Two sets of earrings completed…

…Though one of them I love extensively more than the other.

I do have to get on job applications again, but after work on Wednesday, I was more excited that there was still sunlight (I thought I was working from 9-6, but I wasn’t), and started playing with the beads I got on Tuesday, and didn’t tell you about.

I went to a newer bead store in the area for silk thread, and ended up coming away with $45 in colored glass fire-polished beads (retail, not wholesale; their wholesale value is probably about $20, considering I did get the silk thread). These beads have facets ground into them and then are reheated so they melt a little and get this gorgeous flashy (“vitreous”) surface. Some of these beads have surface treatments, though most are transparent (I am not sure about the little 3mm lavender ones I got; they may be a little milky).

Because I went to a bead store (and not Michael’s), I’m confident that the beads are not just coated in dye. There are online sellers for this stuff too (Czech fire-polished glass beads), but it’s an entirely different workflow than designing in the bead store itself.

So I ended up spending a little more than half an hour in there, making critical color and purchasing decisions (in person!) which worked out pretty well, once I got the beads home and matched them with my pearls (the ones I got in Honolulu for $75 retail, meaning I’ve invested about $100 in the piece I’m working on now [not either of the two sets of earrings]…for which I’m still trying to design a decent layout. It’s going to take some playing around to get to a working conclusion, though).

See, this is why I got a Master’s degree, because this stuff is expensive and not affordable unless:

  1. it’s an occasional indulgence,
  2. I’m selling,
  3. I’m already set up with tools and materials, or
  4. I have a discretionary fund gained from having family subsidize my living expenses while I have a stable job.

Numbers 2, 3, and 4 may be something that come to fruition if I get a gainful Library job, stay with family, and have enough free money to purchase supplies in bulk (as versus groceries, utilities, clothing, incidentals, and rent). It’s really not a big thing to get a resale license; it just means submitting taxes quarterly on any income.

If I became an Adult Services Librarian in a Public Library setting, I could also teach this stuff for free and thus share my enthusiasm, build community, and learn from other beaders. I say “Adult Services” because a lot of these materials are not meant for use by people under the age of 14 — developing brains might be harmed.

From working with paints, I understand that a lot of colorants may be specifically unsafe for use with children. If I were planning on ever getting pregnant, it might also give me pause to expose my own body to these materials, but that is likely nowhere in my future.

Anyhow, I was able to use some other pearls I had from before to make a pair of earrings I really, really like. I mean…these are top-drilled pearls, basically rice-shaped and teardrop pearls (though on this strand, it was the odd teardrop) which are drilled in the short direction, across one end. They’re not easy to use because of the chaos factor; it’s never really known what direction they will point.

I had some round gold-filled spacer beads in my stash — two sizes — which I used to fill the gaps between the top-drilled pearls, and bent the thread line so that both ends came out through another bead at the top. I ended up, however, using brass wire (I think it’s 28-gauge, though there’s an off-chance it may be 26) to go through the thread path, then bending that top bead over, looping both open ends of the wire around the first established wire loop, then threading both ends back up through the top bead and finishing with a wrapped loop.

The finished item has some movement to it, but not enough to really detract from the overall design-as-worn. They’re actually super-cute, and a creative way to use a bead that is not meant to be inherently symmetrical.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out whether I want to buy a decent amount of gold-filled round wire so that I can do more stuff like this, without using something that will tarnish. Fine gauges of wire are actually surprisingly affordable (for anything containing precious metal), as they don’t use a lot of material.

You still want to practice first with the cheap stuff, though. I have brass and copper; and hardware-store material is fine or even preferable, here. Silver-plated wire, I just avoid; even “non-tarnish” wire will tarnish, and badly; or you’re dealing with, “Nickel Silver,” which I take to mean, “white metal with nickel in it,” and I’m allergic to nickel. Then there’s steel, which is an entirely different animal.

I use gold-fill wire and beads instead of gold-plate (when I can, or in projects I especially care about) because I don’t want the gold on the outside to flake off from applied pressure. I’m very familiar with the latter on gold-plated findings (metal bits used in jewelry) and focals, though usually cheap gold-colored wire is just brass (or brass-plate, if we want to get cheaper; I’ve even seen copper-plate wire. I mean, how cheap does it have to be?! I can get pure copper wire at the hardware store, and it’s not expensive!).

The reason to use gold instead of brass is the fact that brass will tarnish, and polishing something like this (with tiny tiny hooks from the wire ends) with a polishing cloth, will likely damage it. Ultrasonic cleaning will likely damage the pearls. Gold-fill wire will not tarnish, eliminating that variable, and making the piece harder-wearing.

