Distance grown from past pleasures

At the risk of being wiped out from lack of sleep, tomorrow, I’m going to give in a little to the urge to write. The most significant theme I have right now is that much of I was once enthusiastic about, I’ve grown distant from — because I haven’t had time to devote to actually doing what I wanted.

Along with this comes the recognition that what I know isn’t necessarily correct, just because I know it (or thought I knew it). This applies to my cultural studies, particularly with Buddhism…that is, just because my ancestors and heritage have something to do with it and it’s part of the fabric of my existence, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct or true, or not-problematic, or better than anyone else’s heritage.

These are two different topics that I may be able to intertwine, though maybe I shouldn’t. Actually, the latter could be its own post, so maybe I’ll actually save it for a different one, and link to it from here, after I’ve actually written it.

Time division

Looking in my archives, I’ve realized that I’ve grown a bit distant from a lot of things I used to like. These include:

  • Reading
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Writing creatively
  • Learning Japanese language

Now that I’m planning to factor in time for myself (aside from University requirements), how to spend that time is coming to the fore. The major focus (or distraction) I’m having now is that some of these things require more or less daily commitment in order to progress and avoid losing skills. Japanese language is pretty much like this. Drawing is like this, too. It’s a reason I stopped playing guitar. And, of course, reading even a single work, requires a set time commitment.

There are also some just basic things that I need to do or maintain, like:

  • Hygiene
  • Driving
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping

And then there are more urgent things, like:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Preparing my portfolio

When I put it like that, it’s easy to see how the first group of items got left behind. They just aren’t that urgent.

Fear of flying: Overthinking design

Right now I’m coming off of a few days of intensely dealing with beadwork and jewelry design. While I could plow forward and keep at it…the phrase that came to mind is, “I wonder if I’m missing something.” I mean, I could definitely keep moving forward on this, but I know my hands will be sore. Maybe that could be a self-limiting thing; like, I can work on micromacramé until my hands get sore, and then I’ll stop and do something else?

That could work, actually!

My major concern is that I tend to over-intellectualize things, when I need to be diving in and learning by experience. Of course, that’s hard when you’re afraid to mess up or fail…when messing up and failing is how you learn.

So there’s tension here between my intellect and its perfectionism, and the part of me that is generative and messy and creative, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are actually different brain regions in conflict.

I really should have taken a picture of the craft table before I cleaned it up. It was…awful.

But something grew out of all that messiness, and I’m wearing it, now. And I actually now have a storage solution for all my wires and cutters and pliers, that actually works (I used the big toolbox I got the other day that turned out to be gigantic). So now I have another free flat storage area…

Maybe I just need to get more comfortable with uncertainty. I mean, you can’t fly if you’re afraid to jump.

And no, I don’t know where that last sentence came from…it just came. I guess that counts as a, “jump.”

But I’m not going to learn macramé if I’m afraid of, “wasting,” cord on learning. My necklaces aren’t going to make themselves, but to make them, I have to be willing to be wrong a few times (maybe, several). And I have to be willing to experiment if I want to ever make truly great and original art.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t have unpopular cord to play with. For supporting frames, it’s not like I don’t have heavy (and cheap) wire and tools to form it, with which to experiment.

I just have to let myself experiment. Like give permission, to.

After all, those spools of cord are meant to be used, not meant to be hoarded. Hoarding them doesn’t make me an artist; it makes me a collector. Using them (to learn or to make) is something different.

Fear of drowning: Tension in drawing

Drawing is one of those things — another one, anyway — that I get scared to jump into, because I keep forgetting that I know how to swim. But I’ve been looking back over my work for the Art program, and …I have had this “thing” about not wanting to be tight in my drawings.

My drawings — a lot of them, anyway — aren’t tight. Most of them aren’t what I would consider, “overworked.” And yet there is this fear of making tight and overworked drawings, likely because I’ve seen them and I’ve done them and I know they suck the pleasure out of the work. But, maybe I don’t have to fear that.

