Monday, December 31, 2007

Scary Old Doll

Old Doll Face 01
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya
I have had the cold from Hell since Thursday. I do not exaggerate. Yesterday I could hardly see straight. Today my kid suggested that if I drizzle some honey in my hair I could probably get some wicked dreadlocks going.

So, the DH comes into the bedroom and throws this THING into the bed. I thought it was a cat or something, or a small, dirty child. It turned out to be this old doll.
She has that 20s-30s eyebrows and eye makeup, but she's dressed in a pinch waist pink silk outfit with lots of old ratty brown lace. She appears to be made of a combination of that hard stuff and soft body limbs and such. I don't really care -- she creeped the beejezus outta me, lying there on my sickbead, innocently expecting him to bring me a burrito and coke!

But for the price he paid for her, I would have no qualms cutting her up (once I get past all those serial killer cable detective show memories) and using her in assemblage and such. I'm sure the rest of her face will crack off if I'm too rough. We did have a brief discussion about hanging her from the ceiling with some wings, along with our Balinese angels and frogs. That's a definite possiblity.

But hey, she did get me up out of bed to take these photos! Now if I could only get her to put that arm down and quit staring.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New on Squidoo

Hmmm, this always seems to be the time of year when I play around with new web stuff. This week I am fiddling around with Squidoo, a cool site where you can build a page on any topic, then add links, text, pictures, Amazon info, even polls and stuff. There are also groups you can join, and you can bookmark your favorites and a whole bunch of other things.

I think I even have Sarah F. working on a Bead Journal Project lens!

Here are my first two "lenses" (what Squidoo calls their topic pages):

Um, this was my first one, and I'm still getting the hang
of things. So I'll probably rearrange this a bit, and of course
add more artists!
Beading with spirit, myth, power
Favorite artists, books, and a wee bit of my own work

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Two Favorite Tools

Here are a couple of cool tools I use when working with paper. You might have both in stock already, especially if you have ever gotten a gift card or have a PDA or a handheld computer game (or someone in your house does)...


  • The first is a plastic stylus. They're used to write on the screens of handheld computer devices like Palm Pilots and iPaqs. They're also used to play GameBoy, PSP, etc. videogames. They're very inexpensive and come in lots of different colors. The cheaper ones -- like the yellow one in the photo -- will break more easily than the black, weighted ones that cost a bit more, but feel great to use!

  • My second "fave" is a plastic credit card. I get offers for credit cards in the mail, but they're often on coated cardboard, not plastic. Toss those. Hold out for real plastic, or wait until your debit card expires, or hang on to a gift card after you use up the balance. These cards are sturdy enough for the job and clean up very easily.


  • I use the plastic card to burnish down 2D collage elements. First, I apply the adhesive, and then put the image into position. Then I lay a piece of white paper over the image to protect it, and drag the card across it, working from the center out toward the edges, in different directions. Some people don't use the paper, but I like to keep my plastic card as clean as possible. Still, if you do get glue, paint or ink on it, just wipe off, or rinse off, or scrape the edges to keep them smooth.

  • The stylus makes a great scoring tool for heavy paper stock. I use it especially for envelopes and miniature projects that have critical folds. For small projects, you can use the credit/gift card as your straight edge -- line it along where the fold will be, and then draw the stylus along the edge to mash the paper fibers and make folding easier.

Both of these tools fit easily into my tiny traveling art attack bag.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Temporary Shelter

Last night

Temporary Shelter book 10
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya
I found these photographs of a book I started before I got into a car accident awhile back. I had already torn or cut out the base pages from various recycled & repurposed materials. A couple of weeks after the accident, I started working for a few minutes each night to assemble the pages, working from my living room couch, with my materials laid out on a big footstool. I hadn't seen these photos in over a year!

I do like the simple house and shelter motifs, the old photos I chose that reminded me of folks in search of shelter, and the windows that allow you to see through to another page. I also like the weird little "paper doll" creatures that are comforting each other.

I put 12 of the photos of on my Flickr site -- just click the photo above to go there. 8-)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blue Ballerina Earrings

Blue Ballerina Earrings
Originally uploaded by mary_tafoya
Wow, it's been an interesting month on Etsy. Who knew people would like my funky stuff? Now I've taken the plunge on Flickr and even made a Squidoo lens although it's not published yet. Well, confused and creative is better than just confused, eh?

