Thursday, December 16, 2010

Detail Oriented... Moi?!?

OK, maybe I am a Leetle Beet fussy about details - So much so that I forget to look at the bigger picture.

While I was working with my polymer clay this week, I decided to make a kaleidoscope cane. It started with inspiration from Carol Simmons magnificent cane. I really was just going to use a part of that cane design. I started on Sunday, using some elements I already had made. I also made some just for this project. I was completely focused on the individual parts. It grew, and it grew, and it grew... into a monster. I finally finished putting it together today:

"Holy Mother of God! How am I going to reduce this behemoth?" It took me three hours and a lot of muscle, but I got it done.

When Carol Simmons made her cane, she warmed it in the microwave a few times. I didn't want to do that in case the clay sent off fumes. As a result, the interior of the cane reduced at a slower rate as the outside. There was significant waste.

To give my brain, and body, a break, I used the trimmings from this amazing cane to make some mirror image natasha beads. These are tons of fun. Like eating cookies, one is never enough. So, I made A LOT of them. My little army of earrings-to-be:

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Oops I Did it Again..."

Too much of a good thing is always bad news for me. With my recent crazed approach to bead embroidery, I've hurt my dominant hand somehow (again?!?). My penalty: I have to lay off the beading while it settles down. The silver lining is that I've been in the studio having a GREAT time with my polymer clay for the past two days.

My enormous button collection rests on a shelf: some vintage, all with interesting details. I also have a great big bag of hideous elephant gray leftover scrap clay. Lets make some push molds! I've wanted to make them for months now, but haven't taken the time. I picked some of my favorite buttons and got started.

My first mold was from an oxidized, warped metal button with a busted shank. I kept this mess of a button because I love the texture.

All it took was this first mold. After that, I set about making molds from every button in the jar. All sorts of beauty was about to happen here.

I baked all those molds...

... and, quick like a bunny, put them to use.

Before baking the newly molded cabochons, I dabbed on some pearl ex powders for razzle and dazzle. I love this whole process. My beloved buttons are preserved in their jar, and I can reproduce the intricate designs in any color I choose.

After I fired these newest treasures, I dug out the face mold I bought last Christmas and made a couple of woodland nymphs for future beading projects.

Can't you see these little sweethearts surrounded by beaded leaves and branched fringe? Hurry and get better, Hand, so I can sally forth with the ideas racing though my brain!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Today's Worktable

After last week's post, I knuckled down and made progress on a couple of the UFO's shown in the What's On My Worktable shot. I spent the weekend making serious headway on the clutch bag, and I'm delighted with it's progress. The blue and brown fringed foliage necklace is finished and listed for sale. The other items in that shot will have to wait for another day.

This week's shot includes two new pieces:

The mailman delivered a shipment of lovely Lucite cabochons and I've been busily putting them to work:

I like them all, but my favorites are the blue and gold cabs.

The first piece turned out to be a pretty, sparkly brooch and is now listed in my Etsy shop.

The other one, well, it's turning into one of those pieces that takes on a life of its own. The main bead embroidery is a fringed pendant.

I completed that phase last night, and all that's left is to weave a neck strap for it.

I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful Holiday season!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Weekly Worktable

Hello, my name is Kate, and I'm an addict... a beading addict, that is. I have so many ideas running through my right-oriented brain, that I leap from project to project, leaving a wake of UFO's.

Betty Stephan, a fellow beader, show's pictures on her Facebook fan page called "weekly worktable". This seems like such a good idea. If I try to do this, maybe I'll get the bug to finish pieces that show up too many weeks in a row? What the heck, I'll try it and see if it helps.

What's on this week's worktable:

Tan: A beautiful labradorite cabochon is front-and-center of a collar-to-be.
Green: a bead embroidered clutch purse I've had in the works for about a year
A brown and blue fringed foliage necklace I should have finished later today
A polymer clay pendant that's waiting for the perfect bead to embellish the little leaves.

What do you do to keep the UFO's under control? Really... I'm asking.

Meanwhile, I did finish a fringed foliage necklace and got it listed yesterday.

Head on over and take a peek. Also, I'm offering free shipping within the US and Canada through December 15.

Have a creative day!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Th-th-th-that's All Folks!

The craft show I've been preparing for madly is over and done. Turnout was light, as were sales. I think the problem was two-pronged: 1) the economy is still pretty shaky, and 2) I focused on having a high-end product at a low-end show. My clay work received a lot of attention and admiration, but I only sold three very small pieces. Most sales were earrings I'd marked down to bargain bin prices and small necklaces under $30. Lesson learned.

My booth helper on Sunday was friend and mentor, Lorin Fields. My association with her over the past 10 years has been an adventure. She was the person who taught me to dye fabric, and she was instrumental in gearing me up to work craft shows.

This weekend she talked me into applying to the Piedmont Craftsmen Show in Winston-Salem, NC for next year. It's only 80 miles from home, and it's 12 months away, which gives me LOTS of time to work out a full 10x10 foot booth setup and make up some more show pieces. Yes, I decided to put this beauty up for sale.

In the meantime, I've got lots of leftover stock to fill up my shop, so stay tuned for upcoming listings. Note: free shipping in the US and Canada until December 15! (shipping fees will be refunded through paypal after purchase).

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Elegant Displays on a Zero Budget

Well, nearly zero. My booth design is finally ready for this weekend's show. I've tweaked and fussed, lost sleep, and worried, and now it's looking pretty good.

This was how it looked last year:

For the 2010 show, I've eliminated the grid cubes in the corner, and all the little picture frame displays for the smaller necklaces. They were ridiculously unstable and it was tricky to get the necklaces off them at the point of sale.

