Saturday 31 October 2015

Nnnnnnot going well...

I bought these three random pewter "worry stones/beads" to wrap as pendants to see how it goes when there are no drilled holes. After a whole morning at the market? Not. Well. At. All.

Here is the first one I did. After that, I started over, and started over, and started over... until the morning was over. On the one hand I feel like I wasted a lot of wire -- too much overthinking was/is my problem -- but now I have all these inch to inch-and-a-half woven bits I can rescue and trim and stitch into other pendants.

I forgot to get the name of the company that makes these -- out in Nova Scotia, I think. I will remember for next Saturday.

Hope you're having better results! Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Two More Pendants...

Another mystery stone leaf pendant and what I think is lepidolite. Sure is pretty, though. Like storm clouds on the one side. Getting to the point where there is no discernible back or front to the pendants, so BOGO in other words. I'm finding also that starting out with too much wire is also not a good thing -- I tend not to stop until the wire is finished. I think the lepidolite pendant got to be a little too much.

You can see in the photos that my fingers are getting rougher and rougher. Certainly they're very sore, and it's getting more difficult to compress the wires. In several of the videos I watched yesterday people were wrapping their fingers with fabric bandaging.

For now, I'm back to Midsomer Murders and another pendant. Hope you have a great evening. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Copper Woven Leaf Pendant...

I spent most of today watching Russian wire-weaving tutorials -- in Russian, no less (and no, I absolutely do not speak Russian!) but the guy draws little pictures so you can clearly see the weave patterns -- on YouTube. I cannot believe the magical work that is being done there. I learned a ton today and got really inspired: here is my new leaf pendant with copper wire weaving. Nope, no idea what this stone is. It's green, sometimes see-through, definitely dyed... and very pretty.

If you'd like to watch some great instructional videos from Russia and see lots of inspirational pictures, they're pretty much all towards the top of my Pinterest board here. These are videos I still have to watch.

Yet again the back ended up becoming the good side. And I ran out of wire, even though I cut it extra long. Gaaaaah.



Side view:

You can come and see this and any new pendants (and earrings) I get done in the next two days at the Woodstock Farmers Market at the Fairgrounds on Nellis Street this and most Saturday mornings, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Or you can email me for availability/cost/shipping rates or to wrap a special stone just for you or perhaps someone on your Christmas gift list.

Don't forget, The Gem Expo is coming up fast: just three weeks away. See you in Toronto!

Okay, now to go back and make another one. Thanks for looking!

Saturday 24 October 2015

Copper Wire-Woven Lapis Heart Pendant...

The market was fairly quiet this morning to begin with so I started making a random wire-woven thick and thin "ribbon" just to see what it would look like. I continued weaving the wires pretty much to the end (the ribbon is about 6 or 7 inches in total).

Earlier this week I went digging through a bag of mystery stones and discovered a handful of undrilled chubby semi-precious hearts that I hadn't yet done anything with, so I picked one of the lapis ones to play with.

The heart front, well and truly trapped:

Showing the back and bottom and just how chubby these hearts are:

For some weird reason, I'm obsessed with using only one continuous piece of wire, rather than working with multiple pieces in layers, and I'm still working with too short wires and/or cutting them off too soon.

The other thing I've noticed -- and so many people have commented on this, as well -- the backs, which are the truly randomly made parts, are often far more interesting than the fronts.

Thanks for looking!

New Copper Wire-Woven Pendant...

What started out like this last Saturday...

...morphed into this late yesterday afternoon. After a week of staring at it and playing with curves, I decided that square stone just wasn't working.

Front of finished pendant...

But I think I prefer the back. Having a blast with those curly doodles!

Come and see this -- or choose from a nice selection of pendants to be wrapped -- this or any Saturday morning at the Woodstock Farmers Market, Nellis Street at the Fairgrounds, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Alternatively, email me or leave a message below if you have a favourite rock you'd like wrapped (it doesn't need to be drilled).

I can make your Christmas and birthday present shopping very, very easy. Want to learn to do this yourself? Please contact me about one-on-one or small group lessons. Lessons tailored to age and experience will make a great Christmas or birthday gift.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday 18 October 2015

Minimal Skull Pendant Wrap & A New Beginning...

This skull cab pendant had no drilled hole and since my customer is male, he wouldn't like any scrolly, lacy trapping that I might otherwise have done -- and I rarely glue bails to anything. Once the copper darkens it will melt into the skull colours and be virtually invisible.

It doesn't show here, but once I was finished, I used my round-nosed pliers and goinked the back wires into zig-zags to tighten them up a bit.

Interestingly -- from a learning perspective -- this is the first time I've wrapped and trapped a pendant like this with dead soft copper wire. So MUCH much easier than using half-hard. Wowie zowie.

Then I started on my next project. I've been looking at this shape and the swirly storm cloud purple colours for a couple of days now. I have no idea what the stone is. It kinda sorta reminds me of lepidolite, but I got it off one of those budget strings of mixed pendants so it could be anything. A little free word association, along a desire also to do something incorporating tiny beads into the wire-woven edge and I ended up with this... 