As for the cost of gold itself…it’s so expensive that it’s out of the question to use solid gold wire (at least until I get my own atelier and sell in Nordstrom or something; at which point I’d likely be using something more expensive than glass [think Cubic Zirconia or lab emerald], for that center bead).

The economics of this did become clear to me today, though. If I used gold-filled wire, those earrings wouldn’t really cost me that much to make, and all of the gold would be gold-plate or gold-fill. Aside from that, I used three pearls and a firepolished glass bead for each earring. That’s not a lot of money I’m putting out, but I could easily sell them for at least $25-$35/pair, as I’m using real gold (even if it’s not solid) and real pearls. (I should remember, though, the wasted 28-gauge [28g] wire that is just used to hold onto the rest of it. There are places to recycle this, though. With the amount of damage gold mining does to the environment, it’s a little bit of relief.)

The fragility of 28g wire isn’t even an issue here, because earrings don’t get bent up like necklaces, bracelets, and rings, do — especially if the bottom edge has no jagged ends sticking out to get caught in something like a knit sweater.

I did come to the realization when first considering selling, that I’d have to move a lot of earrings to come out ahead, financially. This is because earrings don’t take a long time to make or design, relatively; they also use a relatively small amount of materials. On top of that, the personality of a set of earrings changes greatly depending on their color scheme, meaning I could use the same pattern in different ways, and thus save some time on the design aspect.

At this point, it is 1 AM my time. I will wait until tomorrow to photograph my work and upload images, but being the instant-gratification-yearning person I am, I will post this and then go to bed. Someone on the other side of the globe will like it. 🙂

I also made a pair of earrings using a macrame technique and some titanium-fumed Crystal Quartz…which I didn’t even get around to. Tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

And, right, there was the realization that the seed beads were no match for the fire-polished rounds in sophistication…I just don’t want to forget that I noticed this…

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Craft books, and priorities.

The last two days (prior to today) have been spent going through my personal library. I hadn’t realized how many books I had. Nor did I realize the content of all of those books. When we move, no matter where we move to, I’ll have to pack some of this stuff up.

The task is reminding me of my Collection Development class, though much of what I’m doing now is basically what we call, “weeding,” in the Public Library sector — more of a Collection Management thing than specifically a Development thing.

The surprising thing is how many of my beadwork and jeweling books are still of use, though I was able to find duplicate content from many of my older and introductory books in later, newer and more complex publications. I can also tell from the collection, how much I was looking for books which would assist me in the “design” portion of jewelry-making.

There are a few things I do really well. One of these is beadweaving. I’ve also found silversmithing to be something I’m competent at, though it’s not something I’m overall drawn towards. However — I can use basic pick soldering skills to work at silver filigree.

It’s something I haven’t tried yet, mostly because it does require the use of a torch, now outside of my past studio environment (though it uses a smaller flame than heavy-duty hard soldering). It also requires a way to polish the final product…which, to the best of my knowledge, can only be accomplished through a gentle method like tumbling (tumblers are expensive), or the use of 3M rotary discs with something like a Dremel or Foredom flex-shaft.

I mention filigree, as a lot of what I’ve wanted to do has to deal with the use of specific shapes I want to emphasize (and right now I’m still used to working in 2-D). It shouldn’t be difficult to make a shaped frame, if you know a bit of wirework and how to pick-solder. The rest of it requires bending wire to fill the frame, and soldering or fusing those pieces into place. I know I bought a book on wire filigree, but right now I have no idea where it is, or if I had it and got rid of it.

The main drawback would seem to be the fact that filigree is usually flat, though with the right shaping tools (like a dapping block and punches) and some creativity, that’s not necessarily how the final piece has to turn out. I’m thinking about things like flower petals, and arcs…though the first seems as though it would be difficult to do cleanly if it’s a hot connection instead of a cold connection (such as wire-wrapping).

That’s mainly because a connection has to be flush, clean, hot, and in-contact to solder; I’m not sure if the same is the case for fusing. All of this also requires some specific start-up costs, though…I’ve had handmade filigree earrings, basically from a street vendor before, and they were (are) pretty much, beautiful. (I actually bought them at a table in the Student Union, in my undergraduate University.)

I did realize, though, that I also wanted to deal with sewing and embroidery: it’s just a newer thing to realize that I can alter and change patterns. I also realized that not all patterns are stereotypically excessively feminine, even though the main companies like Butterick’s and McCall’s, I remember as…not made with myself in mind. I’m not sure that’s accurate, though, because it’s been a while since I looked in either of their catalogs.

