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A creative exercise

Posted on by Janna Maria Vallee / Posted in Bead/Fiber Combination, Inspiration, Social Market for a Mirrix 2014, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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made with Mirrix’s hand-dyed silk, sari silk, and crystals.

So, it’s not the ugliest or the prettiest object, but nice aesthetics were not the driving force behind my making this bracelet.  Let me explain…

Today while Sam had his morning nap I wanted to try something new: make something ugly (in 90 minutes).  As haughty as this may sound, it is surprisingly hard to intentionally make an unattractive object, especially when using Mirrix’s silk and crystals for goodness sake. How ugly could it end up, right?!  I’ve just been feeling uninspired lately, so I really needed to make something new and different to get out of my creative slump. When I told my friend, Ana Isabel, about this she told me that one of her colleagues suggests temporarily trying another medium.  Apparently, she tried working with ceramics and it helped her get her creative juices flowing in general.  So, the theory is that once those juices are flowing you can apply them anywhere?  Sure, makes sense to me.  I think I had a similar idea with going with Kim Werker’s suggestion to make something ugly (or an ugly something) which I think basically suggests that if you feel you have freedom to make things that are not beautiful you can potentially unlock creativity that is being held captive by routine and predictability.  What do you think?

As a side note I thought I should share that in the end I kind of love this piece. So, when my husband arrived home I handed him the bracelet while saying, “look, I was trying to make something ugly, but….”.  He just matter-of-factly stated, “um, well it is ugly”.  I guess ugly is in the eye of the beholder, too.  LOL.

I plan on finishing the ends by braiding a nine-strand braid on both sides.  Stay tuned on my Instagram to see the finished bracelet.

Janna Maria Vallee

Trial & Error

Posted on by Christina Neit / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every once in a while an idea doesn’t pan out. I have been thinking hard about what to do with the split loom piece I made and wanted to try something different. I think I may have messed up the piece when I took it off the loom and take it on vacation with me before I finished it. This is very sad to me after all the work. Now I will not be able to see if my idea works out, at least not any time soon. After much handling and being toted about gently here and there while on our Oklahoma trip, the piece decided to bunch together a bit in places and crowd itself. When I took it off the loom, it was beautiful, flat and not bunched anywhere. I tried to fix that, but it has not worked out very well.

A definite design flaw is that I didn’t make it long enough, although it is pretty long. When you go to put it around your neck, the area at the top of the pendant buckles. If I had made it longer that wouldn’t have happened, or if I had made a wider opening. Usually I am pretty good about fixing something, but not this time.

I saw someone post a Facebook entry about designers making mistakes and wishing they would share them occasionally. Well, here it is ;) I do make mistakes and like many humans, I hate to own them. I think I am going to have to tear this apart and redo the entire piece. Not now though because right now, I am too discouraged to look at it LOL So tomorrow, I shall warp the loom for something else in the meantime.

Anyone else willing to share their mistakes?? What did you mess up? Was it a design flaw or the work itself? Were you able to fix it without doing a complete start over? If so, how did you fix it?

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward

My first woven beads on a Mirrix

Posted on by Janna Maria Vallee / Posted in Bead Weaving, Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Leave a comment

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Okay be honest, people.  How many of you laughed out loud when I showed you what I had planned for my first bead weaving adventure?  Let me tell you, there was a major learning curve for me after I warped up.  Probably because I was a bit over-confident, since I’ve used the loom for tapestry.  And, because I know I won’t be interested in working with larger beads, I started with 11/0 seed beads and learned that my eyesight is not what it used to be.  So, to make it a bit easier I decided to make up the pattern as I went (instead of following the charts).  For the first hour I felt like I was all thumbs; dropping beads, unable to place them between the warp threads, and so on.  I have to admit after wrestling with the first row for a while I really wondered if bead weaving was just not for me.  But, after some persistence, and after gaining a little finesse, I got into the zone.  The clincher was when I set up the second row, and it was the action, and that feeling of squishing the second row against the first that converted me.  You bead weavers know what I’m talking about.