A couple of my drawing instructors would really, “admonish,” people to consistently try and work, “looser.” But I look at a bunch of my figure studies, and they’re fine. Maybe it’s because with a lot of them, I only had a 5-minute pose to work from, but a lot of it is notation of key elements.

If nothing else, I can take that away from my Figure Drawing training.

And I’m finding less hesitation about working with the human figure, now: at least, my own.

I’m thinking of taking in my Monolith graphite sticks to work tomorrow so that I can practice just drawing from life, in monochrome. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

And I still want to make a design for a linoleum block print using the flower image I mentioned a while ago. Maybe I should just use that as a jumping-off point, though, instead of trying to copy it. After all, I’m not sure there’s any more virtue in copying it than in imagining it; it might just be easier in the initial stages, when I don’t understand the forms.

That’s a good enough stopping point. It’s all I can think of, at this hour, and I have work to get to, tomorrow. I’m sure these things are very connected, but just how is something that isn’t totally clear to me, at the moment. In a few months, I bet it will be…

Advertisements

Finished Object: Scarab necklace.

So, a couple things have happened. I passed my written test for Driver’s Training (yay!), I did not fail Programming (yay!), I got a giant frikkin’ toolbox for my metals…which I’m wondering if I need, now (yay?), and I found some SuperDuos (? sadly, beads make me feel rich).

If you’re wondering why I didn’t post earlier, it’s because I spent 7 straight hours at the DMV, reapplying for an original license.

SEVEN. HOURS.

We got there at 7:30 AM and weren’t done until 2:30 PM.

But. I can practice driving, again.

About that necklace I mentioned, last time: I was able to finish it, and it wasn’t a lot of work at all. One thing I need to keep in mind, though, is that when I’m closing the crimp endings, it’s to my advantage to close one half at a time, instead of immediately squashing the thing flat from one side. If I do the latter, I may end up with a slippery connection, as happened this time. I was able to mitigate it somewhat by tying an overhand knot directly after the crimp, so it will have a harder time moving…but crushing it halfway across, results in an inward-biting fold in the center of the crimp which may be more secure.

As it was, I tried using G-S Hypo Fabric Cement on this, and…I think the tube is mostly dried out. Like, there’s air in there and some vapor, but not much else. Normally, I’d use clear nail polish, but I kind of feel tacky using that, at this point. 😉

I should replace my cements, though. Not fun trying to coax anything (anything at all!) out of a needle applicator when you know the tube could bust at any second.

I took a number of photos earlier. Bathroom time! (I was using the viewfinder through the mirror, not taking a picture of the mirror itself…)

Photo of green beaded macrame choker with scarab

In the process, I saw where my design could be improved. In particular, I’m looking at the fine pinkish stripe. Because it’s on the bottom and borders the green size 6º beads, the pink is sandwiched between two bright greens…and because of my skin tone (which is closer to pink than to green, thankfully), it begins to get lost. I am wondering what would happen if I either made it broader and/or put it on the upper edge of the choker. I could broaden it by interlacing another one or two rows of lark’s head hitch (the knotting pattern I used), which I’m fairly curious about, now.

I was concerned that the second choker would be too short, as I made the length of the knotted area the same length as the cord on the original version, which can be seen below.

Initial trial choker

However, it’s plenty long enough. I don’t know why, except maybe the drape could be messing with me. I’m strongly considering getting rid of the extension chain I put in the back of the green one for safekeeping, as the chain tends to tangle with the hook-and-eye clasp I’m using. The only reason I’m using that, in turn, is that I can’t find my narrow-gauge silver wires or jump rings (wire rings). I thought I had found some, but no — that was (more) extension chain!

I didn’t want to cut apart a soldered chain just to get a jump ring. (Chains are pretty expensive.)

All of the silver clasps I have that are right now unused (except for the sterling filigree box clasp, which I would prefer not to use, as box clasps aren’t known for being secure), have piercings that are too small for the rings I’d be inserting into them. (The rings are at least 20 gauge, if not thicker.)

