Friday, May 30, 2008
(Note: I said "adornment," not "clothing"...which is mostly absent in the photos below.)
Matis Indian girls in traditional jewelry of handmade beads
Piercings I had never seen before....no, seriously. This is an elder, a medicine man, in jaguar mode.
"When I am an old woman, I shall wear..."
Survival International did a fly-over of this "uncontacted group" of people in the Amazon. I'm having a hard time digesting this. Talk about two worlds colliding. And these people are ready to take down a flying machine (or at least the photographer in it) with bows and arrows. I don't know whether to cry or laugh but I'm leaning toward crying.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
But let's start from the beginning...I received an email asking if I could be there for a most secret challenge. Shhhh! I was not to tell anyone. So I replied, "Ok. I won't even tell my husband."
To which Geri V. replied, "Good. You seem to have a sense of humor. Do you watch Iron Chef?"
And I'm like, HhhhhunH? (you have to say that like Scooby Doo, it's my favorite thing to do since watching that Kathy Griffin marathon over the weekend...). I didn't recall there being a lot of humor in Iron Chef, but then again I've never watched it all the way through.
So I keep my sworn secret (except I did tell the fam where I was off to), arrived at the meeting, and sort of lurked in the hallway until the business session was over. Then it finally clicked -- they were planning some kind of Iron Chef Beading Contest! I thought to myself, oh no, this could be bad. Are they going to chop things up? And how do you bead fast, anyway?
But Geri and her posse had it all figured out. They sorted the guild members into teams of three. Each team had a captain, sorta. Geri had even taped the opening music from the show and played it while they read from cue cards to announce the challenge and give serious bios of us judges. At the appropriate moment, her trusty assistant threw off a blanket that covered a bunch of embellish-able thrift store finds -- like fuzzy blue slippers, various hats, clothing, baskets, and so on. The captains rushed forward (we jumped behind the table for safety!) and grabbed an item.
They had been told in advance to bring all their gear, plus there was a big box of thrift store beads. I mean -- a HUGE box -- to select things from.
The teams had one hour to bead-embellish the item. And I am telling you, there was some serious talent in the room. And some serious teamwork. We judges mosied around, watching them work and conferring on their strategies and strengths, as well as their teamwork. Right away we decided we didn't want to be the ones to announce the one winning team -- leaving the rest as losers, despising us forever. ;-)
I had brought some little packets of cabochons, thinking I'd dole them out to all the participants who stayed for the challenge, but I didn't realize how much the NMBS has grown, so I hadn't brought enough. Instead, I ponied up enough cabs for a 3rd place winning team. Another judge offered gift certificates to the bead store she manages. The NMBS had already provided a first place prize, so we felt much better being able to give out 9 prizes instead of 3.
It was so hilarious when the timer went off and each team had to come up and, we thought, put their bead embellished item on the table so we could judge them. Instead, they sashayed on up and made us all laugh with their presentations explaining their items. There was a blue jean skirt decorated with brightly colored vintage plastic boho, a beautifully wire wrapped candleholder one team turned into a "beadpourri," an amazing feathered hat, a beaded lamp with shade, a vest, a purse that looked like it came with the beautiful embellishments they put on it, and more items I can't even remember (sorry, bead teams).
I sorta knew the other teams were in trouble when I saw what would become the winning team working stealthily on fabric flowers, beaded motifs, and assorted mixed media items to decorate a lovely summer hat. Oh and as it turned out, one of the winning teams (the lampshade group) consisted of three first-timers to the NMBS meetings -- what a neat welcome eh?
I thought it was a really cool idea for a challenge I wanted to share it with other bead society members out there. It was positively amazing what a team of three could come up with in just one hour!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
So today in my Google reader, I see Margot Potter's spot-on post about getting published, and, well, go read it -- it's very good! (Er, if you can get the page to load! All that glitz and glitter makes for quite the bandwidth-hog blog) I would only disagree with a couple of things, and one is, you don't even have to be a good writer to get published in most craft magazines (but it does help).