The main issues I have are restrictive and constricting patterns, and the lack of masculine wear. However…in my mid-thirties, now, my clothes are kind of encouraging me to move on into skirts and dresses, because they just fit better and are more comfortable. As long as I can move enough to fight or escape, I’m fine. The issue arises when I try to run in a pencil skirt and clip myself; or lift my hand above my head, and my shirt exposes my belly; or lean over, and others can see down my collar; or my dress is made to stay up only by clinging to my breasts. That’s when I have issues.

But the first time we went to Oahu, we went to a muumuu factory…and I got some really nice, comfortable, lightweight dresses that fit. It’s amazing to me. If I lived in Hawaii, I would without question be wearing skirts and dresses. It’s just really sticky, otherwise.

Both beadweaving and sewing are methods of fine hand-work that can have a lot to do with color, but they aren’t the same thing. In one form you’re working linearly; in the other, with joining two-dimensional flat pieces.

In sewing, I just need to learn when to use which stitch, and when it’s actually smart to switch to a sewing machine. I’m interested in hand-stitching, which came from manipulating a needle and thread in beadweaving. After a while, you just get used to sticking yourself; but for some reason, I get pleasure out of manipulating a needle and thread.

The other tangent I intend to continue on is working with beaded micromacrame. I’m just not certain which of these — sewing, embroidery, wirework, beaded micromacrame, beadweaving, or beadwork more generally — I’ll end up dealing with most (maybe I should rate how far I have progressed in each, in my Bullet Journal?). I do realize now, however, that all of these skills will likely be in-demand if I become a Public Librarian. I know enough to be able to teach or co-learn, and I have the interest.

I should get some rest before I stay up into the early morning again: I have work tomorrow, and need to pick up some fresh produce, afterwards. Luckily, I don’t have to stay there long, and the work should already be underway by the time I get there; the tough part of resuming work after a holiday closure, should be either done or in-progress.

I’m also considering getting a lucet (for interlooping) tomorrow. Like a crazy person. But we’ll be in the area…

If I ever get these interlooping things in hand (har har), I can show you what the chains are supposed to look like… (Hardly anyone knows what interlooping is, like hardly anyone knows what tatting is. Don’t feel bad…)

Japanese-language skills.

They grow, they do.

One thing I can say about having been to Oahu recently is that it gave me ample opportunities to read Japanese language — and overhear conversation, which isn’t of much use at this point, except for distinguishing regional dialect.

I read the name of what is likely my family’s dialect [chugoku-ben] in one of my books (Okamura, 2014), based on the region my ancestors came from, combined with the historical context (that is, why and when they came). It’s fairly clear to D and I that there are some speakers (mostly older, at this point) who are easier for us to understand; this likely has to do with both dialect and generation. That is, if it is chugoku-ben that we recognize and understand, it’s likely the chugoku-ben of older generations, not as it is moving on (as many things continue to do) in Japan.

I can only read nihongo partially right now, due to the fact that I don’t know a lot of kanji as things stand. However…if we do move to Oahu, it’s a pretty sure bet that I will have the resources and immersion necessary to actually learn the language. That, in turn, should give me greater access to one of the cultures which has been likely key in my formation. (Most of my adult life has been spent seeking out my own identity; so to be able to recognize the influences on me, would help.)

As stated prior, there are a good number of kanji that I see and recognize, but of which, I just don’t know the corresponding meaning or reading. I was reading through the Table of Contents of a Genki textbook the other day, and found a bunch of these. Because I have so many resources, I’m thinking of hacking it and taking bits and pieces from multiple sources to hasten my learning.

Right now I’m trying to figure out if and where to get rid of my old Japanese-language manga (these are tankoubon, not like an issue of Shounen Jump [I don’t know the technical term for one of these: zasshi?], which would be more akin to a large phone book with multiple individual installments of various running manga published by Jump Comics).

I’ll probably end up taking them to a comic-book store or a used-book store. The thing is…I would give them to the library, but I suspect they’ll be sold at $1 a piece in the bookstore, which is far below their value. I also am not certain they would sell Japanese-language books. However, I’m not sure they’re worth packing up and taking to Oahu (especially given that these series are so old).

Not that I think I’d ever really get back to these, but for the sake of records:

  1. Bastard!! #5 (this is the actual title, I’m not randomly cursing)
  2. Inu Yasha #22
  3. Last Final Election, The (a collection of YYH slash doujinshi)
  4. Rurouni Kenshin #1
  5. Tenshi Kinryoku (Angel Sanctuary) #1
  6. Yuu Yuu Hakusho #7
  7. Yuu Yuu Hakusho #14

When I got these, I was so young that I may have colored in some of the graphics, but I honestly can’t remember in which of my manga I may have done this…

And yeah…my Japanese instructor from college told me that it’s best not to learn Japanese entirely from manga and anime, or your frame of reference gets distorted (that is, you end up talking weird, and thinking it’s normal).

