Monday, January 2, 2017

Finding New Color Combinations for your Artistry; Keep Your Mojo Workin'

The original photo
  A couple of years ago, I began thinking about making a presentation called 'Keep Your Mojo Workin' about some of the many ways I find inspiration when things just don't seem to be clicking. I ended up with pages and pages of notes and more ideas than seem able to fit in my wee pea brain, but here is one that I find extremely cool.
Hue at +40

Hue at +62
Hue at -97
  Find something you've made (in this case a bead, of course) or even a photo whose color combos you really like. Put that photo into a photo editing program such as photoshop and modify it. In photoshop, go to 'adjust color' in the 'enhance' drop down menu, then go to 'adjust hue/saturation' in that drop down menu. Then go to town moving the 'hue' bar up and down. From subtle color differences to radical changes, I guarantee you'll find some color combos you never would have thought of! Now to match the colors with glass rods....

Hue at +180
Hue at -47

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wet Felted Scarves- Butterfly Style!

The BFL scarf, with a bit of black added
Oh, don't you love it when things converge!? I went to the Black Sheep Handspinners Guild meeting in September with fiber to give away. And the kind person who took it off my hands gave me a bit of BFL (Blue Faced Leicester, for the uninitiated) that was dyed orange, yellow and brown. Now these are colors I just don't work with~ but it was a lovely bit of fiber, so hmmm...  I just happened to have a book out of the library called Patterns in Nature (Publishers Weekly's 'most beautiful book of 2016')~ an excellent book which not only shows amazing patterns, but tells the science behind what makes those patterns occur. For instance the patterns on feathers happen before they split into barbs- who knew?

Three butterfly scarves here!

As I was leafing through the book I came across a closeup photo of a butterfly wing and~ guess what? The colors were the same as the lovely fiber I'd just gotten my greedy hands on. And so an idea was born! The colors, the patterns, the shapes~ it's all good. These days, just about all of my scarves are based on butterfly patterning. There are so many amazing patterns to study and imitate.

Now, of course I am wondering about starting a fish scarf series!

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.