The End of Summer

When you have kids in school and a husband who is a teacher, summer is a redundancy of excitement and let down.  It ends.  Routine resumes.  Although for me personally there is little difference between summer and the other seasons except the weather.  And the fact that my mind started to sink into that summer mode and I managed to put off lots of deadlines and then entirely forgot they existed.  I did this with my new gig at the NH Institute of Art.  I forgot to show up for the first faculty meeting, forgot to get my ID, forgot to log into my Institute email account and read the fifty emails that were waiting for me and forgot to deliver piece for faculty exhibit (it will get there today, a week late).  And I forgot, when agreeing to give a talk to the Bead Society of NH that I would be in Seattle that day, a far cry from Manchester, NH.  Let me see, what else did I allow to pass to the other side, the non-working side, of my brain?  Oh, forgot to deliver loom with weaving on it for an exhibit on Labor Day.

I am trying to remember today all those things I forgot.  I might even tackle that pile of bills.  Spent this morning changing my credit card for all automated payments because the only card I ever used was cancelled after twelve years because I paid it off every month and was reaping way too many miles and points.  I kid you not.  They just up and cancelled it and now all sorts of payments are forgetting to be paid.

You know summer is over when you drive seven hours to deliver your kid to college.  Ms. Joni (on left) accompanied Zach (on right) and me.  Despite the hugeness of Cornell, it was a pretty gentle experience.    They didn’t tow or ticket your car even if it was in a no parking zone which mine was quite frequently.

Returned just in time to utterly fail at our first attempt at a Webinar.  Gathered our wits about us, and simply filmed a video on how to weave that famous tapestry cuff.

Then I got really ambitious and started putting together the tapestry cuff bracelet kits.  Here is a sneak preview of one of those:

Waiting for beads to arrive . . . I hope today . . . so that I can finalize the kit and get it in the shopping cart.
New Webinar scheduled for Wednesday.  We will finish weaving the cuff, remove it from the loom and attach it to the brass base.  

Mirrix Looms: An Escape From The Screen

Mirrix Looms: An Escape From The Screen
After listening to an interview on NPR about the effects technology has on the brain, I started thinking about my own life and my own consumption of technology. My morning went like this: Woke up to the alarm on my Blackberry. Groggily turned on the coffee machine and plopped down on the couch with the news on and my iPad in front of me. My husband went straight to his laptop.  The phone rang. At 6:45 am. He answered. I started up my iMac. He removed his iPod from the dock and kissed me goodbye. I called in for my morning Skype meeting and my day (in front of the computer) began.
I assume I fall somewhere in the technology-heavy side of the population but I’m sure many people have similar mornings. And evenings. And afternoons. The interview that brought this up discussed a retreat (sans cell phone reception) of several scientists studying the effects of technology on the brain. The goal was to go on vacation and see the device-less time “through a neurological lens”.  Plainly put, the scientists’ general conclusion was that people need time when they are not stimulated by technology to process information. In studies done with mice, after learning new things, it took a removal from stimulating situations for new neurons to grow. It can be similarly concluded that humans need time away from devices, including enjoyable stimulation like games, to process things they have learned.
There are many different ways to get that non-stimulated time… lying in bed, meditating, going for a run (perhaps without that iPod?) or, even better, weaving! I always knew it was good for you. Just a few minutes a day in front of your loom (or, yes, most art projects) gives you just a little more time without technology a without (often fruitless) multitasking. Which, it seems, isn’t doing our brains much good.

The moral is: You know weaving makes you feel good (if you don’t, I suggest a Mirrix Loom to help you change your mind) but it looks it’s good for you too. Take some time today away from the computer (yes, I know you’re there, you’re reading a blog) and sit somewhere nice and quiet with your loom and some beads or some yarn and just weave. You’ll be better for it. 

I want to share further steps of completing a Loomed Cell Phone Bag

I have loomed a bit more on the opposite panel, of the Cell Phone Bag I am creating to take along on my NY trip to GMA. I’d like to loom a few more rows before I share this panel with you.

Let me show you my selection of ‘accent beads’ I picked out, which will be used for parts of the strap and the fringe.

The colors of the beads above, will match either side of the cell phone, depending on which side out it’s worn. I may not be using all of the beads pictured, but I will more then likely use some of each you see.

I’ll also add some beaded bead tubes to the strap, by beading tubes to match the colors as well. These aways lend themselves to carrying over the ‘seed bead’ medium, as opposed to just using larger beads or gems.

My thoughts are to pick up the grays, browns, blacks and blues. Notice the ‘light copper’ color Permanent Toho Metallic Beads. This will help to tie in the ‘medal I will be bezeling and attaching to the panel I am looming right.

