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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Bead Storage!

I am very excited about this!  I have been thinking about exactly what I want my bead storage to look like for months, and in baby steps, I have ended up with something I just love.

My criteria were many and varied.  First, I am a person who likes to have things out and accessible, rather than tucked away behind doors and drawers, so I wanted my beads visible.  They used to be in glass jars on my work space, but they were beginning to take over.

Secondly, I wanted all of the beads of a color and finish to be together, no matter size 15, 11, 8, 6, or packaging, so I decided that trays that held tubes, boxes and bags would be perfect. I did not want to do any repackaging or labeling.  I decided that my trays would need to be neutral in color, since the color and finish of the beads is to me the most important consideration in making choices.  I considered black velvet trays, gray cafeteria trays, and silver bakery pans.  I kinda wanted these trays to be pretty!

My third consideration was cost.  I did not want to spend hundreds of dollars.  I stumbled across these plastic trays at the Dollar Tree store and fell in love at first sight!  They are the perfect size for long tubes of beads, they have little handles that feel good in my hands, they are totally color neutral, and they even cast pretty shadows on my counter!  Best of all, $1 each, and compared to everything else I considered, BY FAR the best bargain.  And bonus, I can see the color range from the end of the tray!

 AND, these worked great for different sizes and kinds of containers, so no need to repackage and label!  I found them here at Dollar Tree.

Also, these trays are lightweight, but quite sturdy.  And let me tell you, beads are heavy things!  I can lift three trays at once with one hand.

I also can sort any way I like, and move things around without trouble.

But then there was the problem of how to store the trays.  I had then stacked in my beading space for a while, but with the trays 8 or 9 deep, it was hard to access the ones I wanted to pull out, plus I didn't like bending over to look for beads.  Bad light, bad back, bad knees, bad ankles, bad, bad, bad!

The Best Man Ever said he would make me cabinets to hold my trays, but I am not at an age where I want more furniture,  even super cool custom made stuff with tray slots, plus they would need to be HEAVY duty to support all the weight of the beads.  So I kept looking and thinking.

And then LO!  Last week at my Hancock Fabrics, which is going out of business, (insert HUGE sad face here) I spotted these!!!

They were selling all their beautiful fabric racks, and everything else in the store and I thought... These!  I NEED THESE!!!  I dashed home, got a tray and it fit magnificently in the little slots.  So I held my breath and asked the price.  $5 each.  And they had two of them, which I bought on the spot.

Finally I have had a little time to move some things around and install the first rack.  I am planning to move some of my beading operation to my costume studio, and the racks fit perfectly on my counter, under my bookcases, so I took some time this afternoon and moved one of them in!

So, there you have it, my new bead storage.  This is ALL of my 15/0, 11/0. 8/0 and 6/0, and I have ANOTHER rack left to fill with cylinders, funky shapes, and Czech firepolish, but I may not get to them for a while.  

I have about 60 trays, and will buy maybe another 60, so a total of $120 on trays, plus $10 on racks.  

Feels great to have this sorted, and be really happy with my new bead storage!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chihuly Garden and Glass

A day of inspiring imagery and fantastic depth and breadth in glass!
Starting point, the Glass Forest.  I thought it was much more like neon flamingoes in the dark.
I have gotten somewhat used to taking photos with my phone, because my otherwise practically perfect husband is annoyed by my DSLR camera. Apparently I squeal "OOOO, PRETTY!!"  and stop way too often when I have that tool in my hands. But I have never been quite as sad to be shooting with my phone as I was on the day we went to Chihuly Garden and Glass.  I could have stayed all day.
In the Northwest Room you can see the influence of Native Northwest art.
Motifs, shapes and textures from baskets, weaving, and vessels are obvious and elegant.
To quote from the little brochure you get when you pay your entry fee, " I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced."  I was, Mr. Chihuly, sir. You blew me away.  Between the beautiful glass, the spectacular lighting and presentations, the massive installations, and THE GARDEN, I was frequently in tears from the beauty and joy and inspiration I was feeling.

In the Sea Life Room the central installation was gasp-worthy, churning and frothing
in a sinuous mass of color, creatures and foam.
Crabs from the Sea Life Room
My iPhone shots do none of this justice, but I put them here because I want to try to remember 
what I saw and how I felt.

Sea Turtles.  I just love the pedestal.  "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea..."
And the composition of this!!!  I wish I had a 3D image for you.
Then there was the Persian Ceiling.  The lighting design in this gallery is spectacular throughout, but for me, glass is all about transparency and translucency and shimmer and color!  This was a beautiful way to see those things! There is an aquarium that you can walk through and beneath in Minneapolis. This had the feeling of that place.

Persian Ceiling, with breathtaking backlighting.
And combined with some masterful reflections, it was water and wind and nearly alive.

I can't begin to describe the Mille Fiori installation.  
There were grapes and eggplants and grass and vines and ferns and flowers.

End view of the huge Mille Fiori Installation
Maybe even a few snakes?  Eden?

My photos of the Ikebana and Float Boat installation are especially lame.  Sigh.
I could really have used the panorama feature on my camera for this.  :(
I missed the floats entirely.
The monochrome chandeliers were almost relaxing. There is so much
energy in this huge body of work that it is a bit overstimulating!

And we had our picture taken.  

With The Best Man Ever and Most Excellent Son.  Do I look a bit over the moon?
In the Macchia Forest below, Chihuly challenged himself to make use of every color of glass available.  Often a layer of white glass made the inside of the vessel 
delightfully and dramatically different from the outside.

And then we saw the Glasshouse, which celebrates the artist's love of the conservatory.

Conservatory inside.
Conservatory from the outside.
And finally the Garden!!! 

Of course there was the perfect environment for each piece of glass... or would that be goose?  Note the BLACK grass!
No words for this!  But all the flora is Seattle is much larger than that in Minnesota.
Fern forms.
SO...   I have taken nearly a year off from competition and larger work. I have played a little, but mostly I have spent a year teaching myself to illustrate and write tutorials.  It has been a huge learning experience.  The best thing I have gotten from this time spent is a new design tool.  I now have the ability to draw and adjust my design before I pick up a needle. 

I have been plotting a new, bigger piece in my mind, and seeing Chihuly Garden and Glass has pushed my thinking about it much further forward.  I have one final tutorial in editing stage, and will release it later this summer, but then, I am going to step back to M A K I N G, because I have this thing demanding to be made, and many beautiful new ideas and approaches in my heart to finger out. I am sad to have mostly ignored my blog this year.  Hopefully that will revert to past form a bit too.  

Should you ever find yourself in Seattle, navigate to the bottom of the Space Needle, and see this gallery.  It is a true work of art, and labor of love.