Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Notation for Cubic Right Angle Weave CRAW

I really love designing with cubic right angle weave (CRAW), but I really hate trying to write tutorials for it.  CRAW has a couple problems that make it hard to document on paper.  First, the C in CRAW stands for "cubic," meaning it's made of cubes.  Cubes are three dimensional, and the beads in CRAW go in three different (mutually perpendicular) directions.  That's not so easy to draw.  Second, there are lots of correct ways to bead weave a cube, and I don't like having to pick the one and only way for my students to do it because I certainly don't do it the same way every time, myself.

So I developed what I think might be a new way of writing tutorials for CRAW that is much faster and easier to write and read, that is, assuming you already know how to weave CRAW.  And I'd love to hear your feedback.  If you don't know CRAW and want to learn, here's a great CRAW video by Heather Collins.  Here's a Doceri video on CRAW that I did.  And here's information on a step-by-step tutorial for the CRAW Borromean Link that I wrote.

The first page here shows the finished beadwork with a list of materials to make the CRAW Tower in two sizes, and some charts that explain the structure of the beadwork.    My hope is that if you're an experienced bead weaver, all of the information you need to make this CRAW Tower is on these two pages.
The second page gives some tips on how to read the charts.
So, what do you think?  If you already know how to do CRAW, could you make the CRAW Tower from just these two pages?  If so, stay tuned because I plan to release some new tutorials using this new method of diagramming CRAW.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Genie Bottle Update 1

We are still working on plans for the Genie Bottle, our Burning Man 2014 Honorarium Art Project that I will be building with two dozen friends. 
In the latest design, we got rid of the hanging ladder in favor of some kind of stairs, but their design is still in progress. 
How many genies fit in a Genie Bottle?
18 sitting
10 standing
6 in the crow's nest
2 in the neck
Total: 36  That's a lot of genies!

This is the frame, the essence of the structure that will keep it standing.  The upright poles are 4" by 4" wooden beams.
This is a view from the middle level where you can sit, looking down. See the pole there that you can slide down to get to the bottom.
 Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Infinite Skew Polyhedron Faujasite (4.4.4.6)

I beaded another infinite tiling. This one represents the crystalline structure of faujasite

This piece of beadwork has nearly perfect tetrahedral symmetry, but I left out a few of the beads for aesthetic reasons.  If you look closely at the photo below, you will see the bottom edge is different from the other five.  For one thing, leaving out the extra beads makes it much easier to balance the piece on edge.
This piece contains over 19 grams of size 11° seed beads.  That's almost a whole box of beads, and as far as I know, it's flawless.  No mistakes.
You can think of this piece as a tiling of squares and hexagons in 3D.  Thought of as a tiling, every vertex is the same type, 4.4.4.6. That means there three squares and a hexagon around ever corner.   Consequently, this piece contains loops of 4 beads and loops of 6 beads. 

When I made it, I thought of it as a bunch of polygons glued together.  We have cuboctahedrons and hexagonal prisms glued together on the hexagonal faces.  All of the hexagons on the prisms are glued, but only half of the hexagons on the cuboctahedrons are glued.
My inspiration for this piece came from Figure 7.41 in the book, Crystal Structures I: Patterns and Symmetry by M. O'Keeffe and B. G. Hyde.  The illustration above (Figure 7.41) is what I used from that book.

Here you can me holding it showing off a triangular face of the tetrahedron.  This qualifies as one of my larger non-wearable pieces of beadwork.
A tetrahedron has six edges.  On this tetrahedron, I made one of the edges is different from the other four. It's the bottom edge in this photo.
And it's the front edge in this photo.  I like the way it looked without the extra beads.  It's adds variety, and the piece doesn't need them to hold itself in position. 
 
For comparison, the other five edges look like the front of this.
 
