Desert Canyon -inspiration for my art

 

Deserts are living contradictions: seemingly empty but in fact packed with life, burning hot by day yet freezing cold by night, and arid save for that odd flash flood that tears through the land, gouging out great canyons. And nowhere are these canyons more dramatic—and dangerous—than in Arizona.

Antelope Canyon

Here are some photos taken at Antelope Canyon in Arizona.

desert canyon

desert canyon

desert canyon

desert canyon

 

the desert is inspiration for my art jewelry

When I sit down to make glass beads I usually have an idea now what I need and want to make.  That wasn’t always the case.  But I loved to work in the colors found in the desert.  Here is a necklace I made several years ago.  The focal glass bead is from the “canyon” series.

canyon inspiration

 

new tag

Starbucks

I just read that Starbucks is releasing a new fall coffee drink that might just be better than the Pumpkin  Spiced Latte.  It is the MPL  for short – or Maple Pecan Latte.  It is described as an espresso drink with flavor notes of maple syrup, pecan, and brown butter.  Whoa.  That sounds decadent.  I always look forward to the Pumpkin latte but this new drink sounds like something right up my alley.

starbucks maple pecan latte

 

So that brings me to a question. 

How often do you imbibe at a Starbucks or the equivalent? 

My oldest daughter lives in Seattle, and I think I can safely say she has a coffee drink every day. 

Me – maybe once or twice a month. 

I have an amusing story about my parents and Starbucks.  Way way way back in 1990 my parents had a financial advisor who wanted them to invest in a company that was going public.  They lived in Northern Virginia at the time so he invited them to go to a Starbucks in Washington DC with him.  My Mother gleefully told me that she thought he was going crazy.  Her exact words…  who in hell would pay $3.00 for a cup of coffee.  So I guess I don’t need to say out loud that they didn’t invest. 

My Art Jewelry – something new

“Alabaster” Lampworked Beads – in a new necklace

art jewelry

There is an alabaster box
Carved, and beautiful
but fragile
just like my heart.
I trusted.
I felt certain.
But now live with broken promises
But like the box
I will endure

new tag

 

A Bead Journey

Beads – How my passion got started

I have always done something crafty or artsy.  I wanted to go to art school but my parents thought that an art degree wouldn’t be practical.  

My grandmother taught me sewing.  She was a seamstress and worked in a sweatshop mill in upper state New York sewing clothing for a manufacturer until the mill moved south.  I even designed some clothing patterns.  She also taught me knitting.  And being me, I also taught myself to design some knitting patterns – pretty easy ones.  I took a painting class and it didn’t inspire me.  I loved doing needle work in the form of needlepoint and cross stitch.  I was designing cross stitch patterns for a shop in Las Vegas when we lived there.  The owner coaxed me to “name” my business and I chose Desert Bloom. Of course, I instantly designed a pattern in cross stitch for the business.  I showed it to Shirley, the shop owner, and she said “why don’t you add some beads to the design?”  

So I walked into a bead shop….OH MY!

bead journey

Beading can be overwhelming.  What technique did I want to start with?  I chose seed beads for the Desert Bloom cross stitch.  You might not be able to see them in the photo but they are there. And as soon as I finished that project I taught myself how to stitch designs and jewelry with seed beads. 

This is one of the first bracelets I made. (designed the pattern too).  And sold several hundred copies of this pattern online.  I decided that trying to sell the finished product was not feasible.  It takes a long time to complete, and I would never get the price to compensate for the hours of work.

bead journey

I designed more patterns, but I was having a hard time finding button closures.  In the meantime my youngest daughter was in college in Portland, OR and I went up to visit.  I had some time that weekend and decided to attend the Embellishment conference at the Convention Center.  And that is when I saw my first lampworked bead.  Of course I was familiar with Venetian beads.  But the lampwork beads I saw at this convention were tiny works of art.  And I was hooked.  And my journey with glass began in 1997.creating the desert in glass and metal

I’m out in the studio creating art jewelry

creating - art jewelry

A Work in Progress – creating jewelry

So last week I showed you the disk beads I made and many of you emailed me to ask what I was going to make.  

I chose one disk bead and started creating a piece of art jewelry around it

The design is sketched (I’m keeping that secret for the moment)

Other elements ~

a large sterling silver disk

some glass headpins on copper wire that I made yesterday

later today I will research the closure I plan to use – and I might just fabricate it in copper before I make it in silver

I like to make my mistakes in cheaper material; plus I will learn if I need to make any adjustments in the design

Tomorrow I will begin fabrication in the studio

If the final piece makes me happy I will make 2 more quickly with the other 2 disk beads

Studio Atmosphere

I like to listen to music while I work.

Recently I bought a new album and I plan on listening to it tomorrow…  

Of course its not a record album but digital music on my ipad….

creating and listening to music

It’s DION – I remember him like this

creating and listening to music

Oh it’s gonna be a great day

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Lampworked Disk Bead

What I love about lampworking glass beads ~ besides being mesmerized by the flame ~ is that I can sit down and make any shape bead that I want and any color bead.  Possibilities are overwhelming.  I have been lampworking for 21 years – omg – that means that some beads I still have are of drinking age…

Shapes for my designer jewelry

A popular shape for a lampworked bead is a disk bead.  Sometimes a disk bead is made by carefully wrapping the hot glass in a single thin coil without melting the coils in.  And sometimes the coils are melted in for a nice smooth disk bead.  And of course my disk beads take on a more organic shape.  I used to find these shaped beads a little challenging to use in my jewelry designs.  Sometimes with this type of bead it is best to showcase the “side” of the bead.  But I have now designed several designer jewelry pieces around this shape.

