What happens when you stagger Czech mate duos and some 8/0 round beads (not so many of them)? Well, it’s like doing a puzzle.
Weaving with two hole beads is very different from weaving with one hole beads, as you know. I just love the way these oddly shaped duos kind of hug one another. By staggering them with 8/0 round beads you create a brick like fabric which allows the duos to “spoon” one another.
I started with (see bottom of below picture) a row of size 8/0 seed beads followed by a staggered row of 8/0s a duos. I then wove just the staggered duos fro a while (the weft thread goes through the top hole of one duo and the bottom hole of its new neighbor. The next row is the opposite. Then I threw in some size 8/0 round both staggered with the duos and in a row by themselves, just for fun.
Then the usual: attach to leather cuff with glue. Back with ultra-suede. Sew the two together. This could be worn by a woman or a man. I didn’t even have to embellish the sides although I was careful to make small, neat stitches when sewing the bead work and the ultra-suede together.
Finished piece! So easy and yet rather elegant, don’t you think! We will be carrying the duos and other Czech mates on our website. Will do some pretty mixes including all the duos in this piece.
If you’re anything like me, you want your dog to have the best of everything; the most nutritious food, the perfect bed and of course the prettiest collar. For most of my dog Sam’s life we’ve used a harness instead of a collar, but his new trainer encouraged us to switch to a collar because harnesses can encourage leash pulling for a extra-energetic dogs like him. I checked out the pet store selection of collars and was pretty sure that we could come up with something much cooler than what is available commercially for my fashionable little canine.
I mentioned this to Claudia who immediately started researching and designing. She came up with an amazing idea involving a leather collar and lots of beads. We won’t reveal the details quite yet, but we do want some input from you about your dog if you’re interested in this project!
What breed and size dog do you have?
What is the circumference of your dog’s neck?
We’d love to see pictures of your pups! Post “before collar” pictures to our Facebook page.
Last fall I visited the textile exhibit Interwoven Globe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and was thrilled to see some incredible textiles up close. I may have crossed the security line once – triggering an alarm, eek. It’s just that some of the tapestries were so finely woven that I had to get close and squint to see the warp grooves. I attended the exhibition with a friend, to whom I gave a very rusty run-down of the history of tapestry designing as I remembered it from my studies at Capilano University. When we got home that day I put my son to sleep and proceeded to plunk down on the couch to sink my eyes into my beautiful new fabric-covered catalogue/book of essays from the exhibition. Sweet textile dreams ensued, as did my inspiration for this post. So, I went back to my old textbooks to fill the gaps of the timeline I was piecing together and thought I’d share it here.
Tapestry is one of those textile techniques that I often find myself daydreaming about. I have a deep respect for it, not only as an artistic medium, but also as a historical touchstone in art, particularly in relation to painting. I find the relationship between these two media fascinating since, in the contemporary fine art world, painting is generally thought of as having higher prestige than anything textile based. Yet, during the renaissance painters were commissioned to create paintings solely as tapestry designs, and earlier copies of paintings, for people who wanted memories of frescos that were located on the walls of buildings that they no longer spent time in. Interestingly, it was commissions for tapestry designs by these kinds of artists (those who were painters, not tapestry designers) that lead to the loss of traditional tapestry weaving techniques.
In the mid 20th century there was a small group of tapestry historians who fervently addressed the importance of traditional design in tapestry, among them was French designer and weaver, Jean Lurcat. In order to fully appreciate and understand the works and teachings of Lurcat, one must view them in the context of the history of true tapestry – particularly in regards to the decline of its existence during the rise of the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a period in which tapestry was somewhat re-invented, whereby traditional techniques were misplaced through the process of likening tapestry to paintings. Lurcat is largely responsible for tapestry’s revival when he redefined the importance of designing tapestry in a way that embraced the integrity of authentic tapestry from the middle ages; this would inspire artists like Picasso to acquire the skills to properly design tapestry cartoons.
It was in the beginning of the 14th century that tapestry was first recorded as being practiced. By this time the technique had been mastered – offering no reference as to when it was first put into practice. What we do know is that during the rise of the Renaissance in the early 16th century, the art of tapestry was alienated by a demand for the medium to emulate easel paintings. This led to traditional color blending techniques, like hasseur and hatching, to fall to the wayside, forcing tapestry to experience an identity crisis of sorts. Techniques like shape-building dominated this new presence, creating an aesthetic dissimilar to that of traditional tapestry in that it achieved shading and implied dimension by building shapes – as opposed to blending shapes and color with the aforementioned techniques. In essence this created a new art form, a derivative of tapestry.
This post is part one of a three-part essay. Come back next week for part two where we delve a bit deeper into the history of tapestry and learn how Jean Lurcat comes to feel so passionate about reviving it’s authenticity.
