Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wild Horses

It came to me the other day that I had only ever made a few horse beads and they always seemed to be in different styles. So it was time to try again. Thing is, I can't seem to decide how I'd actually like them to look.So I made a sampling.
From left to right they are:
* The Swedish style Dala horse
* 'Rocking' horse without a rocker
* A more realistic horse, with a bit of aqua blue
* 'Southwestern' style horse

I think I like the Dala horse and realistic horse the best of the bunch.Tried another in the realistic style and transparent amber glass. There is still work to be done to make these be 'just right'!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Modern Medievals- Lampwork Glass Beads With a Historical Twist

It's time to introduce a new 'line' of handmade lampwork beads- 'Modern Medievals.' What the heck does that mean, you may ask? This bead grouping is made up of beads that are designed using techniques that have been around for millenniums using basic tools and glass colors. These are not copies of historical finds, but rather somewhat modernized versions of these beads that will encompass some different shapes and color combinations. Here are a few examples:

Stacked dots or 'horned' beads. This style was extremely popular during the warring states period in China. Though first imported there from countries to the west such as Egypt and Mesopotamia, the popularity of these beads encouraged the Chinese to begin making their own. These beads are made up of different colors of glass stacked one on top of the other and melted together. They have a lot of texture, which makes them a bit fun to wear. Most of the historical finds are round. My beads will encompass other shapes, like these conical beads.

'Eye' beads are a close relative of the stacked dots; as a matter of fact, stacked dot beads are also often referred to as eye beads. In the classical version of the eye bead, the dots are melted together. The eyes can be made from just two colored dots melted together, or many. The two beads in this photo could both be considered 'eye beads', though one has raised stacked dots. In some cultures this type of bead is worn to ward off the evil eye. One of these beads has a fine silver foil core, a technique. practiced as far back as the Viking era, or about the 10th century. The other has twisted glass (twistie) decorations, a technique I have observed to be present in many ancient beads, some over 2000 years old.

Beads that have been 'feathered', 'combed' or 'raked' have also been around for a very long time. The three techniques are quite similar, using a tool or point of a glass rod to pull lines of glass laterally across the bead. Some of the beads pictured are cone shaped. These could have been used as whorls on wool spindles, or worn decoratively, or both (as some of my friends do).

The last technique I will mention here is that of folding glass. Tom and Sage Holland re-discovered the methods of making this type of bead after a lot of trial and error. An article explaining how this is done can be read in volume 29, issue 4 of Ornament magazine. I have as yet to make any of these for the 'Modern Medievals' collection, but they will be coming soon.

For more interesting information about ancient glass beads, you can search the collection at the Corning Museum of Glass , or visit the Viking Answer Lady. You can also visit my Pinterest page , Historical Glass Beads.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Picture is Worth... Photo Relevancy on Facebook

Parachute Jumping Turtles
"Kaleidoscopic Gears'
 I wanted to show a few photos that I've posted on  facebook in the   past that have received a lot of attention. As those of you who use facebook know, a post with a photo is much more popular than one without. My theory is that if the photo contains several different things it will get extra attention~ folks will look at it more carefully and often pick out their favorite and tell you about it thus making the post more 'relevant'.


Making Faces

And since we're all about relevance and SEO (search engine optimization- or maybe, in this case, FSEO because it's on facebook), it's a fun thing to try out in your spare time!

Even a photo showing rod colors can be popular

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Nuno Felted Scarf mini tutorial

  The nuno (New? No!) journey continues. Scarf used for this project is rayon, which, if loosely woven, seems to work nicely. And, yeah, another thrift store find (hence the 'new? no!' designation). I was kind of afraid to do this one because of the print, but I decided to take the plunge yesterday and just pay no attention to the printed side! Gives me hope for some of the other printed scarves I have been ignoring...
Five photos show the three easy steps and finished product. Did it turn out precisely right? Well, no, but I like it anyway! I will 'splain what I did and why below.

  First, lay out the fiber (not too much!) on the wrong side of the (ironed) scarf on plastic on top of the bed. I do this dry so I can change it later if I don't like it. In this photo, the wool has been sprayed with cool water with just a wee bit of soap in it.

  Next, I wanted to see what would happen if I 'raked' the fibers~ just like a big bead! So I took a chop stick and carefully manipulated the fibers, making three lines. Then I filled in the empty space I made at the top with a little more fiber. Turns out this raking was not severe enough, so the pattern is pretty muted in the finished scarf. Oh- and that maroon? It's actually a lovely dark purple.
 And, because I have it, I added a little bit of 'confetti'. Just take bits of plied yarn apart into its single plies and toss it about.

 Whoops, no pictures, but next step is to roll it around a pool noodle, put a towel around it, tie it up tightly and roll gently. I do this for about 20-25 mins, then take it apart, check for empty areas that might need a bit more fiber, fix those, and put it back together for more rolling around~ while watching a good movie! By the end of the movie, you should have taken it apart 3 or 4 times and readjusted it (roll on noodle the opposite direction, etc.). Don't keep adding fiber, just the first time).

Hopefully, at the end of that movie it will be ready to slam on the counter 30-40 times, rinse in warm water, then water with vinegar, then cool water, wring gently, adjust and hang to dry. Go to bed and Bob's Your Uncle~ a new scarf to wear in the morning!

And here it is in all its glory. The back actually works nicely with the front. And it will be very warm! 

One more shot- you can see that the raking made the lines wobbly and not much else. Better than straight lines, anyway!

Oh, this picture looks wonky because it is. This scarf is not on a flat surface!