Stitches: A Fiber Show

22 02 2011

I think of my jewelry as falling into the “metal arts” category – silver, copper, hammers, and torches – yep, that’s metal arts! I sometimes use beads and gemstones, but most of the time, they are the accents, not the focus.

I have 2 major exceptions to this, which I call my “soft” side – my bead crochet, which uses seed beads, and my kumihimo, which uses colored cords and fibers. And this past weekend, I indulged a bit in my soft side, and I attended Stitches.

Stitches is a convention of all things fiber: spinning, knitting, weaving, crocheting – it is a huge meeting of the soft and fluffy yarns, the new wool blends, the natural fibers, and the hand-dyed… it is the opposite of a bead show, where all the materials are stone and glass and gems.

Aisles at Stitches (click photo for close-up)

Look at all the vivid colors – what you can’t see is the textures and the different yarns – the silks, the wools, the cashmeres, the soys, the cottons – absolutely wonderful to take in. I really love the weaving – it looks like something I could get into in the future, although I don’t know what I’d do with the fabric once woven! There were also gorgeous sweaters, jackets, socks, and blankets – available in patterns and kits… if only I was fiber-friendly!

Marion Jewels in Fiber Booth (click photo for close-up)

I spent one day roaming the floor, and checking out the goods… I bought some great ribbon style yarn, which I’m using for some kumihimo projects (I’ll do that in a later post), and I spent a day doing demo’s at a friends booth – Marion Jewels in Fiber. Marion has a great online store, where she carries an extraodinary selection of silk threads, as well as the full line of C-Lon cording. Also, she sells kumihimo kits, micro-macrame materials, tools, and my StudioDax Bead Crochet Jig.

My StudioDax Bead Crochet Jig - Demo Kit

After doing demos for a year or so now, I’ve pretty much got it down – my demo kit includes a couple of projects in different stages: the multi-purple bracelet is almost done (see the cords threaded thru the endcaps and focal bead), the solid green size 8 beads, and the 3 color spiral size 6 beads (peach, white, and bronze) are bracelets in progress, and the solid black teardrop beads that are still on the jig. The other pieces show how to remove the jig from the crochet rope (the multi-color stripes on the jig), as well as some examples of using the jig to make ropes with smaller delicas and size 11 beads. And I always have a sample of what it looks like to start a bead rope without the jig – you can see it on the right in the photo, below the awl – it looks a little like a knot of beads!

I appreciate all my customers that buy from my StudioDax shop , and I love when they leave me feedback letting me know how much they enjoy using the jig, but it’s great fun doing demos to show how easy it is to use, and having people buy the jig on the spot… instant gratification!!

First Show of the Season

13 11 2010

Please excuse this blog interruption for a brief advertising announcement!

I love meeting people and talking about my work and my teaching – the best place to do that is at shows, because part of the reason people come to shows is to meet the artist/artisan. On the other hand…. I absolutely HATE setting up and tearing down the booth, so I only do a few shows every year. Tomorrow, I’m doing a new show that is only a few miles from my house – I hope to introduce my classes to some potential new students, and make a few sales too!

Holiday Boutique - Sunday 11/14/10

If you’re local, I’d love for you to stop by and say hi!! Since I have now pulled all my consignment from shops, I’ll have quite a full stock of items out!

In My Previous Life

11 11 2010

In Honor of Veteran’s Day

Today, I am a jewelry designer – I create and sell my jewelry, I teach classes in a variety of jewelry techniques, and I’m even the inventor of a specialty jewelry tool. But like most folks, I’ve changed directions a bit in my life. I’ve mentioned before in my blog that I came from a corporate background – I was a marketing manager, a program manager, a product launch manager, even an engineering and communications technician. But what I haven’t shared online yet is the path I was on BEFORE I joined the corporate world…

Introducing..... Airman Randi!

Yes – that’s me! I found a few photos from my days in the military, and scanned this in, to honor Veteran’s Day. Despite the “oh where did she get that perm” hair, and those HUGE glasses (really, at the time, they were very fashionable!), I swear, it’s me… a very young me! I’m not in costume for Halloween, but in full combat ready gear – flak jacket and helmet, ready for “war games” activities while stationed overseas. I may not look it now, but I was a proud member of the Air Force, and so much of what I am today, I attribute to what I learned back then.

On Veteran’s Day, I always think back to that time, and I remember the people I knew, and the places I traveled, and the values I learned.

To those that have served, and those that still serve, I am honored to be counted among you. And to those that have sacrificed, and those who have lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you, with humble thanks.

It Seemed Like A Good Idea When I Bought It!

