Now that I have got a pattern that I like, I can employ a variety of beads and fibers to create all kinds of variations. Here I wanted to work with 2 colors of tile beads and no stud/ pyramids. With texture, placement and size relationships set, I can bring all my focus to the interplay of color. While a spool of hemp and strands of beads may look great together in my hand, this does not guarantee a pleasing look on the loom. Using the Big Sister loom, I was able to set up 2 contrasting samplers to work out the color for my Spring Blossom (pink and green) color way – seen in final form above.
GREETINGS WEAVING FRIENDS!!!
It has taken me three weeks to go from my last post – the start of this bracelet – to completing the project. The idea for this bracelet actually began during the summer with my free form experiment. You might remember the picture at right from my August 1st post. You can see how the free form evolved into the more structured Magical Mosaic Bracelet.
Each day for the last 3 weeks I have felt “close” to what I wanted to achieve. I don’t know where the solutions will be found, so I just trust my creative process to guide me. I’d like to share that process with you here.
In the free form experiment I liked certain elements that I wanted to develop: 1. A larger center line, 2. A mix of small and large beads, 3. Visible warp cords that add to the aesthetics and bolster the design, 4. Cuff-like.
Some aspects I found jarring and unpleasing: 1. There was a lack of unified structure, 2. The center which drew the eye was too bland, and 3. The proportions of the small 11/0 delicas and larger 6 mm tiles did not work in the current arrangement, and 4. The piece seemed unwieldy and “out of control” (somewhat related to #1, but not entirely.) And then there was the question of the clasp …which took on a struggle of its own later in the process.
Because of all that I liked, I stayed with the middle line tiles, but added another element – the 6 mm bead stud, for more interest. There is contrast both with shape and with the color / finish. I kept the tiny delica beads, and the tiles and then added other sized beads to bridge the gap between these extremes; there are also 8/0 delicas, more 3 mm fire polish, and bricks (which are “half tiles”). My experiment with Hemp cord (see Oct 16th post), was the perfect solution to the lack of structure. It appears to scaffold the beads visually, and it does so mechanically as well, giving the bracelet a secure feeling of easy wear despite the larger heavier beads.
Hemp warp cords (20lb weight), cannot be woven into the beads for finishing. Instead, I used macrame and braiding to work out a clasp. I knotted a beautiful Czech hand painted glass button to the short end (warp bar end) using square knots. To the left, in the blue bracelet, you can see my first attempt at a button loop. With 6 warp cords, 2 braids seemed a natural choice. But you can see in the pic at right that it leaves the bracelet asymmetrical. (Contrast the blue bracelet with the brown and teal)
Eventually, after playing around with failures, I decided to give a shot at a square knot button loop. And that allowed the symmetry you see in the the brown and teal bracelet.
Tah Dah! Relief! Joy!
I love the blue bracelet. I will be remaking that with the new and improved clasp. My next task is creating a tutorial, class, and kits for my Magical Mosaic Bracelet. Meanwhile, as you may have noticed, my sweet dog has been waiting for me to re-emerge from behind the loom.
‘Til next time…. Be Well and Weave On!
Julia L. Hecht
Greetings Beaders and Weavers!
Here is my first experiment “looming” with 2-holed tile beads and beads of different sizes. I am using 8/0 Delica beads, 11/0 delica beads, 3 mm Fire Polish, 3 mm Druks, and 11/0 round seed beads (rocailles). I warped with S-LON regular weight beading cord using the 2nd smallest spring that came with my Big Sister loom. The 8/0 Delicas are half the size of the tiles and so I warped 2 different sized spaces. One holds just one 8/0 Delica, and the rest are twice that width. By recognizing how the bead sizes relate, I could mix and match and find my way …. It is a free form design, meaning that there is no planned pattern. I am planning to master this technique and teach it this fall at my bead shop, Poppyfield Bead Company, in Albquerque,New Mexico.
Meanwhile… On a personal note…
In my last post I discussed being “fed up” and taking a step toward improving my life. Since then, I’ve been continuing to decrease the chaos in my life and all good things are happening. Since cleaning my closet, I’ve attacked the back room at my shop, as well as my bead studio. Tomorrow I will be visiting my storage unit to do some organizing there. I’ve even asked for help a couple of times, something that is very tough for me.
Let ‘s all do something good for ourselves today!
Peace and Beads,
I’ve been playing with my new pattern (First Step) and my Mirrix Loom. In this picture you can see the fruits of my labor…some more appealing than others. The finished bracelet that I posted last week took me just as long to sew up to the leather, as it did to do the actual weaving. I love wearing it, and I love the leather backing. But I wanted to experiment with quicker finishing. For the top bracelet I folded over leather tabs and glued them together with the warp threads sandwiched in between. When I place the eyelets it will secure the tabs further. The bottom bracelet uses ribbon crimps. I wove the weft threads without beads to create tabs that could be grabbed with the crimps. Nevertheless, I could hear the delica beads being crushed beneath the crimps. I’ve clearly got more to practice.
You can see that the beads bunched up on the crimped version. As I learn about tension, I have learned that the beads will sometimes bunch up if the piece is not allowed to “rest” after being cut from the loom. I had used S-Lon bead cord for my other work, and this was my first go with One G for the warp threads. It is clearly more “sensitive”. Here’s a closer view.
With the middle bracelet, you can see the woven portion without the beads. I am discovering how little I know when it comes to predicting how a loom-woven piece will look. I’ve been working with seed beads for over 10 years…but I am stunned to see that with weaving in only one plane, the outcome does not match my expectations. Some very pretty beads that I would use together for a more structural piece of beadwork, just don’t work together with the loom. I am learning to think about the beads differently and paying close attention to not only color but also finish. I guess I’ll just have to keep playing!
– Julia L. Hecht – Poppyfield Bead Company – poppybeads.com