(yeah, who knew I could blog on blogspot straight from Flickr??? Prolly everybody but me...)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cheap Wood, Bad Nails

Still trying to play with an old digital camera (it does have a macro lens) and a washed out monitor. I'm trying to read the numbers in PaintShop Pro to get a halfway decent correction, since my monitor is not my friend. I didn't even color correct this batch, just worked on the tones. And try to get the darned shots in focus!

My friend Rita uses a big plastic storage container turned on its side, with the hot lights on the outside. I think she had a big piece of white paper draped across the bottom and back of the container. I'm not sure lights and a light box would help me much...but maybe after the holidays I'll check it out.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Ladd Brothers Bead

Nancy Z. shared with us on Beadhell the good news about the success of these two brothers who create couture beaded handbags. Be prepared to rethink your definition of "couture" -- I see them as pure form, regardless of their function (which is kind of hard to suss from the photos in the articles below...) Enjoy!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Interweave to Pay Royalties on Pattern Sales

I just got an email from Interweave Press with a Digital Revenue Sharing Program Agreement attached.

Seems they are planning to start selling reprints of projects and tutorials in their online store, and (unlike any other similar magazines I know of), they will pay royalties to authors for whatever sells.

Here's a link to their FAQ:

The trick is, you do have to sign up for the program. Also, Interweave might not choose to put your stuff in their store, so obviously you wouldn't earn anything... And another thing -- the reuse fee only covers revenue from the online store, not reprints and excerpts and such that are published in future books or magazines.

I think this is really COOL! especially since they're not contractually obligated to pay anything for reused content.

What do YOU think??

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Little Boxes

No, not the Malvena Reynolds song. ;-) I had another art attack...this is the kind of thing I like to do when I'm swamped with other things but need to get my hands into some artwork...

Sorry if the color cast is weird, I'm still playing with my new-used digital camera. So far the outside shots look better. These are the ones I'm selling on Etsy. Click the image for a bigger view!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dia de los Muertos

My little skulls for Dia de los Muertos altars. Can't see in the photos -- but they have names and crosses painted on the back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Canadian Fibre Arts Magazines

This just in from Jewels -- here are a couple of links to add to my Contributor Guidelines list (when I get a moment...) to Canadia magazines that may accept your article proposals:

A Needle Pulling Thread
A new publication from Canada, featuring all manner of handwork.

And here's Canadian
Not sure if they are soliciting articles or not...

Any others???

Monday, October 8, 2007

Updates to Contributor Guidelines

Hey all, I made some changes to a previous posting to update links to crafty jewelry and mixed media magazines. If you know of magazines that belong on the list, feel free to send a link and/or post a comment here! a link to the updated post:

Yes, you can get published!!! Give it a shot, and if at first you don't succeed, just try a different magazine. ;-)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Beading with Sequins Resources

So, Robin and Arline had a question about using sequins in bead embroidery (as per Ms. Mermalicious in the post below) -- here are some book reviews I did on three books I've found inspirational and instructional too! The first two are how-to books, recently published, focusing on fashion and beading on garments. The third is a coffee table art book, now available in paperback, with excellent photographs of surface embellishment from around the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mermalicious BJP September

Woohoo, it's bead retreat time and I've finally had a chance to finish up my September Bead Journal Project -- on the last day of the month. This pictures shows the almost done version, taken with Sarah/Beadnik's digital camera:

I created this piece to showcase various sequin stitches that I've gathered from mostly East Indian textiles (see the book "The Shining Cloth" for inspiration). I beaded on a black-gesso-coated beading substrate, thinking I'd paint the background, but that didn't happen. Now I have to go back and touch up my sketch marks with more gesso. Hmmm, or maybe some acrylics? We shall see...

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Hotel Room Collage Journalling

I am not exactly the party type, and when I travel it's usually for business, and I have to get up early in somebody else's time zone. So after an early dinner I usually hang out in my room. I often bring beadwork with me, and this latest trip was no different. I brought a little zippered pencil case full of beads and worked on a luscious cuff bracelet.

But since I got the journalling bug this summer, I've been carrying my little Paper Chase travel journal (It's sort of like this but with a different cover, and it contains pockets, zippered compartments, etc., along with several kinds of pages -- graphed, blank, ruled).

