Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beaded flower pots and our old logo

In the Spring of 2005, I was hanging out with Florence, trying to figure out this whole "beaded bead thing." Fiddling with my needle, I said, "Mine looks like a flower pot." She handed me a bag of pressed glass flowers, and said, "Here are flowers."
We used these photos originally on our very first logo.   Here's our logo, before we got our domain name  That font is Parisian, and my brother rejected it outright, saying that any font that comes with Adobe Illustrator is too common for any self respecting artist to use.  I still kind of like it, sort of, but since he knows way more about graphic design that I do, I took his word for it.  
The idea with the flower pots was that they were an infinite array of pots, all lined up, but you could only see a few in the middle.  That's why they're cut off on the edges.  They represented beads forever, or in latin, beads ad infinitum, or just bead infinitum. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My second Color Medallion Pendant

Since my first Color Medallion was so bright, I decided to use more subdued colors for my second one.  Here it is, in blues with a touch of purple.

Florence and I will teach this class together at the Bead & Button Show 2013. Now that the show is over, we have patterns and kits available.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bead Art at the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2013

Last year, I wrote about the history of bead art at the Joint Mathematics Meetings through 2012.  So, I thought I'd write an update about the bead art the 2013 Joint Mathematics Meetings, including the 2013 JMM exhibit of mathematical art.  The meetings and exhibit were held in January 2013 in San Diego, California.  I'm going to show you pieces from the exhibit, but I also include other related works of mathematical bead work from 2012 so you can see them in context. 

Since this is my blog, I'll start with my own pieces.  I had two works accepted into the exhibit, each a set of three beaded beads.  The next two photos show two views of each beaded bead.

Beaded Borromean Links by Gwen Fisher

The Borromean link is a set of three rings, which are woven together into a single symmetric piece of art. The three rings are linked collectively, despite the fact that no two of them are linked to each other.

Each component is woven using cubic right-angle weave (CRAW), which is the three-dimensional version of right angle weave (RAW). RAW corresponds to arranging beads on the edges of the regular tiling by squares, and CRAW corresponds to arranging beads on the edges of a rectangular array of cubes. I stitched rows of cubes, and I used larger beads where I turned corners. A second layer of seed beads embellishes and buttresses the CRAW to make the pieces stiffer.  Read more on Intersecting Links in Bead Weaving.  If you would like to learn how to make one for yourself, check out the pattern and kits for the beaded Borromean Links

Hyperbolic Beaded Angle Weaves by Gwen Fisher

These three pieces combine Vi Hart's idea of beading a hyperbolic tiling with the idea of strategic tacking, as in Daina Taimina’s crocheted hyperbolic planes. Instead of tacking the edges together, however, I used larger beads within the folds of the hyperbolic surfaces to help them hold their forms. Also, instead of using edge-only angle weaves as Hart has done, I used across-edge angle weaves because they are tighter weaves that make the bead work more rigid.

This set includes two different patches of the uniform hyperbolic tiling that goes by many names, including (, which describes its arrangement of squares and pentagons. These two different patches of this hyperbolic tiling identify different subgroups of symmetries of the tiling.

The order (4.3.3) dual tiling is composed entirely of hexagons. While the center has four hexagons meeting at a point, and there are also places where just three hexagons meet at a point. Learn more about these hyperbolic beaded angle weaves here: ( small, ( large, and order (4.3.3) dual.

Tessellation Evolution by Susan Goldstine 

Susan showed a bead crocheted necklace in which the pattern progresses over the surface of the design.  It even won an award, the very first prize in the history of this exhibit to be won by a piece of beaded art!  Go Susan!
Susan says, "The necklace contains 4517 beads; the entire work (including the woven embellishments) contains 5669 beads.  (Not like I counted, but the info can be recovered from the pattern and the size of the woven blocks.)  In case you're wondering, that necklace is 28 inches long, not counting the clasp."  Previous to the piece in the exhibit, Susan made the next piece in 2012.
Notice how the design morphs across the length of the necklace.  Mathematicians call that a Parquet deformation, which is a tiling that slowly deforms across space.
Susan was kind enough to share this "photo of the bead strands, complete with the paper tags I used to keep track of where I was in the pattern." 
It contains 11 three-color tessellations with a common repeat length, and the total length of the rope is 29.5 inches.  The necklace has 3148 beads.