A lot of beadwork magazines, for example, mainly want you to be knowledgeable and create a nice project, they'll take care of your bad grammar. But if you want to be accepted a second time, well, read Margot and/or do this:
- Do what they ask & don't be a diva. You are not the Queen. An article is basically a collaboration -- be a team player. If you don't like the rules, you can always self-publish.
- Read previous issues and/or the mag's writer's guidelines and follow them as closely as possible.
- Don't indundate the mag with long communications. If you have to ask a question for clarification, keep it short. Editors are BUSY people.
- Make the deadline (oops. This is why I'm more or less on hiatus this year -- between my health and grad school, I have too little control over my own time.)
Hmmm, after rereading this I realized I should prolly acknowledge that there are times to walk away from a publishing/design gig -- there are bad editors, sloppy publishers, etc. etc. and people who just don't treat you right. Sorry if I sounded like the drama was always coming from the designers/contributors. 8-)
There's just one other thing I'd disagree with Margot on, and that is self-promotion. I think you have to find a way to promote that fits your personality. You can make a heckuva lotta money just being yourself, and quietly delivering a good product. Not everyone wants their own craft show (Go Margot!). And not everyone (especially other women) wants to hear you tooting your own horn all the time. But it's true, without promotion, you and your beautiful gifts will probably just sit there.
Take Bonnie Brooks. You might not have heard of her, cause she's a modest thing, but as a hand-worker she can spin gold. Everything she touches turns be000tiful! The fact that she is a graphic designer and a consummate artisan makes her an excellent independent technical editor. Her hands and her eye for detail are there behind a lot of great craft books. She gets work because she does work. Good work begets good work. Or something... so keep working. Promotion is sometimes an inside job.
Utimately, there isn't a right or wrong way to promote, and, thereby, carve out a niche for yourself (and frankly I don't see crafters getting filthy rich at it anyway), so my advice would be to, yes, stretch, pounce on possibilities, but be yourself. Because at the end of the day, you're who you come home to. 8-)
Actually, there is no ladder to climb, only goals to set for yourself. Once you get into the so-called "big leagues," don't be surprised if the landscape looks pretty flat, because, after all, it's populated with folks just like you, who happened to arrive a little sooner than you did. But don't be too disappointed if you no longer have time to do what you love -- make things. Personal things. Deep things. Studio time is usually the first to go.
Thinking about all this promotion and getting published and being a designer, I guess my secret weapon is "Just Say Yes." When a new door opens, walk through. If you don't like the party, you can always leave. If you go broke following that lead, well, you've earned more in wisdom than if you hadn't tried it. You'll work smarter next time. If it's a waste of your time, no biggee, just pull back and focus on what's productive (for you). If you're scared, make yourself do it anyway. It will be less scary the next time. If your dream is to get published, that will never happen unless you submit something already! Woot!
Check my other posts on this topic (label: getting published) for a list of bead/jewelry-related magazines to submit to.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
In my Etsy shop, y'all.
Some lore about pyrite that I like is that its metallic content helps to balance the left and right brain (boy could I use some of that). Also, those sparkly bits are said to attract good fortune. But my favorite story is that polished pyrite was once used in North and Central America for scrying.
I'm currently working with labradorite and pyrite, and I showed a necklace in progress to my friend Buffy. I said, "Should I rework this or go ahead and put the clasp on?" She said, sort of not paying attention because she had one eye on the boyz running around the house, "Labradorite only looks good with labradorite," not realizing I'd worked in some rough cut shiny pyrite. So *I* said, pointing, "This is pyrite," to which she replied, "Oh! Well then, you've found something that looks good with labradorite."
She was right. Both times, I mean. Labradorite is amazing, mystical, beautiful -- it's like looking into a deep rock pool inside a stone castle. But if you're not careful, it just looks like mossy mud sludge when you put it on. Especially if you let all the other more colorful stones push it out of the way.
So I've come to think of labradorite as the Morgan Le Fay of the gemstone world -- or Morgause as she is called in The Mists of Avalon. Morgause, the dark, small-of-stature, indigenous half-sister of the fair-haired Arthur, is trained as a priestess. This from Wikipedia:
"Morgaine is cast as a strong woman in pain who has unique gifts and responsibilities at a time of enormous political and spiritual upheaval; as she is called upon to defend her indigenous matriarchal heritage against impossible odds."
