Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fire Drops Bracelet

I love this bracelet. I love anything with drop beads, really, but just knotting them on embroidery floss allows the drops to take center stage. I like the frayed ends, too, that give it an almost unfinished or childish feel. It's crazily light to wear, too.

It's made from Japanese drops, embroidery floss, copper crimps, jump rings, and a copper closure.

Photo Post: Butterflies

Enjoy! I know I sure enjoyed taking these.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On a non-crafty-related note...

I just read an excellent article on why FarmVille and its ilk are so popular and compelling.

CityVille, Explained

The ending paragraphs about humans' need to close open loops were particularly interesting.

Also: snowflakes under an electron microscope! How cool is that?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Caribbean Sands Bracelet

I had had the two seed bead-and-swarovski strands sitting around, ostensibly for a necklace. I finally broke down and combined them, along with raku and tigers-eye beads, into a twisted little bracelet. It reminds me of the tropics, but kinda of the desert. It reminded my partner of Davy Jones' ship from the newer Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Hence the name.

As previously mentioned, it's glass, crystal (swarovski 4s and 6es), tigers-eye, and raku ceramic beads.

Kyohou Globe Earrings

These are named for the best grapes in the universe.

They're another attempt at 'simple' earrings: simple meaning created out of only one headpin (and beads, of course). They feature size 4 double AB'd swarovskis (I'm not sure what color they are precisely-- the double ABs fade together for me) and my simplest beaded beads. The beads are size 11 seed beads right angle woven over a base of 6 Japanese drop beads. These earrings are about 1.75 cm, again sans hooks.

I'm not sure when I'd wear these, but I do like them.

Wisteria Window Earrings

These are my attempt at 'simple earrings'. They're small and kinda vintagey-- not really my style, but not bad either.

They are composed of seed beads, Czech flower beads, Czech Picasso finish window beads, and little yellow faceted stones of some kind. They're about 2.5 cm in length without the hooks.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Netting Tutorial

I am pleased to present the latest in what is rapidly becoming a series of tutorials on the basic beadweaving stitches:

Just like with peyote and right angle weave, netting is a versatile stitch that seems complicated but is actually quite simple. It's a good stitch to have under your belt, and even the simplest version can be used to create a pretty lacy collar or a sparkly bead-draped Christmas ornament. 

So: on to the tutorial!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Non-Crafty: My Butterfly!

I watched a butterfly emerge from its cocoon the other day. I'd been keeping an eye on the chrysalis for a while, and I'm SO lucky that I was around when its resident decided to rejoin the outside world.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Make a Japanese Paper Doll

I love making these little guys. I crafted a bunch using local paper during my stay in Japan, and I actually taught a group of Japanese university students to make them. I ended up teaching quite a few origami models while I was there, but this one was one of the most popular.

The variations are infinite, once you understand the underlying concepts, so it's a good project to have under your belt if you like paper crafting. I use my ningyo (doll/s: literally "person shape") for art, but they can also be used for crafts like cards and bookmarks. They are just so cute!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Photo Post: Flowers

As this is meant to be a blog for all my artistic and creative endeavors, I was thinking it's about time I start posting some of my favorite photographs.

Group 1: Flowers, Sans Bugs (it has to be specified because I have a lot of bug pictures. A lot.) Also, Without Serious Photoshopping

On a non-crafty, but adorable note...

I was taking pictures in the local garden today and I happened to encounter this feline whom I had only glimpsed before. He (she?) was wary for a little while, then warmed up and even consented to having his head and back scratched.

It was a really nice moment, in the middle of all this graduate school application stress (did you know that Harvard has 13 pages worth of info and uploads they need you to fill out?!? 'Cause I hadn't!).


Monday, December 6, 2010

Spheroids; Cuboids

My new geometric creations in their completed forms. The interiors use dagger beads or reasonably-sized seed beads; the exteriors, size 11 seed beads and small Japanese drops. The red one is about 1.5 cm in diameter.

Of these four, three are the same design, but the gray one's slightly different.

I find these things strangely compelling.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Makings of an Army: Beaded Beads

The Japanese know their Right Angle Weave. What's problematic for me is that they do most of it with two needles. I'm relatively steady of hand and eye, but the idea of having pointy things in both hands at once for any length of time sounds like an emergency room visit waiting to happen.

So I've been admiring their tradition of Right-Angle-Weave spheroids for a while (this is a good tutorial!) but I've been hoping for a way to do things with only one needle.

The good news? I've derived one. All the kusudama that I've made really helped me understand the construction of a cube. The bad news? It's more star-like than spherical. I ended up filling in the spaces with 11s, which works... and I've ended up pretty happy with some of the dealies that I've designed and constructed.

Now the question is: what do I do with them?

Japanese Beadwork

While browsing Japanese bead sites, I caught mention of the "ビーズグランプリ", or "Beads Grand Prix". 

Intrigued, I looked for the official site.

The work on there is mind blowing, especially the grand prize winner. 

If you have ever touched a bead, I seriously recommend that you take a look at the above link.

And here are the other years' winners:

I especially love the bag in the 2007 group.

Sekai, Suspended Earrings

I finally got these working! I played with chain and jump rings for a long time before they all finally fit within the rings and suspended the wrapped loops in a stable way.

Sekai means world in Japanese, and these earrings are so named because the little blue Picasso-finish beads (oh, the beautiful, lovely, delicate, gorgeous beads... can you tell I love them? Because I do. Mine! All mine!) remind me of the sea and a coastline, and these micro-worlds are suspended within the big copper circles.