My conundrum this time was how do I display my new clay work? I've added brooches to my inventory, which I'd never had before. As well, I've got all these pretty little necklaces with chains that get tangled up with each other and knotted. I could lose sales while trying to sort that out.

I want displays that look elegant AND cost next to nothing to create. Always up for a challenge, I dusted off my mojo and got to work.

Take one ugly bulletin board from Staples ($20)
Sponge on some leftover paint ($0)
Fire up staple gun to tack down a velvet remnant from a friend's stash ($0)
Cover the staples with a ribbon ($0.75)

"Voila!" A boho-chic display board.

This board will go where those grid cubes were in the previous photo, leaning against the wall.

After the board project was finished, I still had a small piece of the velvet. I'd picked up a drawer organizer several years ago at a yard sale for $2.00. The gorgeous cherry wood is in new condition! I cut foamcore to fit the compartments and glued on the velvet. Wowzer! That's a display worthy of the bracelets I have ready to sell.

Now the only thing I need is customers. I have high hopes...

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Sparkles and Texture Galore

My time has been divided between beadweaving more sparkly goodness and tweaking my booth design for the show, which is less than TWO WEEKS AWAY!

My work modus operandi is to start a piece without a plan, then to run out of a specific bead. The piece takes up residence in the Closet of Abandonment, and I forget to order more of that-thing-I-ran-out-of. The result of this behavior: my project graveyard is full. Last week, I bit the bullet and placed a massive order with Fire Mountain Gems. The box arrived over the weekend and I knuckled down to finish some pieces.

I now have two very beautiful bracelets finished and listed for sale in my shop.

The rest of this week will be devoted to booth design. This is the first time I'll be showing my polymer clay pieces and they present some display issues. Like, what's the best way to display brooches?

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recycle... Reuse...

For a couple of years now I've been relisting expired items in my etsy shop. Every four months: another fee incurred and little very little interest generated in those early pieces. Frankly, I can understand this disinterest. Take this piece, for instance. It's a pretty necklace, but very simple and stringing was the only real skill involved with its creation. I decided to cut bait on this one.

I took the pearls off and used them in a new beadweaving project. I loved weaving this over-the-top gorgeous piece. First, I made a focal bead of Swarovski crystals and tiny little seed beads. Some vintage French bead caps make a beautiful frame for this spectacular bead.

Those rescued freshwater pearls went into the tubular netted rope for a nice rich texture. The final touches were beaded end caps and a gold-filled magnetic clasp.


Once this piece was finished, I felt compelled to do another. I didn't have any other pieces to recycle this time, so I went full out with golden yellow Swarovski faux pearls.


Fourteen hours (and a wicked hand cramp) later, I can't decide which one I like better.
Something I've learned about myself recently is: whatever skill I'm using at a specific moment in time is my favorite. Right now, it's beadweaving. Next week, it could be polymer clay. It's nice to know that when I need to take a break from one favorite thing, there's another waiting in the wings for me to enjoy next!

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Good Cause

Last week I decided to try something new and joined a Street Team at Etsy. They are the Etsy Beadweavers Street Team and they are a wonderful, nurturing group of people with buckets of talent. (You can find a link to the team's blog in my right sidebar.) Each month the group has a beading challenge, and the winner gets to pick the theme of the next month's challenge, as well as bragging rights.

Right now, we are gathering donations for Andrew Thornton, a fellow beader, who finds himself stuck with a daunting number of hospital bills after surgery to treat cancer. This treasury features a selection of pieces for this purpose.

click on the image to see treasury

Please note, 100% of the proceeds from these sales will go directly to Andrew. Please, head on over, click through the treasury and comment to keep it at the front. This is a great reason to buy a gift, or a treat for yourself.

You can read more about Andrew Thornton at his blog. Please feel free to pass the word, post about this on your own blogs, etc.

Thank you,

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Total Package

I'm slated to do the Alternative Christmas Market show again at the United Church of Chapel Hill. The dates are November 20-21. If you are in the Raleigh-Durham area, I'd love for you to stop in and say, "Hey!". This will be my third consecutive year of participation in this event, and each year I try to spiff up my image a bit.

This time, it's business cards and packaging. I researched online regarding business card design for jewelry artists. All the advice said it was imperative to have a color picture of your work somewhere on your card. Otherwise, the card is simply a waste of paper. People need to have a picture to remind them of why they took your card in the first place.

This weekend I ditched my black-and-white, text only, business card model and went whole hog. Did you know that your local Staples copy center can do a bang-up job of printing business cards? I went with a larger quantity to bring the cost-per-card down significantly, and I also uploaded an image of my own design. For a nominal extra charge I opted for their premium card stock, and I have to say, the final results pretty much knocked my socks off.

For years I've wanted to offer some form of gift packaging at shows. I found some reasonably priced pillow boxes in two sizes, and made up some pretty labels. I've got LOADS of wired ribbons left over from my ribbon flower-making period. I've precut them to fit the two sizes of boxes, and I think the final result is very appealing.

Now all I need is the customers! :)

If you have any other ideas for presentation, I'd love to hear them.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Thankfully, my days of perching against a heating pad while staring, glassy-eyed, at the tv are done. My number of good days FAR outweighs the bad and I've been crazy Productive Girl. I'm still on a beadweaving kick and have a number of new pieces listed in my shop.

I love making earrings - especially glamorous statement pieces like these:

(Click on the images to see individual listings)

Twilight Earrings

Seafoam Earrings

Flower Jade and Faux Pearl Earrings

Some super-sparklie netted beads:

In addition, I'm sprucing up my Etsy shop listings: improved photos, marking prices down, etc.

Glamorous Two-Piece Beadweaving

Cobalt/Lavender Beaded Lariat

Seed Bead Necklace

All this recent effort is with the Holiday season in mind. More pieces will go on sale in the coming weeks, so check back often.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl