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.


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…


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…)

Getting back to beadwork.

I’m coming off of two weeks of not having been online. Pretty much all day today, I’ve been tired…although the only explanation I have for that is jet lag. My plane came in late last night, and I didn’t get into bed until about 2 AM local time. Then I was awake for about two hours, and went back to bed. D had to wake me twice to get me to come to dinner.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on vacation, though the first week of that was largely taken up with being sick and avoiding pneumonia. During the ride over, I was getting sick; the next six days were spent mostly in bed. The second week was good; we got to see some relatives that we hadn’t seen in over a year.

We are also looking at what type of future we want, as a family. It’s possible to downsize. I’ve been thinking of what art and craft stuff, and books, I really want to keep, especially if we move overseas. That in turn has me prioritizing what it is I really want to do. Over time, I’ve accumulated a lot of art materials…which aren’t really necessary, for the amount of art I do. The thing is, I feel like a lot of this issue has occurred because of trying out different media…and being kind of a color nut, meaning that I’ve got a lot of colors of basically every media I’ve tried.

My attachments are more to the colors than the media, though I’ve found that I probably want to work in gouache, if I’m going to be a designer. It has the solid coverage of fluid media, and the mixability of paint, without requiring the use of liquid frisket (as transparent watercolors do).

I also started out in beadwork…of which I have had a fairly conflicted love. But it’s notable that it seeded my interest in color and color combinations. This is why I took Color Dynamics early on…before having taken Painting, which (I learned later) isn’t the way the Art program was designed to work. It’s also notable that my jewelry work (by this, I largely mean beadwork) and my mandala work are related through color combinations and repeating motifs.

Being honest with myself and a work acquaintance, I’ve found that a big reason I got back into my Art program were the questions, 1) of whether I wanted to make a graphic novel, 2) if I even enjoyed the artistic process, and, 3) issues of intellectual property were much clearer, there.

These weren’t really reasons to get away from beadwork…but I overthink things, to my detriment. I think I do have, or am developing, my own niche. It isn’t widely shared, but that’s OK.

And I shouldn’t undervalue my own work just because it isn’t Fine Jewelry, or because of the costs of my materials. It’s still artwork. Well, “design work,” might be a more appropriate term. It’s also something to note that I am a Beadworker or Beader, more than a Jeweler; though I bend the lines through my experience in both. That’s becoming more common, though.

As for 1), over time it’s become clear that my skill at writing is likely greater than my skill at art; although I haven’t been writing things which I know aren’t true, for some time. That is, I haven’t been writing fiction. I tried to begin while I was on vacation (and before), and I believe it takes me out of my comfort zone. I was just raised to be a very honest person, let’s say that.

However: it’s clear to me at this point that there are ways of working around the inability to communicate some things which are hard to communicate through language: it just takes me into the realm of poetics. Which essentially, I haven’t studied, in specific. However, the limitations of language are well-known in Zen tradition, as I found when I was studying Zen and aesthetics, some time ago.

As for 2), enjoying the artistic process; it depends on whether there is a point, or reason, to engage. Like…when I was out, I depended on drawings to assist me in the process of design. I could not have done that through text. It’s a way of thinking things through and elaborating ideas, in the design process.

When I was younger, I wouldn’t go to paper and — in this case — markers; I would just start playing around with things. Now that I have more experience, I know that planning things out isn’t necessarily a no-no. Instead, it helps me think things through without requiring the work of assembly at the same time. I’ve found, though, that starting by hand, and then moving to computer graphics…may be the way to go.

To do this, I’m thinking of subscribing to Adobe Illustrator, simply because I already know how to use it, and it would allow me needed precision. Planning beadwork is essentially a design operation…and I would need the hard sizes and correct/general colors of each bead. Both of these are limitations of working things out by hand, unless I can either eyeball it (which I can decently do), or mix gouache to the correct tone.

When I was on vacation, all I had were graphite pencils, Sharpies, my Pitt brush pens, and some opaque white Posca pens I found while there. Because everything was…in false colors, I had to make some decisions about hue, saturation, and value which were not an issue with computer-generated graphics. That means that I could describe the form and pattern, and what shapes I wanted to incorporate, but not tell what things would look like in reality.