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In the future I think I’ll be much happier weaving with Delica beads (these are China-made from Beads World).  I can see how their uniformity would make all the difference in the finished piece.  Some other things I learned are, 1) a warp sett that is well matched to your bead size makes all the difference.  You can work much faster and with more ease if the spaces between your warp threads match your beads exactly 2) when working with fine bead work I might use the Texsolv heddles, since my hand-made ones were a bit too bulky.  I ended up having to compress them each time I changed sheds.

Stay tuned on my Instagram for the finished piece with hardware and such attached.

Janna Maria Vallee

Convergence 2014

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Events, Tapestry Weaving | Tagged | 1 Comment
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Claudia and Elena, who will both be at Convergence!

If you haven’t heard yet, Mirrix will be at Convergence 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island on July 14th to 19th.  You will get to meet Elena and Claudia (and Ms. Joni Parker from NOA Gallery, a gallery owner/teacher/Mirrix dealer in Groton, MA) and a dear friend will also show up for some of that time.

If this is your first time hearing about Convergence, let me fill you on some details.  First of all, it is sponsored by the Hand Weaver’s Guild of America:  http://www.weavespindye.org.  Every two years, a different member of the Guild sponsors the Convergence event.  This is the first time in 25 years that Convergence  has been held on the East Coast.  Elena is flying in to New Hampshire from Seattle and we are loading up the the Jetta with a bunch of wonderful stuff and heading down to Rhode Island for the conference.  We are happy that we can move all that stuff by car because flying it in is quite a pain (we’ve done that for bead shows although we have never before had a booth at Convergence).

Mirrix really got its start at Convergence even though I was not there to see it happen.  It was summer of 1996.  My family and I were moving from Wisconsin (where I had just started Mirrix) to New Hampshire.  Convergence was going to be in Portland, Oregon . . . July 17-21, just when we would be crossing the country to settle into our new digs.  But I wanted Mirrix to be there.  I found a list of vendors.  I bravely called up the folks at Earth Guild, who were on that list, and said:  we just invented this new tapestry loom and I would love to see it at Convergence.  Would you be willing to sell it there?

Of course they were somewhat reluctant so I said:  I will pay the shipping there and the shipping back for those you don’t sell.  You will take no risk.  They agreed.  We sent them 20 looms. I believe they were mostly 16 inch looms and maybe a couple of 32 inch looms.  We had a very limited size range at that point.  We also asked Kathy Spoering to demonstrate tapestry weaving at the event . . . we gave her a loom.  She’s a very impressive tapestry weaver!

I arrived in New Hampshire somewhere in the middle of the Convergence time table.  This is in the days before everyone owned a cell phone (although I think we maybe did, but I didn’t use it).  We got our telephone service and I plugged our phone in.  We already had an 800 number for Mirrix which we had connected to our new phone number.  The phone rang a few minutes later.  It was from someone attending Convergence who wanted to buy a loom.  I asked them why they did not just purchase one from Earth Guild?  I was told:  they are sold out.

We sold all twenty looms in three days.  I knew, I really knew, we were in business then!

This does not mean that Claudia is a stranger to Convergence.  I have demonstrated at many of our dealer’s booths over the years.  But my first experience at Convergence was in 1994 when I attended the event in Minneapolis, MN.  At the time I was living in Wisconsin and drove there with a bunch of weaving friends that I had met through a local weaving group.  I was amazed.  I did not know such beautiful equipment and such amazing weavings could exist.  The Tapestry exhibit was an all-day event for me. I just couldn’t leave.  I met American Tapestry Alliance members and got very involved with that organization: http://americantapestryalliance.org .  If you don’t know about them, you should.  From a very basic level, you can use their site to direct you to the best tapestry weavers in this world today.  What a gift the internet can be.  My involvement with the ATA involved writing a column for their newsletter called:  Tapestry Tools.  I wrote about looms and equipment.  I guess it’s not too strange that I ended up starting Mirrix.  The writing, so to speak, was on the wall.

