Monday, March 30, 2020

Ad astra Veronica

My friend Veronica died in her sleep in the night of 26 to 27 March, after a very, very long, and hard fight with her body.

I loved her and feel like I lost a dear family member, but I cannot go to Sweden to say goodbye. So I am writing this article as an hommage to her friendship, a "celebration", and for all to remember the beautiful person she was, and the beautiful beadwork she made.

Veronica Jonsson
She was a beautiful girl, with a heart of gold. She had the courage of a lioness until the last minute. In addition to all her health issues, she had Asperger syndrom to deal with, which means "special needs" but also amazing talent, intelligence, a deep attachment to justice, as well as a real concern for our planet and the well-being of animals. She hated right-wing extremists with a passion.

This young woman, sick and stuck at home remained generous, concerned by others wellbeing no matter how bad she was feeling. She beaded so many awareness ribbons that the local newspaper published an article about her. 

An article about Veronica
in the local news paper

Even when she started loosing her eyesight because of cataracts that could not be removed, she dedicated her time to the creation of a political party to fight the nazis who, as she said, were taking over her country (Sweden). This was December last year. She was very proud about it and I was just completely baffled.

Amazing pendant
I cannot fathom where she found the strength, courage or hope. If you are / have been a member of her Facebook group "poor, sick and neary dead", you know what I am talking about. When she posted photos of her wounds, I nearly left, for I am a HSP, but inside of me, I thought "what kind of friend am I if I care to see only the nice things and never the bad". She needed help, and so we helped. Beaders help beaders.

And beaders understand beaders. One time she stayed so long in hospital - about a year - that she had piled up an impressive bead stash that was a nightmare to take home. During her next stay, nobody wanted to bring her beads because of that, so I sent her a box of beads and everything for Christmas. Sometimes going against good sense is a friend's duty. It made her happy.

A rainbow for a rainbow warrior

Veronica beaded beautifully. She made her own designs and mainly used bead embroidery and beadweaving. She chose stitches and colors very carefully.

Neatly bead embroidered cuff

When looking at some of her pieces, I can't help but thinking "perfect" - perfect choice of beads, stitch, colors, and balance.

I coudn't think of
a better fringe.
Veronica was also good at kumihimo and painted silk scarves, for which she made matching brooches or scarf rings. She liked to use all sorts of media, like leather, crystal clay and rhinsetones.

Silk scarf
Kumihimo Rope

She was a fan of Sherry Serafini and Laura McCabe, to whom she dedicated this big eyed cuff.

I don't remember well when we "met" for the first time on Facebook but when Veronica won the beading contest "Birds of a feather" organized by Christina Neit from Good Quill Hunting designs, we both were around since a while. Having entered the contest myself too, we bonded. Her win was well deserved. I will never forget her cuff with feathers for eyelashes... I think that you will all agree that this cuff is unforgettable.

Veronica's Birds of a Feather
contest entry
She also had sense of humor. She recuperated tubes from her blood thinners to use as containers for her seed beads. She was generous with good tips, be it about thread or glue or more.

I love this skull & bullet pendant.
Beading saved Veronica's sanity. She participated in the Toho Challenge with a very beautiful necklace despite her health issues.

She also participated in the Battle of the Beadsmith several times. Here a piece modeled by one of her beautiful nieces.

And another miracle piece which uses Hubble Stitch for the ropes.


I say miracle because when she beaded this piece, she fell asleep on it all the time because of her medication and feared to never finish it.

Veronica was a true rainbow warrior. She even had her hair dyed rainbow during some time. How awesome is that?

And now her light shines among the stars of the universe.
Goodbye, Veronica, you will continue to shine your light in my heart.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Go beyond technique

In my previous post about design, I wrote a long article about copyright and fair use and things like that.

In this post, I wish to talk about flat diagonal Cellini peyote to give you more examples about going beyond technique.

In the photo below you can see several designs made with this technique.