There’s…also the issue of lighting. I obtained some cultured pearls which…well, the colors change under different light sources, so it’s hard to tell what they actually look like. Of course, having a little education on this, I know that the varied interpretations of what they look like under different lightings are their actual reflected colors. What I mean is that I need to look at them — well — under natural light, not in the light of a hotel room or a fluorescent bulb. At least that would give me a benchmark to know if my (likely dyed) Dark Peacock pearls are actually green-blue-grey-magenta, or just grey.

To be honest, I just added it up and I got $65 worth of cultured pearls, before tax (at retail, which is normally at least double wholesale), if I include the $9 focal pearl I purchased to be a pendant. I really love pearls, but they can look very conservative when used traditionally in a knotted strand, especially if they’re all the same shape and bleached white…that’s not quite the image I’m going for.

They also usually have very tiny drill holes to preserve weight (like most gemstones), making them a bit difficult to use. They need fine stringing material; traditionally, the widest silk thread which will also pass through the drill holes is used, and then knots are placed between the pearls to help preserve them. Otherwise, it’s very easy for them to abrade each other through normal wear.

The good thing is that I know how to clear and widen the drill holes, and I have what I would need to do it. I’m also more experienced than most, in working with pearls. The reason I bought these? I was able to see and select them in person, which I feel is almost a necessity for me where it comes to pearls and gemstones. Pearls and stones, to me, are precious based on the fact that they’re all unique (compared to most seed beads, pressed-glass, druks, and fire-polished beads, which are all made by people, and which are what I normally use). Pearls, in addition…need to be hand-selected, otherwise I’m just going by their grading as to what quality I’m getting.

The pearls I got were also beautiful. Of course, there is the effect of the efforts of people to standardize stones and pearls…but that doesn’t negate their different histories. As someone who has a history of believing in my own energetic sensitivity (I just looked up the term: I fall under “psychometry” except for the fact that I have never verified the history of an item by feeling it [this is not a carnival act]; I just get sensations)…I find that stones “feel” different than man-made beads. Sometimes this is to an extreme, and it’s not always good.

But then again, this is also coming from the perspective of a Panentheist who has recently questioned if atoms are alive [or even particles, though I’m not a physicist], so consider the source. 🙂 (Panentheism, to distort my own interpretation for the sake of brevity, is the belief that the universe is God but that God is also more: Panentheism translates as “God-in-All-Belief”.)

Metal, glass, and plastics (excluding items like the once-living beetle I have which is encased and preserved in resin) just don’t have the same qualities, but I feel that’s because they were recently formed, and haven’t had time to pick up the energies of their environments. There’s also something about the regular molecular pattern of most crystals…which could be another reason they feel so different to me. That, and their age: most crystals are old (compared to a human lifespan).

Even wood feels different than metal, glass, and plastic, but that’s likely because it once was living, and its material is organized in a vascular pattern. I will use shell and horn as well, though to date I have not used much bone.

Bone just kind of creeps me out a little, kind of like the beetle pendant I mention parenthetically, above. I think the feeling is related to the questionable treatment of the animal it came from (energetic imprint), along with the knowledge that it could contain biologically hazardous material.

Anyhow, I didn’t intend to get into the whole energy thing. It’s just that I went back to look at the store I got these from, and they really do push the energetic angle. I don’t really mind; it’s just that I question if I believe that or not (even though my experience does say that there is a difference between natural and synthetic or man-made materials).

That in turn affects the ways I’d be comfortable marketing my own jewelry, as a, “side hustle,” as a book I’m currently reading, puts it. It also affects whether I’d be comfortable working for the bead store I patronized, and supporting that angle, especially knowing I could be wrong.

But that’s that whole, “integrity,” thing bothering me, again. I guess it does say something if the people running the gem or mineral or bead stores do actually believe their own hype (which I believe most, do…there’s quite a history of gem lore).

The third thing I mentioned, which is the intellectual property deal; that…isn’t bothering me so much, anymore. It used to, before I realized that “copyright” applied to a printed pattern itself, and not anything that I made (especially if I did not copy the pattern, or if the pattern is basic, and well-known).

It’s also not bothering me so much because I realize that this stuff is kind of like Legos: there are specific ways to join these blocks together…and outside of a really unique and hard-to-come-to combination (which would be patentable, if anything), it’s basically not a good legal argument to say, “I did this first, and now no one else can do the same thing unless they pay me.”