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Me Dada and Junior had planned on a really nice dinner, but it was pretty obvious by 5:00 p.m. that wasn't going to happen, so instead we just pulled into Denny's in Bernalillo for a quick bite. We didn't realize, Junior had never been initiated into our B.C. (Before Children) tradition of having breakfast at Denny's for dinner. So that was fun, and when the waitresses found out it was my birthday (ok I fudged the date a little...) and the big 5-oh to boot, they went back in the kitchen and fixed the most amazing complementary dessert nachos, with sweet "chips," strawberries, and chocolate syrup. We took it with us and had it for dessert after the show.
Then we began the long drive to the Santa Ana Star Center -- not the casino five minutes away, people. Don't be fooled by the map, there are stops and turns and what look like normal roads, but this place is out in the total boonies. Finally we saw the center, and I felt like we were migrating to the mother ship. The only thing out there is the huge conference center and, of all things the Rio Rancho City Hall (er, what city? they must be planning for some humongous and no doubt frightfully water-sucking growth out there. but I digress...)
We get to our seats just as the show started, and I couldn't believe I was really there! I've watched Cirque de Soleil on TV religiously and kept telling la familia how lucky we are we didn't have to book a flight to Vegas. Junior was enraptured and about halfway through the pole-climbing, rope swinging, bicycle stunting sets I realized (with a mother's certainty) that he's going to go home and try this stuff (He does kung fu ala Jackie Chan -- just this morning he showed me a cell phone video of him running up to a wall, climbing it, and flipping over backwards).
The characters and costuming reminded me of wonderful, neon Akira Blount dolls! I love her work! These certain characters would walk out between sets with belts around their waists, and out of the backs of the belts came these long lamps that curved over their heads, with the lamp bulbs hanging down in front to light the way. The makeup, the semi-steampunk atmosphere, the GREAT band, it was all worth it. And 15 bucks cheaper than Vegas!
I found this great video on the Cirque de Soleil website that shows exciting clips from all their shows -- looks to me like the show we saw, Saltimbanco, is shown toward the beginning:
(go to this page, then click Watch a clip)
There are a couple of YouTube videos around if you want to see who I'm talking about, although last night's performance was like neither of them. In the first video below, he performs with a group of musicians while two dervishes turn, and in the second, he reads from Quarrelling with God before he plays.
He would introduce a poem and pass the book around for visitors to read, and then he would play a looooong song in a single rhythm, usually two or three mystical poems strung together.
Lucky us -- the DH and I have some of his music already. Last night, 'cause it's my birthday week, I bought the book and another CD, which I'm listening to now as I type this post.
You can hear from the YouTube video his rich baritone and excellent musicianship. What you can't get is the experience of a long, relaxing evening listening to intricately woven stories, and gentle laughter. Ahhh, a nice way to spend a cool, rainy spring (semi-birthday) evening with friends.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
This is fun! Last month while working on some ATCs for a swap with a hat theme, I went looking for various styles of hats. That's when I found this UK site on 1920s Fashions. There's a quiz on this page -- take it! See how much of a 1920s Fashionista you are (or want to be!)
NOTE: You have to answer all the questions before getting your results.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Anyhoo, her new book is out. I didn't find it on Amazon (yet?) but you can read about it on her website:
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
BACKGROUND. (Yes, this is a real Picasa user, and no I don't know her) -- Meet Ary, she's one of dozens: http://picasaweb.google.com/megyeriary
As of today, Ary has 53 public albums, all of which are full of scans of books she didn't write. Japanese, Russian, and several by Interweave press. Not to mention several complete issues of Bead and Button -- all uploaded since fall 2007. No, these publications are not out of print. They are easy to purchase in bookstores, and online, even the foreign ones.
It should be obvious to anyone on the planet that the odds of Ary authoring this many books in at least 3 different languages are, well, ZERO. So let's say I decide to report the content to the folks at Google's Picasa (who, I realize, also allow me to write this blog for free and no, it's not a fair trade).
