Vacation Happens…even to workaholic business owners and artists! It is a good thing I have children. They force me to tear myself away from work and art and keep me grounded in the other IMPORTANT stuff of life. In the crazy rush of getting ourselves prepared for departure, I neglected to take the loom, the beads, or any other crafty items. I do, of course, have my laptop and even a wifi hot spot, which I purchased for just this purpose of blogging from the beach.
It has been a fabulous interruption.
In this week’s post, I honor my newfound inspiration…Erin Simonetti. She is a loom bead weaver extraordinaire. She stretches the limits, both with her designs, use of color, and her ability to transform a 2-D medium into surprising wearable sculptures. She is a master of embellishment…. Shown above is a sample of her older work… Go to her blog to see what she is doing with the latest bead offerings, such as cup chain and spike beads. When I get home, I am going to embellish my deco diamonds bracelet and see what I come up with.
Til then….Happy Weaving and don’t forget the IMPORTANT stuff of life.
Peace and Beads,
You know it’s out there… your next craft addiction. It might just be weaving beads on a loom. Why? Well, first of all, it’s fun. And second, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Third? It’s a lot easier than you think!
From simple bracelets to large beaded tapestries, a loom brings you the ability to make many different types of exciting projects. On a Mirrix, you can even weave wire, fiber or combine materials. The versatility is what makes a Mirrix such a great craft investment. We believe that the best craft supplies make the best pieces, and the happiest artists. Once you invest in a Mirrix, it will give you a lifetime of weaving enjoyment.
We have a brand new ebook available to download that goes over all the basics of weaving beads.
- The basics of set-up, warping and weaving beads
- About different bead weaving methods
- All about Mirrix accessories
- And more!
Click below to download the free ebook !
Here’s a GIF of some screenshots of one of the row-by-row PDFs that you get with Beadcreator Pro. I feel totally spoiled that my first attempt at bead weaving will be with the accompaniment of these schematics.
I finally had a chance to try out Beadcreator Pro and was so glad to find that even without having watched any of the demo videos I was able to create these bracelet designs. I made a bunch of versions of the same bracelet in different colors and these are my favorites. I must have spent thirty minutes having fun with the program just swapping colors. I’ve also tried to learn from Julia’s first experiences with bead weaving, and experimented with either placing contrasting values of color beside each other to make the circle design pop, or the opposite to create a more tonal or random feel.
While working on my last piece (see my previous post), I became excited about how to combine silver lined 15/0 seed beads in a loom piece. I knew if I put different silver lined colors right up against each other they would reflect off each other and compete. I found a way to do this and be easy on the eye by separating each block of color with a black and white border. The matte black beads absorb the reflections, while the white opaque has just enough shine to stand up to the brilliance of the silver lined beads. The border design was inspired by the black and white mosaic floors and splashes in the pre-war apartment buildings in New York City…my hometown. I used SoNo 330dtex thread from Japan as my warp and weft threads. I have a little bit of vertical rippling in my piece, which still may be a tension issue…even though I did let my piece rest overnight after removing it from the loom. Perhaps the SoNo is just too stretchy? I will have to experiment some more..
Meanwhile, I plan to embellish this piece with some off-loom beading techniques. So, we’ll see what comes up for me as I go.
Til next time….
Julia L. Hecht
Here is the piece off the loom finally. My first Mirrix-made tapestry! My plan is to add some shag-like protrusions from the area where you can see the warps threads, as well as maybe a gold veil over the multicolored semi-circle. As mentioned in my last post I used two strands of fingering weight merino for most of it, which made for a very thin piece. I didn’t know tapestry could feel so thin. Also, I’m not sure that merino is a great medium for tapestry since it pills easily, although maybe that is a good pairing for tapestry that is not worn. If anyone wants to weigh in I’d love to hear more about the kinds of wool that work well for tapestry and why.
For the multicolored area I used Madelinetosh Tosh DK in the Mansfield Garden Party colorway. I think that is the thickest yarn that I would use for the 12 DPI setup. I began by weaving it straight across but wasn’t fond of the stripes, so I switched to shape building. With each color that arose I built a blob. Below is an old photo of that yarn that I took when I first bought it. I decided to include it here because it is doubly relevant since it also shows the makeshift tapestry loom that I was using before I got my Mirrix. I made it out of an old chair! (when a girl has to weave…). I feel so spoiled now with my Mirrix. It really is the sexiest textile tool I own.
and here’s me with my Mirrix…
As a “recovering perfectionist” I strive to accept the misalignment of much of my life. I see what isn’t “how it should be” and it bugs me. Of course, this discernment makes it possible to create beautiful, technically advanced, high quality beadwork. But, outside the beading sphere, it threatens my serenity. I am making huge strides towards enjoying the imperfection and mess that makes up most of life. I pray “May I be happy just as I am, May I accept whatever comes…” and such words do offer me peace. On Saturday, I spent the entire day doing yard work in preparation for a Mother’s Day gathering at my home. On Sunday, the winds blew strong, and threatened to undo the order I created, and the party I had planned. It was a perfect opportunity to “Accept whatever comes…”. I love to use my art to bolster and celebrate my own healing and validate my struggles. This pattern is a modification of a square “tile design” I purchased on the internet at beadiefriends.com. What speaks to me is the load of colors and how they come at each other in beautiful misalignment – not quite right. I separated the “units” with geometric “order” in black and white, both to contrast the beautiful chaos, and to pull it all together. I do believe in a mysterious “order” that I may never fully perceive or understand. But I am learning to live (and thrive) in the colorful mess that makes this life truly worthwhile.