I do have sterling wire in some finer gauges, but that’s going kind of expensive for a connector. I’m unsure where all my silvertone brass wire, went. While it is possible that I was wholly using sterling, before, that seems kind of wasteful. And I know I had some “non-tarnish” craft wire that tarnished (surprise), and I must have gotten rid of that. I’d had it since high school, so what do I expect, right? 🙂

But when that stuff goes bad, it’s pretty terrible. I mean, it turns crusty.

If you’re wondering about Lark’s Head Hitch, I’ve got a close-up for you below. It’s not too hard. If you look in basically any beginner book on macrame, it will probably be in there (just not this version).

Close-up of Lark's Head Hitch chain

One thing that I did find out about my working process: I was unsure nearly the whole time I was making this thing, if I’d have enough cord to finish it cleanly. I used a bit more than two arm-spans each, of the green and pink cord. One of the reasons I added the beads is to space out the knots, which then extends the reach of the tying cord.

I really toward the end, wished I had left more cord at the beginning of the necklace, in case I wanted to extend the other side of it. It would have been easy. But I left myself only about 3″ of working space — just enough to insert into the crimp ending and secure it. It would have given me options, if I had more.

As stated before, I’m thinking of where I can take this, next. In addition to a wider band, I’m thinking about fringe. Short fringe, at this point, but enough to give an impression of feathers.

I really don’t know what that will do; and if I’ve learned anything over the past 48 hours, it’s that I won’t know, until I try it.

WIP: Scarab necklace

Apologies for not having any photos, tonight. I have a work-in-progress (WIP) which will very much be worth sharing when it’s done, but unfortunately I threw my back out today, and haven’t gotten to finish the last 2″ of knotting on the WIP.

Luckily, I’m pretty sure the back thing is just a muscle spasm (don’t twist while carrying heavy loads and descending stairs at the same time), but it’s meant I haven’t been able to do much. On top of that, this and taking medication around 1:30 AM this morning (from staying up late knotting and not noticing the time), kind of wrecked my motivation for today.

So the project itself is a knotted micromacrame choker-length necklace with a central crystal drop and seed bead embellishments. After 1 AM, I was reminded of the need for sleep, and my pinkies were about to blister, so I called it a night. (They’re still a tiny bit sore, today.) Given what was on TV, I think I was working at least 3-4 hours — though this was on two projects.

I made a first project that led directly into the second, as it looked more like a prototype than finished work (although it’s wearable) — but I wasn’t about to cut it apart, right after making it. I had used a set of silver-plated crimp endings; crimps don’t come undone. I would have had to just throw them away, and they still look fine. It’s the cord and the lack of embellishment, that I don’t like.

The craft table looks like a disaster area…but maybe it’s supposed to? I really did want to finish that necklace last night, but I’m already viewing it as a prototype for something more. For instance, working off of the cord loops with thread, to attach finer beads: the center drop bead is a Swarovski scarab, and I’m thinking of placing falcon wings on either side with fringe. The major issue is how to secure the thread ends, but if I worked the thread in from the beginning, it would be well-anchored at both ends of the necklace like everything else (and hidden).

But yeah…it feels really good to be working on (and with) this stuff, again. There’s something about looking at beads that lets me know that something awesome can be made out of them with the right amount of applied skill and creativity.

Hopefully, I’ll be up to finishing it, tomorrow.

Getting back to beading.

Today was interesting. I’ve begun to get back into (and recover) my beading stock. The major problem — which I have gone a long way toward ameliorating, today, is the fact that at various points in time, I’ve separated out tubes of beads as an attempt to notate color schemes for potential projects.

Because of that, what I have isn’t all in one place.

In particular, my size 11/0 (also alternately notated 11º and pronounced “eleven-ought”) seed beads are so scattered that my main storage areas look somewhat…well, pink and purple. But a lot of materials are still stashed away for one single project. That project includes a lot of greens and bronzes, which balance out the mix. And I haven’t yet decided what to do with what I have separated out.