There are 3 peyote ribbons at the top, of which one is zipped in the length. All are clever beauties. The pendant on the left took much more time and research to create and clearly goes beyond technique. The Fandango earrings are a typical example of art-chitecture, the frontier between technique and art. Those who know me know that attaching the earstud and the earnut to the beadwork is a "Cath" signature.

When I made my Anthea's Tiara central stone bezel, I discovered how to make Bolas Canastas. I decided to give the Bolas Canastas technique to the people of Planet Bead, because of its huge potential. This is why I use the example of this technique: I see it evolve nearly "live" and with pleasure.

Flat diagonal Cellini peyote is only technique and I already had created many dimensional Cellini Peyote shaped beadwork. The tutorials for these pretties will expand your beady brain far more than the bolas, which is why I wrote tutorials for them:

3D or "Dimensional" Cellini Peyote creations:
Precious Pommanders, Mermaid Tail beaded
beads and Lotus bangle

Unzipped bolas are simply diagonal Cellini peyote ribbons. I don't see them as design, but as technique. Nobody can claim them as a design. But depending on what you do with these ribbons, the size, the bead count, the colors, the assembling method, they become designs. The method is the architecture to which you need to add a bit of your Art to make it your art-chitecture.

These Bolas are my designs, for their special
shapes and special colors
I made many different bolas. The variations in color and shape offer endless design possibilities.

Tooth pick vessel "Primeval Waters"
The longer and wider the ribbon, the more things become interesting. If you make a Cellini ribbon with your personal choice of bead colors and sizes, it will determine what the piece will look like in the end and that is what will make it yours. There is a different bola for each beader on Planet Bead.

Frosty is a shaped (triple) Bola Canastas
for which I made a tutorial
Of course, the more complex, the more a design can be "claimed".

Teresa Shelton is a very creative beader who uses primarely peyote stitch for her own creations. She made her Minx River earrings by folding the Cellini ribbon. This might sound very simple, but it takes a specific choice of bead sizes for a nice result. She teaches them in her region, but also gave us the sequence in the Cellini Peyote Freaks group.

Teresa's Minx River earrings in
delightful rainbow colors.

I had plans to make real earhoops. Créoles in French. I love that word. My plan was to add earstuds and earnuts to make hoops. I tried and ended up with my Fandango Earrings. 

My preferred version of the Fandango earrings are the ones with the studs and nuts attached to the beadwork as in the photo below, but I also made a dangle version with off-centered beads added to them). I think that my earrings really go beyond technique and that they are very "me".

Fandango Earrings

The same is valid for CRAW, Herringbone, Peyote, Diamond Weave, Brickstitch and many more techniques. Add your special touch. And if you encounter design collision, don't feel defeated. It means that you're on the right track!

When art is added to architecture, you end up with an original design

I like to think of the frontier between technique and a copyright design as art-chitecture. When architecture becomes invisible, trancended, then it is Art, and certainly fully 'copyrighted'.

We can easily differenciate this below - "Duo" uses herringbone (rope) and 3/1 drop peyote and "Time has Wings" uses herringbone, a mix of brick and picot stitch, Diamond Weave and a lot of inspirational details.

Time has Wings

But when does a creation, made with xy technique, become copyright? This is a difficult question and the answer, as well, is not easy.

This article is not academic. It is a personal view based on legal material and ethical views, and I hope that it will be of help. I decided to write this article after I got contacted by designer Aurelio Castano to show me a pair of fabulous pearl earrings made by him and Edwin Batres with Cellini peyote. If find them very beautiful.

Aurelio's earring
Aurelio considers that his earrings are too close to my Fandango earrings and despite my encouragements, he is very reluctant to write / publish a tutorial. He said that I was the inspiration and motivation behind it. But he didn't use my pattern, not even the same Cellini method.

It would be sad that he doesn't teach it. I think that he should. And I love that clever finding!

What is protected, what is not:

Aurelio's earring
Techniques are not copyright because they are necessary for progress (in every domain, science in particular). Only when a large number of steps and methods are involved, a technique can be protected by copyright.