I wrote about Susan's bead crochet in past math art exhibits, often created with Ellie Baker.  Together, Susan and Ellie have a forthcoming book, "Crafting Conundrums: Puzzles and Patterns for the Bead Crochet Artist," to be published by CRC Press/AK Peters.  It's a how-to-design book on bead crochet written by a mathematician and computer programmer.  You've never seen a bead crochet book like this one.  They expect both necklace patterns to be in the book and lots of other cool stuff about bead crocheted bracelets you've never seen before.  What's not to love?

Susan got her inspiration for these tessellation evolutions because I suggested she apply Parquet deformations to the ideas in her forthcoming book.  I got that idea while beading Chaos and Order.
Someone, I believe it was Robert Bosch, told me that Chaos & Order reminded him of a Parquet deformation.  Through the power of Facebook and the internet, that reference inspired Florence Turnour's beaded Parquet deformation below.  Florence's piece was not part of the exhibit, but it also influenced Susan's piece. 
Susan also cited work by Craig Kaplan in the creation of her necklace, and Craig's work also inspired Florence.  Of course, Craig's work was inspired by M C Escher, who also inspired Florence, Susan, and me!  I digress.  Back to the exhibit... 


Beaded Hilbert Curve by Chern Chuang, Bih-Yaw Jin and Chia-Chin Tsoo 

Chern Cuang and Bih-Yaw Jin have shown beadwork in past JMM exhibits.  You might know these men by their blog: The Beaded Molecules.  Here are four views of their beautiful Hilbert cube, woven with spherical beads and clear monofilament thread.
For obvious reasons, the piece by Chern and friends reminds me of the beaded Hilbert curve by Martina Nagele, who beaded the piece below in March 2010.  
I have had the unusual opportunity to see both of these beaded Hilbert curves in real life.  Martina's piece is quite tiny compared to that made by Chern, Jin, and Tsoo.  I don't remember precisely, but it is only an inch or two across. In contrast, Chern's piece is the size of a softball.
I lightly touched Chern's piece to see how stiff it is, and it's stiff.  Martina's piece is much more flexible than Chern's.  Martina's piece readily unfolds to form a closed ring that is about the size of a bracelet.  Here you can see it unfolded.  Once unfolded, it is really easy to fold it back into a cube.
Martina also sent me this step photo of her Hilbert's curve, woven with cubic right angle weave (CRAW).  You can see how flexible the bead work was before the black embellishment beads were added.  Chern's piece is really stiff, but contains no embellishment beads. 
Although Martina did not show her piece at JMM, I want to discuss it because it was the first Hilbert curve I had seen in beads, and it compares well with Chern's piece.  I asked Martina to tell me about it, and she cited this link of mathematical imagery as her inspiration.  She writes, "I was always intrigued by the possibility to build geometric objects with beads. On my inspirational hunts through the WWW I stumbled over this site by Torolf Sauermann in February 2010. The rendering of a Hilbert curve with a metallic look caught my eye. I had no clue what a Hilbert curve was or how it worked, but I knew I had to bead it! Some days later I had learned a bit more about it and started my piece, the round sterling beads were perfect for it. A little problem while beading is the silver 'worm' is very slinky. and you have to be very concentrated not to take a wrong turn. The most fun part was to embellish the edges with hundreds of tiny crystals and see the fold-up cube emerge from a seemingly chaotic loop."  Apparently, Chern and his friends missed the fun part.


Super Buckyball of Genus 31 by Bih-Yaw Jin

Bih-Yaw Jin was one of the fellows who made the Hilbert curve above, and he also contributed another beaded bead to the exhibit.  
Interestingly, the piece that Bih-Yaw Jin showed in the exhibit was not identical to the piece on the website.  I could tell because one is purple and the other is green.  They are identical beaded structures, but they are different sizes and colors.  The purple one I saw was huge and beautiful!  Apparently, the green one is bigger, and was too difficult to ship.  So I can only guess that it is huger and even more beautiful than the purple one.

Here you can see Florence and me standing in the middle of the exhibit.  We posed with Jin's purple beaded masterpiece.  You can also see my beaded beads in the two black frames on the bottom left.  Gosh, they seem really small in comparison.

Beaded Colored Platonic Solids by Ron Asherov

Mathematically, these beaded platonic solids are interesting.  Ron beaded the five regular solids so that every face shows bead of different colors on each edge.  Also, the path of the string connects every pair of adjacent edges exactly once.  If you look really close at the center of the photo below, you can see how the thread lies at the corners.