Mirrix was started in 1996 so every subsequent Convergence encounter was not from the customer/student end but from the vendor/demonstrator end.  It was still exciting, but nothing compares to that very first Convergence.

My next experience at Convergence was in 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia.  I demonstrated at Jane’s Fiber and Beads’ booth and met Jane for the first time.  I don’t know which was more fun, Jane or Convergence, but I had a blast.

2004 brought my next excursion to the land of looms and wool in Denver, Colorado.  Again, I was there with Jane but also with the folks at Earth Guild.

And now, finally, I am returning to Convergence with Elena.  It’s Elena’s first time.  She is going to be wide eyed and amazed just as I was, but from an entirely different perspective.

Are you aware it is going to be Mirrix’s 18th birthday and we will be celebrating that BIG event at Convergence.  Please stop by for some goodies and to sign her birthday card.

And by the way, I wanted to tell you that we are introducing an amazing product at this Convergence.  I mean amazing.

And lastly, if you are going there, I hope you’ve signed up for Rebecca Metzoff’s tapestry class.  It’s going to be a class you will not want to miss!

 

 

 

 

Is Your Next Craft Addiction Weaving Fiber on a Loom? (Free Ebook)

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Bead/Fiber Combination, Tapestry Weaving | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

You know it’s out there… your next craft addiction. It might just be weaving fiber on a loom. weaving fiber on a loom

Whether is it tapestry weaving, Inkle weaving, Saori weaving or even adding fiber to your bead pieces, Mirrix Looms are the perfect looms for weaving fiber.

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 fiber on a Mirrix Loom!

You’ll learn:

  • The basics of set-up & warping
  • What types of fiber pieces you can make on a Mirrix
  • All about weaving tapestry & some basic tapestry techniques
  • About Mirrix’s great weaving accessories
  • And more!

Click below to download the free ebook !





Embroidered Split Loom Necklace

Posted on by Christina Neit / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Hi everyone! I am back from my trip to Oklahoma and ready to blog again. Thank you all for your patience while I took some time off.

I have been working on my split loom necklace as I showed on my last post. I wanted to adhere it to some super soft black goatskin leather and I am in midstream of doing that.

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I wanted to try something different and see how well it would work out. So far I am liking the results and I am finding benefits to this as well. By doing brick stitch on the edges through both layers of leather, I am capturing the side thread and it is nearly disappearing as I do that. I have also decided to do some surface work to this. Not sure exactly what yet, but I will have plenty of time to think about it as I go…this edging is going to take me a couple more days. The clasp I have pretty much decided on, but have several options to also think about. I am hoping to order the beads for my next project real soon. Can’t wait to get going on that :D I shall update you again in a few days.

SoftFlex Company” Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 June Share-Sponsor

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SoftFlexSoftFlex Company has long been one of our favorites in the art/craft industry. They make high quality beading wire that can be used for many things -including weaving on a  Mirrix Loom! We asked Sara from SoftFlex a few questions about the company and their products as part of their June share-sponsorship of Social Market for a Mirrix 2014!

Read on!

In a few sentences, tell us a little about Soft Flex as a company as well as about your products:

Soft Flex Company is a beading wire and craft wire manufacturer. We also distribute high-quality beads, findings and tools for making jewelry. Soft Flex Beading Wire is known worldwide for being both strong and flexible. It is the first stainless steel wire that can be knotted and comes in a huge array of colors.

Mike Sherman Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rculHbLK-JQ

 

How did Soft Flex get started and how has it developed?

Founding co-owner Mike Sherman discovered a need for a beading wire that was both flexible and strong. At that time, there were only 3 or 7 stranded beading wires available. Initially, co-owners Mike Sherman and Scott Clark created a 49 stranded version in a .024 diameter.