Also, when this series is done I will offer it as one downloadable essay with citations and footnotes!
Janna Maria Vallee
Being the super indecisive person that I am, and I blame my Zodiac sign of Libra for that, I need help and I am reaching out to all of you 🙂
I can’t give you all the details, but I have a (what I believe to be) fantastic project for this awesome Mirrix Experience. It is going to be a bit of a large project, but when you see what I am doing, you will totally understand. I am SO excited to get this started I can’t even tell you! I may not get to it until June. I have a lot of other things on my plate and will be doing smaller Mirrix projects in the meantime. So, until I can order all the beads I am going to need for this, you have time to vote (2-4 weeks).
Below are three options I have laid out. Please vote for your favorite one. Do not take into consideration that I will have to purchase more colors for one or the other, I don’t care about that. You can click on the images to enlarge them for a better looksie. Please vote by leaving a comment on this blog entry.
I decided to start my Mirrix work with a ‘pendant’ design. As I have been working it up, it has turned into an amulet in my mind. I wanted to do something different and have no idea how I came up with ‘Ex Libris’ as a potential design. I grew up surrounded by books and remember these gorgeous book plates in so many books. Their designs are very intricate. Wikipedia‘s definition of ‘Ex Libris’:
Ex Libris is a Latin phrase, meaning literally, “from the books”. It is often used to indicate ownership of a book, as in “from the books of…” or from the library of…
Ex Libris may also refer to: A bookplate, which is also sometimes known as an ex libris
Bookplates typically bear a name, motto, device, coat-of-arms, crest, badge, or any motif that relates to the owner of the book, or is requested by him from the artist or designer. The name of the owner usually follows an inscription such as “from the books of…” or “from the library of…”, or in Latin, ex libris…. Bookplates are important evidence for the provenance of books.
I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit something super intricate on a 3″ x 4″ grid. So after thinking hard, I came up with an idea. I only have 20 rows of 58 done right now. I did a basic checkerboard edge and it has a crow/raven on it, my Native Zodiac Totem. You can see the graph partially behind what work I have done so far. Yes, I took the word chart backwards, so it is getting worked up backwards 🙂 I did it in soft colors to keep some authenticity. If I have enough room underneath this piece on the loom, I am going to do up a second piece. I hate to waste too much thread. then I will take them both off at the same time. See you soon with more work and more photos!
I was suddenly struck by the thought of weaving beads that aren’t round and have more than on hole. I waited patiently for my stash of Czech Beads to arrive. I wanted to discover whether or not I could successfully use oddly shaped beads and/or two hole beads on the loom. My theory is you can weave pieces on a loom that look pieces that are done off loom. Additionally, I have been experimenting with embellishing weavings that are still on the loom. I find all this is kinder to my hands since the loom holds the tension, not my hands.
Here are some of the results (I will show you the stash later!)
This one was woven from Chzech-mate flat two hole squares and duos (used for embellishing the sides). The warp is hand-painted silk. The finishing beads are porcelain and the button is a pewter leaf shape with a silk-covered O-ring for closure.
This one is way more complicated. I used every two hole Czech bead I bought including these amazing daggers, the squares, and rectangles, the duos, triangle beads and disc beads. I also threw in a few size 8/0 beads . The warp is hand-painted silk and the finishing beads are porcelain.
The final piece is very simple: Mainly Czech duos with some two hole rectangles. It wraps four times or can be worn as a necklace.
Now for some pictures of these great beads. I’ll just show you a few although a great mix of these beads will be shortly available in the Mirrix Store.
Now I will show you some in progress shots of the above three bracelets. Let’s start with the square bead bracelet. Each of those beads has two holes. Pass your threaded needle through the bottom holes of each bead. Place behind and in between the warp threads. Sew through the holes in the front of the warp. Then push the beads back slight so you can sew through the top holes in the back of the warp. Lastly, sew through those holes in the front of the warp. Continue attaching square beads until your piece is as long as you want.
I love the finishes off these beads. Just so rich and varied.
Use the Czech duos to embellish the sides of this bracelet:
Embellish both sides while still on the loom. I really love the finished piece. So simple to do yet so elegant.
The next piece was an experiment in being just a tad wild. I intended (and did) to use every new Czech bead in my stash including those amazing daggers with the exclusion of the square beads since they are too big to mix easily with the others. I seem to have neglected to take photos in process. But this piece will be the subject of our next ebook so stay tuned! The piece is three beads across. Sometimes I stagger the rectangular beads and I always stagger the Duos because they fit together that way. The daggers were just so much fun to add. The triangles and discs added a nice touch as well.
The third piece is two bead wide and uses only the Czech duos and the rectangles. It was fun and mindless to weave.
