Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Maiden Voyage

This is my first blog swatch, certain to need frogging, so please be patient as the Orb and I negotiate a truce with Blogger. I will soon be posting photos and commentary, things friends have asking for the last few years. And yes, I *am* going to publish a beadwork pattern book. Dealing with the Orb delayed things, but I still have my pattern files and a box of body parts and good intentions. And no, I don't take orders and I don't sell single patterns anymore, but I do teach now and then.

My emissary, Mazama, is in a reduced state in my profile. He's from, oh, early 1988? The second incarnation of my basic lizard pattern, worked in opaque turquoise blue Czech 11's, Nymo B thread, a bit of beeswax and a size 12 beading needle. I think his eyes are translucent dark amethyst Czech 11's. I made him while sitting in the woods of the Mazama campground on the way up to Crater Lake in Oregon, on a jaunt with Tim.

Czech seed beads are wonderful for sculptural peyote beadwork because they are of highly variant width but relatively uniform diameter. As I work, I grade the beads into two piles, narrow and wide, next to the starter batch on the piece of suede covering my desk, and I fling any chipped or bubble glass on the floor to vacuum later.

Really distinctive beads like wedges or long tubes are scooted to the edge until needed. I enjoy adding a wicked curve to a toe or crest by working a short fringe of a tube, a wedge, a few tubes, and a round end bead.

The most slim of the narrow beads are reserved for the more visible increases, like the back of the head or the base of the tail. Other slims are used as needed, the remainder softening the angles of the nose. As you can see, I hadn't quite mastered noses circa Mazama's creation.

Beads with a bit of length to them, especially those with a more square profile, are excellent in areas where bias is a problem, like preventing a twist in a linear skin pattern on a torso. I also use them to augment and thus curve a sector of a tail or belly. I prefer to use beads with the classic oval Czech profile when working an irregular skin pattern like that of a gila because the fabric has a strong bias that makes the color pattern much more interesting looking.