Ideas, like "Going to Mars" or "a time machine" (that does not yet exist but in someone's brain) can also not be protected by copyright.

However, illustrations, photos and texts, patterns and such are always copyright, from the very moment they are published, no matter if the author protects them or not. Even a free tutorial is protected by copyright.
Fandango Ear Dangles
The way these works can be used is generally mentioned in the documents, or on the website where they can be downloaded. It is the author who decides where these documents may be hosted or how they can be used, so it is better to not host/use them without the approval of the author; often photos and tuts may be used for non-commercial purposes only.

Ethics: in case of doubt, don't do it. That is what Aurelio decided. But in my books, he may tutify his earrings because they have this subtile combo of his art added to architecture.

Between technique and design, it can be difficult to determine where the frontier resides. A good example of this complicated frontier are Jonna Holston's Fan-shaped earrings.

Fandango Ear Huggies
Fan-shaped hoops make a come back in the Cellini Peyote Freaks group. They look lovely with other Cellini creations, for a variety of bead sizes is used to create the fancy semi-circle shape. They are also perfect last-minute project for Christmas gifts. I could easily see how they were made (peyote in the round with Cellini sequence), but I wanted to find the original pattern back, only didn't know where to look anymore.

Cathification of Jonna Holston's Hoops

With the words "Peyote fan shaped earrings", I found a blogpost by Linda Genaw, Caravan Beads, several photo tuts on blogs and on Google also showed my very own Fandango Earrings, which made me smile.

But I remembered a much older pair, which a Swiss beading friend had adapted from a project in a magazine. So I pushed my search a bit further and found out that I actually had the Bead & Button magazine in which Jonna had her "Holler for Hoops" project published. You can still buy Jonna's pattern here.

Jonna Holston's earrings
are like little baskets,
not flat
At first sight all fan shaped earrings look the same, but Jonna's earrings are slightly bumpy. They're double sided, like a half-tire. Gold-plated seed beads are heavier then the ordinary ones, so double sided was not my goal. I based my earrings on Jonna's start and had to adapt the bead sequence too for a really flat fan shape. It took several attemps before I got mine right. And I altered them with a 6/0 Miyuki baroque pearl to give them a personal touch.

Caravan Beads used different bead sizes and two more beads in their first pick-up (and fabulous colors), resulting in larger earrings, Anne Lazenby of  Beaddiagrams altered Linda's tutoral and turned 5 fans into a very beautiful necklace, Linda altered a Russian pattern. My fans are smaller than the others (less rows) with only one Miyuki size 6/0 baroque pearl seed bead to somewhat customize their look... altered Linda's instructions
and turned 5 fans into a very beautiful necklace.
All the resulting fans are flat and lovely, yet Jonna's signature can be found back in all the variants: same bead count for nearly all, and most of all, her top 3-bead-bridge, which allows a regular decrease on each side of the earrings to create the shape. Very clever and a distinctive signature of her artchitecture.

I've seen many "Holler for Hoops", but not one exact hoop as Jonna's, double or single sided. I've come to the conclusion that most beaders who tried to make them had a hard time obtaining the desired result, no matter what pattern they choose to use. 10 years after the publication of her pair in a magazine I am not surprised to see an off-spring become "public domain". It actually seems that it had a long 'solo' life

This is a typical "grey zone". In case of grey zone, it is good to remember that in copyright laws the concept of fair use may apply. Learn more about Fair use - it is not something that allows you to use something without consent. It is a concept that acknowledges the possibility that there is lack of knowledge: here, many don't know or remember Jonna's design. They used a free tutorial from a Russian site, or from another blogger, and they say so. Fair use is also about design collision. It happens. It is unintentional. It is not totally impossible that the Russian who made that pattern did it from scratch. But those 3 beads... that start... hm hemmm. Fair use is a legal concept and may be invoked in a case. A judge will decide if yes or no it applies. Ideally, avoid getting that far and stay away from legal complications.

I say, let's bring beauty to the world, remain kind... help one another, give credit when we know / can and take a design sufficently further to make it our own.