My last experiment was using soft flex. The whole process was quite successful until I tried to finish it. I made a bunch of mistakes so you don’t get to see the final product. Next on my list is to weave another piece using the no warps to weave in kit and bronze colored soft flex wire. I will be more careful with my finishing. I had tried to put on end caps and broke a some beads. I can do better than that! It would have been really nice and the soft flex was wonderful to work with.
You can see how happy I am to receive my loom. I am pictured here with the unopened box, inside my bead shop, the Poppyfield Bead Company, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That evening I took it home, and got it set up. I had a little trouble initially, but with the excellent customer service from Elena, at Mirrix, it was smooth going and I was weaving that same evening. I watched the Mirrix video on youtube for how to warp the loom for bead weaving. It was super simple, even for someone like me, absolutely clueless about looms. Well, I should say…I WAS clueless. While I am still a brand NEWBIE, I am definitely making progress, bead by bead, weft by weft.
I didn’t have any D thread available at my home, and I love S-Lon macrame cord, so I decided to warp with that. I realized it would show, but I have ideas about incorporating the warp thread into the design. So I gave it a try. I chose a gorgeous mix of size 11 Delica cylinder beads: A matte metallic iris and a silver lined turquoise. They looked lovely in their little piles on the bead mat, and even mixed together. I started with just random weaving, and then developed a pattern. I was a little surprised with the outcome. As you can see from the photo, the pattern is barely discernible and the beads don’t mix well. Not at all what I’d call “nice” or even “successful”. So, I just loosened the tension using the wing nuts and rotated the warp threads, re-tightened and started weaving on the same warp with different beads.
My second try was a lot better. The same pattern shows up well, and I like the natural colored warp cords showing through. I didn’t plan the length well, though. And so it is just a little sampler right now. My next plan is to weave an entire bracelet with those beads and try my hand at one of the finishing techniques.
Stay tuned, and follow along with my on my Mirrix Loom Journey.
– Julia L. Hecht
Last week I was quick to warp up and put the heddles on, but then I couldn’t decide what to weave! I know it sounds crazy to warp up without knowing what I’d weave, but I really wanted to see what this beautiful new textile tool was all about (btw, with the Mirrix tutorials warping up and heddling was a breeze). Also, I only had so much linen warp in my stash, so I thought I’d start by seeing how wide a piece I could make with it. I also knew that I’d be doubling up on fingering weight yarn so I chose to use the 12 dent spring. In hindsight I think could have gone with 10 dent, but so far so good. I thought of weaving a few bracelets as sample starter projects, and even began weaving, but it wasn’t giving me that weaving adrenaline that I so love, so I put it on hold and thought about it for a few days. I also went into my sample books and boxes for inspiration and found these old sample sculptures.
That’s when the lightbulb went off and I decided to weave something with the intention of adding a 3D sculptural aspect to it once it’s off the loom. Now my mind is racing with ideas for future projects too, so I know I’m on the right track. For inspiration I started this tapestry board on Pintrest, and I figured I may as well go full bore with this and dedicate 2014 to this awesome Mirrix adventure I’m on, so I called it Year of Taps (the nickname my art school colleagues and I gave tapestry).
I’m approaching this first weaving like a sample of sorts. I want to get some practice with shape building and hatching, so I created a simple geometrical design and I’ll just blend colors in various ways inside each shape. I know, it turned out looking somewhat figurative, although I’m not set on the orientation of the finished piece, so for all I know I’m weaving it upside down, haha.
Janna Maria Vallee
I just received some softflex wire samples to play with. I have been meaning to jump into this activity for a long time but was recently inspired by the rest of the “toys” for which I am waiting. I ordered a bunch of Czech beads: duos, cute little flat squares with two holes, beads half that size with two holes, weird triangles . . . all with finishes to die for. Or at least they looked that way on my monitor.
Oh . . . a blog without pictures. Sorry. The beads are on a FedEx truck somewhere and although the wire has arrived I think I will wait until the whole pile of fun stuff is here for me to explore.
My ideas: Using the softflex wire with the no warps to weave in kit and then mixing the Czech beads with seed beads what kind of wonderful loomed piece can I create? The idea is to explore the realm of off-loom looks with on-loom technique. This is different from making a piece on the loom and then embellishing it off the loom (which is another thing I love and HINT HINT there will be blogs about that, not from me, in the future). I want to bend the on-loom rules and get those beads going in a some fascinating and new directions. I might even consider stringing some beads on the warp. I am thinking that the wire will lend itself to be molded a bit and that I will be able to break out of the straight lines that is the tropism of loomed work. In other words, the default is a grid and I am wondering how much we can break out of that grid working with a loom.
I also want to play with hand-painted silk and the new beads and maybe with the softflex wire as well. The theme is to let the warp show. And the goal is to create a piece that is beautiful and solid. Or a bunch of pieces.
I’ll be back when that package arrives.