Nevertheless, these (like my Sailor Moon books which compiled screenshots of the multiple series that never made it into official English translation) did provide me translation fodder when I was a kid.

Now if I found something like Urusei Yatsura, or another classic, that would be different…(come to think of it, a lot of the anime we had [like Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer] was on VHS, and is thus unreadable without a working VHS player…HELLO OBSOLESCENCE).

Then again, it’s what — seven books?

And holy…I just opened to a random page of Inu Yasha and knew what point the story was at, because I could read most of the words with the help of furigana. I also knew who the characters were, and what the time period was, in which the story was taking place.

I still don’t want Rurouni Kenshin or Tenshi Kinryoku, though. That latter one is super depressing, and the former…just too silly. Though Samurai X (the movie), which was the precursor to Rurouni Kenshin, was good.

So now I’m down to what — five? (I’ll just have to cut something else out.)

I picked up Bastard!! because I liked the drawing style, though seriously, that manga is basically adult, for the U.S. I have one of the videos, too, which is kinda soft-core. Not kidding. Don’t try to watch that one with your parents in the room. Not even if you’re an adult. Just don’t.

And…yes, I actually would be okay with giving away Tenshi Kinryoku and Rurouni Kenshin to the Friends of the Library…

…but not the other ones.

I’VE MADE STRIDES! 😀 😉

I’ve also found that letting go of the desire to create a graphic novel has paradoxically made it easier to play around with paper, pens (I’ve recently discovered [non-desiccated] Posca markers), and Washi tape, and make some interesting stuff.

I’m thinking of trying to write letters (physical ones) to family on the island, now. It would give me motivation and an aim in getting back into Art Practice, though it would likely be Art Letters or something, where I’m doing something that’s between an art journal and a letter. I’m thinking back to Van Gogh here, but I’m sure that illustrated/designed letters have existed elsewhere in the past.

Anyhow…I’ve got way too much to read, especially if I’m going to be dumping a lot of this stuff. I won’t be able to tell what’s worth keeping without looking at it, that is.

Maybe I should set aside things that are on my shelf which I have never read…

Works Cited:

Okamura, J. Y. (2014). From race to ethnicity: Interpreting Japanese American experiences in Hawai’i. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Hibernating?

For some reason, I slept through most of the day. I’m not entirely sure why, though looking forward to getting a computer back into operating condition is not really my idea of a great time. (I’ve also been having issues with heart flutter, likely related to caffeine sensitization; but neither does it speak well about my level of stress.)

So…let’s see, I was offered an interview to become a Library Assistant, but I’m not too hot on the position — it’s a Substitute/Floater position, just like the one I was offered from a different county. The benefit is that it will give me experience: the drawbacks are many, but primarily the first few weeks to months will be hell, as all the creeps in the area introduce themselves to me.

I must have checked something that said I was interested in this…which I shouldn’t have, as three declines get one kicked off the list. I don’t know if that’s for a year or a lifetime, though.

And actually…I’m not really interested in that position. Kind of like I’m not really interested in the class I was offered for Spring semester…I mean, I really need a rest!

For now…well, it would be nice to take some time to calm down. I know that I’m looking for an entry-level position in an Academic Library, ideally. I want to spend the next few months reviewing HTML and CSS, then moving into JavaScript.

The class I was offered by Open University is a Tech course, but until I learn a Programming language for real, I don’t even know if I want to be in this path. I know that Database Management (DBM) was not where I wanted to be; I suspect the others of these classes may be like DBM.

I initially intended to go into Digital Services, but didn’t realize …just how technical it was going to be. And that I get intimidated by learning technical stuff, even though I’m drawn to it. (And yes, there is a gender component, here.) I’m thinking, why be in school unless you are learning something you can’t learn any other way?

As well: there is the matter of my Japanese-language study, which I’ve had to lay off of totally in order to focus on my schoolwork. I need to get back to that. And I want to take Cataloging and Classification, again. (I also want to read the various materials I’ve collected but did not have time to read!)

I mean, what if I actually am better off being a Cataloger or an Academic Librarian (or a Collection Developer?), rather than a Techie? What if I actually want to go back for an MA or MFA or PhD in something I love, and become a Subject Specialist in it? I’ve been afraid to limit my options, but if a specialized option is the best one…?