1. I click on one of the albums, let's say Interweave's Netted Beadwork, by Diane Fitzgerald (it says so right on the cover...).
2. To report the obvious copyright violation, I scroll down to the bottom of the album and click the link that says, "Report inappropriate content."
3. A box pops up that looks like this:
Now I get to pick a button. Personally, I find the content offensive, LOL, but I don't think that's what Picasa meant. What I'm looking for is a way to alert Picasa that this user (and most of her friends -- see the right-hand column of violator buddies) are blatantly violating intellectual property law. My first clue that reporting might be futile is the line:
"If you own the copyright for this work and would like it removed..."
Picasa apparently doesn't want to get sued for accidentally removing work the album owner has a right to publish.
4. At this point I usually contact the publisher or author, many of whom I know, not because I'm special, but because that's how beadland is. And scrapbook land, and crochet land, etc. It's a small world, Ary. You might think you're doing your cheap friends a favor, but what you're really doing is screwing the author out of her hard earned $1.00 (and I do mean $1.00, on average) per book sale.
Diane Fitzgerald and the other authors on Ary's site are not wealthy women. They don't get huge advances. They put in incredibly long hours creating the projects and writing the instructions, and in many cases, doing the photography and illustrations, not to mention proofreading and editing. And if they self-publish, they have the additional responsibilities of footing the entire printing bill up front, as well as handling most of the distribution (including packing and shipping).
They are actual, regular people eking out a living like the rest of us, if we're lucky and don't have our efforts undermined by the likes of Ary, who apparently lacks the capacity to view authors and publishers as human beings who are part of the same, creative continuum as she is.
Ok, let's pause the rant and get back to the reporting process.
5. When I contact the author or publisher, I can send them a link, and they can start the reporting process. Which by the way, doesn't involve a simple email form or phone call. No, it has to be mailed. Via snail mail. So much for Web 2.0 revolutionizing the world.
But what if I want to contact Ary or one of her friends myself? To tell her how much I love being able to steal money out of other people's pockets to satisfy my insatiable apetite for not paying for my books, and to thank her for passing on those great scans since the originator probably got shut down already and if it wasn't for her perpetrating the copyright violations, I'd be so outta luck...
I don't actually recommend harassing the perp. It probably won't change their thinking. They might just elect to make their albums private. They'll probably get a lot of sympathy from their friends who will accuse you of being a big meanie. So here's how to alert the copyright holder as to the email address of the perp:
6. EXAMPLE: I'll use myself as an example. My "handle" on Picasa is maryluna. But here's what the URL looks like in the address bar:
http://picasaweb.google.com/mizmaryt <-- that's it. The last part is the email addy name. Add @gmail.com to the end, and you've got my (or the perp's) email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to confess, though I generally don't mess with contacting the violator, I did once. I ran across a tutorial that I had illustrated, for the class of a local bead artist who teaches nationally . It was so bizarre -- I recognized my illustrations even in the tiny thumbnails. I could tell it was a class handout that had been scanned and posted. I wrote to the perp and she graciously removed it.
Personally, I think Picasa should shut these violators down. I think some of the burden of proving ownership should be put on the users. We aren't revolutionizing anything via technology except making it easier to screw the little gals (and I include craft publishers in that category) out of their due. Picasa could allow ethical netizens to flag these violators' albums, and Picasa could send them a simple warning -- you've been flagged, check your content and remove anything you don't have a right to publish. When I publish photos via Picasa, I don't get any kind of orientation or obvious terms of usage guidance -- Picasa should take a little more responsibility for making it possible for these craft hogs to use them as a craft hog-pen.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
And then yesterday an amazing thing happened -- I actually sold some jewelry! Now, I've been quiet and mature and patient, and really appreciate Monkey Girl and my coworkers and all, but yesterday, this was a sale to a complete stranger, which always makes you feel like Sally Field in her Oscar acceptance speech (don't make me say it here).
So right before I left work, I checked my shop hearts, and they were the same as they were maybe 3 days ago. I go home, goof around for awhile, then get online and notice I've got like a dozen more hearts than I did an hour and a half before. Usually this happens when you get into an Etsy Treasury or something, or somebody posts about you on their blog. I checked, but couldn't find me anywhere (not unusual, as my family can attest to, LOL).
