January 23, 2006

Ultimate Bead Buying Trip

A week from now I will be in the middle of my yearly bead buying trip - The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show! This is not just any bead show, but SHOWS. They take over the entire city of Tucson. There are about 40 major shows; wholesale gems & minerals and 5 major Bead Shows. You have to pick and choose as it is difficult to do it all.

I am trying to get organized to do book signings at:
The Best Bead Show
Main Hall
Booth #41 - "The Bead Spinner Lady"
1 pm to 5pm on:
Wednesday, Feb 1st
Friday, Feb. 3rd

If you are going to be in Tucson, stop by The Best Bead Show, get your book(s) signed and say hello. I will finally have a chance to meet Rita Sova of Bead-Patterns She will also be at The Best Bead Show. We've had email and phone conversations for years and I will finally be able to put a face to a name.

Next weekend several of my beading friends will arrive to stay with me and do the shows. We will be a small house full of women for a little over a week. We always have a good time going to the shows, sharing treasures, giggling and eating well. At the end of the visit we will put our feet up and have a "Bead Day" in my studio with a few of the local beaders. We can ohhh and ahhhh over all of our bead finds and maybe use some of them in a project or two.

January 16, 2006

Felted Bird Bag

It's been awhile since I've had a major creative slump. This time it's been a couple of weeks since I've felt like doing any beading. Maybe it was because I was dealing with replacing a furnace and doing some minor interior house things with nails, hammer, caulking, paint, and curtains.

This morning I woke up with a picture of a bird in my head which quickly translated into a needle felted piece that cried out to be a small bag or purse.

While constructing the purse I discovered that you can felt with a hot steam iron. I needle felted the edges of the bird square to the purse flap and decided I wanted the felting to be nice and flat -hence the hot iron. As I ironed the back of the flap, I started patting and rubbing the wool fuzzies with the hot steam iron. I was surprised to see the fibers become matted and then felted to the wool fabric. Cool - now I won't feel like I really have to line the purse to hide the fuzzy wool on the back side.

Now that I have this piece out of my system I can go back to working on the wild orange, purple and yellow "sleeve" purse I had started a couple of weeks ago. I have about 4 beadwork items that are each half to three quarters finished. Then I need to start dedicating some time to getting the next bead crochet book a bit further down the road towards publishing.

January 9, 2006

Winter Studio

My NH friend Folkcat, sort of issued a challenge to show your studio or work space.
I thought I might show you my Winter Studio in Tombstone AZ. I restored an old Adobe that I suspect might have been a small rooming house at the turn of the century. There are 3 rooms, all the same size, one behind each other, each having (at one time) a window and outside door. The kitchen, bath and (now) laundry are on the other side of a central hallway.

I have a gate and separate entrance to my studio from the street. If it's warm enough, I take a break in the mornings and sit outside as it's East facing and nice and warm in the Arizona sun. My Eastern friends tell me that they are going to have issues with me if I keep mentioning 75 degree weather!

As you enter the door and look to your left, you'll see my desk and computer along with messy piles of bills, notes to myself and piles of paper - things that I'm working on, or should be working on. Then there is a long work table that I pull out and use for in-studio workshops. It is a handy place to dump things rather than put them away where they belong.

From the same doorway, if you look right is my beading table; also a handy flat surface to pile thing on. I frequently take a tray with my current beading project to other rooms and even have been known to bead in bed. Two sets of shelves hold my beads and supplies, with office supplies being in a cupboard. I have a nice rug for a dog that visits with his owner almost every day.

I'm currently working on a freeform necklace to go with my "Memories of a Louisiana Swamp" bracelet.
It's progressing slowly at the moment as I've had to many other things going on at the moment.

January 2, 2006

Arizona Sunsets & "Sleeve Art"

I have not had any time to devote to beading or even to continue exploring felting since I arrived in Tombstone this year. Between the beautifully warm weather, holidays and things that had to get done there just hasn't been any creative time. The sunset photo is from my back porch on New Year's day. I sat outside in my shirt sleeves, in my rocker and just watched the colors change.

I did manage to visit the Gallery in Bisbee that carries my work and showed off what I'd been doing with wool felting. If you are in Bisbee AZ visit TWIST, where "Art is not a thing, it is a way." Sally, the owner is a fabulous paper artist and carries an eclectic mix of handcrafted art. She was so excited with my felted objects that she wanted everything as well as a workshop in the basics of felting.

This is now a major problem as I don't like to do workshops without examples to show participants. So, I visited a couple of thrift stores and came away with a couple of wool garments that could be taken apart and felted. Being the Southwest, there is very few 100% wool anything. You are seeing the beginnings of another felted "Sleeve Art" purse. This time I decided to try needle felting directly onto the felted sleeve. It's working quite nicely, but I am going to have to line the purse as I don't like the "fuzzies" showing inside. I think this one is bright enough!

Basics of Wool Felting Workshop:

Wednesday - Jan. 25th from 1pm to 5pm
At Bead Line Studios, Tombstone AZ
Cost $60

Learn the basics of felting with wool in a 4 hour workshop. You will practice with felting needles on a small square of pre-felted wool and then learn to make wet felted balls. The workshop supplies (included in the price) will be enough to complete an 18" Ball Necklace.