That, in turn, probably isn’t going to be figured out until I just sit down and play with what I have.

Until I finish that project — or alternately, give up on it and put things back where they’re supposed to be — it’s going to be hard to figure out the sum total of what I’ve actually got. I was, however, able to recover some of the stuff I loaned M, which…is a very good thing.

She went on a discarding spree and threw out a bunch of stuff that she assumed was hers. (A lot of it appeared to be inexpensive stock gotten at flea markets by friends. Having started out with cheap Darice beads, I know not to use these for anything to wear or sell — to practice with, is another thing.) Luckily, my stuff (that she thought was hers [I was trying to be polite and not mention the error]) was nice enough not to be tossed. What I’m talking about are the materials for a certain bracelet project.

(While I’m logging unfinished projects, I should leave a link here to this one…I finally got the appropriate interfacing for embroidering a bezel for the cabochon [the big shiny thing], but the materials were sitting uncovered so long that I may have to wash the beads.)

Anyhow, I also was able to make it out to a beading supply place, today, so I have no lack of 3mm or 4mm fire-polished rounds, anymore. (5mm rounds…are comparatively rare. I’ve found them at one bead store relatively distant from me. 6mms, however, are common.) What’s weird is that I have a collection going back decades, and so they aren’t all the same size, even if I have a bunch which look like they were all supposed to be the same diameter. I also have samples of early versions of the Preciosa Twin bead…which aren’t the same as the current ones (which are closer in shape to SuperDuos).

I’ve realized that beadwork is relatively niche (much moreso than watercolor — it’s also possible that beaders just largely either aren’t on WordPress or don’t talk on WordPress, as they’re too busy beading and designing), and so readers here may not immediately know what I mean by words like, “fire-polished round,” or, “rondelle,” or, “druk,” or, “vitrail,” or, “Twin,” or, “SuperDuo.” While this is easily researched, I’ve found people (including myself) aren’t apt to do extra work in order to understand something — especially if they’re not invested in it, aren’t that interested, or it’s just way too much information that they don’t know at the same time.

Because of that (it’s a communication barrier), I’m thinking of setting up a Page or series of Pages that I can direct people to, as a kind of Glossary. I wouldn’t be surprised if a project like that brings in a lot of traffic, either. Though I’m not really all that social, I do see certain of my posts showing up over and over again in searches. If I wanted to monetize the beading, as well, higher traffic would be OK.

As for other labors of love — I’m told to produce my jewelry as art objects and then if they sell, that’s just a happy consequence. One of the drawbacks of beadwork is that it can get expensive, for a hobby. The reason I started to sell is that I was getting prolific, and had a bunch of backstocked, finished items that I wasn’t wearing. (I was also putting a lot into materials — though ironically, most of the cost of those pieces tended to be metals.) That’s no longer the case — a lot has been either sold, donated, or given away to family and friends.

Oh — but! I did restart macramé practice today. I have a pattern using 6 cords, which I’m thinking of expanding into a wider form. I came across a version of a knotting pattern I can’t altogether remember seeing before; it’s kind of lacy, and I’m hoping I can use it as a diagonal lace. It seems like a possible beginning of a zigzag pattern as well, but I’ve got to play with it more, to confirm.

Sorry no new pictures, today; though I do have to start cataloging these things…

Beading may actually be *my* true joy.

I was actually up making jewelry prototypes, late last night. I’ve decided not to pursue any particular form of expression because of its gender status (anymore), but because I like it. Beading is one of those things I got into, early on. I was 11 when I started learning off-loom beadweaving (I think this was even-count Peyote Stitch, during the Summer before 6th grade).

I had been trying to get away from it — craft jewelers don’t really have a high amount of esteem regarded to them (except, at times, by their clients), and they don’t make a lot of money. But one thing I’ve learned: when I’m choosing things to do to make myself happy, don’t use popular opinion or projected monetary return to guide myself as to the best possible use of time. This isn’t Economics class.