Some notes: I started out with one idea, to have the pearls go all the way around, and gave up on that pretty quickly. I also didn't have the garnets with me that I was also thinking to incorporate. This will be another curvy freeform effort. 

I began by bending three wires at a 90 degree angle, nesting them and taping together what ended up becoming the plain woven edge you see in the photo. Note that the bend came before I changed my mind about the overall square wrap design. 

I cut off about 4 or 5 feet of 28 gauge wire and wrapped half of it on that plastic bobbin/mooshy spool thingy. THEY ARE FABULOUSLY USEFUL!!! You can buy them anywhere that sells kumihomo supplies. I got mine from Iguana Beads (King St., Cambridge, Ontario). Irene and Ken were next to me at the GRBS Show & Sale a few weeks ago. 

The "pearls" are Miyuki "Antique Ivory Pearl Ceylon" 6/0 round seed beads.

Stay tuned to see what it looks like finished... if I finish it. As I'm sitting here writing and looking again at the pictures, I'm getting different ideas... 

Saturday Morning Woodstock Farmers Market Setup...

Sometimes there'll be no teardown at the end of the market, the food vendors leave their shelves and coolers in situ and the rest of us non-food vendors leave our tables as is with cloths draped over everything.

I found out the hard way that I am located in front of double storage room doors and came back one Saturday morning to find at least two of my tables moved all over the place, the cloths and surfaces every which way, which means I now have to consolidate all my stuff onto the one table that is rarely moved.

What hides under the tablecloth. Any empty bins have to be stacked on top of the table, as well, for when the floors are washed.

Everything back in place. Takes me about half an hour to do this.

Ready to go. Yes, all that was hiding under the sheet! I'm off now to get coffee, visit and buy the week's groceries, and it's barely 6 a.m.

Unfortunately, this Saturday it was a full teardown. Next week I'll show you how I pack my bins.

Thanks for stopping by!

Woke Up to THIS... Snoooooooooohhhh Nooooooooooooo....

Nooooooo... it's too early.

We had a foretaste of what was/is to come on Friday afternoon...

Meanwhile, starting tomorrow (Monday), the weather guys are calling for mid-teen highs and high single digit lows and SUN for at least the next two weeks... yahooooo! We can bury our heads back deep in piles of red, orange and gold leaves for a little while longer and put off buying/swapping summer for snow tires -- mine are on already -- and getting undercoating done. Where did I put that guy's number???

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday 10 October 2015

Wire-Woven Crab Agate Pendant...

"Crab" is another wire-weaving meditation done this morning at the market in between customers where I varied the weave from the first one I tried with the Cobra pendant (the modified soumak): instead of wrapping once, I wrapped twice, and developed a kind of organic zig-zag with gaps, to which I added lengths of wire which I first curled and hammered. In the interest of trying to stop being so freaking precise, I did all this adding and subtracting of wires randomly.

When I went to choose a pendant out of a bag of miscellaneous assorted pendants, the light hitting the weave pattern kind of mirrored the crab agate pattern (I think this is crab agate; someone please correct me if I'm wrong), so crabs, water, waves, undulation, and the wrap pretty much took itself over from there.

The back view:

This is the first time I'm doing a lot of hammering of dead soft copper. It gooshes out a lot more than half hard, and I need to keep an eye on that to keep all the hammered bits a little more equal, as the ones that aren't hammered enough look it. I'm seeing this more clearly in the photographs: I'm not getting the curves quite as swoopy and curvy and loopy as I'd like, and I'm still cutting off wire ends waaaay too soon, but it's coming -- and it's So. Much. FUN!!!

The other bonus is this is a great technique to use up all those orphan beads off the mixed strings of budget beads that seem always to have three or four really cool pendants that pretty much sell themselves as is, but the rest of them are.... kinda... meh.

As always, see me at the market on Saturday mornings, or email me for the availability of "Crab" or other items.

Thanks for looking!

Friday 9 October 2015

Cobra, my first wire-weaving...

Finally, after a week of typing, I got a chance this afternoon to finish my first "real" wire-weaving. Just to remind you, the heart pendant is my first effort made about a month ago before I hunkered down with Debbie Benninger's book and Sarah Thompson's Craftsy video and book Fine Art Weaving Techniques and got serious.

This is so gross. The base wire was 18 gauge, way too small, and I think I used 26 gauge instead of 28 to weave with. And look at the gaps. Gaaaaahhhhh...

However, this is what you get when you follow the pros. Yes, I can see every mistake, but it's so coooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I wrote in the bead show post, with nothing in particular in mind except knowing this was the bead I wanted to use, I started out randomly weaving wires and dropping a wire, and adding other wire bits here and there, and then inserted one wire into the bead hole and started pressing and shaping the woven sections around the bead. If I didn't think something was working, I undid it and went in another direction. The woven wire is surprisingly very forgiving. The bulgy shape started out to be a leaf, but since it looked more like a cobra, I went with that.

I think the best and cleanest view is the side view.

Kind of a dog's breakfast in the back, but I was trying out different things I'd seen and kinda got lost in twirling and hammering and wrapping without considering what it was really starting to look like while I was doing it.