Recently, I found this drawing somewhere on the internetdisk drawing

So I immediately went out to the studio and made some disk beads.

disk beads for designer jewelry

Jewelry next………………………..

creating the desert in glass and metal

Lampworked Beads This Week

I haven’t been at the torch much in the last month as I have been concentrating on rebranding my business.  But I sat down last weekend  to make a few hollow lampworked beads for my new line of jewelry that I am in the process of designing.  I picked a black glass from Murano that does some interesting things in the torch.  And I applied some stringer designs that I love.  Here is the result….

lampworked beads

Inspiration

My inspiration of course comes from the desert as well as semi-precious stones.  

I saw this wonderful petrified wood at the gem shows this year.  I would have loved to buy it…

lampworked bead inspiration

I also love the semi-precious stone labradorite.  Labradorite is a feldspar and is famous for a phenomenon known as “labradorescence.” Labradorescence is not a display of colors reflected from the surface of a specimen. Instead, light enters the stone, strikes a twinning surface within the stone, and reflects from it.

lampworked bead inspiration

So my new line will rely on labradorite, sterling silver, 22K gold and variations of the lampworked beads pictured above.  Sketches are happening now and some samples will be produced soon…   can’t wait to unveil it!

creating the desert in glass and metal

Cabochons

cabochon

Cabochons – they need to be more than just pretty

A cabochon is a flat stone which will be set in a bezel.  Setting a cabochon stone is one of the first stone setting techniques I learned.  Of course I had purchased many beautiful stones over the years – before I knew how to set them – and of course some of those stones while beautiful were not cut perfectly.  I think I know enough now that I can still set them although it will be more difficult; but now I have learned some things to look for BEFORE buying that beautiful stone.

It goes without saying that knowing the stone cutter and their reputation before hand is a good thing, but if not here are some things to look for

  1. It will be easier to set a stone if it has a perfectly flat back.
  2. Look at the sides of the cabochon.  They should angle up towards the top meaning the bottom is the widest.
  3. Check the stone at eye level.  The angle should be the same all the way around otherwise you have to get creative with the setting.
  4. Check the top of the stone.  Flaws are okay if you like them.
  5. And really good stones have a 45 degree angle at the bottom which will help it the setting is really tight.

I have started to make some glass cabochons and I love them.  It makes my jewelry pieces unique.  My cabochons are created in the flame and are pretty good right away.  But I do have a set up where I can grind the piece and make some angles if necessary.  I haven’t gotten into faceting the glass cabs yet but I would imagine that would really be cool.

cabochon

cabochon

cabochon

cabochon

cabochon

cabochon

First comes the cabochon – then comes the jewelry………………..

Stay Tuned

creating the desert in glass and metal

Bead Museum – what an honor

bead museum

This is a bead from my Artifact Series that I donated to the Sweeney Collection Bead Museum back in 2015

I am proud to be part of a group of extraordinary glass artists.

bead museum

A Contemporary Glass Bead Museum – the Sweeney Collection

The Sweeney Collection Museum is a new museum based on a collection of beads started by Linda Sweeney. The museum is dedicated to raising awareness of this amazing medium of miniature glass art and recording the history of the artists. The collection is currently housed in Glorieta, NM. There is also a lampwork studio where classes of up to 8 students can be held.
Their Mission Statement:
– To educate people about the medium of lampwork beads
-To record the history of the American glass bead movement
-Become a resource of information and networking for artists, students and historians
-Promote artists’ work and market art glass beads
-Support lampwork artists in any way possible
-Support bead related and community charities
 

Bead Museum – Glendale, AZ

The Bead Museum in Glendale, AZ was founded to establish a haven for a permanent collection of beads and adornments of all cultures, past and present, which would provide an enduring opportunity for the study and enjoyment of these magnificent examples of art and ingenuity.  The museum was founded in 1984 by Gabrielle Liese and housed an international collection of over 100,000 beads and beaded artifacts. It closed in March 2011, and the collections were donated to the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California.  One of my Desert Bloom beads was part of this collection.

 

Lampwork Bead Trunk Show

Lampwork beads

I will be having a trunk show of my lampworked beads on May 1 – 2.  Here is a preview of a few…..

Join me on Facebook at on Artisans Glass Open Market

Chimayo weaving

Chimayo History

Weaving was practiced by the Pueblo and Navajo Indians of North America, but the introduction of sheep to the area by the Spaniards in 1700 transformed their art of weaving.  Even after weaving diminished one settlement kept up the tradition and now Chimayo blankets have become known all over the civilized world.

Chimayó’s weavers rely on locally available wool and cotton yarns. The wool is gathered from Churro sheep,

Churro sheep

whose undyed wools display a stunning variation of ecru, cream, brown and black. Many natural plant dyes are used to expand the color palette to include the desert hues of the New Mexico landscape and sky.

I recently saw a Chimayo “striped” blanket in the Pendelton catalog – which I love.

chimayo blanket

And it became inspiration for a crochet bracelet that I just finished.  This crochet bracelet is made with size 11/0 seed beads and some Swarovski crystal.  I finished it with a lampwork bead from my Desert Bloom series.

Chimayo inspired bracelet

creating the desert in glass and metal