I finished my Homage to Victor Vasarely Bracelet. I am writing up the instructions for a tutorial that I will make available. But alas, there’s more to do….I am on my next experiment with this pattern, using white warp threads instead of black, and a spring time color way. I am also ordering a new product for the clasp – by Miyuki, the Japanese seed bead (and Delica) manufacturer. It fits over a row of 11/0 round beads that are added to the end for just this purpose.
We, who indulge our creativity, know that we are “never-done”. One thing leads to another, and we just can’t stop making stuff. We might be “finished for now”. But that’s about the best there is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s to letting our creative juices FLOW!
Peace, Beads, Warps and Wefts,
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company
Greetings Weaving Friends! How many times have we been asked “How long did it take you to make that?” I think I will start answering with “Which version?” It has been 3 weeks and I am still working with my Homage to Victor pattern. Each version improves upon the last. I’ve changed out my warp threads and turned to matte black beads for the outlines. I went with more primary and contrasting colors, and relied less on subtle differences in finish to create the necessary contrast. I am developing an edging using the off loom beading techniques of brick and square stitch. Even as I work this one, I am planning the next version, with white warps. And still, I wonder how it might look with a warp space for every bead..so there might be another do-over after that. Meanwhile…I am thrilled with the pattern and the shifting optical illusion. Stay tuned…I hope it ends up a “finished” version at some point.
Julia L. Hecht
Owner / Designer
Poppyfield Bead Company
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!!!
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 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,
The weaving is complete! Now “thread management” begins. Clearly there’s a lot to do. It is been a busy week for me with my store and with my kids. So, once again, my artistic life has been “squeezed” in when time allows. On a personal note, lately I’ve felt that there is never enough time, for ANYTHING. It is like a mantra I hear myself saying throughout the day, everyday. I realize it has become a theme that now characterizes my life. I’ve decided I am done with that. I believe wholeheartedly in change. Yet, I do resist and procrastinate. Nonetheless I can see that I am just fed up with what I’ve been feeling. I am ready! I believe that I can improve the quality of my life and lessen the sense of “lack of time” by getting myself more organized and being more efficient with my energy and how I live day to day. Towards this end, I’ve spent the entire day cleaning out my closet and drawers. It is a start for living with less chaos and more peace. Like these dangling threads that require attention, I still have a lot of organizing ahead of me. However, I am optimistic that one day at a time, I am going to make the changes I need.
Wishing you all the happiness in readiness that comes just when you feel FED UP!
Julia L. Hecht
Poppyfield Bead Company