Mike Sherman Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFUTdfUF8rE

 

Why is Soft Flex wire superior to other beading wires on the market?

Soft Flex Beading Wire is superior for a few reasons. First, the materials used in the wire are important. The core of Soft Flex Beading Wire is a European grade stainless steel. We coat our wire with a soft and flexible nylon coating that does not fade or peel. Second, Soft Flex Beading Wire has been tested for a test strength both knotted and unknotted. In all tests, the knot will not work harden and break before any other part of the wire. This is key for understanding the true flexibility of the product. Third, this wire is hand-tested for quality. Every inch of wire is checked as it is spooled. By keeping a person involved in the process, we are able to detect even the smallest discrepancies in the nylon coating. In conclusion, we deeply care about creating quality products. SoftFlex wire

In fact, the quality assurance at HSN likes our product so much that they require designers to use our beading wire over all others. As of April 1, 2010, strung designs that use flexible beading wire created for HSN are strung on Soft Flex Beading Wire.  I think that this speaks volumes about our product in that after careful analysis, their quality assurance department saw the benefit of asking their vendors to exclusively use our beading wire over all others because they have less returns on product.

 

Tell us a little about your experience using Soft Flex on a Mirrix Loom:

Mirrix and SoftFlex

I have only scratched the surface with using Soft Flex Beading wire on a Mirrix Loom.  I recently had a bracelet design published in Beadwork Magazine (June/July issue) showing this fun and unusual technique. Our wire is so flexible that it can almost do everything that a thread can do.

You  can learn a little more about what Sara has done with SoftFlex on a Mirrix here:

Beading Daily Post

SoftFlex Girl Post

 

 

 

 

What campaigns or programs do you have going on right now?  Will you be at any upcoming shows or events?

We are busily preparing for the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, WI. It is the largest bead show under one roof.

bead and button 2014

Bead and Button Show
June 5 – 8, 2014
Wisconsin Center
400 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Hours:
Thursday 10:00am – 8:00pm (preview night)
Friday 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm

This year will be very special because we are sponsoring an exhibit from Beads of Courage.  10 glass beads were created based on drawings by 10 children in the Beads of Courage program. 10 jewelry designers chosen by Soft Flex Company were challenged to incorporate the beads into finished necklace designs that will be on display and for sale with the proceeds benefiting Beads of Courage at the Bead and Button Show in the lobby. The Beads of Courage Mission: We are growing every day, providing innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.

 

Learn more about SoftFlex here:

Website: www.SoftFlexCompany.com

E-News: www.softflexcompany.com/WSWrapper.jsp?mypage=CustomerService_EmailList.html

Blog: www.softflexgirl.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Soft-Flex-Company/12258770919

Twitter: www.twitter.com/SoftFlexCompany

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/softflexcompany/

 

We’re extending free shipping until July 31st, 2014!

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Deals | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thanks to your feedback, we’ve decided to extend our free shipping deal until the end of July… and maybe even forever!

free shipping

All orders over $200.00 will be  given FREE SHIPPING.

All orders under $200 will be given the option of flat-rate shipping at only $6.00.

This is only for orders within the United States.
All other shipping costs/options will remain the same.

Now is definitely the time to buy! 

*We are considering making this shipping policy permanent and would love your feedback. You can email us at customerservice@mirrixlooms.com to let us know what you think!

*Please let us know if you see any glitches or issues with the shipping system

*Note: During this experiment, our return policy has changed.

 

Vacation Happens by Julia L. Hecht – Social Market for a Mirrix 2014

Posted on by Julia Hecht / Posted in Social Market for a Mirrix 2014, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
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Embellished Loom work by Erin Simonetticloseuphumming2

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,

Julia

poppybeads.com

 

Is your next craft addiction weaving beads on a loom?

Posted on by mirrixlooms / Posted in Bead Weaving | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

weaving beads on a loom

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.

You’ll learn:

  • 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 !





 

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