So I brought my journal with me, along with a little makeup bag full of art supplies (packed in my checked bag because of the scissors)
  • A fine point black India ink marker -- doesn't bleed through like permanent markers
  • A black calligraphy pen, also India ink
  • A glue stick
  • A set of 6 teeny tiny gel pens (I looked for mini-colored pencils just before I left but couldn't find them)
  • A miniature white out pen
  • A small pair of scissors
  • A small glitter glue stick (clear with AB sparkles)

Before I left I tore out some pages from a used bookstore find called The Art of Tarot, and stuffed them into the journal's zippered pockets along with the pictures that were already stashed there. The images are small, and contain lots of historical images.

In the room I journalled about something that was bugging me, using collage, and words I wrote radiating outward like a sun. I also added to a mermaid page I'd already started.

Then I looked around the room for ripe collage victims -- and ended up tearing a magazine-weight page from a TV schedule into little squares, then arranging them by color and covering them with the glitter glue. Later I'll paint and draw over this prepared background.

Way satisfying! The beaded cuff bracelet took a fair amount of energy and concentration, but collage is an open door and I definitely found something creative to do that is a relaxing, no pressure activity.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Quick! Check out my Etsy Treasury!

Staying up ridiculously late last night just surfing around, I found myself looking at Etsy Treasuries when one opened up -- so I signed up and quickly surfed around for some seed beadwork from various Etsy sellers.

My theme is Peyote Stitch Beadwork -- do check out the cool seller's items there if you get a chance before it expires (Tuesday or late Monday night I think):

Bead on! 8-)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

September 11 Bead Quilt Still Moving!

Hey all,
I just heard from Andrea Adams, coordinator of the Bead Quilt September 11 Memorial Project that she will be travelling with the quilt again this year to NYC for the Sept 11th conference hosted by Voices of September 11th ( ), and will be meeting with officials from the WTC Memorial Museum to continue discussions regarding donating the quilt panels.
This is a grassroots project supported by individual contributions, and Dre has done an outstanding job (also kudos to Rosa Meyer her right hand woman and crate builder extraordinnaire) keeping things together until the various memorials and museums are built, open, and our projects can be housed permanently in them.

Benefit auctions are up on Ebay -- I so rarely hound people to support causes, since there are so many worthy ones, but this one is dear to my heart and I have so much respect for the folks (especially Dre) who have hung in there with this one. So, if you are so inclined...

Thanks for putting up with this blatant soliciation!

Foxy Ladies Beaded ATCs

(click the picture for a larger image)

Foxy Ladies! I made this series for the latest BATC swap on All About Beads (Delphi). I think this is the fourth swap so far -- the only rule (other than size) is that each card has to have at least one bead. I made 8 cards and got a chance to practice one of my 3D sequin flower tricks. Each card is on leopardskin EZ Felt, the next best thing to Lacy's Stiff Stuff (or Rita's Bead Backing, same diff). I also used this series as my August Bead Journal Project and journalled about my new, lusty affair with fancy sequin stitching.

After I cut the felt to size, I collaged each piece with a cutout image from my vintage postcard collection. Then I stitched the sequin flower with shameless pink lipstick cupped sequins, and sprinkled just a few acid green metallic seed beads around, in the printed flowers.

I backed each card with distressed paper printed with tiny pink polka dots -- not a shabby chic pink but more of an old fashioned rose.

The edging is scalloped silver metal tape. Now, this is where the Lacy's product is better than EZ Felt because it's stiffer. Normally when I wrap the edges, I use one continuous piece and turn the corners with a neat little tuck -- but the edges bowed too much so I cut each side to length, and it turned out just as nice, I think, and just as durable.

Not sure if I'm quite finished yet -- I might need some words torn from a book...and it's hard to resist embossing a little pattern in the silver tape. Yeah. I think just a wee bit more frufra would do the trick.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Robn's Bead Artist Trading Cards

Robin really went to town during the mixed media beadwork class, creating several artist trading as well as her Bead Journal project entries. Here are a couple of Robin's cards:

The card above was painted, stamped, collaged and stitched with beads and sequins.