I suppose you could probably work some serious symbolism in there-- didn't the circle represent the spiritual world to the Ancient Greeks?-- but for me they're just an intersection of two of my favorite things- circles, and these beads.

The copper circles are about 4 cm in diameter. The wire is copper, 22 gauge, the beadcaps, chain, and little copper beads are (what else?) copper. The beads are Czech glass.

These are big, but they're so simple I find them very wearable.

Peyote Stitch Tutorial

Peyote stitch is another one of those beadweaving stitches you see everywhere. It's got a fancy name and seems kinda daunting. The good news? It's really, really simple. And once you get the concepts you can create all sorts of things, like tubes and flat circles and sculptural geometric shapes.

This tutorial is for the most basic, flat, rectangular peyote stitch: but even with this stitch you can create all sorts of awesome designs. (Peyote: Advanced tutorial forthcoming).

You will need:

Beads (I usually use size 11 seed beads but I'm using size 8s in the tutorial)
A Needle

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On a non-crafty-related note...

Apparently Julie Taymor is making a Spider-Man musical that utilizes U2's music.


Obsidian Cascade Earrings

Another entry in my 'I <3 Real Stone' blog series, here are my Obsidian Cascade earrings. The obsidian chips swing within and below the hardware bits, adding an element of organic design into what is otherwise a very industrial style.

Although I love colors, I find designing in black and metal to be very easy.

Everything is copper, except for the obsidian and the hardware ring-dealies (again, their technical name). The ring-dealies are about 1.5 cm in diameter, and the earrings measure about 6 cm in length.

Gypsy Hoop Earrings

I am a big fan of drop beads. A BIG fan. I will attach them (via wire or thread) to pretty much anything if you give me half a chance.

I am also a big fan of circles.

Thusly, the gypsy hoop earrings were born. They're about 4 cm in diameter. The circles are brass but the wire is copper (22, IIRC) and the drops are Japanese and tiny and pretty.

These are big statement earrings, somewhat out of the ordinary for me. Although I do wear a lot of hoop earrings... it's mostly for a geeky, fangirly reason.

Lilac Cluster Earrings

Another beading project heavily influenced by my partner. He was bored and wanted to do something with wire-- I told him to look through my bead stash and find pairs of purple beads. Once found, he put them on headpins and made simple loops, which I then put on jump rings and strung into lines. So this was a joint venture, really.

These guys are about 4 cm long. The beads are primarily glass, though I'm not sure about the big shiny trefoils.

Queen Bee Earrings

I have always loved jewelry that gives off an 'evil queen' vibe. Not that these do-- but the bright red and spiky oxidized copper aren't the most inviting of design elements. Neither are bees.

However, these earrings aren't so bad. They're kind of cute, stylized and odd, and I think they would add an element of playfulness into an otherwise austere red and black outfit.

They're about 3 cm long, and the bees and wire are copper, as are the bead caps-- the beads themselves are Czech glass with a pretty AB finish.

African Lantern Earrings

These beads were thanks to my partner. We were visiting a bead store and, in an effort to stretch my creative horizons, I asked him to pick out some things that he liked that he thought I would never choose for myself.

He chose these agate beads. I thanked him, bought them, and then left them in my bead stash while I worked on all of the glowy yellow, twilight purple, or watery blue elements that I had bought for myself.

One day, however, I took these out and messed with them, and the design came naturally. Like all my lantern earrings, these feature copper bead caps. There's also copper chain, 4mm swarovskis, and snakeskin agate beads. They're about 4.5 cm long, and the agate beads are about 1 cm in diameter.

Geology Pendant

I used to want to be a geologist, and glass (even picasso finish glass...well, maybe picasso finish glass...) doesn't hold a candle to real stone to me. I made this pendant, and, as with so many pendants, I still don't know what to do with it. (Hey, I just thought of something! Pendant <--> pendulous... there must be some kind of etymological relationship. Does 'pending' get involved too? I bet they're all from Latin. Yep, they are. Actually, seems the jury's still out on 'pending'-- it may be from French. Which may ultimately be from Latin anyway.)

This pendant is based on a design from a wirework magazine-- I don't have it with me at the moment, so I can't tell you whom it's by-- but I've added some design elements (particularly the curled wire). I really do like this thing and all its earth tones, oranges and yellows and coppers. Its focal point is a picture jasper bead (ha, try googling 'picture jasper' and see how many stone images you come up with... There's a preponderance of young actors named Jasper or playing characters named Jasper, it seems) with more jasper, size 4 and 6 swarovskis, picasso finish glass and non-picasso finish glass, and lots of 26-gauge copper wire (with a little 22). It's about 4 cm in diameter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For inspiration, or just for staring: these are my 'favorited' pictures on Flickr. Pretty, aren't they? You can also get a general sense of my color sense and aesthetic by noting general trends.

Balancing Act or How to Impress Your Friends
Fear and Hope
mandarin drake
Today's artist of the day is 'Anaïs Nin'
Rhytidocaulon macrolobum..
Graptopetalum petandrum flower
Wiener on the Oregon Coast
ハルちん *
Nostalgia #89
a bumper crop of apples, but still early to harvest?
perception is reality.
Dancing on Air
Tai Mei Tuk
Let the Sunshine In
Apricot Blossoms [Udine - 25 March 2010]
Running to stand still
photo macro carrée boillon christophe
l'albero dei lampioni (LAMPS TREE)
Saguaro Cactus
mt. takao 010
Junonia orithya 001
Soap Film 38
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
While glittering
閑雅(kan ga)
Kentish Plover (chick) 02
pond study, 1
het moment op de Boschhoeve
Paris, Place des Abbesses
Fez medina
Paris s'éveille