Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tensegrity Sculpture with Seed Bead Weaving

My neighbor Ben brought me a gift of this tensegrity sculpture, made from six pen tubes, eight hair bands, and twelve bobby pins. The blue things are the pen tubes.  The triangles are each one hair band.  The bobby pins are holding the bands and hidden in each end of the pen tubes.

Of course, I had to make one in beads. It took me several tries to finish with this piece above. I tried first with bugle beads, but my results were quite wonky.  Eventually, you see above that I made six separate sticks with cubic right angle weave (CRAW), and I embellished them to stiffen them.  Then, with a seventh piece of thread, I assembled the sticks, using tiny seed beads (where the hair bands would be).

It turned out to be a lot harder to bead weave this piece than I expected.  With the hair bands, the tension balanced everything and the tubes sit in a position of least energy.  With seed beads, I was using a number of beads to determine the distance between the ends of the stick.  I had to get the counts just right or it would sag when I used too many, or bend out of symmetry when I used too few.  I know because I made errors both ways.  "Try and see what happens."  Well, I tried and saw, and in the end, it's still not as balanced as I'd like. Ah well.  I still enjoy a good new beading challenge, even if it doesn't always end perfectly.  Thanks Ben.  That was challenging!  I anticipate that one of you could do better.  Please show me, if you try.  Thanks for looking.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mostly Cashmere Mostly Purple Tunic Sweater Dress

I put away my beads for a bit so I could do some sewing.  This tunic sweater is mostly purple, and mostly cashmere (with a bit of wool, which is mostly merino).
Sweater Dress

Oh so soft! The fabrics are super stretchy and did I mention that they're super soft? The tunic is semi fitted through the bodice and drapes slightly longer in the back than in the front.

I hand dyed two of the sweaters with wool dyes to get those bright purples. The accent colors include deep blue, olive green, deep forest green and brown. The seams are medium leaf green.
All seams and hems are professionally sewn with four polyester threads on my serger sewing machine. This is very well made, comfortable and warm.

Size: Medium, 38" bust measured flat, and stretchy.  I'm offering this for sale until it gets cool enough around here to wear it myself.  It's 89°F today here as I type this.  I think if it had been 60°, I would be wearing it instead of listing it for sale.  Click on the photos to see the listing.  Thanks for looking.

This tunic was inspired by the sweater coats of Katwise, with help from her sewing tutorials, which are amazing, by the way.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Beaded Bead Necklace in Pink Silver Black with Lampwork Glass

For this necklace, I made 8 beaded beads, including a Conway Bead, 3 Nuts and Washers, 2 Infinity Beads, an Octahedral Cluster and an Mini Ionic Rhombic Dodecahedron. Then, I added 7 borosilicate and lampwork glass beads torched by several different artists. That's 15 beads in all. Together they make a pallet of bright and pale pinks, silver, gray, and black.
They're all strung on a yard of 100% silk cord that I twisted and plied on my spinning wheel. If you enjoy stringing beads, you could use this set as a beginning of a more elaborate necklace, but I would wear them just as they are, strung on cord.
Includes 6 inches (15 cm) of beads. Largest beaded bead measures just over an inch (26 mm). Click on the photos to go to the listing.

If you would like to learn to make your own beaded Nuts and Washers, I have a tutorial available here:
I have a tutorial for the Octahedral Cluster here:
The Conway Bead tutorial is here:
The Ionic Polyhedra tutorial is here:
The Infinity Dodecahedron tutorial is here:

Friday, October 3, 2014

New Tutorial - Highly Unlikely Triangle with seed beads and thread

I finally finished a tutorial for the Highly Unlikely Triangle, now available.
This piece of beadwork is based upon the impossible triangle of Roger Penrose and MC Escher. I beaded my first impossible triangle in 2006, and it’s taken me until 2014 to write this tutorial. This wasn't my first try, or second!   Until recently, I couldn't find a good way to explain how to do it on paper.   In those 8 years, I have been developing my tutorial writing skills to the point that I could manage explaining such a tricky and challenging design in a way that I think advanced beginning beaders will understand.  And now, I think I finally got it.  The solution was lots and lots of illustrations.
This tutorial is designed to teach you cubic right angle weave with seed beads, including turning corners and joining ends to make a closed loop.  You will also learn to embellish CRAW with seed bead, on straight-aways, and also around inside and outside corners. You can even use tiny bugle beads, like I show here.
 Or even longer bugle beads, like I did here.
I hope you will enjoy my newest tutorial of one of my oldest designs.  Thanks for looking.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lotus Drop Earrings with Indigo Blue Gemstones

These beaded earrings feature little fan dangles in the shape of lotus flowers. They are woven with faceted gemstone beads in various shades of indigo blues. The little rings and ear wires are sterling silver. They are fancy enough to be noticed, yet still casual enough for day wear. The colors match blue denim perfectly.
The stones include dazzling microfaceted London blue topaz briolettes, blue kyanite, and faceted blue sapphire. The seed beads frame the gemstones, allowing the light to travel through the transparent topaz. The earrings look the same on the front and the back.
For information on how you can learn to make earrings like these, visit
Thanks for looking! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mini Crown Earrings

These little earrings are small enough to be comfortable and fancy enough to be noticed. I made them by stitching together glass seed beads in deep forest green and earthy amber yellow. I chose the colors to look like little daisies. The green and cream stripes remind me of old Victorian or Edwardian fabrics. All of the wire is sterling silver.
If you would like to learn to make your own Mini Crown Earrings, find this tutorial in my Etsy shop here:
Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Assembling the Genie Bottle at Burning Man 2014

These are the photos I took of the assembly of the Genie Bottle at Burning Man.

We arrived to the Playa on Monday night, and on Tuesday, we were placed, found our trucker, unloaded the truck and put up some caution tape and lights. 
We had over 200 pieces to assemble. Fortunately, we had many helping hands.
This is Marty Kenney, working so hard, he trapped himself inside.
This is the dump truck that brought us decomposed granite (DG).  We covered the ground with a 3.5 inch layer of DG to protect it during the burn.
 While waiting for the ground stakes and DG to arrive, we organized all of the pieces.
Here's what the neighbors were doing at the same time.  This piece is called "Squared" by Charles A. Gadeken.
 This is Embrace by The Pier Group.
 After dinner, we built the deck.  Tiling a pentagon with rectangles is no easy feat!
 The next morning, we finished the top of the deck and raised the main struts.
 Everybody is strutting!
 Zelda Lin inside
 Adding walls.
 Hats off to Marty Kenney for making construction work look classy!
The crane came...
 ... while the sky put on a show for us.
A little dust storm blew through.
The crane lifted the top part onto the base.
While we guided the piece into place with long ropes.
That's Jim Crowley inside bolting the pieces together.
We worked at night to finish the last round of panels.
And then we added the interior, and it was done.
If you would like to see more photos and read about of the Genie Bottle at Burning Man, click here.  Thanks for looking.
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