If there are people who can make (or at least recoup) money doing quilts, there are people who can make (or at least, recoup) money, beading.

Last night, when I was working through finding everything, I found a vial of glass beads which smelled (stank) strongly of Parmesan, when I opened the lid. There were two different types of beads in there. Below is an image of one type of bead (these are glass rondelles), which I washed in Dawn and warm water (swishing in a little cup does wonders), and let dry overnight. These ones remind me of the little “gems” one would get in the Pirate LEGO sets for the treasure chest…I don’t care if they’re glass, they’re pretty!

newly washed rondelle beads

I think it was the other set that was in the same vial (glass leaves with colors similar to these, but with a brightly colored metallic coating on one side) which really stank, though. I remember having used those beads in a sculpture for my Color Dynamics class, which dates them back to at least 2007. That means they’re 11 years old at the youngest!

I had been storing them in a clear polystyrene vial with some sort of soft plastic lid (see the smaller vials with white lids, below). I’m not sure if there was a chemical reaction that had gone on, or if some moisture had been trapped in there with them, but washing them got rid of the smell.

I guess if I’m lucky, it was just mold.

Vials full of different colored beads.
Brainstorming a color scheme.

The above image, I just took in order to remind myself of the color scheme I had planned for a necklace. I had imagined or envisioned making small micromacrame or beadwoven components, and chaining them together to fit around a neck. However, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this.

(And I should note, the bronze Tohos and the cube beads next to them, I got out of another project bin. They need to go back there, eventually.)

I started out with those ceramic beads in the upper left corner (they can take two passes of 1mm twine), and a lampwork glass rondelle that I didn’t photograph, which is black with blue metallic stonelike markings around its center. Both of them had a “warm blue” thing going on (the glaze on the ceramic reaches blue around the equator of some beads). The blue in the centerpiece had a vitrail-looking element to it, which meant that some of those iridescent beads (like the ones in the lower right corner of the above photo) worked.

The thing is, the more I worked on it, the more options I had: but most of my beads won’t accommodate macramé cord, at least without alteration (meaning grinding glass). I’d have to find another way to assemble the chain.

Right now I’m looking at brass wire…but I haven’t set anything in stone, yet.

Speaking of stone, there’s a purple dyed stone bead that I tried as a pendant (I think it will go well with the earthiness of the ceramic), which enabled me to more fully bring in the purple iris beads at the top right of the above photo. I’ll have to use them sparingly so they don’t overpower the piece, but it could be a nice “pop” of color.

Aqua beadwoven components, utilizing Twin beads.

So, the other thing that I was working on:

I realized that the way forward into a design wasn’t through intellectualization. With that in mind, I started playing around with some Twin beads I got a while ago. I had noticed that they would make a “V” if attached at one end, so I decided to see what I could do with this.

Apparently, I have skills?

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone before me has run across exactly this same design solution, but it was fun to puzzle through how to make the first one of these, and then how to grow the second off of the first. I had to use 3mm fire-polished rounds for the vertical portions, while the Teal Luster drop beads in the center of the right component are, I believe, 3mm × 4mm. Those fill the space better than the 3mm Magatama drops (the tan ones on the left component), which are a little looser.

I’m feeling a lot better about experimenting with multi-hole beads, now. They offer a lot of design possibilities that just were not on the table, before. The major issue for me is which ones to get, and where to get them from. I’m thinking that having a foundation of fire-polished, druk, and glass pearl beads between 2mm and 4mm, plus 15°, 11°, 8°, and 6° seed beads, and an assortment of tiny crystal beads (round and bicone) between 2mm and 4mm will really help if I want to get back into beadweaving. My major gap here is with the small glass non-seed beads, and the size 15° seeds. The multihole beads are then just like the stars that I can build everything else around.

Sometimes Czech size 13° Charlotte beads show up (they have one facet ground into a side), but I wonder how different they are in size from Japanese 11°s. I have some, in copper; I can check.

