Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beady, Beady, Beady Weekend

Ever wake up and realize you need to go to work to get a little "down" time?

The past weekend was beads, beads and more beads. Saturday was two back-to-back classes at Beads 'n Stitches in Hicksville, NY. The 10 am session was diagonal peyote (I think I'll be hearing Maryanne's voice yelling, "What are do doing? You did a two-step when you should have done a three-step - you can't count, can you?" in my sleep), with an hour's break before starting on toggles and bails. The afternoon session was interesting too, but I didn't complete my braclet - I'm not comletely happy with the colors I chose. I picked a Volcano Swarovski Cosmic Square, silver-lined orange delicas and olive green triangles to work into a Russian Spiral. There wasn't a terribly large selection of triangles, and the olive worked the best. I love the orange with the Volcano, but not the olive green triangles. I'll finish it eventually.

Sunday was even better. I drove to Danbury, CT. to the Bead Fiesta show to see my very dear friends Mike and Marie Dick, who were vendors there. It's difficult for us to get together - Marie works nearly full time on her Etsy stores, East of Oz and Bead Brats, so it's easier for me to see them at local shows. We had a lovely visit together. Needless to say, I bought some great stuff from them (a strand of hypersthene, a strand of wonderstone and two strands of tiny, perfectly faceted peridot briolettes, which will go into a Cellini spiral with pink pearls and gold delicas). I splurged a bit at a few other vendors - two really great pieces of dichroic glass, some hanks of metallic rocailles, a few really great pink borosilicate lamp work beads from Maureen at Pumpkin Hill and a bunch of tiny Swarovski bicones and rivolis from Eureka. And some leather cord to make a necklace for my friend Gary.

The beadyness didn't end there.

Monday was Presidents' Day, and rather than sleeping late like I would have preferred, I met Valerie at the Roslyn train station at 10:30 for a slow ride into Manhattan, a subway ride down to the Lower East Side and a 3 hour visit to Leekan's new location on Rivington Street. What a change from their old location in Soho, which was a showplace. First of all, the new store isn't really a store, yet. There is no retail space (that will come in the spring), and the wholesale area is still taking shape - right now, it's like a garage that's been painted yellow. The lighting's poor, the floor's worse, but the beads are beautiful, and Ana and Jill are just delightful. Annie and Paddy are still Annie and Paddy, and Reggie the Bedlington terrier wouldn't stop barking at us. While we were waiting for our orders to get wrapped up, Val and I went to lunch. We ended up at Loraley, a German restaurant that's right across the street. Food was very good (I had a cup of potato and bacon soup with a plate of rye bread and gouda cheese, Val had sunnyside eggs on grilled ham and rye bread), but the coffee was pretty awful, like the coffee I'm drinking right now. The picture is of Valerie wearing a strand of softball sized African brass beads. They were so heavy that she had to struggle to stay upright.

I just want to say, I wasn't planning on buying anything, but there were some wonderful Thai silver beads that I just couldn't resist. And a Thai silver link bracelet. I am soooooooo weak.

Walking back to the subway, we passed one of the relics of Jewish life on the Lower East Side, Yonah Schimmel's Knishery. I demurred - but Val got a some - $16 for 4 cheese knish. Oy vey! From there, we made a pointless trip uptown to the Nippon Club to see the The Kakei Collection (I had gone to the opening last month, Val was sick). However, the Nippon Club was closed for the holiday. We schelpped back to Penn Station via the 1 train out of Columbus Circle (I really wanted to take a cab), got stuck in Jamaica, hopped on the train to Mineola, when we got picked up by Val's dearest. I eventually made it home for a late pizza dinner with Dad. By the time all was said and done, I had just a little time to actually put a needle and thread to some beads before I needed to go to bed.

I need to take a serious break from buying beads. Seriously. If just to give me time to actually make stuff!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Dragon's Horde, Neatly Organized

Every dragon needs a horde, and mine is neatly organized.  After a near disaster a few weeks ago - the shelving wasn't strong enough to hold all of the beads - I'm just about completely reorganized. 
This shelf holds the boxes with the precious and semi-precious pretties.  Lots of pearls and colored stone.  The shoeboxes contain packets of rhinestones, cabachons, brass stampings and vintage bead necklaces.
Stash Room - The Precious Pretties

A closeup of the boxes with the stone, and of course - the spools of Gudebrod silk I string it on.

An idea of what type of pearls I love.
Pearls and Precious Stone

I haven't transferred all of my glass beads into large bins.  I'll get there eventually.
Glass, The Long View

And a closeup of the glass.  I sure do love pink glass beads.
Glass, Close Up

While I horde like a dragon, I do work with my stash too - lately it's been seed beads, but I feel the need for a big bead necklace coming up.  Maybe rose quartz and a nice, soft green (thanks Valerie, for the inspiration!)
The Work Space

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Judy Walker - The Beaded Sphere

I want to learn how to do this:


Monday, February 9, 2009

Smacking Down Stupidity - Bead Wise

There's a fairly innocuous blog post on the Beading Daily website - "Five Reasons To Love Glass Beads."  Most of the reasons are pretty silly, and can be applied to any type of material:

1 - Glass Beads are Colorful.  Well so are stone beads.  And plastic beads.  Ceramic beads too.  Also polymer clay.  Wood beads are colorful when painted, and if you use enamel on metal, they can be colorful too. 

2 - Glass is a shape-shifter.  Yes, this one's an area that glass can smack down stone - but not plastic, ceramic or polymer clay.  In fact, I'd argue that the last material is the most versatile of all the mediums when it comes to making shapes.

3 - Glass beads are international.  I've got boxes of stone beads from Africa, China, the United States, Germany, Mexico, India, and metal beads from Israel, India and Thailand.

4 - Glass beads are personal.  Huh?  So an artisan made a lampworked bead.  What about the lapidarist who carved and faceted stone beads.  I can agree that there is something very charming and delightful about a representational piece of lampworked glass, but come on, artisans use all sorts of materials - glass is just one of many.

5 - Glass beads are versatile.  It's cool that glass comes in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes, but guess what, so does every other material.  I've got stone beads ranging from 2mm to 55mm and larger.

But what really got my knickers in a twist was the moron who wrote:

"The harvesting of precious metals and stones can involve environmental destruction, exploitation of workers and even wars. Glass is just as pretty and has much less impact on the planet!"

This twit clearly hasn't got a clue about glassmaking.  Yes, a hobbyist lampworker isn't having a huge environmental impact in his/her production of beads, but what about the materials themselves?  Glass beads aren't fairy dust and unicorn fur.

Glass makers aren't scooping up sand from the local beach. Silica and other elements are mined, usually in dirty open-pit operations. Silica is also one of the leading environmental causes of lung cancer (silicosis).

Pink glass gets its color from arsenic and red glass from gold.  Let's not even talk about cobalt.

There are lots of reasons to love glass beads, but thinking they are better for the environment than stone beads is just being ill-informed