The raven card was painted, stamped, and then the feathery black trim was laced through holes Robin punched in the edges.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rosy's Mermaid

Rosy is a full-time art teacher, I wonder if her kids know how well she paints and, now, stitches with sequins. 8-)

Rosy painted her guadalupana mermaid at home, then brought it to the mixed media beadwork class to learn to stitch on the sequins. Wowee, hard to tell from these photos but the aqua background, cornflower yellow "aura" and brilliant mulberry metallic vintage sequins are rich and vivid.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wanna make a necklace?

Well here's a blatant plug for ya ;-) I just listed a few of these Sunset Journey necklace kits on Etsy, at a slightly reduced end-of-summer-let's-get-the-kids-in-school-already! price.

~~The kit is for copper lovers, for sure~~ it features all-copper findings (and a copper-over-sterling clasp), plus an extra large feather pendant made from mother of pearl, as well as carnelian and red aventurine stone beads. In each kit are special secret goodies to help you customize the project. I have 5 kits left -- 3 are on Etsy and I'm saving the other two for custom orders.

~~The stringing part of this project is at the easy level. To make the charms and such, you'll need a few basic jewelry making tools (listing in the Etsy description). You'll learn a few little tricks for covering bead stringing wire, creating clusters that have great movement, etc. The instructions are simple.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sandy's Tidepool Necklace

A couple of weekends ago I tortured several members of the New Mexico Bead Society with my Tidepool Necklace project -- an embellished multistrand stringing project with a large focal bead, thus combining very small, medium, and very large beads into one project. So I had stringers, stitchers, and even a couple of valiant beginners in the class, and they all worked very hard (with great results)!

Sandy Greenfield sent me pictures of her finished project -- WOW! She is an accomplished designer already (see more of her jewelry designs at and uses color really well, but I guess this is the first time she'd embellished the strands with additional stitching (look at the ropes and chains in the second photo!)

Thank you Sandy for sharing these with me and giving permission to share them here, too!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Castaway Ink Effects

Castaway inkpads provide a more controlled version of stamping with bleach. You apply the "ink" to paper, let it soak in and settle for a few minutes, then heat it by applying a very hot iron directly to the "inked" paper. It doesn't work on all papers, works better on some than others, and doesn't work well with delicate stamps.

My favorite Castaway discharge project -- unfortunately, no pictures thanks to the "great hard drive crash" of summer 07...unless, that is, I ever find time to go through my backup CDs -- was using the refill bottle instead of stamps to apply Castaway ink directly to black card stock. I divided an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet into bands, then made mudcloth designs in between the bands. After heating, I punched the sheet into large tags.

The effect was very mudcloth-ish because the Castaway ink turned the paper kind of a creamy off-white, fading to dark brown around the edges.

You could probably get a cool batik effect with this stuff too.

Two problems though -- the paper SMOKED when I ironed it. I don't think it was the paper, actually, I think it was the product. The other problem was, if the ink was too heavy, it never, ever, ever dried. Ever.

Well, it occurred to me to do a little Google search to see what other folks are doing with this product. Here's what I found, from basic instructions, to tips, to photos of people's projects:

  • Blockhead Stamps
  • The Stamp Attic
  • Hot Potatoes' instructions kinda tickled me when they said "the color is permanently removed" -- what? is there a discharge technique where the color comes back after awhile? ;-)
  • Here are several reviews from ScrapFriends; scroll down to read them all and see project photos!

Overall, I'd say this is a fun product to play with, but it's not indispensable.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Contributor Guidelines for Bead/Jewelry/Mixed Media Artists

Here's an October 2007 update to the links and info below...I added links to Stringing magazine, and corrected a few others. Let me know if you have additions or corrections to add!

Here are all the beadwork, jewelry and mixed media publications I know of that accept unsolicited article queries and work to be featured in their gallery pages. Each mag has its own procedures -- some pay, some don't; some request you send a brief email first, some have deadlines, themes, etc. Improve your odds of getting published by familiarizing yourself with each magazine and its submission guidelines!

Note: all the links ending in .pdf require Adobe Acrobat Reader to open.

Altered Arts Magazine

Art Jewelry (Kalmbach)

ATC Quarterly (Artist Trading Cards only)

Bead and Button (Kalmbach)

BeadStyle (Kalmbach)

Beadwork (Interweave)

Bead Unique (All American Crafts, Inc.)