After investigating a bit, I happened to notice my fairy tree earrings had like 700 hits and 4 million (ok, maybe 50) hearts. Buh??? I posted to the forum about it, hoping someone had an explanation. Suggestions, yes, explanation, no.
Is it fairy magic? A secret "pimp" (how I hate that word) on Facebook? I may never know, but all this jabbering helps me avoid the next question...how many hearts and hits does it take to sell these puppies already? Oy!
Naw, not complaining. I love a mystery. Really I do. Like how pizza boxes close -- magic! Or how spores know what to do next. That sort of thing. Ok, back to sleuthing...
Monday, May 12, 2008
1. Because she has a new laptop with a web cam?
2. Because her birthday is right around the corner?
3. Because she just finished her classes and is now 6 credits closer to a master's?
4. All of the above?
Of course you're right, it's number 4! Both classes were over Saturday. Whew. I slept most of Mother's Day (which was my inherent once-a-year right, as a mother). They brought me breakfast and laptop in bed. For my birthday, we're going to see Cirque de Soleil. And in the meantime, it's beading and reading, in no particular order.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
playing cards back before you get them all slobbery!
I used PaintShop Pro to edit the image -- using layers, preset picture tubes and a crown clipart image. Plus a bit of tinting using the paintbrush.
Feel free to use the edited image, if you like. But for non-commercial use only, please. 8-) Or I'll send grandpa fairy king after you. ;-)
In my Flickr album, y'all.
Pssst, to get your own clip art sampler delivered by email you can sign up at Dover.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Audrey, pass over in peace. We'll sit with you on the other side. 8-)
The question was: What Kinds of Earrings Do You Wear?
Classic Posts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 (34%)
Petite Dangles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 (43%)
Long & Slinky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 (21%)
Funky Artsy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 (34%)
Gems & Birthstones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 (12%)
Totally Tribal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 (19%)
Gypsy Boho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 (31%)
Vintage Look . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 (17%)
Simple Silver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 (48%)
Bright Colors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 (31%)
Must Be Subtle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 (19%)
Latest Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 (4%)
Southwestern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 (26%)
New England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 (2%)
Simple Silver held the lead from the beginning, with Petite Dangles right behind. I was inspsired by how many Gypsy Boho Funky Artsy Bright Colors types there are reading this blog ;-) And whoever put "New England" would you please write and explain what the heck I meant by that?
Stay tuned for the May poll in a day or two...
Monday, May 5, 2008
"I know plenty of you have been inspired by altered books (don't let those collage artists have all the fun) and by stories (from trashy novels, to historical epics, to books of poems). Whether you alter an actual book, re-create a favorite character in literature, bead a page of text or just a favorite passage, bead a reader-and-book vignette, make a tiny library, or bead your favorite fantasy/sci-fi kingdom -- or any other bookcentric concoction you can imagine -- please share your passion for books and beads with us!"
Here are the complete rules. Deadline for entries is Dec. 18, 2008. Winning entries will be featured in Beadwork and at Bead Expo Santa Fe, Mar. 2009 and other shows.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
one Rainbow Squares. Both are made with Delica beads, the top one in metallic gold.
MIxed bead sizes are used above to create a cool textural effect
(Sarah says the picturesdidn't come out as nice as the bracelets though...)
Sarah often sells Versa-loom made bracelets in her Etsy shop.
Indulge me. 8-) I first posted these images on my old blog. Today on Beadchat someone mentioned the Versa-Loom, a warpless wonder developed by Rita Sova. We played with the prototype at a retreat and here are some of the pictures we took (a couple of years ago).
(Psssst. A warpless loom is strung up in such a way that you don't have to weave in the warp threads when you're done with the weft part. But to do this, you have to know how long your project will be. The Versa-Loom is modular, so you can put pieces together to create longer weavings.)
and about 2 hours to completethe bracelet above. She added the clasp the next day.
Alternating rows of decorative fibers with size 5-0 triangle
beads makes the bracelet project go very quickly.