Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Time Machine

Another time machine post about my lifelong progression in Beadland
The first beads I ever made were these.
I was 16 and doing some beach combing at our bayside camp in Maine.
I spied an old washed up boat that had these wooden plugs shriveling up at each screw hole.
I pried them out and had my dad show me how to use a drill.
I am so happy that I saved some after all these years.

These were given to me by an old boyfriend when I was 17.
Let's just say we were on a "journey" together over the course of an evening.
He would place a bead in my hand one by one as the night progressed
They seemed so magical and special each one and at the end of the night he handed me a velveteen bag full of more beads that he had gotten on a trip to a bead store in Boston.
I was so thrilled!
...and as you can see I saved some and the seeds were planted.

One of my early necklaces from about that same time.
I know that those ceramic birds are ones that he gave me.
That amber is actually bakelite, which I didn't know at the time and was so surprised when I came to know how lightweight amber actually is.
 but these African faux amber beads are still collectibel.

These I made at the experimental commune I attended for a semester in Maine when I was 18
We actually got college credit for some inventive courses that were designed for the program.
I mostly hung out in the kitchen cooking those three months but we did have a resident guru of sorts- Harry from India, who taught us how to make these malas
He is now know as the Pink Prince as he was indeed a prince from a palace in Punjab.
He was teaching me how to cook Indian food which I was obsessed with at the time.
 Remind me to dig out some pictures of him. He was a handsome devil and his vows of celibacy were challenged greatly by us playful and nubile 18 year old girls at the commune.

This is my first seed bead project. I was doing the "Artist's Way" course from the book by Julia Cameron at the time and wanted to make something for my father.
These were seed beads that had belonged to my father when he was a boy. I had found them in my grandfather's attic when I was a child.  they were in little corked glass vials. I held on to them and hauled them to Alaska when I moved here.
That's smoke tanned moosehide as the base done in the native Alaskan style.
I did a lot of this sort of work for awhile until someone told me about lampwork.
( Thanks Bruce Anders)

Haaaah! look at this mess, my first beauties
 but when at one of my first craft shows that I put them out at the last minute and sold $100 worth of beads of similar caliber I knew I was onto something.

And sometimes they would crack right in half.
How convenient for my designs...instant cabs.
( also sewn onto moosehide)

a little dichro in there

Fast forward~
We just jumped up to yesterday!
I was trying to make some crusty blingy nuggets after seeing all of fancifuldevice's
sparkliness. I was encasing some dichro glass but the sparkle all but disappeared and made the light transparent pink glass turn P I N K! ( screaming pink!)
so very pink!
I have some ideas on how to retain the inner sparkle. I'm gonna give it another try today.

These kept a bit of the inner dichro fire. Shows up a bit better n person.
They remind me of my father's old horehound cough drops

I'm loving the nuggety shape of these though so there will be more manifestations of these.

Fruity pebbles!
Unfortunately the green ones cracked except one. Apparently the two glasses I mixed on these weren't compatible. Anyone want some crack beads? 

It's still been warm enough to not have to heat the Garaj Mahal extra much.
It's been a cool 50 degrees in there until I get the portable heater going which was a good thing to do since I had unplugged my stepson's little beer fridge when he moved out inadvertently unplugging our entire freezer of salmon and blueberries and discovered it in time when I had to run the extension cord downstairs because I'll blow a breaker otherwise with the kiln, stereo and heater going.
The fish was thawed out enough to be bendy but still cool enough to be safe so I just refroze it.
So I can continue with my sweatshop activity until I get froze out.

Good news is  Daveman the Caveman got a moose yesterday and brought me this~
Then I et it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


If any of you have been glancing by my Etsy shop you may have noticed that I've been trying to stock it with crusty headpins... so much so that I this is as close as I've come to "real job" with my business.