Anyhow, I know I’m keeping the beads — and my tools — when we move, wherever we move. I also know that I’m likely going to be working by combining glass beaded components with natural ones. Metalwork doesn’t hold the same appeal for me, though the project I had in mind for the pearls was originally for silver wirework. I don’t know all that much about wirework at this point, though: it’s a new field for me.

I’m not certain what else I would take, besides my gouache and watercolors and block-printing/paper-cut stuff…

Compensation for adulting? (Beads.)

Today I went through my paraprofessional Library qualifying exam, which wasn’t bad. I think I did better than last time; and last time I got an interview, so I think my chances are pretty good. Because I did do that for about two hours, then went to dinner…it’s kind of been a roller coaster, anxiety-wise. Countering that, I received some stuff today which kind of softened the blow.

A lot of this stuff was hanks of Czech seed beads. I think…it would have been easier to pick these if I could have seen them in person before paying for them. I’ve got some interesting color combinations, but not everything was as I expected. I did take some prior-bought hanks out of their plastic bags and just put them into drawers, loose. Because of that, I have ended up tossing some price tags which were just on sticky paper which lost its stickiness long ago — though I think $0.50 per strand (about $6 per hank) is about accurate, for most of them. It averages out.

The tricky part of this is trying to predict what I’m most likely to use so that I can make sure it’s easy to access. I also need to make more of the Czech beads accessible…I’m not sure, though, whether this means to take them off the strands, and if so, how many; or to only disassemble what I know I’m going to use immediately. It’s kind of a pain to have part of my stock readily accessible, and the rest of it somewhere else; but if I purchase beads in large packs…I’ll have to do that.

I basically just bought my first known Matsuno-brand seed beads, which came in a large (40-gram) pack like this. That in itself is kind of interesting, though it would have been nice to be able to see the beads in person (and next to other beads!) to really understand what I was getting. I think I buy more “sophisticated”-looking beads when I can see them next to others and gauge when paying twice as much (or more) is worth it. That said, I’m not sending anything back. I have ideas for them.

I also need to set a date to head to the International Gem & Jewelry Show. One of the vendors I’ve regularly visited at my local Bead Society’s conventions, has a horrible website. The Bead Society conventions have also stopped. If I want to purchase from them, I’ll need to do it either in person or via snail mail. Meeting in person will be a way to pick beads that coordinate, without depending on the quality of the online photos.

The reason I’m even on this is that they have a large stock of Czech seed beads (which are more donut-shaped and less cylindrical) in larger sizes. I’ve actually found this online, as well; but Intergem sounds like a better bet.

And…I did finally get my copper head pins and crystal scarab beads, so I can move forward on updating my earrings and reworking the necklace I posted about, earlier. I also found some Chinese crystal beads in my stock, with which I want to do something now (probably, earrings). Because the bright green seed beads I got almost perfectly match the Crystal Scarabeus 2x coated scarab beads, I’m heavily considering doing a technique such as Chevron Stitch and combining the blue-green Matsuno beads with the bright green.

I also have a bunch of other green beads in different shades, which might work well with those real bright green ones. There are just so many different shades of green!

I also would like to finish the bracelet I began so long ago…it’s almost done, after all. And I did finally find my Erinite-color crystals (they’re a bluish-green), so I can make a button in that shade.

I’d also like to try making something like it, in blue; I just recently got some light blue Czech bugle beads…and am wondering how they will work up with Czech size 11° beads, as versus Japanese size 11° seed beads. They’re bigger than the small bugles I used in this last project, which means that the band will be wider.

The major problem I’m having is that I’m aiming for an LIS career path so that I can have the money to support myself and to have the money to buy, and the time to do, things like this. It’s just kind of hard to focus on the actual job and education bit of it, in the moment — because it is work. That thing about having a job that you love so that you never have to work again? I don’t think that exists, anymore…

Tired enough not to mark grammatical subject

Up again at midnight. Up again at midnight online. Up again at midnight not doing homework. Up again at midnight with work to go to in the morning. Up again at midnight writing instead of trying to sleep.

After looking over my Czech bead collection, it made me want to get more. Still haven’t photographed what I have; by the time I thought of it, it was on the cusp of evening. Sun was going down. Again.

Decided to stick with tried-&-true. Realized “Russian Spiral” stitch looks familiar from looking and not having done it…reminds me of Herringbone. (Sorry about the double pingback, Sam! You don’t need to link me twice…) This and Chenille stitch, I want to try. Pretty badly, want to try.

