Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Last Bead and Button Post

While many of us who use fiber techniques when we do beadwork, there was an artist and teacher at the Bead and Button Show who uses a loom to create masterworks of beading.  I was fortunate to take a class from Judy Walker in small bead looming.  I loved it and loved her clever "paper clip" loom which eliminates the need for lots and lots of sewing in of warp threads.  Judy had some of her work with her and allowed me to take pictures.  These are amazing pieces.  All of them were done on a traditional bead loom with lots of thread to cope with afterward.  The sizes were about 18" x 24" except for the "rose window" which was about 20" square.  The red rug has 47, 695 beads according to Judy and she should know since she would have picked them up one by one.  This type of beadwork is definitely not for the impatient and faint of heart!IMG 0180IMG 0181IMG 0182IMG 0183


You can look for some loomed beadwork in the gallery in the future but not in this size or complexity!  This type of exposure to new ideas and techniques is why many of us go to conferences.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A new "cloth"

There is more than one way to view/ use "cloth". This is a pin that my good friend Irene made in a class she took from Marilyn Moore. I believe that Marilyn started her art journey as a basket maker. I became aware of her work a few years ago at the Smithsonian Craft show--one of the most prestigious in the country. She makes and teaches jewelry and containers using woven metal cloth.

The "cloth" is colored using a torch instead of dyes but after that it is handled the same way as fabric--sewing (wire not thread), shaping (pliers not starch like liquids), etc. By thinking way outside the "fiber" box our members can come up with some very creative ideas of what constitutes "fiber and fiber techniques".

This is a piece of woven metal mesh (very fine weave) colored by gently heating with a creme brûlée type torch. It was then shaped, hemmed and embellished with pearls and crystals. A pretty pin in the making.

Location:Bead and Button Milwaukee WI

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More from Bead and Button

I clicked on the wrong button while posting so now I'll try to upload a couple more pictures taken at the show.  this is a picture of an award winning piece of bead work.  It is called off-loom bead weaving when done like this.  Each bead is picked up individually and sewn into the next bead in a pattern (though it can also be done randomly).  Pretty amazing to see.  This is a life size pieceIMG 0176

Reminds me of crocheted doilies like my Grandmother used to make.


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This is a vendor who sells the frames (and yarn and beads) to make knitted purses.  This was all the rage around the turn of the last century.  The purses are elegant and not for the faint of heart knitter.  It involves stringing hundred of beads and knitting with very small thread on very thin needles.  But isn't the result worth it.  Gorgeous.

More from Bead and Button

This has been my month to blog and since I was going to be in Milwaukee at the Bead and Button show, I decided to blog about the cross over in media.  It has amazed me that in the seven years, I've attended this show (the largest consumer bead show in the world) that so many of the things a fiber oriented artist is drawn to have appeared at what used to be a mostly bead show.  It was easy to get lots of pictures but I forgot to take pictures of the beads for the most part.  IMG 0164

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Felting at a "Bead Show"

A contemporary glass bead maker I've known for many years has branched off into felting.  She had many lovely vessels at the Bead and Button Show in early June in Milwaukee.  A vessel using felting and bead embroidery

She has also put together kits to tempt the beaders in the crowd to move on over to the fiber side of the world.  Felting kits

For many of us in the gallery, attending a conference is a way to learn new techniques in our chosen medium but also a way to open our minds to new and different techniques.

For the rest of this month, I'm going to include some more pictures of the fiber and fiber techniques I saw at the Bead and Button show.  This show (billed as the largest consumer bead show in the world) has changed dramatically over the seven years I have attended it.  And the plus side is that once a year I get to eat at Madors restaurant a quaint, old and delicious way to end a great week in Milwaukee.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Woven Wire cloth

Today a class was held in creating a pendant using woven wire cloth. The cloth was made of copper so it can be colored by torch firing rather than dying as fabric would be. The colors resemble Raku in pottery. The piece was assembled using fagotting and buttonhole stitch. The "sewing" thread was very fine copper wire. The result resembles a cornucopia embellished with pearls. Because it is a wire cloth, the shape is firm without any necessity for sub-structure or stiffening.

Because of the fiber techniques used in construction, this is the type of object that can be including in our gallery.

Location:Bead and Button Show

Monday, June 6, 2011

Basketry technique with wire

Many of our members go to conferences to network and take classes in new but still fiber related techniques. Over the years our members have migrated from strictly using fiber to using other media in a fiber way. This is why visitors will see beading, wire, thread, paper, painted canvas, etc in the gallery. Members crochet and knit with wire as well as thread for example.

Today at the Bead and Button conference was a perfect example of using a non-fiber material in a fiber technique. The class was using wire for a basketry focal piece for a necklace. Whether using reed or wire for your end result, it is still basketry, using an age old process.

Location:Bead and Button Milwaukee

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mixed Media at what used to be strictly a bead show

I'll be blogging this week from Milwaukee Wisconsin where for 10 years Bead and Button Magazine has held the largest consumer bead show in the world. It is a week plus of classes, networking, and shopping. Plenty of shopping. It is also a place where it is permissible to look at a fellow passengers chest while riding the elevators or wandering the show floor to see what wonderful piece of jewelry they are wearing. Why should this matter to a fiber gallery? The composition of what is displayed in the gallery began to change a few years back when it was brought to the attention of the membership that there were more than a few fiber techniques being used to make jewelry.

At the same time, the "strictly beads" world was finding that people wanted to know about such things as knitting and crocheting with wire, and making felt into jewelry. This has led to many more classes in these mediums such as a class by world class jeweler Michael David Sturlin in crocheting his signature style of chain. Can't wait to try my hand at this technique.

Location:Milwaukee Wisconsin