Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kente Quilt I

Just to show I did something besides beadwork this summer...here's the top of the first kente quilt. There were going to be three of these, one for me and one for each of our girls, because Katie's Nigerian boyfriend last year brought me tons of African print fabrics. However, now there are only going to be two, because Katie broke up with Wale and no longer wants her bedroom dominated by West African fabric. I expect I ought to splash the kente prints around more lavishly in KQ2, but I don't know....I really like the brilliance of relatively small pieces against all that dark blue.

Tomorrow we're going to visit friends in New Mexico, so I'll get no craft work done at all for a week, but with any luck will come back with lots of inspiring pictures.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Twisted Ribbon Stitch

Twisted Ribbon Stitch

Today I actually feel intelligent enough to take a small excerpt from the new book. I'm quite pleased with this stitch and hope anybody who's interested will be able to follow this slightly abbreviated description.

The twisted ribbon stitch, worked with joined spikes, takes advantage of the fact that they are joined at the top to force the line of beads from vertical to flat and back to vertical. You can do it with seed beads only, but it’s absolutely eye-popping worked with bugles, so that’s how I’m going to show it.

First stitch: bring needle up at A, thread (sb, bb, sb) and bring needle down at B. Because this stitch strains the thread against the bead edges at top and bottom, it’s important to buffer your bugle beads with at least one seed bead at each end.

(Huh? That’s not a spike. It’s lying down flat against the fabric. Has she gone out of her mind or what?
Just wait for the next few stitches, ok?)

Bring your needle and thread around under the fabric and come up again at A. Go back through the first (sb, bb, sb) but this time do not bring the needle down through the fabric. Instead, string on another (sb, bb, sb).

Now bring your needle down at C, take a tiny stitch, and bring needle and thread up just beside C.

I think you can see where we’re going here. You keep making those joined spike stitches, without going back through the fabric at the top, and as the line of spikes gets longer it will gradually become more and more free of the fabric until eventually the spikes can stand upright. It’ll probably take about 10 to 15 spikes to reach this point. When you do, if you push the last spike upright with your thumb, you’ll see the line of spikes making a beautiful curve.

Obviously, once you let go of the last spike, the beads will just flop down on the fabric and your beautiful 3-dimensional curve will be lost. So what you want to do now is to anchor it somehow, and you do that by working another 10-15 spikes and stitching through the last one to anchor it to the fabric in the opposite direction. Now you’ve made one “twist” of the “ribbon.”

If you really want to get fancy, you could try changing colors at the midpoint of each twist, implying that you’re twisting a ribbon with different colors on each side.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More beadery

Wish I had something to put up here besides pictures of beadwork, but that's about all I've been doing lately. Vernon suggested I excerpt some of the new stitches from Spikes, Loops and Fringes in case anybody wants a preview of the new book but I'm in a mild depression which makes concentrating on the book feel terribly, overwhelmingly difficult.

I can still stitch beads on Ultrasuede, though; in this case it's relatively few beads and a handful of Swarovski crystals because I wanted to showcase the blue pietersite cabochon, not my wonderful bead embroidery. I've been fondling this cabochon for a couple of years; it's scary to commit one of my favorite rocks to a piece of beadwork, but after all the Austin Gem and Mineral Show is in just 5 weeks and if I were at all short of pretty rocks (which I'm not) there'd be every chance to restock then.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Small Klimt Necklace

I've been working on several smaller bead embroidery pieces this summer - in fact I've got quite a lot of bead embroidery done, since it's something you can do sitting down with a fan blowing on you! This piece may not look all that small, but it is in comparison with my larger Klimt Necklace, which is now at a gallery and unavailable for me to wear. As with the larger one, it's worked on gold-foiled suede and the gold glimmers through the millefiori beads; but this one uses a Lucy Lu magnet of "The Kiss" instead of an expensively hand-painted porcelain reproduction of Judith in Klimt's "Judith with the head of Holofernes."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Incestuous backgrounds

Last night, inspired by Vernon's digital work, I was playing around in Photoshop with one of my pictures of the raku/green necklace (now "officially" named "Sea Forests." The Twirl filter combined with a bit of Liquidize around the edges and some layering, flipping, and blending of the image produced this image, which looks vaguely dragon-like to me. I'm thinking about printing it out and emphasizing the dragon-ness of the form with judiciously placed beads and embroidery. It does seem kind of weird to me, to take a snapshot of my own art and squoodge it around and use it as the basis for another piece. I wonder how long I could keep recycling like this? If I do bead the dragon, can I photograph and Photoshop it and come up with a quilt design? The challenge appeals to me.

Of course, first there's the challenge of using my extremely rudimentary drawing skills to move from this swirly shape to a recognizable dragon. Hmm, where did I put that book on how to draw dragons? I'm going to have to do something about wings...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Backgrounds for beadwork?

My talented friend Vernon Sims has been playing with a fractal program and sent me these two images, which he thinks might make good backgrounds for beadwork. I don't know - the red one in particular is so rich that I might print it out and just sit there staring at it and salivating. It almost seems criminal to cover part of it with beads. What I'm wondering is whether beads could enhance it at all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crocheted Coral Reef

A member of our local fiberarts group discovered this glorious construction, which is now traveling around the country. Alas, right now it's on exhibit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That's a fair distance from Texas; I'll watch, and wait, and pray it comes somewhere closer.

For some time I've been harboring a fantasy about making a beaded coral reef on a base of handmade felt, but so far it hasn't got much past a fantasy - every time I finish a beadwork project I start a new one on Ultrasuede. I really need to slow down, collect my fibers and make the felt.
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