Went for regular rocaille (round) and Delica beads instead of the shaped/pressed Czech ones, this time around. Mix of Japanese and Czech, multiple sizes.

Really should get to bed. Really really should get to bed.

So guess, you, what I would do if I could…

Misplaced beads: I need a system.

I think I’ll have to finally let go of the missing half-hank of mixed-purple size 8º seed beads. It’s got to be somewhere away from my main beading storage. That’s the only thing I can think of. And realistically, it can’t be worth that much. It’s just an unsolved mystery.

I did go out looking for other storage solutions, today. Right now what I have is plastic, and some of it is so old that it is literally biodegrading. There’s an issue I’m having now with a smell emanating from some of my housing tubes, and/or their lids, and with some lids cracking on attempted removal.

Today I was able to obtain some AMAC transparent boxes, which fit surprisingly well into the largest ArtBin I have. Small objects fall out of the lid when the lid is opened, even when the storage compartments in the lid are shut. The boxes, placed inside the compartments, prevent this. I’m not sure if the AMAC boxes will last better than the cheaper styrene ones.

Also, on that note: the tubes beads are sold in, can themselves biodegrade over years. I opened a pouch today to try and remove some tubes, and one of them — had cracked, so the lid fell out and little size 11º seed beads (around 2mm wide) scattered all over the table and floor. Making sure that there are as few of these beads left as possible is important, as if they crack, that’s broken glass.

This is just a constant annoyance with seed beads, though. We have a protocol when this happens, of shining a flashlight parallel to the floor in order to highlight the beads. Even so, after the first sweep, we must have found around 7 more tiny beads still lingering on the table and linoleum. And yes, they roll. And they look like bugs, when they roll.

So…there is an ongoing problem with bead storage, though it’s mitigated by having a couple of foldable fabric towers that can hold vials. I’ve decided to get some half-size vials so that I’m not taking up space with half-empty full-size vials. Today I was seeking a type of tiny container which is like a clear jar with a lid, but under 1″ tall: small enough to fit my small drawer sets.

The kind I was looking for (1.5″ diameter), I was unable to find. I’m uncertain if the ones I do have, were on closeout when I bought them. Their lids don’t attach securely, so it’s possible. I’ve grown to like them, now! And I’m not sure where I got them from or where to find more!

Anyhow…I am inspired to start beading again. And reading in my beadwork books, again. I have a storage box for practice samples, and was able to view and handle my past work. I was also looking in some of the books I’ve got.

Most of them, I haven’t really worked with too deeply, as I’ve been trying to teach myself and make original stuff more than follow patterns. However, it’s clear that I can learn a great deal from following patterns. I just likely shouldn’t sell so much that’s made from patterns, just as an ethical thing (or if I do use an innovative base pattern that I didn’t create, credit the designer).

I’ve got to get to bed. Today was more of a container run than a time spent creatively…

Though I should remind myself, before I forget, to look in the Samples box if I run short of a certain type of bead which I need to complete a pattern, and which aren’t being made anymore.

De-stashing and refocusing. Organizing colors and establishing priorities.

I successfully got rid of a bunch of art stuff at work, yesterday. The biggest thing was a set of Neocolor II water-soluble crayons, but I’m hoping others will get more pleasure out of them, than I did.

I had consistent issues with disliking the texture that came out of using them dry, not to mention that they dissolved with water into something I can only call a “creamy” texture, which I also disliked. Not to mention that the tint with what remained of the dry texture didn’t appeal to me…nor did scrubbing the marks to liquefy the whole thing. I get much more vibrant and clear color out of watercolors (even midprice ones, like the Reeves tube set we still have).

The upshot of the Neocolors is that they’re relatively opaque, with more covering power than I’ve seen in pretty much anything comparable, except for soft or hard pastel, or the General’s White Charcoal. The problem with all of the latter is that they sit on top of the paper and need a fixative, as they don’t adhere well in themselves. Neocolors have some kind of oil or wax binder, so they stick.

It was recommended that I keep the Neocolor Is, which are basically artist-grade waterproof crayons (the IIs are the water-soluble ones). The biggest pain I have with the Neocolor Is is that the color range I’ve got, isn’t awesome (yellow to red).

