Saturday, October 14, 2017

Return to Rhinebeck - All the Sources for Supplies & Inspiration, Updated!

   The above photo is a collection of rogue cable needles that take just a bit of time to make and are perfect for giving to your knitting friends,
 As I head back to Rhinebeck to teach my metal work for fiber artists classes I thought I should update the info from this blog two years ago.
   Wire: Allcraft 800-645-7124   Allcraft
       I use their bronze wire which they call Nugold for it's warm look and cost effectiveness. When hammered it holds it shape. I also use copper, which is not as strong and nickel which is super strong but should never be worn directly against skin due to the high percent of possible allergic reactions. The most popular gauges are 14 gauge, 12 gauge and 10 gauge. They also carry tools and other jewelry supplies.  I have found them helpful for recommending products. I usually get my order quickly. Tell Tevan I said "hi".
   One Huge Jewelry Catalog: Rio Grande
     What can I say to prepare you for the jewelry catalog from heaven/hell. A great resource for beginners (though more than a bit overwhelming) as they show many items for comparison in any category and the pictures are great. I live in MA so shipping from the southwest can make an impact on my decision. They also have a packaging and display catalog along with more craft supplies. And they are the only source for the Propolish Pads, item # 337020. I have never seen anything that shines metal like the little white squares.
  Your Local Hardware Store. Really! You can get a great  and easy to keep up finish with #0000 steel wool.   I have found wire  and once a hammer to get me through when I was in a state of desperation.
  Nothing beats the next two names for that: Alexander Calder and Mary Lee Hu. Just putting either of these names into Google or Pinterest will guarantee an internet rabbit hole worth the dive.  They are vastly different in their style so who knows who else might show up.
    Pinterest and Youtube Tutorials:
 I offer this one to give you a taste of the potential.
Blog On!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

My 50th High School Reunion and Darlene Love in One Weekend!

  I predicted that this weekend would be the most surreal of my life. Usually I am able to express my feelings yet I am still processing what it felt like to see people from my childhood,  many with no  other point of reference but graduation day.  I am grateful to Nancy Newcomb Dail  for making the trip from Maine so we could go together. Picture a pack of students lined up at the starting line of  a race and when the gun goes off so do we. Fifty years later we are at the starting line again as the event was held on the campus of Thayer Academy. Notice I did not say the finish line.  Spiritually I not sure there is one. Both the campus and the faces looked familiar enough to trigger an avalanche of emotions and memories. By Saturday afternoon I am home feeling sorry/glad to have the event in the rear view mirror. It will be curious to see if the resolutions to stay in touch hold.
  Saturday morning I was invited to a Darlene Love concert by my friend Sue. My ETA to Cape Ann solidified,  I am off late afternoon  to Lynn Auditorium to see and hear an icon sing some of my favorite songs from that time. For a short time I was in a girls doo wop group. I know those songs. But there is Darlene Love on super high spiky heels and sleeveless tops looking and sounding great. Graciously she gave her backup singers time to shine on their own.
  Blog On!

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Sad but Inescapable Truth About Myself

 For most of my work life I crafted and sold from a front room shop in my house.  The radio was either on WGBH, a public radio station,  or WUMB, a 100% folky station out of  U Mass, Boston. I worked, I listened, I sang. All in concurrent equal measure. Then I moved to my new place. No retail. No interruptions. Almost complete privacy. AND the computer was right there to keep me in touch with my new etsy store. It was just a click to YouTube,  another click to discover the endless crime dramas and I was in heaven. Didn't I work better? Didn't it help to be reminded of how lucky I was? Didn't I develop the ability to deliver the Miranda Rights in a way that would impress  the most  seasoned of cops or perps? (police slang for perpetrator)? But today I crashed into the reality that watching anything is a way of evaporating momentum and focus. So now I begin a process akin to peeling of good quality duck tape from skin.  Stay tuned for progress reports.
 Blog On!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Soap Hammock "Pattern"

What do recipes, directions and most suggestions have in common? My inability to heed them in general. So here is the gist of how to make these soap hammocks. Basically they are pockets made of fast drying materials like linen or crochet cotton. Make a rectangle that will hold the bar of soap when folded in half. Open designs are best as the airiness allows for quick drainage. The photo on the left is actually gymp which being plastic drains the best. I loved it as a kid and on a trip to Michael's  saw the new generation of colors. I had to have some!  Seam the sides and add the ties. These are crocheted but "I" chord is a nice choice too.
    I am working on a lace knit pocket done in pale pink linen which I will post when it is finished.
 Blog On!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

To Lisa Grossman, The Vintage Sock and a New Creative Direction

   The January 15th, 2008 blog by the Yarn Harlot changed my life. I am just being truthful. The blog shows her efforts to inlay the knitted one inch leaf into the toe of The Vintage Sock, an amazing design by the amazing Lisa Grossman. I read that blog post and was drawn in by both the design of the sock and the running description of the process which actually takes up several days of postings. At that time I was a studio jeweler making the usual rings, earrings, bracelets  etc. in unusual ways.  I had just started doing shawl pins. The Yarn Harlot is describing the laborious, glorious process of lining up the stitches of both the toe hole and the leaf. She is sounding pretty proud until the knitting gets dropped and the slippery, straight needle falls leaving those perfect stitches to their undoing ways. Like a stone skipping on a placid pond my brain goes; slick straight needle, options, won't fall out, curvy necklace! And the cable needle necklace is born. Truthfully the first one looked like a Klingon war weapon. Since then the concept and the design have morphed beyond any projection I could have made.  It also set in motion my meeting Lisa a few years later at the MA Sheep and Wool Show which was the start of a too short friendship. All this from reading that blog. Thanks Stephanie! I owe you big time.
Blog On!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Button, Button, Who Made the Button? The Resources:

  I am off to Rhinebeck to teach a button making class this coming week.
Here are sources for materials:
     Wire: Allcraft   800-6457124
 Allcraft stocks all kinds of wire. For my classes I use mostly bronze, which they call Nugold, copper and some nickel. I caution people not to wear nickel next to the skin as the potential for an allergy reaction. Repeated exposure can trigger a reaction. I mostly use 16 gauge, 14 gauge and 12 gauge
   Wooden Discs:
  These are not shown in the above picture. The shop carries nicely finished blank wooden discs which may be drilled and decorated in unlimited directions.

   Metal Shapes of All Kinds:
 Also not represented but a true inspirational site . There is no way to describe all the metal shapes that are just waiting to be buttons or whatever  you envision. You will definitely have fun here!

  Solid small felt wheels 
 In my experimenting I looked at the small hard felted buffs used with  motorized hand held tool like a Foredom in a new way. These small dense discs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They have a single hold in the center that allows for attaching to a project with a bead and cotton embroidery thread. I have not gone too far down this road so I recommend taking them off to wash the garment. What is neat about them is the ability to use a sharpie for decoration.
  A caveat here: Give your credit card to a trusted friend when you first get the catalog. Give yourself  a few days to think. After more than forty years of making things I still find this catalog overwhelming.
 I will continue to update sources  as I go further down this road.
    For inspiration that makes you feel like you could do interesting and usable things there is no one like Alexander Calder.    If I had this past weekend to live over I would have sent a list of websites  for inspiration and motivation. This one would have led the list. I followed up with a search on Pinterest using the search words: Alexander, Calder, and Jewelry. I am headed back there the minute I post this update.  
  Second on the list is someone completely different, Mary Lee Hu.   
Where I find Calder's work motivating for it's simplicity I find Mary Lee Hu's work motivating and humbling for it's skillful use of wire.
    Blog On!