Thank you for reading this first, long post about design. Read my next post about going beyond technique and please, leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

IBW 2019 - year long challenge

Hello my dears,

This year, International Beading Week was fab! Our IBW group was super active thanks to the leadership of our new Administrator, Susannah Thomson aka ZannahMakes, and the invaluable help from the talented Sarah Cryer, aka The Indecisive Beader, not to mention the efforts of all the other wonderful peeps from the Beadworkers Guild who worked restlessly behind the scenes to make this week memorable. And it was.

New ambassadors joined the team of permanent ambassadors and offered tutorials for free to celebrate this special week. You will find them all on this page.
Anita M. Adamson, who founded and administers the beading group "Seed beads and more" on Facebook interviewed many intervenants of IBW and the Beadworkers Guild. Successful, happy meetings were organized in many places in many countries (learn more on the IBW website about all this).

An amazing beading marathon took place in Prague, at NaSpirale, organized by the incredible Ivona Suchmannova, who invented another extraordinary beaded bead to teach at this occasion.

I hope to join these ladies one day! And not only them! I have to find out how to clone myself 😄

I also offered a new design, the Rainbolas. I hope that you will show me your bolas!

Rainbolas - tiny bolas canastas

Our fearless captain, Sylvia Fairhurst, who dedicates a ginormous amount of time to the Beadworkers Guild events and exhibits in general, started this wonderful week by a broadcasted tv-show on Jewellery Maker TV - you can view a lovely interview of Sylvia here and see her launching IBW with lovely projects here. They show the fabulous collection of beaded beads in the first minutes, it is woah!! 

Other amazing designers also appeared on Jewellery Maker TV, like, for example, Patty McCourt who not only taught her designs, but also launched a new bead shape, the volcano bead, and organized a Mega beaders meeting in her home town.

We are all very happy and hope that the world will bead on with renewn energy and motivation.

Now, as you may already know, during International Beading Week, we  assemble the 12 elements or 12 groups of elements to create our special Year long color challenge organized in the Group on Facebook.

Here are the marvelous results of this year's cuvée:

Beth Clark made her
very own dodecahedron
Photo of the other side of
Beth's dodecahedron

Erin Markovitz made a marvelous collar with
her very own orchids made with the
"Petal to Pod" technique by Cath Thomas

Above: Lava beaded beads by Rebecca Flood.

Belowt, Daisy wheels beaded by Sue Hargreaves based on a tutorial by Heather Collin.

Dora Davies made fabulous "Darling Flowers" -
The beaded centers are from the book
"The beader's Floral" by Liz Thornton and
Jill Devon

Susannah Thomson made a lovely collar with
warped squares.

Amanda Capes-Davis made beautiful "Starburst
Galaxy" stars, based on a design by Gwen Fisher.
Joan Petitclair made this delightful collar
using the trillium and morning glory patterns
by Diane Fitzgerald.

Ann Wilson beaded and illuminated these
Star Jewels based  on a tutorial by DiMarca Online.

Please join me in congratulating all the participants on their beautiful work!

You can participate in this challenge too!!!

What is it all about? In short: each month we bead one element in the same color as the little people in the banner of IBW: We start in August, with yellow, and continue with light orange in September, and so on each month, until in July we make our last, lime green piece(s) to assemble everything during IBW. There is nothing to win but the satisfaction of completing a beautiful rainbow creation. It might seem easy at first sight but sticking to the project is a challenge, which is why it is called the Yearly color challenge.

Starting early is not mandatory, but recommended to keep up with it. It is entirely up to you to decide what item(s) you want to create for your very own rainbow of delight.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

To bead or not to bead ...

is not the question. I'm a bead junkie! So the question is rather: why do I bead and why we should all transmit our passion for beading to other people during International Beading Week (and beyond).

I am a permanent International Beading Week Ambassador. I am not paid for this. I have discovered the magic of beading thanks to generous, kind souls who transmitted it to me for free, and I want to pay it forward. IBW is about sharing passion, friendship, and making this world a better one, one bead at a time.