Limit Set I by Vladimir Bulatov

I'm not sure that Vladimir intended his sculptures to be beads, but with all of those holes, they certainly qualify.  Plus, I'm such a huge fan of his work, I had to include him.  Moreover, he gets bonus points for presenting a related talk called, Bending Circle Limits (PDF) in the MAA Session on Mathematics and the Arts: Practice, Pedagogy, and Discovery.  No other bead art was represented in the contributed paper sessions (that I know of).   This piece a 3D print, a sculpture made with a computer printer.  Although I'd love to wear it as a bracelet, it's too big for jewelry and the hole in the center is too small for my hand to fit through.  It's the size of a salad plate, and it's flipping gorgeous.  The holes are spheres. Imagine a wheel of mathematical Swiss cheese.

When I asked Vladimir if I could use his photo here, he sent me another.  This is a smaller piece he showed at his sales booth.   It's about 5 cm in diameter.  It is some sort of fractal hypercube.  Florence fell in love with it and took it home.  The funny part was that Vladimir didn't want to sell it to her because he had just printed it.  She told him to print himself another one, and that was enough to convince him to let her keep it.

JMM 2013 was a great conference with much to see and hear.   This post showed a mere sliver of all there was to see there.  If you really like mathematical artwork, and you don't want to wait a full year to see more at JMM 2014, you should consider going to the Bridges conference this summer.  You won't regret it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wonka of Wonderland Top Hat No 7

I made a HAT!

This is number 7 in my series of top hats for a mad hatter.  It is similar to my previous Wonka of Wonderland hats, but I made some minor improvements on the shaping and fit.
I made this hat with traditional techniques.  The structure is stiff yet flexible double buckram, edged with millinery wire around the brim and at the askew oval around the top. The wire makes the hat very springy.  After building the structure, I covered it in deep burgundy red ultra suede fabric.  The ultra suede feels and looks like natural suede, but is polyester.

Here you can see the pretty silk linking.  That's kimono silk, and it's very thick, unusually thick and luxurious.  
It has a subtle jaquard weave with a wave design, that has been enhanced by subtle hand painting. Here you can see it is fully lined with my signature tag inside.  
The hat band is a red and gold lame' scarf that I simply tied. The scarf is easily removable so you can add your own band to suit your outfit.  The back:

I added a silk band around the inside. This hat fits a medium sized head. My head measures about 21 to 21 1/2 inches in circumference, and it fits me well. I think it would still comfortably fit 20 1/2.
Because I'm sure you want to know what it looks like on, here's me in it.  Strangely, when I went to find an outfit to wear with the hat, I located this red suede coat that was my grandmother's. I think she bought this coat in the 1950s or 60s. It's a very impractical coat because you can't wear suede in the rain, and it's not very warm.  Plus, the sleeves are too narrow to wear a sweater under it, but the cut is awesome and it fits me perfectly, and it's RED SUEDE! The collar curls something awful, but apparently, I've been saving the coat to photograph with this hat because they match perfectly. 
I only had to take about thirty photos to get a couple good ones.   I took these out in the street to get the clear blue sky behind me. I think a car slowed down to see what the mad woman with an iPad was doing wandering through the streets. Click!

Friday, January 18, 2013

My First Color Medallion Beaded Pendant

Last week, I went to the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, California.  There, I had two sets of beadwork in the mathematical art exhibit, which I'll blog about later.  Florence Turnour and I roomed together, and she finally taught me to make her Color Medallion.  We listened to math talks in the day, and beaded together in the evenings.  Needless to say, I had a great time.
This is my first Color Medallion.  Just as I hoped, I had a really fun time playing with the colors. There's so many different beads in this thing, you get to use a lot of colors!  

What I learned: look at the little pink bicone crystals on the edge of the medallion.  They are the same crystals that I used on the bail.  Do you see how the pink crystal in the bail appear darker than the ones on the edge?  (The difference is quite visible in real life.)  The pink bicones on the bail are framed by dark, opaque (bronze) beads.  The pink bicones on the edge are framed by light, translucent (pink) beads.  This demonstrates that a bead's appearance depends upon what beads you put next to it.  That said, Florence was careful to design this color medallion so that the bicone crystals have very little next to them.  This makes their colors bright and clear.  Also, it would make a nice sun catcher, hung in a window because the light shines through the bicones.

Florence chose to design this piece with Swarovski bicones because they are super bright and sparkly, and they are also significantly less expensive than Swarovski's round faceted beads.   The problem with bicones, however, is the corners of the facets are very pointy, they can feel sharp against your skin.  But, Florence did a clever thing in placing the crystals. The crystal bicones are nestled into the two layers of seed beads, so that their sharp edges don't hit your skin when you wear it.  Nice.

