Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vegan Bone Beads

Antiqued tea stained wooden alphabet beads

I scarfed up a hefty pile o' these wooden alphabet beads over the weekend because of one thing -- the rounded edges on the cubes! (Ya never know what will finally tip the pocketbook open.) But there was something.. I dunno... bland about them in their pristine state.

So last night I dunked a handful into a cup of hot chai tea, and here's what I scooped out this morning:

Antiqued tea stained wooden alphabet beads
Bravo! Nicely tinted! Encore!

I like. The antique-y look of bone, without those pesky animal parts.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nikia's Buttons

Ooooh, lookie what I got from Nikia tonight!
XL Czech glass button. I'll probably use it as the centerpiece on
a bead embroidered cuff. For the money, you get maximum bling
and with minimum effort since the button fills so much space.
Wow. Crazy beautiful in real life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beading with Sequins class debrief

It was a small group of women who signed up for my class yesterday at the Harwood Art Center. I was surprised that none of them had done any bead embroidery. But they were all experienced in art and craft, and two were professional artists. And I could tell they has all used needle and thread, so I knew they'd catch on quickly, and they did. After I teach, I always like to consciously reflect on what worked and what could have worked better.
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite classes to teach, for many reasons.
  1. It's easy to pack for
  2. It's easy to prep for (just a little practice on my sequins samplers and I'm ready to "splain it.")
  3. The pace is relaxing -- For beginner groups, I can focus on the basic stitches. For ultra-experienced students, I can introduce more techniques and variations, because they get the basics done fast. For mixed groups, advanced students aren't bored because they can go in their own direction.
  4. There's always a magical moment -- Stitching with sequins is not rocket science but it's not exactly intuitive either. There's always a moment when the students say they're so happy to learn the techniques. Instant gratification is afoot. :-)
  5. I make money doing something I really enjoy.
Once again, the students suggested that I publish my techniques. I don't always talk about the "business" of beadwork in class, but this time I did. I think I'm mulling all this over. I shared with them -- and they nodded in understanding (thank you!) that there is a window of opportunity for publishing a technique before it gets out there and becomes common knowledge. I'm happy to share what I know, but I'd also like to make a dollar at it.

So I need to decide -- do I want to self-publish a booklet, propose a magazine article or two, approach a publisher, or what?

  • Self-publish -- I wrote a 20-page booklet for my color theory workshops, and I'm just about ready to start selling them on Etsy. I have the equipment I need to produce them at home, a little at a time. Do I want to do the same with my sequin instructions?
  • Magazine articles -- I've written many craft magazine articles and I'd love to do more. The money isn't much, but it keeps me in the game, ya know? My first invitation to speak (thank you Nancy Z!) came right after my very first magazine article came out. Should I pitch an article on a sequin stitching technique?
  • Book -- The least appealing choice for me, but also the one where I stand to make a nice chunk of change, is pitching a book to a publisher. It's an awful lot of work that involves a lot of people besides me, which means I have to prioritize it and work on their schedule. There goes my beading time.
Ironically, this is the only class I have ever done with no written handouts -- because they are not really needed. And yet, in every class, my students urge me to publish the techniques. Interesting, eh?

Thanks for reading. If you have experience publishing a craft book or want to weigh in, feel free.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stalking My Irises

Here are some more iris photos...this time in daylight. (Click to see a bigger image.)


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Irises at Night

Walking around the backyard at night is like walking on the bottom of the ocean.
Here is one of our blooming irises, taken with a flash, no other corrections.

P.S. They smell like grapes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sequin Beading Class at the Harwood

bead embroidery with fancy sequin stitchesI will be teaching my Stitching with Sequins class on Saturday, May 19, at the Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque. Here's more from the Harwood blurb:

"Learn the secret techniques of the Magic Flower, the mysteries of the Haitian Hill, plus hidden thread, full coverage and floral tricks and tips, using flat and cupped sequins, with and without seed beads."

We'll create a sampler in class and you'll leave the workshop prepared to explore your own motifs and imagery using the basic stitches for attaching sequins to a stitchable substrate.
So take my class and be like these people -- happy! :-)

Visit the Harwood Art Center's Class Calender to register online, by phone or by email.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

OFFCenter's Albuquirky House Tour TODAY!

OFFCenter Community Arts Project albuquirky house tourOh yeah, there is still time to get your ticket to OFFCenter's 7th Annual Albuquirky House Tour.

It all starts Saturday May 5th, from 1 to 4 -- you can head on over to OFFCenter around noon to purchase tickets, grab your maps and a Quirk clue (win a prize!), buy a little artist-made houses or maybe even grab a cookie or two.
I'll be volunteering at the event, so pop in and say hi! Here's a map if you don't know where 8th and Central meet, just west of the roundabout, across from Albuquerque's Robinson Park.
The OFFCenter gift shop will be open throughout the event (remember, 80% of the purchase price goes directly to the emerging artist who made it).
P.S. OFFCenter is a non-profit community arts organization in downtown Albuquerque that provides a free open art studio, workshops, emerging artist opportunities, exhibits, art sales, creative writing, kid's artmaking, music performances and numerous other activities for anybody who wants to participate. Yo heart OFFCenter! So even if you can't attend today you can donate to OFFCenter any time. :-)


Friday, May 4, 2012

Moon for Sarah

moon over cottonwoods and roof new mexico photograph
The MOTH said, "Come out here and take a picture for Sarah." So I did.
Here you go, Sarah.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kentucky Aunties Baby Card

My sincere apologies to greeting card designers everywhere, for whom I have the utmost respect. Also to paper crafts people. And people who have photo editing software on their travel computers, LOL. But hey, kudos to Auntie Me for some creative recycling! I was sitting in my bro's apartment realizing I forgot to get a gift card to go with the present I put together from Lilikoi's aunties in Kentucky. So I literally pulled the materials out of my bro's office trash to make this card.

I found a piece of cardboard that is white on one side, and folded it in half. I drew the aunties onto a white glossy gift back and cut them out. Yes they are real people (but not many earthlings get to see them in their wings).

I tore the leafy skirts from the cover of a discarded magazine. I picked up the angel wing seeds (aka helicopters) off the ground outside the apartment. Then it was just a matter of taping everything down with clear tape. Finally, I drew the feetsies and moon and stars.