21 07 2010

I love interacting with customers, so you’d think that craft shows would be a great venue for me. But as much as I enjoy talking with people at the shows, I discovered that I really hate the process of setting up and tearing down a booth space, so I do very few of them. But I am always on the prowl for different displays that could work.

A few years back I found a great one from a store that was going out of business – I think it was originally used to display watches. It has locking doors, it turns, it holds alot of jewelry, and it looks good.

My Original Display Case

So here’s the display, loaded up with some of my earrings … looks good, right? But in my narrow minded focus, I sorta forgot a few things – like it is HEAVY. Not a little heavy, but real HEAVY. And BIG – not just tall, but wide too. And AWKWARD – the turntable on the bottom has to be taped down before you try to lift it, of it will swing around. And did I mention HEAVY?

I don’t know what I was thinking… this is NOT a good display case for craft shows! I can barely get it in/out of my car. And it takes up alot of space on the table. And when the show is done, and I gotta lift it back into the car, I am tempted to just leave it at the curb, anything so I don’t have to lift it (did I say it’s it HEAVY!?). I’ve since bought a couple of lightweight earring displays, and decided it’s time to sell this big boy on Craigs List…

But really… I thought it was a good idea when I bought it!

Twisted, Wrapped, Coiled, and Woven…

13 07 2010

… just some ways to have fun with wire! I love how wire can be manipulated, and adapted for so many different looks. Basic wire skills are so important – knowing how wire bends and acts are key techniques that every jewelry designer should know. But wire work is so much more than wrapping a bead or making an earwire! Wire can be a key design element in your pieces – not just an accessory to beads. Luckily, some of of the best wire designers in the country are also some of the best teachers! For those of us looking to broaden our wire skills, Hooked on Wire (Sept 9-12, 2010) is a great venue to meet up and learn from the masters!

Fiore Selvatico with Barb Switzer

Isn’t this just a gorgeous necklace!? Barb is such an artist with wire… I love how the focal rivoli crystal and the antiqued wire are used – it reminds me of flowing vines and flowering English gardens.

Circles Bracelet with Dallas Lovett

Dallas does such great things with wire… his designs are so inspired! This intriguing design combines seed beads and wire weaving to create a bit of art deco for your arms…

Victorian Scroll Bracelet with Lisa Niven Kelly

The inspiration for Lisa’s fabulous bracelet is old style iron gates… in this detailed close-up, you can see how the scrollwork inspired a new art form as it wraps around your wrist!

These workshops teach you so much more than just the projects… they teach you the the techniques. This is the 7th year that Hooked on Wire has brought such talent together, and it’s a great opportunity to meet up with others that share your passion. If you’ve never attended a retreat like this, think of it as both a vacation, and an education… your creativity will thank you for the kick!!

And I’d love to meet you too – I’ll be there, teaching “FAN-tastic Pendent,” one one of the optional night classes, so make sure you check out the entire Hooked on Wire site to see how much fun you can pack in just 3 days!

It’s An Etsy Party!

19 06 2010

The only thing a craftperson likes more than their craft, is to share it! Last night, all across the world, members of Etsy got together to share their crafting passions, and meet other like-minded folks. There were several groups in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley/Bay Area, and I met up with a great group of craftsfolks in San Jose…

There's a Party Goin' On!

We were a pretty small group – online we were 25+ strong, but anyone who actually drives in San Jose during rush hour knows that it is a real challenge to get together Friday after work! So about 12 or so of us actually showed up at a library community room, to share, make friends, and have a little fun (we all made some fun paper boxes). Here’s what the locals brought:

Mix Media Painting

Our wonderful coordinator Yvette (who did a fabulous job!), of Autumn Lane Studios, creates some really beautiful, textural mixed media work. This dimensional painting has a warmth and a richness that looks so much better in person!

Book Boxes and Handmade Journals

Looking at old books in a new way, to make then both useful and interesting is something that Teal Stripes has made into an artform! I remember the “book safes” you could buy to stash your valuables in, but these are just too fun to hide away!

Altered Art Cards

Rebecca of Naturally Eco Memories showed us her cards and gift creations with a definite vintage look – the style, the materials, even the subtle colors, are all reflective of her love for authentic vintage ephemera.

Soft and Sweet - Fibers and Altered Art

Carole’s Designs makes some beautifully hand colored and painted journals – always inspiring when you want to wax poetic! Her multi-fiber knit shawl was just scrumptious! Carole isn’t on Etsy yet, but I look forward to seeing her shop there soon!

Shiny Pretty Things!

