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

 

Pearls

Higher Prices for Pearls at the Gem Shows

At February’s Tucson gem shows, prices of white freshwater pearls were significantly higher than in years past. I asked my favorite vendor why and he said that Asian consumers are the reason.

Top-quality round white freshwaters are the most expensive and toughest pearls to obtain. Plus, production of bead-nucleated pearls is up, as is demand for bigger sizes.

I personally like large baroque fresh water pearls with a shimmer of color.  An even though I found some beautiful pearls the price was almost double from last year.

The unique luster of pearls depends upon the reflection, refraction, and diffraction of light from the translucent layers. The thinner and more numerous the layers in the pearl, the finer the luster. The iridescence that pearls display is caused by the overlapping of successive layers, which breaks up light falling on the surface.  The very best pearls have a metallic mirror-like luster.

Here is a bracelet I made with a 16mm baroque freshwater pearl with a glorious luster and lots of flashes of color.

Pearls

I added 2 of my lampworked beads and a 22K gold spacer bead and strung the bracelet on a stretchy cord.

( see my video about stretchy bracelets)

I love the ease of wearing a bracelet like this and it really adds a little class to any outfit – including jeans.  All the colors of an Arizona sunset.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Bead 9

Number Nine

Number 9

Bead 9 – Silvered ivory with ivory dots

Continuing with silver on ivory glass…

Ivory

I love ivory.  But then, I love neutral colors.  So I had to try adding silver to the ivory glass and WOW  wonderful reactions.

Bead #8 is silver on ivory with stringer scrollwork in another color i love – ochre.  This bead is a long bicone.  I also love that it is matte.  A finishing detail I love to do.

ivory

Bead 8 – A silvered ivory bicone with stringer scrollwork and a matte finish.

Pendant bead

Pendant bead

A pendant bead and a work in progress

Technically not a bead because the hole does not go all the way through.  I will cap this pendant bead.  I am making a silver hollow form that will attach to the capped pendant.  A work in progress…….  stay tuned.

creating the desert in glass and metal

Bead 6

Nevada Silver disk bead

Bead 6 – Nevada Silver disk bead

Nevada Silver

Nevada Silver History

Silver mining in Nevada began in 1858 with the discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver-mining district in the United States. Nevada calls itself the “Silver State.”  When I started lampworking in 1996 I was living in Las Vegas, Nevada.  When I started adding metals to my glass I named the resulting beads after Nevada’s silver mining…

These Nevada Silver beads can be used as spacers, bracelet beads, or in a long chain.  Very versitile.  I love that I am focusing on these silvered beads.  These beads a neutral and pair well with almost anything.

New jewelry soon in my shop…

Nevada Silver small beads

Sneak Peak

A bracelet with the small Nevada Silver Beads and cast Shibuichi lady bugs….

Nevada Silver bracelet

creating the desert in glass and metal

yucca

The yucca plant is native to the high deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico.  Extracts from the plant’s root are used in alternative medicine, as a soap, and as an herbal dietary supplement.  The yucca is a tree like succulent.  The yucca flower is a series of white or purple blossoms on a long stalk.  We have several yuccas and I love when they bloom.  Of course it’s inspiration!

yucca plant photo

Yucca inspiration – Bead 4

yucca inspired bead

Bead 3

Bead 3 – dots

This lampworked bead uses a technique of applying dots on the glass.  The base bead is my Nevada Silver onto which I have applied silvery black dots that I pressed flat.  Made lots of variations of these with raised dots, melted dots, flat dots, rows of dots…….

bead - lampworking

Inspired by Navajo jewelry that is set with stones – mainly turquoise.

silver with stones

creating the desert in glass and metal

Stamped silver – Bead #2

Stamped Silver

My aesthetic in jewelry is heavily influenced by the southwestern deserts.  I am also drawn to the wonderful Navajo stamped sterling silver jewelry.

stamping on silver

I wanted to translate this technique to glass.

Bead #2 that I first created over 15 years ago was an attempt to capture that stamping technique.  The base bead is the Nevada Silver technique that I love so much.  Embellished with a swipe of silvery black glass that is cut with a knife while the glass is hot.

stamping a lampworked bead

creating the desert in glass and metal