Next I show you a few process shots so you can see how the piece started.  First, I made a ring of six coboctahedrons and six hexagonal prisms.
 Photo: I started beading another infinite tiling. This one represents the crystalline structure of faujasite.
After adding more beads, I had two of these rings joined together.
Photo: Here is my second installment of the beaded crystalline structure of faujasite.  This one is going to be interesting to watch the structure progress as I add more beads. Here you can see two joined hexagons.
With more beads came three joined rings. If this were actual faujusite, the inner cavity would have a diameter of 12 Å.   It has tetrahedral symmetry at this point.  This would be a nice place to stop if you wanted a little beaded bead to wear as a pendant.  
Photo: Here is my third installment of the beaded crystalline structure of faujasite. Here it has four joined hexagons, with the whole piece having tetrahedral symmetry. It's tempting to stop here, but I'm going to keep going.
But since I knew I was beading a repeating pattern, I couldn't help but make more repeats. This is like two tetrahedrons glued face to face, but with a half turn rotation first.  The symmetry of this is an antiprism with a 3-fold rotation.  It's a very weird symmetry. 
Photo: Here is my fourth installment of the beaded crystalline structure of faujasite. It is like two tetrahedrons that are joined on a face.
And one last photo of the finished piece.  It's for sale here in my Etsy shop. 
Faujasite










If you liked this post, you might enjoy these posts on beaded infinite polyhedra:
http://gwenbeads.blogspot.com/2014/03/infinite-polyhedra-and-cubic-honeycombs.html
http://gwenbeads.blogspot.com/2014/01/infinite-skew-polyedra-pendant-with-craw.html
http://gwenbeads.blogspot.com/2014/01/infinite-skew-polyhedron-4448-w8.html
Thanks for looking!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

KIT Slugs in Love Rainbow Pendant and Earrings

Last week, I released my newest tutorial, Slugs in Love
https://www.etsy.com/listing/186004080/
Today, I posted a new kit that makes a pendant and pair of earrings in all of the colors of the rainbow.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/186004080/
I really love working with a rainbow palette.  It's so bright and cheerful. 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/186004080/
Click on the photos to go to the listing.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/186004080/
Thanks for looking!

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Tutorial Slugs in Love Earrings and Pendants

Meet my slugs.
Slugs in Love.
These beaded, sparkling, spiraling slugs are very twisted and sensuous. It's hard to capture their beauty in a single photo.
You see?
What could be more romantic than two slugs in love?
How about three slugs in love?  See the three slugs on the left in gold, orange and red?  I call this one Slug Fest with a little slug earring for the dangle.
I was inspired by the colors of lava.  To me, it looks like frozen flame.  All of the variations shown above are patterned and explained in my newest beading tutorial, Slugs in Love.  I even give a recipe for a five (5) Slug Fest in the tutorial, if you are so adventurous to try it.   I haven't made one yet.  It's a lot of beads. 

These beaded slugs are super fun to make, to watch them spiral a little more, as you make each stitch.  I really hope someone makes the five slug version, just so I can see a photo of it.
Slugs in Love Bead Pattern
If you're wondering why I call this Slugs in Love, you should watch this video on the mating behavior of slugs. 
And this one with snails.  It's totally worth two minutes.
Or this one, which I laughed all the way through.
For some reason, my friends keep sending me links to terrestrial gastropod mollusc porn.  

Anyway... The technique I use for my beaded slugs isn't original.  I learned about it after Pamm Horbit showed me some of her pieces including, "Max's Not a Knot," here.  This piece is actually a lidded box - the lid comes off.  It placed 2nd in the accessories and objects division of Bead Dreams 2012.
You see, last Fall, I spoke to the Northwest Bead Society in Washington State, and Pamm attended my lecture and took my classes.  She had a big box of these twisted balls, cubes, and other highly symmetric pieces of beadwork that she made, using all sorts of different point group symmetries, especially chiral ones. They ranged in size from tennis balls to softballs.  Each one was more spectacular than the next, all twisting and sinuous.  Pamm had found a basic beaded unit in photos on line, and from there, she figured out how she could make lots of repeats and assemble them in lots and LOTS of different ways.  Her collection was quite diverse and impressive.
  
