Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Time to Stitch 6 Reveal

The challenge Christine Altmiller and Therese Frank gave us for A Time To Stitch 6 was to follow a chart and use one of four stitches (peyote, square, RAW or brick) to create a three-dimensional design. As someone who is severely chart-challenged (this may rise to the level of a disability), I took the plunge nevertheless, because I’m always up for a beading adventure with Christine and Therese. And this challenge was just what I needed to finally try my hand at the techniques in Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.

Since I was already way out of my comfort zone, I settled on a Layered Rick Rack cuff and decided to stretch my color palette as well, choosing three hues from Pantone’s Spring 2015 color report that I would never put together myself: Glacier Gray, Custard and Aquamarine.

Next, I needed a graph. Despite the fact that Cath Thomas has generously done the work of estimating sizing and providing free peyote graphs, it took me an embarrassingly long time to transfer my simple color-blocking design from my brain to Cath’s coloring chart.

A trio of easy peyote triangles served as color swatches, and delicas decided upon, the real fun began. 

Peyote was the first stitch I learned and it’s still my favorite, but I can’t remember the last time I used it in a design. My Rick Rack bangle begins with a row of Modified RAW, and also makes use of a bit of square stitch, but it's mostly hours upon hours of peyote.

 So much fun, and it’s reversible! 

The model's sweater provided the perfect pop of color for my second layer. I think I will wear the bangle this way more often, with just a hint of raspberry along the bottom because the fit is perfectly snug with the second layer worn inside the wrist.

Thank you so much, Christine and Therese for always challenging us to take our beading to new levels. And now, on to the rest of today’s challenge participants:

5-Karin Slaton (you are here)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

15 in '15

I love the promise of fresh opportunity that each January brings. Every year around this time, I grab a pencil and a stack of whatever paper is my current favorite, and I start plotting how I’m going to create those opportunities.

This year, I got an early start. Daughter, Dani, was home for the holidays and we sat down at the island in the kitchen on a crystal clear Christmas Eve afternoon and began answering the questions in Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. We spent a fun couple of hours closing the chapter on 2014 (Q. What movie genre would best describe the past year of your life e.g., adventure, tragedy, romance, drama, comedy, etc.?) and looking ahead to the new year while Dan whipped up one of our favorites…homemade goat cheese and grape pizza on a perfectly crisp whole wheat crust. We felt cared for and indulged. Very indulged!

Dani boarded her flight the day after Christmas with her 2015 goals completed and tucked in her carry-on, but I still had more work to do! Dan planned our New Year’s feast while I polished off the rest of my goals over a morning Starbucks.

I decided to share in Elizabeth Gilbert’s tradition of taking an hour at the end of each year, sitting down with some magazines and scissors, and making a collage about what you’d like the next year to feel like. When you’re finished, you have a visual/emotional wish for the New Year.

It’s an exercise in colors and images and trusting the process. I used magazines on hand and just started cutting and gluing onto a couple of pages in my journal. I was really surprised to see so many pops of red, a color I rarely use in my designs. I think Elizabeth is on to a pretty awesome tradition!

Starting this January with a plan…a visual dream…and a focus. And wishing for everyone a creative New Year!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Farewell, Radiant Orchid

A little bit brown, a touch red, Marsala is my favorite color from Pantone’s Spring 2015 Color Report, so I was beyond thrilled to see it named Color of the Year in the WSJ this week.

“It has an organic and a sophisticated air,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Pantone’s color advisory group. If that brings to mind farm-to-table cuisine, bushy-but-coiffed beards and urban dwellers’ growing obsession with farm life, that is exactly the cultural phenomenon that Pantone—and the design world—are addressing here.”

Organic and sophisticated. Precisely how I felt about this color the first time I saw it. The day the color was announced, my Cyber Monday order of zircon rondelles in dark cognac appeared in the mailbox – and they look to be a good match for Marsala. Can’t wait to pair them with Aquamarine.