Belle Armoire (Somerset Studio)

Cloth, Paper, Scissors (Quilting Arts)

The Crafts Report

Jewelry Crafts (Miller Magazines)

Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist (Interweave)
Guidelines not available online...try this link:

query the editor here:

Piecework Magazine (Interweave)
Editorial and calendar guidelines:


Quilting Arts (Interweave)

Simply Beads (Annie's Attic/Dynamic Resource Group)

Somerset Studio

Step By Step Beads (Interweave)

Step By Step Wire Jewelry (Interweave)

Stringing (Interweave)
Enter the Stringing Challenges:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ronda Kivett's Bead E Art Zine

Someone asked about this zine elsewhere in my blog... so it occurred to me it's high time to talk about Ronda.

Ronda Kivett is constantly exploring new creative territory. Seven issues and I'm not sure how many years ago, she started her own little self-published magaZINE about beadwork, creativity, dollmaking, polymer clay, and more. Each issue has a theme and sub-themes. It's the only zine I keep and treasure for almost-ever -- I keep them in their original manila shipping envelopes, even.

I mentioned the most recent issue -- #7 -- because Ronda included some of my beaded ATCs in the pages. Here's a link to Ronda's home page, where you'll see a link to her zine (and her free goddess doll patterns, and her artwork, and her general loveliness ;-)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Robert Beer's Tibetan Symbols book

Today a wonderful book arrived! The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs, by Robert Beer -- picked up (new) on eBay. It's over 350 pages, hardback, of lions, tigers, buddhas, astrological symbols, with explanations in text I'll probably never get to ;-) There is, for instance, an entire page of deer in different poses, 4 or 5 plates of nothing but flame motifs, patterns and mandals, wrathful and benevolent. I forgot how much I love Tibetan Buddhist art.

Years ago (before I had nearly enough respect for the fact that books do go out of print), I acquired an earlier edition of Tibetan Thangka Painting, Methods and Materials and wrote iconographic notes right into the margins of the book! At that time (pre-Internet), it was not that easy to find information, so I stuffed the book with postcards, little pages of notes I took down at the library, etc. Then a couple of years ago when I started selling off some of my block prints of Himalayan and Tibetan Buddhist prints, I found a scads of wonderful resources on the net that simply weren't available to me (and you) before... here are a few:

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Guide, a doodle collage

Another quick page from my journal.
I predict colored pencils in my future...
that wolf needs a rainbow aura. ;-)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Birdbrella and the Thin-skinned Man

Hehe. This little journal was to be for bead designs and reminders and such. But when the BJP started I committed myself to drawing a little bit every day. I had bought this great little notebook at Borders with my 20% off coupon. It has ruled pages, blank pages, and grid pages, as well as folder pockets, zipper bags, photo holders, and a neat plastic cover that will expand for a bit of collage (seen above). The cost was about $6.99 before the coupon. The pages are about 4.5" x 6".

I started doodling (more to come later...) and then a few days ago I cut out pictures from a book that didn't sell at our recent yard sale, snipped them to size and glued a few down rather randomly throughout. The rest I stashed in the pockets for later. A glue stick, white out marker, and black gel pen are making for a whole lotta fun! This is the page I did around 1:00 a.m. last night after working on some bead class handouts.

I'm enjoying this silliness so much I went to Borders and bought another similar journal for Fall!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Finding Flow, or I wanna be Joe

Who's Flo? No silly, it's the title of a book by a guy whose name I can't even pronounce, much less spell. But it's a great summer read (not new, just new to my hands...). Easy to read, accessible -- plus I learned a new word -- autotelic. :-)

Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life

The author describes how Joe, a factory worker, thrived happily in the workplace, and pursued creative interests outside work, finding "flow" (absorption) in both, *unlike* his coworkers, who didn't quite grok him...he could fix anything in the plant, and at night he and his wife built rock gardens and fountains next to his house. Joe was HAPPY. 8-)

Speaking of fountains, today we drove up to the Tinkertown Museum in the mountains outside Albuquerque, where Ross Ward spent 30 years or so building walls out of concrete and glass bottles, carving wood, painting signs (he was a circus sign painter by trade), and assembling dioramas and "dollhouses".

My favorite quote of his:

"I did all this while you were watching TV"

Hehe. Now I know what to (maybe) say when people look aghast, confused, or pat me on the head right before they say "How long did it take you to bead this?"

