Sunday, January 17, 2016

A New Year!

Happy New Year! I know it's not that new anymore, but I still write 2015 everywhere, so it's new for me :)

This past week, walking to and from the office, I've been thinking I haven't chosen my word for 2016 yet. I need something full of energy - the first third of the year will be brutal. I take 2 very intense courses, one extra, I TA a lovely course (the good news here is that this term students seem to be more interested, more aware, more present than the ones last year), and I have exactly 6 weeks to finish, defend, and send the corrected thesis to the department.

And while I am not going to think past next week, I know the rest of the year will be as crazy. Between the three schools (Florin's, William's and mine), home and everything else, it'll be a miracle to navigate through.

That being said, my energetic word for 2016 is bold. A little bit of "to boldly go where no one has gone before", a little bit of "adventurous", a lot of "fearless", some "daring" and a bit of "audacious" (in the good sense), my word of the year will help me stay focused and courageously inch forward, one step at a time.

What is your word / goal for the New Year? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Art Bead Scene - Ornament Blog Hop

In a moment of insanity (it looks like I have lots of them lately), when Heather Powers posted on Art Bead Scene there will be an Ornament Blog Hop I said 'yes!'.

Then I had that moment of lucidity that follows the insanity: now what? I had no clear idea... so I did what I do best, leave it to brew. I don't know about you, but for me it really works (the trick is to tell yourself to brew the idea, not to forget it). Half of my work ideas come in dreams; I wake up in the morning and I suddenly have the solution of whatever issues I had.

This time I didn't dream about it, though. Couple of weeks ago, at Dee's studio, I simply rummaged through my IKEA box of boxes, looking for items. It had to be metal / wire, but I wanted some colour as well. I kept digging until I recovered an adorable blue cab with a matte finish, like etched glass (it is not glass, some sort of resin). From previous experience I know it's hard to use them in bezels, the finish is finicky and burnishing the bezel around is not looking good on the cab. While thinking of this, I kind of made the back for it, from copper, hammered and stamped. I thought one of those net-like bezels from wire would work best, I made the first raw on the net, then realized it will never go well with just the net, as the wire was too think (24 ga). There is a solution to every problem - and I found mine immediately :)

The cab is quite small (about 1" in diameter) and the ornament looked like it was missing something. Luckily for me, I always carry wire and enamel with me now.

This is what I ended up with:

Mystical sea creature: copper, enamel, wire working, blue resin cab, Art Bead Scene Ornament blog hop :: All Pretty Things

Isn't it adorable? What you see is the actual size (just a tad larger in real life) and the funniest part is that today I was wearing a dress in exact those 2 blues. So I think my ornament will end up being a pendant soon :) What's best than a piece that can be both?!

I am searching for a name - something with fish net / octopus / sea life comes to mind... I haven't figured it out yet. I might add the 3rd 'leg' - I had three of them, but for some unknown reasons, one decided to melt while torched... before I even touched the enamel. It just warped itself out of solid state into a semi-liquid state. Strange, I know, as all three legs were made the same way, from the same piece of wire, same torch. Oh, well, I will survive. Maybe it's some mystical sea creature - two-legged, yes, I actually like that. 

"Mystical sea creature" :) 

Thank you for stopping by - we'll all be hopping from the ABS' site, I'll try to add the list link here as well. 

Wishing you a peaceful season: may you celebrate what you believe in with your loved ones!

Friday, November 27, 2015

CC7A November - hosted by Christine

We are coming to an end with the CC7A. I would like to thank all my wonderful partners 'in crime' for their support during this year. And to promise everyone I am, indeed, going to post the August and September pieces soon.

November was hosted by lovely Christine and her choice of picture was one very matching the weather outside:

Yup, all the leaves are gone by now. The sky might not be as brilliantly blue, or not today (it's raining), but the branches sure look like that.

I wanted to make something that matches the empty branches, but I felt it'll make me way to sad and right now that's the last thing I need. So I deviated just a tad :)

First it came the flower. As my enamel colours are very limited, I am truly happy I still have a bit of the aqua, we will pretend it's the colour of the sky. The flower was ready on Sunday, however I wasn't ready to finish it until today. I knew how I wanted to finish it, which in my mind was the same thing as being done... sorry... I run a lot like this lately.

CC7A November ~ Sky flower: enamel on copper, natural fibre, copper wire, wire wrapping, Cindy Wimmer clasp :: All Pretty Things

I looked for a bit of fabric to match the flower, but all my fabrics were turquoise or deep blue. Too deep and dark for what I wanted. I recently received some silky scarfs from my mom, but those weren't in the colours I wanted either (although beautiful nonetheless!). As I was scratching my head, I remembered I bought some mohair / wool mix yarn, in some blue-grayish hues. That should do it, right?

CC7A November ~ Sky flower: enamel on copper, natural fibre, copper wire, wire wrapping, Cindy Wimmer clasp :: All Pretty Things

Luckily for me, it continues beautifully from the end of the flower (where the blue of the enamel is not that bright). I wrapped a piece of wire in the yarn, then crocheted the neckpiece with the yarn and another, thinner wire. I also used the thin wire on the flower 'hanger' - for some empty branches.