Rose Anne from Rorolee Jewelry brought in some shiny baubles! Clean lines, warm gemstones, and chain links make her work contemporary, with just a little bit of trendy kicked in!

Fun and More Fun!

Fun felt and knit animals from Lindsay Harmony gave us a little entertainment – I can hear the theme to “Jaws” when I look at her shark! And one of Etsy’s favorite photographers came by – Lisa from PhotoAmato – bringing some of her photo cards and great tile pendants.

It was a fun time, and I look forward to some more creative meet-ups… the Bay Area is truly fortunate to have so many very talented artisans!

DIY at Maker Faire

23 05 2010

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Maker Faire (see my post last week), a DIY event, focusing on the “build it yourself” mind set, with an eco-friendly emphasis. I was a volunteer at the Metal Art Association of Silicon Valley (MAASV) table – we were there to let folks know what the MAASV was about, and to offer up a simple “make and take” project.

Make & Take Project

Our project was an easy charm/pendant – we provided copper discs and some simple tools, and showed folks how to add texture to metal. It was best a fun kids project, but quite a few adults took the time to make one up too.

Being a “crafty maker” I was interested in all the crafty DIY and vendors – there were informal demos on felting, sewing, knitting, paper crafts, glass bead making, etc. Here’s a few of the crafty vendors I liked:

Sugar Skulls Rock!

Isn’t this adorable? Cute kids and “Day of the Dead” – what a great combo! My favorite items though from the Frogs & Chicks table… the “iPee” caps and “iPoo” onsies!

Knit Geek Pets!

I also liked the “knit geekery” – these knit pets by MisterFunky are perfect for folks who can’t remember to feed or walk the real thing!

Not Your Kids Scooter!

The techno geekery was really amazing – handmade vehicles, rockets, steampunk, musical instruments, electronics projects with lights and sound, and a lot more – something for all, no matter how big (or small) a geek

There were alot of demos and activities for both adults and kids that really give you some different ways of looking at things… if a Maker Fair comes to your neighborhood, I suggest you go and enjoy the day!

I’m Hooked on Wire…

20 05 2010

…And you can be too! Hooked on Wire (aka: HOW) is an annual wire retreat held in the San Fransisco Bay Area – imagine what you can learn by spending three days (Sept 10-12), with some of the top wirework artists in the country!! This year, Lisa Niven Kelly, Dallas Lovett, and Barb Switzer are the fabulous workshop instructors, and I’m thrilled to be joining HOW this year as one of the evening instructors! My project will be a little bit of a break from all the wire working done during the day – you’ll get a chance to play with some metal and create a fun “FAN-tastic” pendant :

What a "FAN-tastic" Pendant!!!

Hooked on Wire is a wonderful opportunity¬† to expand your skills, meet great people, and have a whole lotta fun! So check out the website for more info on projects and tickets, and plan a mini vacation – you deserve a few days for yourself! This is the 7th year for HOW, and it just gets better and better…!!

I’ll See You at The Faire…

14 05 2010

At Maker Faire, that is! For those of you who don’t know, Maker Faire is a yearly event focusing on the growing DIY movement of people who look at things a little differently… Scientists, engineers, and craftspeople come together, promoting and educating their passions to a very receptive audience – it’s a little bit Star Trek, a little bit Steve Jobs, and all fun!

Hope to see you at the Faire!!

I am a member of the Metal Arts Association of Silicon Valley (MAASV), which is a great community of metal arts folks in the SF Bay Area. We have a booth set-up at the Faire where we will be doing “make and take” projects. The purpose is to introduce the MAASV to the public, while having some fun, and I am looking forward to participating. I am also hoping to have a chance to check out some of the other booths before I start – I’ll be there between 4:00 – 8:00, and if anyone is planning on showing up, please come by and say hello!

It’s Showtime!

12 05 2010

The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising, and the flowers are starting to bloom. We all know what that means – it’s showtime! Noooooo – not the circus, and not the theater, but the summer craft show circuit. I love being outside, and interacting with customers, and I thought it was time for a quick review of what we call “THE CHECKLIST” – the what you absolutely positively, must bring with you when you do craft shows… (NOTE: click on the list to enlarge, then print):

These are the things that anyone doing a craft show should remember, regardless of what they craft. And… if you are a jewelry kinda person like me, than you’ll want to remember a couple of extra items, just to make sure that you’ve got everything covered:

I hope that you find these useful as you start planning your summer craft show schedule. There are plenty of lists all over online, so if these don’t work for you, just do a quick google and I’m sure you’ll find something else.And if I missed something critical – please let me know!