Studio Wednesday

Recently, a colleague of Dave’s (my S.O.) came back from a trip to New Mexico with a wonderful bead and cabochon stash that she generously shared with me. I couldn’t resist this gorgeous turquoise cabochon. With all of the variegated tan and brown swirls in it, it reminds me of a satellite view of Earth. I was pleased to dig through my own seed bead stash to find a hank of size 11 gold luster caramel colored beads I purchased in Frankenmuth, Michigan last year. I think they frame the cab very nicely.

Originally, I wanted to use this cab for my first journal bracelet but it’s too large for a bracelet. Instead, I chose a glazed porcelain face I purchased at a bead show last spring. In honor of the Fall Equinox this month, I want to create a bracelet of many leaves framing the face cab. I also want to honor the majestic oak and maple trees we had taken down 2 days ago. Unfortunately, they were getting too dangerously close to the house. Even though we will use the wood to warm our house next winter, I still felt very sad to see them come down. My bracelet will remind me of these wonderful tree beings.

I also worked on my freeform peyote bracelet today. I’ll post on my progress tomorrow…

Saturday Morning Tea

Tropical Storm Hanna is reaching out her grasp to the New England coastline this weekend. We felt the touch of her outer edge early this morning when a steady rain began to fall. Even though the local weather forecasters have predicted a lull this afternoon, we will be tightly in her grip by tonight with torrential downpours and gusty winds. It’s a good day to brew up a pot of tea and clean my studio.

My teapot is filled with a China green called Lung Ching, named after a small village in Zhejiang province, meaning “Dragon’s Well”. Legend has it that a Taoist priest in the 3rd century advised the local villagers to pray to the dragon of a local well to bring rain and end their drought. It worked and the well was named after that dragon. The Dragon’s Well monastery still stands in that spot to this day.

The leaves are carefully plucked by hand and then pan fried in large woks to stop oxidation. Special care taken during processing preserves the whole leaf intact and the motion of the pan frying gives it a unique flat shape. The liquor is a pale yellow with a light greenish tinge and a fresh clean aroma.

The taste is also fresh and clean with a flavor note which reminds me of that first bite of a newly harvested ear of corn.

Time to clean my studio and “batten down the hatches”!

Studio Wednesday

Today was devoted to finishing my beaded mokume gane cabochon necklace.

This necklace evolved one step at a time without any sketches or set plan. First, I created the polymer clay cabochon with slices from a mokume gane stack. Then I glued the cabochon to a piece of heavyweight Pellon Peltex 70 and beaded around it. I sat with the pendant for awhile meditating on what kind of necklace would feature it best. I decided on a multi-strand seed bead necklace.

After creating the 6-strand seed bead necklace, I added a beaded bail at the top of the cabochon. The open cones at the end of the strands are made from polymer clay with a copper mica powder rubbed in before baking. I also textured the cone with a piece of coral before rubbing in the powder. My intent with the cones is to make it look like the beads are spilling out of them. A cascade of beads. 16-gauge sterling silver was used to form the hook clasp with jumpring chain extender. I dipped the silver wire in a liver of sulfur solution until the wire was coppery brown.

I spent most of the day in my studio. I was so intent on my work that I never got a chance to go outside and enjoy the beautiful day. Now it’s time for a nice long walk!

12 months of beading

I am happy to present a year’s worth of beaded journal pages!

The first row (at the top, l to r) is June – September 2007, the second row October 2007- January 2008 and the third row February – May 2008.

When I finished my last page, I was so excited. When I look at this group shot, I am beyond excited and into jumping up and down ecstatic and really amazed that I actually did this.

I want to send a huge thank you and hug to my beady hero and mentor, the creator of the Beaded Journal Project, Robin Atkins. Her vision and inspiration has changed the lives of many artists through this amazing and wonderful project. I feel like my life has changed in an enormous way as I have learned much about myself through my beadwork and also to my commitment to stick with this project.

To all of my fellow BJP participants, bravo to one and all!