Being completely exhausted already (not from this, from my crazy life in general), I couldn't bear the thought to make the clasp, so I used one of two clasps I won (long time ago) from Cindy Wimmer. I just love this clasp - I think I'll just have a session of clasp making soon, so I have them when I need them :)

CC7A November ~ Sky flower: enamel on copper, natural fibre, copper wire, wire wrapping, Cindy Wimmer clasp :: All Pretty Things

This is the result - I'll give it a wear soon; I am a tad worried about those 'branches', I want to see if they can be worn or not. If not (if they catch the blouse material) I have an idea to replace them with a bit of embroidery thread; it won't have the same curly effect, but it'll be fine, I think.

CC7A November ~ Sky flower: enamel on copper, natural fibre, copper wire, wire wrapping, Cindy Wimmer clasp :: All Pretty Things

And no, my little foldio still cannot 'host' an entire necklace. I'll give it a try in natural light tomorrow, hopefully you get the idea of what it looks like.

Thank you to all who visit, I know I've been mostly invisible the past few months, I promise I have good excuses for that. I'll update the blog soon.

And, again, thank you so much to my great CC7A partners and virtual friends. You have been so patient with me, and I hasn't been a great host.

Please visit all the wonderful ladies, I am sure they've made beautiful pieces - Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating it this weekend (we did so in October).

Christine (November)
Alicia (April host) ~ you are here
Therese (May host)
Sally (June host)
Monique (August)
Cynthia (September)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Time To Stitch #8 - Blog Hop

In coming in to write this post I could not believe I haven't posted in 4 months. Wow. Yes, I am still alive, and I'll write something one day about this summer and fall. Write now I am just grateful we are healthy and alive.

A Time To Stitch is the baby of Christine and Therese - a bead weaving challenge, usually. This time ~ with a twist: we were supposed to make a beaded bag. Or amulet. Or medicine bag. Or... 

Procrastination runs high on my list of vice and this year just made me more adept at tasks slalom (it should be made an Olympic sport, I'd be champion); I might have dropped some posts here and there, though (I am still to write the CC7A posts for the past two meets, for example). However, when Therese's e-mail came three weeks ago as a reminder (thank you, Therese!) I made a promise to myself to not back off... I need to get back into a somewhat regular schedule of postings. I miss this part of my life, truly. 

However, I am in the final stages of writing my thesis and things are more hectic than I ever imagined. So I put it off for tomorrow. And tomorrow. And... yesterday arrived with me only knowing what I want to make, but not having anything to show for. I contemplated backing off and I said "no!". 

Up to the the studio I picked two of the boxes: one with leather, one with seed beads. My mom sent me a while back some deer skin. Soft, beautiful and the only thing I knew I could manage with such short time on my hands. 

A Time To Stitch #8: Beaded bad ~ Deer skin :: All Pretty Things

I knew what I wanted: a turtle. Why? We live very close to Crawford Lake Conservation Area, a place where 40 years ago (in the 70s) archaeologists discovered an Iroquoian Village. The story of the discovery itself is amazing: the conservation area has a wonderful lake, a meromictic lake. What is a meromictic lake? A body of water with a very deep basin, so deep that it rarely gets disturbed and it receives no oxygen. Thus it is perfect for conserving organic samples, which otherwise would quickly decay. That's how, by studying the lake, scientists discovered corn. And they figured out a settlement must be close by. They were right. We visit the Village at least once a year; we never grow tired of the longhouses, the Native stories, the maple syrup, and the amazing natural environment (the park is part of the Niagara Escarpment). Back to my turtle: the Iroquois were structured in three clans: the Turtle Clan, the Wolf Clan, and the Bear Clan. I love all the symbols behind all three clans, however I am very, very fond of the Turtle Clan. I studied a bit what each clan's responsibility was and to my delight, the Turtle Clan is the Keepers of the Knowledge.

From the link above:
In the Iroquois Creation Story, the earth was created on the back of a turtle. It was there that life began to grow. The Turtle Clan represents the shifting of the earth and the cycles of the moon. The people of the Turtle Clan are considered the well of information and the keepers of the land. The responsibility of the Turtle Clan is everything that has to do with the environment.
How could one back out of beading a turtle with such deep meanings?

As usual, it wasn't the smoothest of the journey. I started it two times and didn't go very well. Third time was a charm in my case, though.

I took no pictures of the process, so without further ado I will share my Turtle Clan Bag.

A Time To Stitch #8: Beaded bad ~ Deer skin, Czech beads :: All Pretty Things

A Time To Stitch #8: Beaded bad ~ Deer skin, Czech beads :: All Pretty Things

It is small, 3.5" (it's an approximate square). As you can see, I ran out of my original Czech 6.0 mix, but at that time it was already dark outside and I knew I would not survive a repeat of the entire patterns. I simply moved onto another 6.0 type :) and hoped I'll be forgiven.

I intend to fill it with some lavender and keep it at my desk - a reminder that I chose my new academic life (I have days when I wish I could blame someone else!).

Thank you, Therese and Christine for hosting this challenge - it's always fun to try new things.

Thank you all for stopping by - please make sure you visit everyone else and enjoy their bags!

Our 2 hosts: Therese & Christine
Alicia <- you are here