And having a little bit of randomness as to what color goes where, may actually be a blessing. In constructing the above, the size of each bead was more important a design specification, than the color. That is: I didn’t totally plan out that color scheme.

I had some trepidation about getting back into work with glass beads, as working with them is different than working with precious or semiprecious stone or pearl/shell/horn, etc. Depending on what you get, they can be cheaper (for example, Cobalt Blue) or considerably expensive (for example, Gold Luster). But there are a lot of design possibilities with glass that are just fun to play around with.

I’ve found nowhere near the diversity of shapes and styles of bead, in semiprecious stone; and non-glass/non-crystal items tend to be drilled to keep as much mass as possible. This means tiny drill holes, which means I can’t use them for micromacramé (without alteration).

My major problem — if I have one — is that I haven’t been doing this for so long, that I need to consult my library for technique advice and demonstration (and I’m no longer intimately familiar with the contents of that library). A long time ago, someone convinced me that doing this (looking for help) and then selling was unethical (a reason I diverted my energies into Art), but at this time, I’m considering that person, themselves, to be unethical.

It’s like, how much time did I waste training in Art when I could have been beading (though I know it wasn’t a waste, it was just a decision based on partial information, which left me vulnerable to being affected by bad information). I have since found material (as an assigned reading in my grad program) which guts this person’s argument.

And what’s wrong with not calling it Art, right? 😉

Trying to figure out what to do with free time.

While I wish I had something in-depth and philosophical to share tonight, I think I’ve done enough talking about that, for now. (I actually talked with people about things that matter, today. A lot of it bridged off of that last Creative Writing piece…which is helping me process a lot…at the same time. I understand now why this stuff used to make me break down, before.

Tomorrow…I believe I can choose what I want to do. A short time ago, I did go out and buy some leather to tool. It’s been a very long time since I worked with leather, but right now we have some stamps (including an alphabet) which could be cute. So far as I know, the leather just has to be dampened before I press into it. It will be something to experiment with.

I want to combine it with some micromacramé and seed beads, using an awl and cork board to pierce holes for twine. I also just now realized that I could put a button clasp on the leather portion, instead of making two separate straps for the bracelet. (I could also thread the macramé portion behind the leather…if for some reason I can’t punch the holes.)

I have two little bee buttons in pewter, one of which should work — if I can clear the shank. I also have a number of shell buttons, and those might also work, if I use a small one. (A large one will require extra length for the button to clear the buttonhole.)

I already have a thread burner to cauterize the ends of C-Lon or S-Lon cord. As for whether the thread burner still works, that’s a different question — especially as I don’t remember how to change the battery (or if the battery is even still in there). I had been wanting to use light hemp twine, though.

The big issue is thinking about the leather portion creatively, and about how to unify the design. I had been thinking of using just a strip of leather with a word (the word would guide the design), but I had to buy a small sheet of leather to get the type I wanted. That means that I don’t have to use a strip (though I’m uncertain if I need a special swivel knife to cut it — I already have a good number of X-Acto blades, which I can try first).

I still need to design what I want to tool into it, as well; and I had been thinking about using leather paints. Those are two different design elements.

Not to mention that the color of the macramé and the color of the beads need to coordinate or work into this, somehow: it would make the most sense to tailor the paint colors to the beads and twine. I can blend the colors of the paints; beads are something different!

All of that together would work around the word or design tooled into the leather. (I’m thinking about botanical themes, though I’m putting that brainstorm in a separate file.)

As well, I still have the toile (practice version) of the monpe (field pants) that I can work on, tomorrow…which might turn out to be one of the types of pants that would actually fit me (the waist, ties). Right now, I’m at the point of sewing the inside of the second leg together.

Maybe I’m not as into that as I thought? Or the gratification is too delayed. Or I haven’t looked at that beautiful ikat in too long.

I’ve realized I can cause myself serious pain, with needles (in particular, I have displayed the tendency to gradually destroy my left thumbnail by using it to stop the needle…which lets me know just how soft nails are, next to steel). I do now have a soft thimble which works well, but I may just be a little shy of even trying.