Pendant is finished. Bonus is I got the twisted angle at the top correct and the pendant hangs perfectly. Unfortunately, I think I wrapped too much in the middle there to secure the centre curl to the left hand bit. I should've just done a couple of wraps and left it. My great failing is I never know when to stop. Next time.

It sure looks different in a photo than in real life. All the mistakes show up so very clearly, but, hey, that's good for learning, right?

Other than the market tomorrow morning, I have a whole long weekend free to play. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone (send me some leftovers), and thanks for looking.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Grand River Bead Show Booth -- How to set up in a tiny space

Wowee zowie, 4 feet by 2.5 feet is a hard table layout to do. Anyone who knows me or who has taken a look at my various show setup pictures knows I have a ton of stuff and usually fill 1, 2 or even 3 tables plus grids. But half a table? It is to laugh.

Pick yourself up off the floor and I'll show you how I did it.

The trick is to go UP and use grids, shelves, risers...

4:45 p.m. Friday night. The Embassy Room at Bingeman's. A few vendors have begun setting up. Several people got stuck in Friday rush hour traffic getting out of Toronto. I've been here since 4:00, saying hi and catching up with people I haven't seen in a while. Time to get to work.

The van has been unloaded, the bed risers have been put under the table (see how the table looks like it's levitating?), grids and lights set up and trays, shelves and risers roughly placed.

Back view of the table showing the placement of clamp lamps, and small (invaluable) folding table which will have a black cloth draped over it. Roxann Blazetich-Ozols put a dressmaking Judy on her back table, draping it with her large ducette/lucetting x 2 fibre necklaces. It's a neat trick to expand your table footprint -- to go back behind if you can't go up or to the side.

5:18 p.m. Friday night. Starting to fill the type tray and thinking about what will go where...

Ick, this is the worst part of setting up... I truly have no idea where it will all go. To the left of the type tray are small angled dollar store metal frames, that come with glass which I take out. They are great for tilting bins and trays up at the back so contents are more easily seen.

6:00 p.m. Friday night. People seem to be quite happy poking through my bins, so I have stacked as many as three on top of each other. After a few moments, I'll ask people if they're looking for anything in particular, and if I sense more than a passing interest I'll come around to show them where everything is hiding.

6:42 p.m. Friday night. Done setting up for the night. Still no turquoise out and no way was I going to get all my curtain rods full of beads in strings on the rack as shown, i.e. facing into and over the table. Bah... I'll worry about that tomorrow.

9:35 a.m. Saturday morning. I wasn't happy with draping the necklaces around the neck of the bust, so I pinned them cascading down the front.

9:35 a.m. Saturday, 25 minutes to showtime. I stole my computer monitor setup of glass bricks and board for this show and, I like it so much I'm now using it exactly as shown at the Saturday market. I think it looks very nice.

It's hard to see in the picture, but the T-bar to the right of the bust in the centre is sitting up on a clear plastic set of three drawers. I put several strings of beads in each drawer and opened them slightly so people would be encouraged to look further.

I've already been asked by several people where I got the glass bricks (used, cement cleaned off, from our local Door Store, aka Habitat for Humanity Re-Store). Figgers -- they're not interested in the beads or jewellery; they want the bricks. Sometimes I really do get the sense that I'm in the wrong business.

You can't see in these pictures, but there is about three feet of space between each table. By the time I arrived just after 8:00 a.m. my neighbour to the left had put bags of findings on hooks on her grid facing into that space. This is great -- we can use that space! I ended up putting all my bead strings that are on curtain rods on the hooks on the other side of the grid that faced into the space, too -- this meant I could put out a ton more beads and people had room to get up close, nose to bead, to see them.

Since Sunday mid-afternoon was considerably slower than Saturday (okay, it was dead), I got lots more weaving done on this pendant. I took advantage of the fact that Debbie Benninger from I.D. Jewelry and Design was also a vendor, and she gave me some great feedback (and tips that I've never read anywhere) on this, my first wire-weaving that I would actually show anyone.

That bloopy bit to the top right of the bead was supposed to be a leaf, but once I wrapped it around the pendant, I decided it looked more like a cobra.

By 4:30 p.m. on Sunday my pendant was looking like this. (Here it is a week later, and I'm still trying to get around to hammering the "tongues" which I'll wrap behind to secure the wire to the pendant.) That little plain wire tail bit in the centre I'll also be unwrapping and hammering flat as it looks really stupid all by itself. I shouldn't have cut the other wires short before thinking it through a bit more. Y'know, they warn us about this all the time. Do I listen? Rhetorical question.

The beauty of this technique is the woven wires are so very flexible. I can change my mind in mid-design, unwrap things, straighten bits out and nudge them in another direction, and the swoops and curves that are possible are enchanting... you canNOT screw this up! My favourite type of activity.

5:05 p.m. Sunday. The show is over for another year, and we're all madly packing up.

The organisers are already talking about renting the same venue for next year. The natural light that poured into the room all day was fabulous.

Reminder, unless there's a ginormous ice storm or some other pesky weather phenomenon, I will be at The Gem Expo at the Hyatt Regency, King Street, Toronto, November 20th-22nd. Hope to see you there!