A Diva Distraction

Since I last posted here, I’ve been spending some time and effort turning textiles and beads I already have into new dolls and wearable art, and exploring new techniques along the way as I go. For months I spent an hour or so most weekdays embellishing dolls with beads, silk ribbons, dyed textiles…I also did some sewing using versions I altered of Patti Culea’s wonderful doll patterns from her books. I had used parts of her patterns before–she designed wonderful hands and feet for her dolls–but I had never made a doll just as it was in her designs.I jump around from instructions on my own curve, but you can miss things that way too. So I made one of my 2020 projects to get out my stash of dyed cotton jersey and try the patterns as given, and THEN mess with them more…

I played with scale and body shape and ended up with 3 dolls that need to have some clothes made for them (coming later this year!) and one that had a mermaid tail instead of legs, with moveable hips and shoulder joints. I used Procion  coldwater fiber reactive dyes  with some over painting using Shiva Oil paint sticks to give the body and tail fabric some color. Then it was stuffed with polyester fiberfill and wire to create a bendable bottom armature. Dyed silk gauze gives her tail a flowing purple flourish. Her face and nails were painted with acrylics, and I sewed on many sessions-worth of beads and sequins to her body, arms, and tail flukes.

I made her some polymer clay seashells, starfish and black coral, and fashioned her some necklaces, earrings, and hair decorations. Several of these still need to be glued into place in her hair, Her hair is where it all started so it is fitting that that is where she finishes up. Several years ago I was given a skein of beautiful hand dyed and mixed fibers that I knew instantly I wanted to use on a special doll. This one makes great use of it, and I have enough left to wig up a blue fairy as well! But that’s another project. I quite enjoyed this mermaid and would like to make more, but smaller, as the beading took a long while. She is 18″ from head to flukes, and more added for her piled up hair and gauzy tail! I’d like to get the pattern tweaked to about half that. After all, I have lots more fabric, sequins, and beads, and this seems like a good time for more fairies, mermaids, dolls and divas. I’m happier doing some beautiful distractions along with the realities.

Fun With Ribbons & Faces

I purchased some beautiful vintage silk sari ribbons recently, and I got two kinds–sari silk chiffon prints, and sari trim with woven metallic threads. Both are beautiful bursts of color and pattern. I spent a few snowy afternoons turning ribbons into tassels with 22g brass wire.

Now I’m having a great time pairing them up with beads for earrings, or with polymer clay faces, destined to be focal elements in bead embroidery, jewelry, collage…

I want to do some bead embroidered pendants next. I love how the colors of the textiles and the polymer clay or ceramics go so well together, and of course, beads will also be involved.

I’ve made some into art dolls, and they are a lot of fun to create! This pink 3 inch hand dyed doll is getting lots more beads, and will have silk chiffon tassels for wings draped down her back.

Art Doll Fun

Art Dolls are particularly fun projects for me because I love costuming and dress up, as long as I get to remain in comfy clothes and shoes–so with dolls I can indulge. Making art dolls can be a way of expressing and working though strong feelings, of pleasurably and creatively spending time by yourself or with like minded friends. Some dolls I make from cloth, paper or clay from my own patterns, but I also enjoy staring with a pre-made cloth body and dressing it up. I like the portability of these small projects. You can do a lot in a few hours or continue to add more and develop their style.

I’ve spent many years dyeing natural fibers with Procion MX Series cold water dyes, and built up a lovely cache of cottons, silks, and rayon. So, I put together kits with fabric, lace, ribbons and 3,5,and 8 inch cotton dolls. Then to some I added goodies like sequins, beads, Angelina fibers, dyed feathers, polymer clay or ceramic faces and vintage silk sari trim ribbon. I had a wonderfully colorful time adding ingredients to each kit, and now it is time to share the fun, so art doll kits are going up for sale in my shop here. I’ll be adding more all month!

Shown here is an art doll made from a 5″ art doll kit. I used scissors, a needle and thread, and some E-6000 to affix the polymer clay face to the body. I put a small heavy box on her as a weight as the glue dried to get a good bond. I used everything in the kit except a dozen beads or so. She looked great, but I wanted more..so I added some size 11 gold glass seed beads and size 15 glass purple beads. Much better! She still needs a bit of glitter, some feathers, some paper flowers…but I will come back to her another day. That’s my favorite way to play with dolls! In the meantime, I get to make up samples from the 3 and 8 inch doll kits next. Stay tuned!

Crown Classes and More in 2020

I wasn’t born a Crowned Head of anywhere or in any line to be one. I don’t really think I’d want to be Royalty, either—but I do like crowns! A good crown can improve the mood or  accessorize that power suit.

I’ll be teaching in the upcoming year 2020, including a class making wire and beads crowns at Bead Cache in Ft. Collins,  Colorado! Here’s one design sample made with brass wire, and a selection of ruby red glass beads along with sparkling bronze glass crystals and golden metal accent beads.

