Thursday, April 24, 2014

Leather - My New Frontier

In line with my last post on beginnings, I continue to push against new Frontiers.   As part of my Mirrix Loom Journey I am experimenting with leather.  I do feel excited and yes, even a little naughty!  Why? Because I am venturing out of my old paradigm of bead stitching.  Leather is something I just know nothing about, and so I have crossed into a new world.  I was not raised to be adventurous…but rather to stay safe and comfortable.  So, every time I take steps into the unknown, I feel this way.

In addition to Elena and Claudia, who lead the Mirrix loom company and chose me to participate in their Social Market project,  I have to thank my Native American customers who do traditional beadwork using a loom, and those that make garments for dancing and ceremony.  Many will come into my bead shop asking for leather, and I would turn them away, because I didn't sell it, and I knew nothing about it.  But, as I seek ways to finish my loom work into jewelry, the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow is about to converge on Albuquerque.  Native People from around the Americas are arriving and I am blessed that many find their way to my shop.  And so, I was driven out in search of leather.  

I am fortunate to live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where google maps pointed me to a leather supply shop just minutes from my home and my shop.  I stepped inside the store, and immediately, I wanted to wrap myself in soft tanned hides and inhale the comforting aroma.  After questioning or perhaps "badgering" the sales assistant and about an hour of roaming up and down the aisles, I left with 2 complete cowhides the color of deerskin, some lace and cord, and the tools to cut,  punch, and create eyelets.  (Soon I will be selling cowhide strips and squares in my shop).  

I perused cyberspace to get some ideas for the finishing, and I just jumped in.  Here's my first attempt.

My first piece of jewelry from the loom

The bead work is my own pattern and woven on the Mirrix loom using S-Lon bead cord to warp and  11/0 Delica cylinder beads.  The bead on the "tie" was a gift from my mom.  I used Nymo thread and glovers #6 needles to sew the loom work to the leather - don't even attempt with a beading needle.   I like it. But, I know, this is just the beginning! It is a nice way to close, because it is adjustable, I can manage the tie with one hand and slip the bead up to tighten.  But it does loosen over the course of the day.  So I will be continuing my experiments with leather and with finishing loom work.


Tomorrow, Friday, April 25th from 4:30-6:30, we will host our next Happy Hour event.  A free bead pattern for the bracelet pictured here will be available.  There will be coffee and cookies (including gluten free), and a relaxed fun atmosphere for beading and socializing.  We will have our resident wire expert, Sylvia Abeyta for assistance, if you'd like to twist instead.  Come join us.  You can check out our newest products, including luminescent 18 mm resin flat backs in lots of colors.  Perfect for bead embroidery. They look great with our new Shibori silk ribbon.  Click here for a link to the free pattern supply list.  


Crystal Flatbacks 
More Rose Montees (including 3 mm and 4 mm)
Plastic Banded Crystals - Neon Colors 

Hope to See You Soon!!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Being a Beginner

Greetings Beady Friends!  I've started my Mirrix Loom Journey.   In exploring a new piece of equipment, and a new technique, I've re-discovered what it feels like to be a beginner.  Oh, to know nothing, be completely confused, move awkwardly, and stumble.  Oh, to jump in with both feet, and swim about making mistakes, un-doing, re-doing and wondering if I will make something beautiful, ever…with this machine.  How is it that the lovely beads I once thought I knew, are working up into absolutely un-pretty things, ugly even? 

But here's the beauty of it…I'm free to fumble and dance about being absolutely new and fresh at it.  I can laugh at how goofy my work looks, and smile at my ignorance.  I am reminded of traveling alone in foreign countries, a thing I used to do when I was young, but haven't lately.   It is simply thrilling to boldly go where I have never ventured.   Just doing something new is a victory!  When was the last time you pushed yourself against your own frontiers to seize a new discovery?  

Every Friday at our Bead and Wire Happy Hours (4:30-6:30 pm) we are offering friendship, fun and a chance to try something new.  Tomorrow I will demonstrate how to make the bird's nest pendants / earrings with wire and beads.  Even if you've never worked with wire, these cuties are worth a try.  Bring wire and tools if you have them…However, most of the work is done with your hands, so even if you don't own tools, come anyway and borrow from me or a friend.  We have loads of wire and beads, of course.  Mix them with charms to celebrate Spring!

Bird's Nest Pendants / Earrings
Free Demo at our Happy Hour Event

Also New…
  • Our Shibori silk ribbon is in stock… This Japanese method of dyeing and pleating silk results in absolutely gorgeous combinations of colors.  Many bead artists are incorporating shibori silk into jewelry designs.  I've started a Pinterest Board with a collection of samples.  Click here to see astounding creations using Shibori silk.  Then come on in and pick some up to play with.  If you want instruction on how to work with Shibori silk, we have a class for you.  Leah Ready's Shibori Heart Pin / Pendant on Saturday 5/17 will get you set.  

Just look at that silk!
Shibori Heart Class with Leah Ready

  • We are now carrying every Delica bead still produced up to #800.  We do have hundreds of colors past #800…but some we don't have and now that a local Delica supplier has closed, we are filling in the gaps.  We predict we will be carrying up to 300 additional new colors over the next 1-2 months.  

  • Miracle Beads from Japan in 4 mm rounds.  Amazing brilliant colors.  While it's true these are plastic…think "light and beautiful Japanese beads".  We plan for more sizes if we see an interest.  

  • Swarovski rivolis in 16 and 18 mm.  We have expanded our repertoire.  Sixteen millimeter rivolis are hard to come by, but we have a few, and we have our eyes open for more.  We've now got plenty colors in the 18 mm size.  They start as low as $3.95.

Coming Soon…
Our proper website and soon after, our webstore.  I am working on it….