There are other things I could also do, like work on my portfolio. Up until now, I’ve just been setting up the technical foundation for this. I can work on the intellectual portion a bit, tomorrow.

Or I could draw and paint the succulents. (I also want to try and photograph that little baby succulent in the crack in the front yard…)

I’ve made the temporary decision to try putting in my values with black ink and then come back in with multiple washes. This is as versus putting in very dark values with paint alone, which I am thinking is a very different technique. One of my old classmates used to put in deep values with sumi ink, though, and then put transparent color over that (kind of like what I at least think happens when one gets a tattoo).

It’s a more mature version of playing around with black fineliners and then painting over the lines, which is what I’m considering. I also have dip pens which I do want to try out with at least the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black Ink…

That could be interesting, if I tried to make something stylized in black ink that was an interpretation of what I saw, then I went over it in watercolor!

Fresh ideas, eh.

What do I *want* to do? The crafts are calling.

I…think I might love sewing. I’ve been working minorly on the Folkwear monpe (mompei) pattern, entirely by hand (no machine stitching). It’s satisfying to see something come together, stitch by stitch. I believe that when I make the final garment, though, I’ll be using backstitch (for strength and durability) instead of a simple running stitch.

Right now I’m still working on the toile (trial garment), but now that I have puzzled out what the directions are saying…

It’s still nice. Actually better than quilting, because I know that I’m working toward an end product of something custom (and three-dimensional) that I can use and wear.

I am not even really upset about having to follow a pattern (though I know that if I keep at this, eventually I will begin to design on my own: it’s the same thing that happened with me and bead weaving, once I moved into beaded micromacramé). There are a few other patterns from Folkwear that I want to make: the Tibetan chupa, Tibetan panel coat, and the Nepali blouse.

I already have a Nepali blouse toile in progress, but I began it so many years ago that I doubt it will fit at all, now. If I’m right, the pattern is still in production, though; and I do have my working notes (and instructions) from trying to figure it out the first time.

There is something (obvious) there that satisfies my need for precision. I also like working with pins, needles, thread, and blades.

I want to go back to the beaded micromacramé thing, as well. The difficult part of this is that knotting will toughen my hands, though repeated needle pokes will do this, too (I’m finding). I’m also keeping in mind the possibility of using unusual knots and cords, which can handle Korean and Chinese knotwork. I am not entirely sure why certain cords work and others don’t, yet, except that the ones that do work are supple and have a firm, round cross-section, in addition to being synthetic fiber.

The knotted beadwork that I had begun to make before I stopped selling jewelry was actually elegant and unique; I haven’t seen anyone else doing the same thing. I am trying to remember why I stopped, and I’m not entirely certain. Maybe I got tired of my pinky fingers being calloused? Freaked out over the fact that I only personally designed one unique pattern? Freaked out over only using a handful of simple knots? Not sure.

Hmm. Well, in any case…my free time will be cut down over the next several weeks, which may ironically get me to spend it more intentionally.

I’ve also been reflecting on how the decline of local bead stores (and conventions) has impacted my usage of glass beads. That is, I’ve essentially stopped my beadwork. A great deal of instability has been introduced with a large number of unique (not round) bead forms, many of which have multiple holes…I think it threw people off, and continues to do so. (Marketing.)

I’ve got to remember that I can still buy online. The trouble there is that one can never be sure exactly what they’re getting. But I’ve bought beads from actual brick-and-mortar bead stores which had finishes which rubbed off — so that isn’t a guarantee of durability or quality.

So there is that.

And I have wanted to play with wirework, again; after having run across samples of weaving in my work boxes. I might be able to use my cabochons in this, too. In particular, I have a moonstone teardrop which I need/want to use. It would look great in some type of silver (at least Sterling, if not Fine or Argentium).

Of course, that requires design! And drawing! And trials in copper or brass!

I still wonder about combining weaving and knotting with wirework…

Now I’m going on…I should stop, for tonight.