Talking to people isn’t so bad! It’s just when they push your boundaries and start dealing with you personally, that’s hard. Librarianship is a Service position, and along with that goes dealing with people you would rather not. It’s just that in an Academic Library, the service community is not necessarily, “anybody who walks in the door.”

What I had been looking at with Digital Services, though: that’s merging into an Information Sciences field. I chose this majorly because of having been ticked off in Cataloging & Classification, and not wanting to deal with the public, but still wanting to help a Library.

The major scare of this for me is the tough time I had in (Honors) Math, the distaste for math I’ve had since then, and my lack of having practiced it in any regular sense, ever since my Undergraduate work.

That, I think, is where the actual sticking point is: I’m an Arts and Humanities (and minorly, Social Sciences) person with interest in how Technology can further these; more than a Hard Sciences, Math, and Engineering, person. I do think, though, that I could handle talking in front of a group more easily than I could handle applying algorithms to Big Data.

Hmm. Maybe I should write to the person I spoke with recently, about this…

Anyhow, the following are my ideal priorities for the next six or so months:

  • review HTML
  • review CSS
  • learn JavaScript
  • review and extend Japanese Language
  • review/retake Cataloging & Classification
  • gain Entry-level position/experience in Academic Library
  • Read

I mean, that is basically, what I want; and I have time to deal with getting a job I’ll actually like, rather than one I’m forced into because of monetary concerns…

Whoa! Unanticipated!

I’m actually done with my Term Paper! I’m done with this semester! I’m done with my Master’s! And a nearby County is hiring for Librarian I positions!

!!!…

Okay, for one thing I don’t think it’s set in yet that I’M ACTUALLY DONE and I ACTUALLY QUALIFY. The other thing is that I’ve kind of got a rush because OMG IT’S DONE. I CAN BE A LIBRARIAN NOW.

I mean, seriously, a couple of hours ago my biggest plan was to clean the house, tomorrow.

Of course, having the Master’s is only one component of the work. I also need experience, meaning I may need to take on jobs that aren’t particularly ideal (especially as I am not sure how well I would do at conducting programs, in a Public Library position), in order to move up in the system.

But ooh, sh…I just realized that I have most of the qualifications to be an Academic Librarian. Which may be where I would be most comfortable…considering my study over this last semester.

If I can get a better job, as well (say, an entry-level University job)…I’m seriously considering taking one class a semester for both Professional Development and to maintain access to my University Library.

Do I have a plan? It’s certainly looking like it…



Just a break.

Talk about needing help with time management…

I’ve got half of my paper done, and just a little longer to write before I’ll have to turn something in, done or not. I did go to work today, but I won’t be going in, tomorrow, given time pressures. This is why I’m in a job that doesn’t pay so much: flexible scheduling. Well, that’s part of the reason. The other parts are idealism and a desire to help.

Right now…I’ve been working on this stuff since about 4:30 PM with the only break being dinner, and I need to think about something else. I also need to review my readings, and see if I can’t get the next four in, before submitting my paper.

I also need to gauge if I’m even awake enough to continue working on this, tonight…as well as perhaps comment on others’ posts, on the discussion forum.

EDIT: Yay! I responded to someone, which means I get extra credit! Now to get back to whatever I was doing…

work-in-process.

Well, even if I don’t get this term paper done to my own satisfaction in a few days, I at least have a good enough start on tracking down my topic, in order to continue the work after the semester is over. If, that is, I retain access to Library resources — I may not.

Actually, I just looked it up: I will not. Time to search through my Public Library memberships.

Anyhow…I did a good amount of research today, and identified 12 articles of interest, four of which I’ve read through entirely. The other eight are no longer than 15 pages, each. I also found a few e-books which will help on the deeper side of things, though I’ll need to target my reading for the next few days. I probably won’t be able to trace citations as much as I’ll want to.

I feel kind of disharmonious for having retired to bed so early last night, and neglecting to get up at 5:30 AM this morning, which is when I seriously awoke. I had planned on getting up early — but before sunrise was not anything I expected. As it turned out, I only really became functional after about 10:30 AM, I think (I’d have to check my sleep log).

Tomorrow — that is, after the sun comes up, this next time — I should be able to devote entirely to studying and writing. Well, that, and laundry. I’ve left some notes to myself in the papers I’ve located.

I might also want to prioritize the newer articles.

While part of me wants to put notes about my paper down, here…there’s no upshot to making them public. The only reason to write them here is to either publicize my work, or to avoid writing by hand…

…the latter of which, is kind of sad. I’m sure the urge to do everything on the computer is familiar, though. I should be keeping notes on thoughts that come up in longhand, not only within my files…