Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beadwork Title Generator

Okay, so I haven't quite worked out all the bugs yet...but a friend's comment that she is having trouble finding names for all the pieces she has made, reminded me that in my romance-writing days I actually wrote a simple-minded title generator full of words like "Love," "Heart" "Flames" "Burning" "Passion" "Desire" etc. The code is long gone, but it was pretty simple. How hard could it be to come up with a beadwork title generator? Different set of key words, obviously. But my first thought is to write something that makes a pass through Bartlett's Quotations, so that "Mostly Green and Gold Thang," could become "Golden Goblet on the Wild Emerald Tree," and "Red Carnelian Pendant," becomes "Crimson Wing," and.....Pretentious? oh, ok. I did say that I hadn't worked out the bugs yet.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have it on good authority that a group of Native American intramural basketball players at the University of Northern Colorado decided to call their team "The Fighting Whites" and chose a caricature of a white businessman from the 1950's as their mascot.

While I applaud their cultural sensitivity, I feel that they could have done a lot better for names. How about "Mad Men"? Or, going a little farther back, "The Gray Flannel Suits"? or "The Babbits?" Oh,heck, I bet nobody who reads this blog, except Vernon, has even heard of Babbit. Can't expect that of a bunch of college kids.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chihuly Form Out of Progress

Well, you can't really call it "in progress" when you've packed up the materials in a plastic shoebox to get them out of the way for other projects, can you? I hope to get back to that necklace before it becomes another UFO - but I did design it rather on the grand scale; peyote ruffles are one thing, but sculptural peyote ruffles are...a lot of seed beads. And before all that there was, conservatively, sixteen miles of bead embroidery, all backstitch, no oddments added for variety, all in the interests of creating a smooth base before the necklace shape breaks into waves, which it's just beginning to do and I have seen enough green beads for a while.

So it's back to small projects like this abstract angel, which I'm calling "Winter Light" - very restrained for me, nothing but kyanite and transparent rainbow beads and a small fortune's worth of rainbow Swarovski cubes. I really wanted to showcase the chatoyance of the kyanite rather than showing off my fancy bead embroidery here.

Now I'm ready to cast aside all restraint and make something as frothy as Chantilly lace. Watch this space!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Artistic Photo Quilts

Last week's Quilt Festival in Houston was the usual orgy for the eyeballs; I don't think I'm allowed to post any photos of the quilts here, but what the heck - as usual, half the exhibits were No Photography, and SAQA was good enough to put out their own book of their two exhibits.

A slight design flaw (from my point of view; from the pov of the organizers, probably a Machiavellian scheme to get people to spend money) was the fact that there were hardly any chairs or benches in the quilt side of the show, but lots of places to sit down on the vendors' side. I blame this for the fact that I came home with three books and a new clip-on magnifying device for beading. One of the books was Charlotte Ziebarth's Artistic Photo Quilts, which is directly responsible for my spending more time fooling around with Photoshop than doing anything else since the quilt show. It's full of inspiring headers like "Bad Pictures Can Often Be Useful," and "Out of Focus Areas," - and examples to back up her assertion that you don't need a stunning, award-worthy, professional-looking photograph to make a stunning quilt. I love this woman!

The picture is one I took some years ago while hiking, divvied into sections and manipulated using some of the many ideas in her text. Now if I can just stop playing with Photoshop filters and go get some more color ink cartridges and print the sections, I think it might make a really nice small quilt. (And if it doesn't, you'll never hear about this particular bright idea again.)

One thing that frustrates me somewhat is that while Ziebarth gets magnificent results with the Cutout filter, I'm not getting much use out of it when I try to manipulate my images of Rajasthan. Cutout seems to transfer brilliant reds and oranges into muddy brownish earth tones. Any Photoshop gurus have a suggestion to fix this problem?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chihuly's Persian Forms

I got hold of a book on Chihuly's Persians in Santa Fe and have been thinking about using some of the ideas (stripes of color, undulating shapes) in a beadwoven necklace. It'll probably take forever and what's worse, I may need several tries to get it "right", but I think I'll start working on something. In between, of course, finishing the little pieces that are still "in progress." Chihuly Persians

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lace on a Grand Scale

I'm disappointed that they don't have a picture of the 600-pound laser-cut oil drum, but the few pics they do have are fantastic - wish I could get to Philly to see the exhibit!
Lace at the Design Center

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beaded Forest

All the inspiring photos from Santa Fe are in my head, alas; I spent a LOT of time in art galleries, trying to absorb the essence of pieces we can't possibly afford to buy. (Basic paradigm here being, if it's shown in a Santa Fe gallery, we can't afford it).

I've been beading and finishing pieces like crazy, though. This one I'm calling In the Forest of Myth - rather a pretentious name for a pendant that fits in the palm of my hand, but that's what I was thinking about while beading the piece; deep forests with branching tree trunks lost in foliage, with spirit faces and birds with Messages - it all started with the cabochon, which makes me think of deep green pools in among brown and golden trees.

You can do a lot of thinking while beading even a small piece.
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