I could scarcely see out how she did it.  But she was patient with me as I tried to figure out what I was holding in my hand as it glistened under the lights.  She explained the essence of the idea, and even was kind enough to give me a couple of triangles that are beaded with this technique.  It turns out it's based on the peyote stitched triangles (google it!), but the ones Pamm gave me used different sizes of beads to make them spiral, like the Celline spiral, made popular by Susan Golden, when she published the Cellini spiral bracelet in the Art and Elegance of Beadweaving in 2003.  Here's the Cellini spiral I made in 2005 with Golden's directions.  I never finished it.  It's a half bracelet, unwearable, but I like that you can see inside the spiral.
What Pamm showed me is that you can apply this same technique to beaded triangles.  So I beaded this green triangle using the samples Pamm gave me. 
But, I didn't finish the back correctly.  What can I say?  It was my first one, and by the time I finished it, there was nobody there to tell me how to do it.
I played around with the idea by changing the symmetry, and came up with these earrings.
I made a pair for myself in purple, and I fell in love with this photo and the earrings.  They are so tiny and dainty.  Just a splash of color dripping from the ears. 
I named them Archimedes' Teardrops because of it's relationship with the Archimedian spiral.  To skip the math, please jump to the next paragraph now.  An Archimedian (or arithmetic) spiral is the locus of points corresponding to the locations over time of a point moving away from a fixed point with a constant speed along a line which rotates with constant angular velocity.  The relationship with the beadwork is that you end up with a constant set of beads that is constantly repeated as you rotate around the fixed, central axis.  I think that works.  Anyway, I had to name it.

Then I made this piece that I didn't know what to do with.  It's not a really beaded bead because it doesn't have an obvious hole.  It's just a beaded thing, and a bit slug-like.

So I posed it with Batman.  Behold the power of the BEADS!
Then, I illustrated, and wrote a complete tutorial for my little Teardrop earrings, and as I was releasing it, another bead designer pointed me to June Huber's website, where she had a pattern for the same earrings.  The only difference are that Huber used Delicas where I used size 15° seed beads and her hanging method is different.  I even took this photo before I saw Huber's photo of nearly the same design in her earring tutorial.  Hmm.
I surfed around Huber's website, and found that she did a lot with the technique of peyote stitch with herringbone increases, like this Arabesque cube.  (Seriously, click on that, it's gorgeous).  Shortly thereafter, I noticed that Cath Thomas also wrote a tutorial for the same earring and her variations: Pepper Fork and Yukka Flower.

That all happened last Fall. I made up something new that wasn't new at all.  I was a little sad because I put so much work into it.  But I really loved these spirals, and I wanted to design with the technique.  So, I didn't toss out the tutorial completely.  I just shelved it.  I chalked it up to a learning experience.  Since then, I've been trying design a new variation, something that is different enough and new enough that it wouldn't be copies what the great beaders before me had already done.  So I reconsidered the symmetry.  Where Huber, Horbit and Thomas all ADDED symmetry to their designs, Slugs in Love took it away. 
I found a different unit of repeats, and then made it have a lot of different beads, big fat slugs instead of tiny, dainty ones.
If you're so inclined, you could take one of the basic units I patterned in Slugs in Love, make copies of it, and recreate Arabesque cubes, and other polyhedra and flowers, but bigger, much bigger.  Warning: That's a lot of beads!  And please, Please, PLEASE, I really can't stress this enough... Send me a photo if you try it! Thanks for looking.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Instant Download PDF Patterns Now Available

We are continuing to get your patterns relisted as PDF instant downloads at reduced prices. It's a slow process, but today we got the Borromean Link patterns and kits back on the website.
We also have patterns and kits for the Color Medallion and the Starburst Galaxy, shown below.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Genie Bottle

This year, at Burning Man, a crew of 27 of my friends will be working together and with me to build a 24 foot tall genie bottle.  This artwork made possible due to a grant from Burning Man.
The Genie Bottle will attract travelers along their journeys with its inner glow and the promise of wishes fulfilled. An Arabesque genie bottle evokes the twin spirits of temptation and the fulfillment of wishes. For most of us travelers found along the roads and trails of Burning Man, temptation is always at hand, and the promise of wishes fulfilled propels us further along the road. This genie bottle is a beacon to these travelers. Like a siren, it lures with a sensuous promise of adventure and discovery. And temptation. When found, the bottle provides a soft and cozy protected space where wishes and aspirations can be incubated and called upon.
The Genie Bottle will be 24 feet tall and 14 feet wide.  It will be made from plywood, bolted together with steel.  The plywood will be laser cut with Arabesque designs.  There will be two exits at the base, and one through the top of the spout.  There will be a ladder down about half way from the top, and a pole to slide down for the bottom half.  Inside will be a plush, round sofa, with pillows and fabric draped from the walls.  It will be primarily lit from the inside with strip LED lights.  

I will add more to this post as we progress through this project.
Update 1: http://gwenbeads.blogspot.com/2014/04/genie-bottle-update-1.html 
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