Florence and I taught this class together at the Bead & Button Show 2013.  Patterns and kits are now available on our website.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

3 Pointed Starburst Galaxy Bracelet

I finished the Starburst Galaxy bracelet I started in my previous post
Here's a close up.

This bracelet is just one of the many things you can learn to make in the Starburst Galaxy class that Florence Turnour and I will be teaching at the Bead & Button Show in June 2013.  Join us!

Monday, January 7, 2013

More Starburst Galaxy for Bead & Button 2013

I'm still working on designs for the Starburst Galaxy class that Florence Turnour and I will be teaching at the Bead & Button Show in June 2013.  On line registration begins January 8.  That's tomorrow.  With more than 20 different stars to make in this "galaxy" I'm still making new ones.  The pattern shows stars in four different sizes.  This is the largest 3-pointed star.
The night before last, I made one, and I didn't know what to do with it.   So I made another one. Then I made a couple more and linked them all together. I think it's going to be a bracelet. It's about an inch wide. I needed to find a clasp. So today I visited two different bead shops and I couldn't find anything quite right, so I came home and searched in my sewing box instead.

Now, I've had these hook and eye clasps since my Nana passed away about 20 years ago, when I inherited her sewing box. You can see she paid 19 cents for the whole card of them, and they're still in great condition. Thanks Nana. They didn't rust, just like the card promised. I am reminded that seed bead weaving is a form of needlecraft, and sometimes, a clasp can be readily found in sewing notions rather than in jewelry findings.  I think I'm happy with this solution.  It's not the fanciest clasp, but it's inconspicuous, and I think it will be secure and reasonably easy to take on and off.  I want the focus on the stars, not the clasp. 

I also used a hook and eye clasp on this Starburst Galaxy necklace.  It shows 6-pointed stars in all four sizes.

Here's another necklace with a few different stars.  This piece shows how the stars are links that you can link together with wire wrapped loops.
Here's a medium 8-pointed star from the galaxy.  I like this as a simple pendant.

And here's a large one.  See, I just added a jump ring and cord, and voila!  It's done. 

Florence and I will also be teaching a class together that she designed, called the Color Medallion B130596- Sun. June 2 • 9:00am-5:30pm.  Florence made this pendant.  Isn't it pretty?   I haven't seen this particular pendant yet, but I saw one in another color scheme, and WOW, it is dazzling in person. 

Here's another post I wrote about our Bead & Button classes if you want to see more.  Oh yes, there's more!  There's always more...  Seriously, I haven't beaded all of the stars yet...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

28 Rungs of Beaded DNA

Both of these strands of beaded DNA have 28 rungs, but the strand with more beads is shorter.  More is less in this case.  Well, more is shorter.  What it lost in length, it gained in width. 
The short, wide strand has 3mm bugle beads running down the center on the rungs.  Otherwise, both strands have have the same beads.  In other words, the wide strands has all of the beads in the skinny strand, plus the 28 bugle beads.  These include seed beads in sizes 11/0 and 15/0 and 3mm round Swarvoski crystals.  Both strands are quite flexible as well.   They will bend more than the next photo show, but that's how much they will stay bent without something holding them. 
The twist per inch of the narrow strand is nice and even measuring in at about 4 rungs per full twist.  The wide short strand is a touch over twisted with about 5 rungs per full twist.  The over twist gives it the appearance of having major grooves and minor grooves, like real DNA (however I believe that the reason for the major/minor grooves of the beaded version are different from what's happening with real DNA).   The over-twist make the wider strand like a spring.  If you pull it lightly, it will stretch, and go back after you let go.  The over-twist could be corrected by switching out some of the 3mm round crystals for size 8/0 seed beads, as I used in the original pattern.  Size 8/0 seed beads are a bit shorter than 3mm.

Do you want to learn how to make your own beaded DNA?  Well, you're in luck!
Learn to weave beaded DNA with my free video pattern here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Organic Beaded Felt

This textile cuff bracelet is felted with fluffy cashmere over a core of mohair and wool, and silk fibers felted right in. Cashmere... this is so soft!  The colors are deep forest green and deep aqua. The shape is organized but organic. I added a ten beaded beads, woven around the felt, in green and silver seed beads.
Here is what it looked like before I added the beads.  With a mix of many different fibers, the colors in this are really deep and rich.
This is the only one like it. Deep emerald green cashmere with silk and beads... What's not to love?

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