Many beaders start beading because a friend showed how to make something beautiful. Others started beading because they needed something to change their mind from something frightening... like illness and treatments, or to have something to keep their hands busy... Some do it for cultural reasons, some bead to make a living.. but most bead because it is simply so good...

"After the Rain" glass tubes and
metallic round beads
Yes, beading is good. It is grounding. It is fun. It is beautiful.

And... colors do good.

Chromotherapy has been used since times forgotten by humans and left aside by modern medicine. It is fortunately making a come back, because it has proven to be healing, physically and mentally.

I think that this is one of the reasons why I can't stop beading. It is my colortherapy.

After the many years that I bead, I know now that if I listen well, my body will choose what feels right. I've beaded with all colors, starting with blue, then green, brown and gray, later pink, purple, orange and yellow. The last two were my least favorite colors until I started beading rainbows; now I don't know how I could live without them. I love red too. It is always very intense, and after making something with red, it takes me a moment until I want to use it again.

Meryl bracelet - a free
pattern made for IBW 2018
My "need" for colors resulted in a lovely stash. I have beads in colors which I absolutely "had to have" but beaded nothing with. Just having them, looking at them was enough. I know that I will make something with these beads one day.

The healing properties of colors might also be the reason why, after having beaded during many years, you suddenly have a blockage or no more desire to bead, or no more interest in using this or that color. Maybe you've healed something in you without knowing about it.
It's a bit like a sailboat waiting for wind. While waiting for the wind (or here your muse) to come back, you can do other things...  like beading rainbows. Because rainbows will make you feel good. Always.

International Beading Week logo. 
We bead rainbows in the International Beading Week Group year long challenge.
I created Anthea's Tiara (which won a gold medal in the Fire Mountain gems and Beads beading contest last year) by making each month one element in one color of the IBW banner.
Anthea's Tiara
The free pattern for the Meryl bracelet is still available on my website (and will remain free).

This year I beaded bolas canastas in the colors of the IBW logo, and the instructions for them will soon be available there too, as well as in the IBW group on Facebook. I will also make a video to explain the method.

Rainbolas - tiny bolas canastas - this is the project
for International Beading Week 2019
Not only does beading do good, but as far as I'm concerned, beading prevents me from going nuts. Thanks to beading and the Internet, I am blessed with lots of online friends, like-minded people I would love to meet in person but cannot because of my health. If you can, don't hesitate and go to a beaders meeting. You'll have a blast! And if you cannot attend one of the events listed on the BWG website, then create one yourself!
Farfalle stitch - Rainbow Butterfly Cuff
Invite friends, or do a demo. You can do this anywhere! Sit at a café table or in a parc and take out those stunning beads and weave them together. Show your art to others, be proud. Don't forget to let the world know about it in the group and tell the Guild, and post lots of photos and videos of the fun!

Remember that beading might not be for everyone, but it might be the right thing for someone.
And we are there to help him/her find it!
Little Rainbow Warrior's ruff (2012)

International Beading Week is about our beautiful art, about friendship, about connectedness.
It is about raising awareness about our craft, making it better known, and recognized as a noble Art.
It is about raising awareness about ethics, and promoting our local bead shops, because we need them to continue sourcing beads and findings for us to enjoy.
It is also about raising funds for charities - for example, Jean Power's secret bead along is a  big success every year and all the procedures go to the charity of your choice.
During IBW, you can become a member of the Beadworkers Guild for a special price. Take advantage of this special offer to discover the quality of their magazine and projects. I love to read their articles.

The Guild also organizes a draw during IBW, in which you can win awesome prizes. To enter, you only need to send a beaded bead to the BWG for their beaded bead collection, which is a many yards-/meters-long beaded bead chain to enter. You can also bead a name badge, of which a photo is enough to enter.
Last but not the least: artists from all horizons offer free patterns of beautiful beadwork and beaded beads for free, to download either directly from the BWG page or from their websites. Visit this page for more information.