At first thought, I was going to graph/pattern a picture of RR, sitting at the GMA desk. Thinking more I decided against that pattern idea because I asked my self, “who would want to wear something with there picture, front and center.” Not Me! I opted to create a more special feel. Since the first side of the panel is RR during her College Basket Ball Days, I created the other panel of something also dear to her heart, her Dad. He was a pilot with the ‘Tuskegee Airmen’. She talked about this publicly many times. Here is a picture of an Airman’s medal, all pilots received.

This will be bead bezeled and attached to the panel I am looming right now. This is the reason I used the ‘light copper’ accents on the strap and in my beaded bead tubes. I’ll also add an ever-so-small splash of the same Permanent Copper Metallic Toho Bead to the fringe.

All of the parts, I am sharing here, were compiled in between the looming of the panels. This production type beading really helps me to finish a project much sooner then expected. This way, it gets exciting to put all the parts together, which it’s time!

Above all, I am very pleased to have found a way to loom cell phone bags, without the muss of ‘dealing with the warps’!

Dying The Warps!

I have been working on a ‘cell phone bag’ design. This one will include some dark color beads, as well as light and white beads. Therefore, I had to make a decision as to what color warp and weft I should use. My decision was:
WARP – white cotton thread…it will dye perfectly
WEFT – white nylon thread….the dye will not ‘run’ into the weft color thread.

Let me show you what I am looming!

Notice the dark beads! See the white warps too? This makes for a very uncomfortable color design.

I correct this by ‘painting the warps’ with a Permanent Black Ink. Then, my warps are white for the light beads in my picture, and the back beads can be dyed without any problems. Here is a picture of the looming, before I dyed the warps:

Notice the white vertical lines of warps…in between the black beads. I used ‘white warps’ so the ‘white bead’ colors would POP! They do, but the dark colors looks ‘inappropriate’!

To correct this, I take a paint brush and some ‘permanent black ink’. I paint the warps above and below the looming, as well as bristle it inbetween the black beads, wiping each swipe with the ‘inked brush’. I do not paint into the white beaded areas.

I knew I was going there, with this idea, so when I started my project, I warped my loom using a ‘cotton’ thread, which absorbs the ink very dark and very quickly. Then I made my ‘weft’ a Nylon thread. Nylon does not absorb wet very well, including ink. Therefore, the ink would not ‘run’ inside of the light beads, when I paint the warps in between the dark beads. This was well though out prior! You can also notice the warps, in the picture above, being half dark and half light. This shows where I started and stopped painting.

But Will It Make You Happy? A Loom?

I was browsing through the New York Times last Sunday when I came across an article, “But Will It Make You Happy?” It began describing a woman who had a lot of (a normal amount of) stuff and made a decent amount of money but was caught on the “work-spend treadmill” and so one day she began to give stuff away and live a simpler life.

The article went on to discuss the age old question… Does stuff make you happy? Researchers, according to this article, have discovered that there are several factors that contribute to what purchases make you happiest. Unsurprisingly, spending money on experiences rather than “things” make people happiest.

I started thinking about this in terms of Mirrix. Do Mirrix Looms make people happy?

It didn’t take me long to realize… of course they do! Buying a Mirrix Loom is not just buying a THING, it’s buying an EXPERIENCE. When you spend $155 on a loom you are both acquiring a thing and a lasting experience. It’s the best of both worlds. You will find joy purchasing your new toy, in the process of weaving and with the result of your efforts.

Email me and let me know how Mirrix can make your loom buying and loom owning experience even better in order to make YOU, our loyal customers, even happier! And let me know… Does your loom make you happy?


Further Additions to the Bead Loomed Base

I am so pleased with how well my newly discovered techniques and my ‘mind’s eye’ are working so well together! Each part, or petal and leaf, are edged with 11/0 Toho Silver Permanent Finish Glass Beads. Before being secured in to place, I sew a 6/0 Toho Silver Perm Glass Bead to the back so I can keep the proper depth of field for each addition.

There is so much more I will be creating, using new ideas, for this necklace. Completing the total look of the Lotus is only my first goal. I’ll be working on some unique ideas for the upper portion of each strap side.

The warp weights are still sitting patiently until I can start the straps! Again, the Mirrix had so much to do with being able to complete my new and different design ideas. Once the Lotus is totally assembled, I’ll be working more with the warp weights!

I have also been drawing out a finish for below the Lotus. However, I’ll think on that one a bit more! The freedom of these warps are giving me so much to think about!

Look what Amy’s doing now!

Amy-for-the-cure-bagThis is what Amy said:

I have just finished one of the 2 little cell phone bags I am making for my daughter and my hairdresser to donate to their Breast Cancer 3 day walk auctions. There are a lot of hours put into this one but I do love the Mirrix. Part of why I like it is because I can carry it from room to room or elsewhere. I have a hard time sitting in one room for long hours. I need a change of scenery quite often.