I have also realized that I can start a little mini-watercolor kit with what I already have. I know that two colors to include are Phthalo Green and Permanent Rose, but those are my first two anchors. I might pick a lemon yellow (Hansa Yellow) to go along with them…but it will take some experimentation, and to what end, other than making a cute travel kit, I’m not sure.

With a clear and limited kit, though, I might be inspired to go outside and paint. All I have to do is dump out the little cubes of paint from my Cotman set, and fill the half-pans.

I’ve recently been more into the colors themselves, than into ostensible subjects of the paintings…though plants and flowers are things I like. I would say that the subject comes secondary to color, though, or that color is the subject. Thing is, I’m not entirely sure how to express that…though what I associate with those colors, or where around me I’ve seen them, could be a starting point.

To include a Pyrrol Orange in the kit would be nice…which makes four. Daniel Smith’s Pyrrol Scarlet should be good for a warm-leaning red…or I could use Winsor & Newton’s Winsor Red, for a cooler red that’s still warmer than Permanent Rose (and different enough from Pyrrol Orange to be useful).

So that makes:

  1. Winsor Red
  2. Permanent Rose
  3. Pyrrol Orange
  4. Arylide Yellow (PY3)
  5. Phthalo Green

Hmm. That leaves seven slots.

  1. Sap Green?
  2. Phthalo Blue
  3. Ultramarine Blue?
  4. Raw Umber?
  5. Permanent Magenta
  6. Green Gold
  7. Prussian Blue?
  8. Permanent Yellow Deep?

??? My problem is that I don’t yet know how many of these intermix, well. And now I’m feeling like I have to look back at the lightfastness chart. (What looks like what? What harmonizes, with what?)

I finally got around to putting the lightfastness test sheets back in the window. I just gave up on the drive to photograph them. It’s been three months, almost to the day, since I looked at them for the first round. I still haven’t taken any pictures, though I did separate out any that had noticeable fading. Prussian Blue is one of the colors which did fade slightly over 4 months in full sun — it’s just so beautiful when new, that it’s hard to think of realistically putting it to the side. (I might want to see if I can mix the same shade, out of more lightfast pigments.)

Then there are those relatively odd and specialized colors, like Cerulean Blue Chromium or Cobalt Turquoise Light, and earth pigments like Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna. Now that I think of it, Raw Umber + Ultramarine is probably essential as a neutral tint. Magenta + Phthalo Blue will also give me something close to Indanthrone Blue (as I learned at

  • Raw Umber + Ultramarine
  • Permanent Rose + Phthalo Green
  • Magenta + Phthalo Blue

That makes six.

  • Lemon Yellow + Pyrrol Orange

Eight. Four to go.

So today…this day has only barely started, for me. Everything preceding this was begun last night. Then I took medication and got knocked out at about 11 PM…and didn’t get back up until 2 PM today. (The place at which I stopped, marked the time at which my mind stopped being coherent, though I’ve since added content. I’m still not sure if my functioning is entirely back, and I’m saying this at what is now verging on 7 PM. Both today and yesterday, words weren’t my strong suit. It’s likely because I’ve been staying up too late, and it’s getting chronic.)

After work, yesterday, was largely taken up with cleaning off the craft table. I’m slowly getting all of my beads together — I have more than I thought I did, particularly in sizes 8° and 6° — meaning that I can do a lot with beaded micromacramé, as these sizes are large enough to take passes of heavy cord with which I can make decorative knots.

The day before that, I was logging work for my Summer class, so that should be done.

I had also been beginning work on my Portfolio…I think it will be easiest to begin with Competencies for which I only have one or two classes. They’re easy to start from. I’ve begun re-saving things from six years ago into current format, hoping that not too much has been corrupted.

Can’t say it’s not stressful, though.

In any case, I should be working on this when I have the urge and energy, to. For a couple of days, it’s been like this: where “self-care” does constitute doing work, as versus playing or de-stressing. Sometimes de-stressing includes doing work to abate my stress, rather than doing anything but work.

Given that, I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m also thinking, based on what I’ve written above, that getting to bed at a reasonable hour should be a priority for me. If that happens, I’ll probably be up to working on my Portfolio for at least a few hours, a few days out of the week. Exercise is another one of those things I should do.

Beading is obviously something I’m getting back to, and I want to use the watercolors, as well. Aside from paperwork and some other housekeeping stuff, I should be okay like this until the semester starts. Extra hours at work, I can think about after everything else is okay.