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bead Journal Project for June

SPOILER WARNING: If you don't want to see Bead Journal Project photos until later in our year, turn the page now. Or close your eyes. No peeking! ;-)

Managed to finished our first month's "page" just 1 day late -- not bad considering I did a month-long grad school class online, taught 2 bead class sessions, had a hard drive crash, and oh yeah, there's the 40-hour a week job... Not complaining mind you. But I will if this happens every month! Hehe. I was telling my students that all you need to do is a comfortable arm's length of thread each night and you can get quite a bit of work done each week. Without the repetitive strain injuries, mind you. ;-)

Ok -- so have you other BJP participants decided whether to look at pictures or not? If the answer is "No," then hit the back button NOW... But if you do want to take a peek, here you go:

I know. I really should have cleaned the mirror before scanning...
"Mirror, Mirror" is about 4-1/2" x 7", bead embroidered on cloth
that was wrapped around some nonwoven polyester bead backing.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Favorite Illustrator

Lately I've been revisiting some of my favorite books, which I tend to gather for their illustrations. Did I mention this already?

Anyway, here's Kim Waters Art Gallery, where you'll get a nice cruise through her East Indian-influenced watercolors and line art.

I would love to get some of her altars -- I want the one with the monkeys and gopi girls!

My favorite things about her work are the clarity she manages to maintain, despite having a very decorative style. Very solid and balanced compositions -- I wonder if she sketches on a grid? I also love the pop and contrast she gets -- the little dots of white pop here and there.

Oh yes, not to mention the fact that she can draw. ;-)

Well, I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

And now, back to grad school studies -- course ends Friday! Woohoo! and then I'm free. Well ok not free. Just cheap. ;-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vote for "Through the Looking Glass"

Check out these beadwork contest entries. The theme is from Alice in Wonderland and it's called "Through the Looking Glass," sponsored by celticat and the Bead Art forum at Delphi:

I voted for my favorite! Just click the thumbnails at the top of the page, remember their number, and then click the vote box. A bunch of people have voted so far, I can't wait to see who the favorites are.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ancient Shell Bling

Seems we've been stringing bling almost as long as we've been walking... ;-)

And from that article:
From ancient Peru:
And here are some more links to pictures of old beads (think polymer clay, folks!):

Sunday, June 17, 2007

We made goddesses

The Victoria Hughes Class Report ;-)

I don't have pictures yet because I still have to paint, buff and polish. But everybody made goddess pendants, and we also made twisted trilobe thingies, and flat disk beads, and we did transfers onto cubed beads.

The goddesses? Not a major breakthrough for me, cause I make my own already, but Victoria has a different method of course, plus I got to play with adding a bit of Christi Friesen-esque doodads and decoration. One of my goddesses looks a little butch, frankly, and two are quite petite, so I'm calling it an alternative goddess family. ;-)

We had a lovely lunch at a cafe just down the street, and talked about developing your own artistic voice, acknowledging the history of your craft, and your teachers, the balance of influence vs. copying that will probably be discussed forever and ever and ever.

But I've realized recently that in both beadland and polymerclayland that there is a whole new "generation" of artists and crafters who perhaps don't realize that NONE of this -- the shows, the Internet groups, and many of the materials and techniques -- existed a few years ag.

So, in that light, here's a question for ya:

Do you know who originated the polymer clay
faux techniques such as turquoise, amber,
coral, lapis, and ivory?
If you guessed Victoria Hughes, you are absolutely right. Yes folks, many years ago, Victoria sat down with her own collection of antique and vintage gemstone goodies, and set about studying them, and finding various ways to recreate them through much trial and error. Then she taught the techniques all over polyclayland, and now, we tend to think of them as standard techniques, as though they were born spontaneously out of the clay!
And now, of course, people have expanded on those techniques and invented imitative techniques of their own. So, if you enjoy them, a tip of the hat to Victoria, PC Pioneer. Here's an article about her from The Crafts Report online:
Next week, how about Virginia Blakelock and Carol Perrenoud? Stay tuned, history lovers...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

For Sunni -- class times

Oy, this is for Sunni ;-) No comment on whether you're confused, cause I would have NO room to talk. ;-) Hehe.

