Greetings Weaving Friends!
My friend posted a picture of her grandmother on Facebook. They are Diné (Navajo) and her grandmother is a master weaver. “Margaret Dalton, 91 years old born back in 1923, of Ft. Defiance, Arizona had completed this rug back in the 1950s in time for the opening of Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise in 1961. The rug pictured is actually folded over 4 times in order to hang properly on the wall. It is made of natural dye and woven in the form of a geometric design. The rug measures over 150 feet by 50 feet in width.” (see the source link above).
Greetings Weaving Friends!!!
Beads are an essential part of my personal healing. Over the Christmas holiday I created a weaving ritual to work through some trans-generational trauma. As a Jewish person who has never celebrated Christmas, the holiday can be overwhelming for me, and also alienating. In addition, my own family’s history in Europe was traumatic during this holiday, as waves of violence swept small Jewish villages during Christmas.
This year, I decided rather than just “get through it” I would create my own ritual to bring beauty and light to the dark negativity that visits me at this time. So I created a bead weaving on my loom from a textile pattern celebrating the Ukrainian Lemkos people who were neighbors to my mother’s family. Here is a picture of the original cross stitch pattern and the woven bracelet (in progress) that I derived from it.
While researching this pattern, I encountered so much beauty that it exposed another dimension of my people’s history and life. I know that although their clothing was of a more modest tradition, they incorporated the beauty of the Lemkos people into their own world through the embroidered aprons they themselves made and wore. I began to meditate on positive encounters between the two populations. As I, in the US, picked Japanese Delica beads onto my needle I smiled at the peace and trade and sharing of beauty between our modern nations, not so long ago at war. The same war destroyed my ancestors’ villages in Europe and took my family who remained there.
I let forgiveness rush in. I let go of the past.
As the beauty grew on my loom, I let the light grow in my heart.
May all peoples feel their connection and wholeness as strands in the gorgeous human tapestry. May we appreciate the other and share in each other’s beauty, forever and ever.
(More on the technical aspects of the bracelet in a future post)
Peace and Beads and Weaving,
Julia L. Hecht, Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
If you can tie your shoes, you can make this clasp!
Greetings Weaving Friends!!! As promised, I am posting the instructions for the macrame finishing of my Magical Mosaic Cuff. You can do this using a simple square knot. It really isn’t difficult. As I have mentioned before, experimenting with 20 lb hemp warp cords was fun and rewarding. Visible and bold warps are a colorful way to add another dimension to your bead weaving on the loom. The durability, lack of stretch, and array of colors makes hemp a very nice scaffold for heavy beads and the large button. (If you are looking for a source for hemp click here). Czech glass buttons are a stunning way to accent your bracelet – and functional as well. (Here’s a source for my buttons).
In pictures, here’s what you do to create the clasp….
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! I have had a difficult time with “re-entry” after my knee surgery. No matter what I did, I was very tired all the time. I tried resting, pushing myself, smiling a lot and pretending I was fine, letting myself feel everything and even crying too. I was the dreaded….”Unproductive”. It wouldn’t go away! I stopped in at my shop for an hour or two here and there and was simply overwhelmed. I wondered if I would ever feel “normal” again. Even as my knee improved…I got out of bed, then off crutches, then walking with a normal gait, then not in pain all the time…My life seemed to be more difficult to manage. But slowly, the real me has been re-emerging. My life seems to be coming back on track. I guess I am “over the hump”.
And guess what….I am back at the loom!
While I was on leave, we started carrying hemp cord at Poppyfield Bead Company (my bead shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico). I have never worked with it before and on one of my post-op visits to my shop it captured my attention. I like mixing opposing elements, and I wondered how the the natural organic texture could blend and contrast with elegant glass beads. In keeping with some skills I picked up during my last experiment (see post), I decided to warp with hemp cord and weave a combination of two-holed Czech beads, hexagonal delica seed beads, and fire polish beads.
Working with a variety of sizes of beads can be tricky. It took me several attempts to figure out how to keep the sections aligned. Two 3 mm fire polished beads should combine to take as much as space as a 6 mm bead. But there are other factors that come into play, and they don’t. So being flexible and willing to “undo” and make adjustments is key getting the “mosaic” look I wanted.
Finishing this will be the next challenge. Stay tuned!
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,
Greetings Weaving Friends! My foray into increases and decreases continues to advance. I have one strap complete (see photo to the left). In addition, I have successfully added the missing piece of the work to the right side of the body, and it does appear symmetrical. As it should. That part was woven down, while the rest of the body is woven up. It is has been fun to see how to add complexity by increasing and decreasing, with just a little bit of technical “know-how”. I purchased this pattern as part of a class. Although, according to the pattern, the assembly includes adding round beads, I’ve decided to stay “cubist” and I plan to add cube beads.
I’ve got a lot of work left on it before that happens. But, I am already fantasizing about how I will decorate and assemble the pieces. As you can see, I did warp with a cream colored thread, and I am happier with the results, compared with the black I used in my sampler. Learning to “lock” my warp threads after removing from the loom was a crucial step in my mastery of the process. Locking keeps the work stable. I had to weave in many of the threads and that is quite time consuming. I cannot imagine locking and weaving in the 60 threads x2 (top and bottom) that I will do, when I remove the body from the loom.
Using Silamide A thread
gave me a lot of room to weave in. It is a 2 ply nylon that has minimal to zero stretch. It is also very thin, so the beadwork did not become distorted by all the buried threads. The threads that remain will be used to connect the strap to the body and to a clasp. And now… back to weaving…and then locking…and then burying…and then assembling……….Yippeee!
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company
I’ve noticed that while I used to be focused on instant results, I am becoming more patient with process. Hence, my title ” bit by bit.” I am full of wonder as I embrace my Beginner’s Experience in this mode of beading. I am surprised to find myself making space for the time it takes for trial and error. I absorb my new knowledge and integrate it into my intuitive self. At the same time, I am seeking out “technical support” from a local expert.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am getting ready for a class in beaded loom work. It is NOT a beginner class, but rather focuses on increases and decreases. The necklace I will be making uses 7 colors, and I have chosen my own palette, rather than the instructor’s. I am using 11/0 Miyuki Delica beads. I find that a mix of finishes gives a better outcome, helping some colors pop against others. I am using a metallic bronze, alabaster cream, matte metallic pink, opaque yellow, transparent rainbow coated navy, and matte opaque light blue and chartreuse. I am pretty happy with the results and I think I will go forward with these colors for my class on Sunday.
I warped with 135 weight black C-Lon that Claudia and Elena sent me. I like the weight and I’ve ordered a slew of other colors for my shop – though my supplier provides S-Lon cord, which is meant to be a comparable product. I will be able to do a true comparison and see if these threads do differ. Stay tuned for those results.
I think a white or cream warp might work better for my background. However when some of the beads are dark, I tend to use dark thread. So, I am ready for another experiment with warp colors.
Where I am headed, I don’t know. But I know I will get there, bit by bit.
Julia L. Hecht, Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
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,
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