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New Ink On Metal!

I’ve got new metal and more to show and sell at a 24 hour event in the One Sweet Bead Market on Facebook, coming right up on Tuesday, August 20th. This is a great group, and one of three I sell through on Facebook. I’ve closed my Etsy store, and opened my own shop here at Creative Connections. I’ll be putting new work up in sales on Facebook, and then stocking the digital shelves here in my shop!

Complete Greens

In my previous post, I showed the components and green, pearl and ivory beads I picked out for putting together a necklace and earring set or two. I got them made up, and its time to show them off! The first necklace is a chain of beads that are in a harmonious color grouping–a great way to use up beads that are not enough for an entire necklace by themselves. I like the collector’s mode best anyway–a few of these, one or two of those…

The second image shows the etched brass pendant and earring set  made up into a set with some hand dyed sari sil ribbon and a hand-formed bronze wire hook and eye clasp. I also wire wrapped a ceramic face with some bronze wire and a bit of the silk fiber fluff–now it is a pendant just waiting for a ribbon or chain.

The third image shows another necklace, made with etched brass using images of vintage foreign stamps. this one also has a hook and eye clasp–very sturdy and easy to make. All these lovely cool greens were fun to bring together. Now I think I will move on to some blues!

Chain Reaction

I’ve been packaging up the etched and patina metal sets from the most recent batch, and they turned out so well that I had to keep a few things for myself. Electrically etched versions of vintage foreign postage stamps in green, and a lovely brass set in a Renaissance design caught me, and I set them aside for a bit of beading fun. I already had a lunch tray with beads in that soft green, and one in ivories and pearls. When you work in colors you like, things go together, and there are often leftovers from projects. Two or three beads are enough to become part of a brand new design, and a color coordinated display.

I like taking an eclectic group of beads and seeing how they can dance together—that’s more fun for me than one kind of bead repeatedly strung in a row. I’m using metal, polymer clay, shell, glass and crystal, rocks and pearls. Chain lengths made with wire segments are a great way to use up a lot of beads in small groupings. I am using 22ga bronze wire to make this necklace, which will feature an etched central pendant piece with fringe—eventually! I think the stamps will be another necklace, or maybe a charm bracelet…

Of course, there needs to be a pair of earrings; since I started with one of my 3 piece metal earring pendant sets, that makes it easy to get that going too! This project is coming together a little at a time, as I take breaks from the work of the week. Gotta have those creativity breaks, especially when it is hot outside and the computer needs a rest.

Electrical Etching

We’ve been very busy indeed, getting a big new batch of electro-etched metals finished, putting inks or patinas on aluminum, brass, bronze, copper and nickel silver. Now that warm weather is here, we are gearing up to do more textiles, more polymer clay…and work in the digital world continues too. I’m putting my online shop together here at Creative Connections, and filling it up with jewelry, components, kits and more. I also have a page for my POD (print on demand) artwork on  wearable items and accessories as well as home decor. I put up more items in the shop here every day, and will continue in and around the other projects—gotta make ’em before you can show ’em off!

I’ve started making bracelets out of a thicker gauge of metal, and the results are lovely. 22ga for bracelets and 24-26 gauge for earrings and pendants works out very nicely with a better heft to the bracelets and less weight for ears. I’ll be adding bracelets and more to the shop next week–do please stop back and see.

Components Coming Right Up!

We’ve been busy at my house all winter long, learning new things, writing, making music, making art…and while I’m ready for the Spring thaws and starting a garden, there is still a bit of winter left here in Wyoming. So we distract ourselves from the cold with old movies, fresh hot homemade donuts and lots of creative pursuits. I’ll be making the results available in upcoming 24 hour events in the One Sweet Bead Market Facebook group February 25 and March 25.  While it is still cold outside, Come Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

 

Pretty Patinas

Every time I open the boxes where metal patinas are forming on the pieces of brass and copper, it is like Christmas. You never know exactly how they will turn out, and its a lot of fun to be surprised by beauty. I cut the metal up and ground down the edges and gave everything a coat of Renaissance Wax to seal the finish. I cut up pieces to make bracelets, pendants and earrings.

As soon as we finish the details like putting in holes I’ll be selling some as jewelry making components and making some up to sell in galleries, online, and at shows like the upcoming Laramie Holiday Market on Saturday  9-4 November 30th at the University of WY Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts.

I’ll be there with Camille Rendal and Shelley Leonard, local Laramie artists themselves. We’ll have earrings pendants and bracelets, belt buckles, handwoven scarves, and more!

Camille and I are also starting an online store using the shopify platform. We are presenting art we make and also our art printed onto a variety of clothing, accessories and household decor. We’ve just started things going and will have a Grand Opening later this month. I’m creating new POD designs and uploading new products to the store every day. Check back often to see what’s new!