Reading about how Amy likes a change of scenery makes me think of the new contest that Mirrix is having. Read about it below from their Facebook page.

Mirrix Tapestry and Bead Looms Claudia’s Birthday Month Contest! Ends August 30th, 2010. “My Mirrix’s Day Out. A Contest.” One of the great things about the Mirrix family of looms is their portability. Even our biggest looms can be picked up and thrown in the back of the station wagon.

Mirrix Tapestry and Bead Looms The smaller looms were designed to be so portable that no one would think twice about taking their Mirrix to the beach or a soccer game or that workshop across the country. We want to know where you’ve taken YOUR Mirrix.
Mirrix Tapestry and Bead Looms Take a picture of your Mirrix somewhere fun and exciting (on top of a mountain, on a sailboat, at the top of a famous landmark, at work… you get the picture) and email us that picture with a short description of the location. We will choose one winner and put all our contestants pictures in an online gallery.
Mirrix Tapestry and Bead Looms The winner will receive:-Everything to make a beautiful bead cuff bracelet-Ten small but beautiful skeins of Claudia’s own and-washed, hand-dyed, hand-spun tapestry yarn. -Two inspiring books: “The Sea” and “Myths and Folktales” (Check out our store for more information on these fantastic books.)-15% off your next order of $100 or more (you will receive a special code)

The Cube

BoxYou may remember my attempts at weaving a box. I am embarrassed to show this, but it’s finished. I promised warts and all! It’s very lopsided. Below are some while-in-progress pictures in which I tried out various line techniques.


What to do differently:

  1. Have a template of the square
  2. Know in advance how the edges will be stitched together


  1. Weave in silk or mercerized cotton
  2. Line box
  3. Plan for a lid and fastener

Adding 3D to a loomed design

I guess you could say I am being a ‘Tease’! But this idea, for my recent SLN, is working out perfectly. It is exactly what I have had in mind! I decided to share a photograph of an earlier stage. More is completed, right now, but this photo is to give you the sense of my idea.

Each petal, of this Loomed Lotus, will be created in a handwoven stitch,edged with Perm Toho Silver 11/0 Beads, then secured to the base looming.

This technique is similar to the ‘bead tole’ I blogged about earlier. Each petal or leaf is rated for it’s perspective placement. My last addition will be the foremost petal in the pattern.

I am working on the Mirrix, with the base looming still in play on the loom because I will also be working some unique ideas for the straps, of this necklace.

Take a look a the looming again and see if you can picture what I am trying to create. Then, I will share a more updated photo soon!

A mishmash, hodgepodge, potpourri, mélange, or as they said in the 60s, a mixed bag

With temperatures around 102 or above, we’re moving kind of slow around here. Presently, even the humidity is low. So, explain to me why the pollen count for fungus is so high. As I’ve mentioned before, allergies have not been my friend this year, and I can’t remember the last time I have had allergy problems. So the to-do list went by the wayside, and tasks that don’t require a brain were worked on today. I’ll have to drag out the list another day, since the temps will continue at their current status quo for the next week or so. Oh, well…


Exhibit of Moroccan rugs

“Beautiful isn’t exactly the word for these things; I’m not sure what is. Some of them are garish and weird, though their exuberance is irresistible.”

I have been interested in electronic textiles, but more with LED lights than other more interesting possibilities. Below are a few links about electronic textiles. I’m not sure about fibers that hear and sing, like the one pictured below. Link is here. image

And then there’s Talk to my Shirt

More electronic textiles via Lynne Bruning, the textile enchantress.

I’m not exactly sure I remember the sequence of the following, but they seem to have a pattern. First is an installation from a gallery in SoHo.

image Polly Apfelbaum, "Ice" - dyed velvet at D'Amelio Terras
525 W22th St. Apr 25-June 6 '98

Then there’s the YouTube video of Polly Apfelbaum installing her exhibition and here is her website.

Then there is this from Hand Eye magazine about art that lasts just a moment.

imageCourtesy of Birgitta de Vos

Buddhist monks have highly sophisticated sand mandalas and Indian women have kolam.

And all of the above bring to mind the beautiful sand painting that Native Americans do. Below is from Wikepedia.

image Navajo sandpainting, photogravure by Edward S. Curtis, 1907, Library of Congress

Old Postcard

Postcard showing creation of large Sandpainting

And for just zany appeal:

This from Tracy Zeller Designs. If you really want to see these chairs in all their glory, go to here site. Pictures are larger, and the close-up is bigger.

imageLooks like one could get a massage sitting in this chair!image According to Newsweek, we have a creativity crisis. Have they seen this chair?

And then we have A Year of Dressing from the Land.

image Rebecca wearing sweater dyed with coffeeberry holding her handspun naturally dyed yarns. Photos courtesy of Paige Green.

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