Julia L. Hecht
Ssshh… don’t tell her, but we’re planning a big surprise for Mirrix’s 18th birthday coming up this July. We hope you’ll help us make 18 the best year yet! We’ll be having an 18th birthday party at Convergence (in the Providence area and love weaving?… you should go!) and will be celebrating all July long online! To get ready, we want to surprise Mirrix with a big birthday card signed by all her fans (which will be displayed at Convergence). Help out by writing a message to Mirrix wishing her a very happy birthday.* Here’s to many more! Here are a few prompts for messages we know Mirrix would love to hear:
Why do you prefer a Mirrix to other bead or tapestry looms?
Which is your favorite Mirrix Loom and why?
Why do you consider yourself a Mirrix fan?
What is one wish you have for Mirrix for the next 18 years?
*Note this will be publicly shared and may be used in promotional material and online
A few pictures from when Mirrix was just a kid:
Our “Your Work” Gallery is an amazing place to see all kinds of work done on Mirrix Looms. From beginner pieces to work done by professionals, there’s a wide range of beautiful work on display. Check out the gallery here.
That said, the gallery tends to have a few more advanced pieces than beginner ones.
After talking with a customer yesterday (thanks for the inspiration, Alison!) I realized that it would be really nice to have a place for people to share their first projects made on their Mirrix Looms. It would be fun for people considering a Mirrix to see what kind of projects others were making as they start out and would be also be a great place to simply share and inspire.
We will launch our new gallery soon, and need your help to fill it with first projects! Email a picture of your project to [email protected] with the title and your name as you want it posted.
Sam and I next to the The Unicorn in Captivity tapestry
I recently made my first trip to the Cloisters branch of the MET to see the famous unicorn tapestries, a series of seven tapestries depicting the hunt and capture of a unicorn. They did not disappoint. I was especially enamored by the way light and shadow are so magnificently achieved by the use of hatching in everything from the flora to the textiles that the humans wore. My favorite aspect though, and I have to admit I was obsessing over this detail, was that same technique used on the tights of the hunters. Something about the graphic high contrast of beige and red, and the oval knee caps really appeals to me. I tried to take good photos but the lighting in there is not great for no-flash photography (obviously for good reason).
According to Adolfo Salvadore Cavallo, author of The Unicorn Tapestries (1998), it’s this depiction of light and shadow that sets this series of tapestries apart from others from the late 15th – early 16th century. Apparently, the way that light appears to reflect off the edges of the velvet coats of the hunters is especially intriguing since it achieves a kind of “magic realism” usually only seen in paintings (Cavallo, 89).
Sam and I at the Cloisters’ gardens.
I also learned that the unicorn tapestries contain silver thread, how extravagant! So, last week when I received this gold thread in the mail from Mirrix I had to include it my current tapestry. Did you know that ancient tapestries were destroyed (burned) in order to retrieve the gold and silver within them? (source)
After several redesigns from my last post, the remake I came up with, I was finally happy with. Thursday morning of this past week, I found a moment to warp the loom. I was very precise and accurate this time, as I didn’t have time constraints. I decided to do this split loom in round Miyuki beads, instead of Delica beads. I have done 2 split loom pieces before and one was Czech seed beads and the next one was Delicas, so I thought I would try Miyuki rounds this time, and quite glad I did! The loomed bead ‘fabric’ feels absolutely luscious in my hand. It is super soft and beautifully supple.
This is a work in progress photo from a few days ago.
Initially, I wanted this to be a full around the neck wrap (no closure, just put over your head), mounted on lambskin. Since I have finished the work and an hour or so ago took it off the loom, I have decided I would put a closure on it, still mount it on leather, except I found amazingly gorgeous and even more supple goatskin in my leather stash. So goatskin will back this piece and it won’t be as ‘stiff’ as lambskin would have been. The lambskin I have is soft and supple, but not as much as the goatskin. By putting a backing on this, this will also allow fringe, if I should chose to, and I think this will also make it more sturdy for longer durability, less fragility to the owner.
I have woven in a bulk of the threads. The threads I have left to weave in are going to be stitched directly through the leather and tied off on the back side. When all of that is done, I will add a second leather back and put them together as I would a bead embroidery. I bought 2 gorgeous buttons for the closure today. Not sure if I will use one or both yet. Below is what it looks like right now.
It is a nice length. I didn’t use pure white, the white is a gold-lined white opal in color with opaque black as the contrast. I am going to try to finish it this week, but for now I have to put it down for a few days.