Here's a copy of my post to the NM Culture list, plus I'll add prices too since someone emailed me about that (it's in the Harwood newsletter... but what they hey) Note: kit fee is payable to instructor at first session).

I think this is the first time Harwood Art Centerhas offered bead art classes. Woohoo! ;-)

Thursdays, June 14 and 21, 6 to 9 p.m.
$50 members, $60 nonmembers, plus a $15 materials fee
Thursdays, July 12, 19, 26 and Aug. 2, also 6 to 8
$110 members, $120 nonmembers, plus a $15 materials fee
at the Harwood Art Center
1114 7th St. NW
My portfolio & resume:
To register, call the Harwood at 505-242-6367
Harwood's newsletter with class info:

Friday, June 8, 2007

Victoria Hughes Class yep yep yep

Woohoo! I just found out I can take Victoria Hughes' all-day polymer clay class in Albuquerque next weekend. Actually, I don't have any business taking the class -- I've got my own class to teach the following Thursday (at Harwood Art Center...hint, hint) and my kid has a martial arts demo that day, and...oh! did I mention I'm in grad school and in the middle of a month-long read-until-your-eyes-bleed course?

Well, no matter. That guy I married 21 years ago? He said "go for it" and you know I always do what he says, hehe. Plus as we were talking last night, someone bought a few cabs from my Etsy shop -- it seemed like magical confirmation in terms of the (very reasonable) class fee.

As busy as I am, I still get a bit of creative work done each day. Might not be the large scale months long projects I did until a couple of years ago, but it keeps me level. But this spring at OFFCenter I realized that time-wise, space-wise, and concentration-wise, at this time in my life I really benefit from leaving the house to work. No dishes, no phone calls, no hopping on the Internet to quickly check my eBay sales, etc. Just burrowing down into "what can I get done in 2 hours of glorious creative play time?"

So yeah -- it'll be just me, the clay, my tools, Victoria, probably Frank Sinatra if she brings her CD player, a cast of local PC artists and my creative muse, who is always on call 24/7. Woohoo!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Barbara's New Polyclay Tute

Here's a cool tutorial for lazy polymer clay women like me... and it happens to be called Lazy Woman's Mokume Gane. Barbara and I (and her family) had a chance to share a meal awhile back when she was in Albuquerque. I showed her mine, she showed me hers... what a great artiste. The polyfolks in FL are lucky to have her around all the time!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Art Doll Faces Are Back

It's good to get my hands in the clay again. The other day I pinch-formed a couple of Venus of Willendorf type goddess beads. Not so easy getting the hole from the top of her head to the bottom of her widdle feet, lemme tell ya. ;-)
I'll be posting OOAK polymer clay art doll faces, cabochons, sew-ons etc. on Etsy from now on. You can always check there to see what's available at the moment. Here's a faux turquoise, extra large oracle ("seer") type:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Summer Classes Lookin' Good

Oy, who'd have thought -- enrollment is looking very good at my Introduction to Bead Embroidery Class at the Harwood Art School. There are only a few slots left, which just made me realize -- I have a lot of kits to make up! I like that the Harwood was willing to offer some beadwork classes mixed in with their usual program of fine arts offerings.

I decided to let students choose between two projects in the first class -- one a spirit doll pin, and the other a mirror to hold in your hand or hang on the wall. Both offer opportunities to stitch with beads, without being overwhelming for the beginner. With the mirror, especially, students will be able to bead a lot or just a little. make up a sample or two!

The second class is Mixed Media Bead Embroidery, as in this sort of thing: or

Nuff for now. I just found bad code in my links and I'm supposed to be getting ready for the last day of Fiber Arts Fiesta!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's Official

I suppose I should post something here to make it all official-like. I started this blogspot blog because, well, blogging on eBay has certain restrictions, like mentioning my new Etsy shop (hint, hint...check out the links folks). Not to mention the odd bloggish culture there -- people seem to think it's a live chat or something.

So yeah. Also, I just signed up for Robin Atkins' Bead Journal project. We will make a beaded journal page each month for a year. I have a few goals and dreams to focus on, but eh, more about that later, chicas and chamacos. <--how do you spell chamacos?

Anyway, back to Robin and the BJP. She has a rich blog called Bead Lust, read all about it there. And her website is pretty kickin' too!

With that, beadlings, I shall leave you with this self-portrait, The Artist in Her Studio: