing Original Art Jewelry and Beyond

The cover mock-up of Karen's book taken from her website

Karen is using Kickstarter to crowdfund her book so that she can take this book to the next level with full bleed printing with full color illustrations and twice as much information as she's been able to include in her previous two books. I've already made my pledge. If you're a beader, I wanted you to know that this opportunity is out there. Karen is offering some great rewards including public acknowledgement on her website with a pledge of $1 or more, acknowledgement in the book with a pledge of $10 or more, a digital copy of the book with a pledge of $20, and more!

As of this morning Karen only needs $2855 to fund the book. The deadline is Friday Feb 14, 12:45pm EST.

Karen's Beaded Fish Tutorial

While innovation in the arts relies on experimentation, artistic growth depends heavily on shared ideas from masters in their craft, and if beading is an area in which you want to grow, Karen is a great teacher! This Kickstarter campaign is about more than getting a high quality resource delivered to you, it's about taking the time to think about the importance of investing in art education.

Every new thing we learn about creating something with our hands teaches us to better appreciate the complexity and value of everything in the world around us. Doing is not enough. Doing can be done in ignorance. Learning is how we discover what we didn't know we didn't know. This particular book may or may not be for you. But I hope that it inspires you to think about what there is in the art world that you don't know but wish you did. Supporting art and art teachers has a ripple effect that benefits us all in wonderful, far-reaching ways!

You tell me! What has art done for you lately? Think about it!

Thanks for stopping by!