I even ran out of my wire and had vowed not to make the big long trip to the city to get more.
It's 200 miles round trip and I made a challenge to stay home  for a few weeks.
Luckily my husband had some copper covered steel wire squirreled away so I was able to a keepa goin'
I'm doing my best to keep up but there's only so much torching I can do day after day when my body tells me take a break... so it's the matchsticks' turn this week over at NuminosityBeads

Trying to keep a good assortment coming

I thought I'd entertain you with my first attempts at sculptural beads I did way back when I first started.
I never did get the ears down but they did have a Simpsonesque quality about them


I decided animools weren't my thing
neither were snouts apparently but he's got attitood... we'll give him that

Here's a WIP that became a finished piece

Oh yes and I've been trying to beef up my vintage and supply shop in the meantime
over here

OK, I lied about taking a break from headpin making.
I made some *oober long ones
* yes I really did see someone seriously spell uber like that in the Esty forums recently
( of course I'm not savvy enough to figure out how to put the dots above the u)

and did someone say shiny?
No, no one did but these have Double Helix Glass spots all ethereal 'n' stuff.
They don't show up too well when I crustify them

this is my half crystal shape style that you may not have seen much of.

Barbecue lava longies part crusty with spots of shine.
I'm telling you about this here because you deserve to know first so you can have the first ones on your block...or in Germany, Australia, France or Canada
or the midwest US

Please convo me via Etsy if you have request for other colors or shapes.
Thanks, Kim

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Earring Extravorgazma

I'm going to go backwards in time with my earring making spree.
I wanted to start with the pair in which I'm most proud.
( how's that for proper grammar?)

These were made with some metal tile that I found out near our desert property.
I brought a few of my pre-cut pieces back with me from Arizona.
I have a goodly stash to return to November but for now this is it.

Look how the light comes through them
Those are faceted pyrite lashed on with silver wire.
I can't keep hoarding my silver stash just because it's expensive now.
Yeah I kept these little torch fired copper enamel rounds for myself so far.

Revisiting my "roadsmithed" design with smashed bottle caps that I find on the streets in Bisbee.
Those of you that have followed for awhile might remember them.
Oh, we have litterers here in Alaska but it's a big highway with lots of wide open space.
I think there are more can people here that litter anyway.
And huge ditches and lots of brushy stuff, not so convenient as curbed pavement for searching.
And big snow plows and road graders scrape the roads clean.

Got some new and different supplies in a trade with Kim from Flotsam Tide

I find it's best to put newly gifted supplies immediately to use.

And you just might be able to see how she influenced these.
I haven't done much of the chainy work before.
Spacing is important I realize now.
How many times did I have to fasten the charms so they didn't overlap too much?

Found some old supplies that I made into these simple earrings.
Somehow little perfect frames aren't me anymore but I tried to funk them up with some lava and trade beads. Put on some extra long silver earwires to glam them up a bit so they weren't too pedestrian.

There was a time when I was going to sell out all of my tribal & trade beads since my style had veered away from that style. Imagine that, they've come back  'round to me again

 I finished this pair with NKPbeads

Petra of ScorchedEarth's ceramic rings, Kristi Bowman's charms
and my last set of baubles- double ended headpins on copper.
I do need to make more of those again sometime.

This is where I riffed off of an amazing design of earrings that I got in a trade with Darlene of DarliciousHouse
( I said riffed off, not ripped off and am happy to say she feels the same way. I checked with her to make sure)

My headpins matching the faceted carnelian

Multicolor matchsticks with some faceted opal

I finished these too. You know how I was squawking about doing custom pieces?
I just needed one criffle to match the other one.
Did I get it right?!
Different sizes and different colors. I ended up using a different stray orphan from my work table just because I wanted to finish these.

I'm at the end of my outdoor shows now and will be stocking some of the local galleries and shops in addition to several nice warm indoor shows.
The next one will be  "The Bad Girls of the North" in Fairbanks at the end of the month.
Great name eh?
They serve cocktails and hors douvres and the women they are happy cruising through with their wine glasses.

Oh, and one big question for those of you  that have the new activity feed on Etsy.
What do you think of it?
I happen to absolutely love it but was shocked to find that so many abhor it.
Must be because I have a Mac and follow such great folks because it all looks scrumptious to me.