So, while wreaths, pinecones and garland make their annual appearance throughout the rest of the house, it’s beginning to look a lot like Spring on my bead table!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Art Bead Scene November Challenge

One of the highlights of my month is clicking over to the Art Bead Scene blog and checking out the entries inspired by that month’s art challenge. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to participate, but who could resist the great fall colors in Martin Johnson Heade’s tropical landscape?

"Cattelya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds," color palette created by Brandi Hussey

I had the palette in mind on a trip to Austin earlier this month. A visit to my sister-in-law, Kathy, always includes a foray to local bead stores and I know I quite literally gasped out loud when I stepped into the charmingly named Lapis Lane Beads and discovered a strand of Nora Pero’s  polymer clay petals.  They perfectly captured the painting’s richest pinks. Focal beads found!

Deciding on a freeform, double spiral necklace, I began my design by creating a bead soup of the darker, muted colors on the right side of Brandi’s palette.

Wanting lots of texture to represent the lush forest, I included seed beads ranging from size 11’s through size 5’s, in matte, metallic and Picasso finishes. I tossed in some chunky rondelles, keishi pearls and black gold-plated copper nuggets and my soup was ready. My rope uses only the darker colors in Brandi’s palette until the center section, which bursts into pinks, amethyst, and deep gold, and, of course, those gorgeous petals.

I’ve made double spiral necklaces before, and while I love their organic look, they can prove to be a bit fussy to wear. Even stored in its own box, the larger, graduated loops that form the bottom of the design can flip over the smaller loops that form the base.  I don’t know how hectic your mornings are, but by the time I reach for an accessory, I’m already running late. There’s never time to sort out the loops, so I never wear the necklace. With this design, I incorporated some chain, woven into the base beads and the beads of each small top loop. Problem solved. The chain adds structure, and those bottom loops stay perfectly in place on their journey into and out of my jewelry drawer. It even spilled out ready-to-wear from my travel bag! This necklace I am definitely going to wear a lot!

To see more jewelry and art beads designed around this month’s painting, be sure to visit the ArtBeadScene blog on November 30th and follow the link-ups.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Big Show, Small Pieces

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.” I took that great advice from Henry Ford as my motto in preparing for my first-ever art show last weekend.

I aimed for a simple, streamlined booth, with contemporary displays, business cards and packaging.

I limited my offerings to three collections: botanical-themed lariats and earrings in Fall blues and burgundies; 100 earrings made the first 100 days of this year with proceeds to be donated to Doctors Without Borders; and one-of-a-kind necklaces grouped in Fall Brilliants and Neutrals.

My best decision was to enlist my sister, Janet, to work my booth with me! I would not have made it through the busy periods without her at the ready to record sales, make change and hand customers their perfectly wrapped packages. And she wore pink! (I read an article post-show citing statistics that booth attendance goes up significantly if you welcome your customers into your booth wearing any shade of pink.)

Making my financial goal for the show was a big win. But even more valuable was being able to connect with customers face to face, getting their feedback on my products, and testing out new design ideas. (My lariats were a hit, but my Clio earrings? They garnered no interest at all!)

Another amazing aspect of the show was the personal interaction with other artists on my aisle. What a talented group they were.
Jenny Pfanenstiel of Forme Millinery was exhibiting her one-of-a-kind couture hats in the booth right across from mine.

Justin Keibler, of Baz and Bea, exhibited his boutique's collection of classic and trendy custom-dyed ponchos and dresses. 

Gina Hirsch, Designer at July Moon, is an art show veteran who definitely knows great ways to create
height and visual interest. How cute are those repurposed men's dress shirts?

The question I was asked most often (by customers and other exhibitors) was how they could find me online. As this blog is my only online presence, I’m going to have to address those questions pronto. Deep breath. One small piece at a time. I’m starting today with this free Facebook Marketing course from Creative Live. Join me?