Friday, December 10, 2010


And it's finished!  This is one of the more complicated necklaces I've ever made- it's a peyote stitch that adds two beads every other round- that's what gives it the interesting spiraling structure. It's finished off with clear glass drops. The toggle button bead thing is a right angle weave cluster of drops. Here's a closer look:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Really? Who runs out of those?

So I'm in the home stretch on the spiral peyote guy and I ran out of clear drops. Arggh! I can't wait for a shipment because the US has Thanksgiving this week with no mail and I really, really want to finish this. So I'm venturing out into the very cold craziness that is retail the day before Thanksgiving to find some beads. The good news is everyone else is going to be at the grocery store, right?

In other, totally unrelated and completely personal news, I shaved my head again. I wore my hair in a buzz cut for 10 years, then decided to see what it looked like and grew it out over the last 5. I am so glad to have my "real" hairdo back!

Here's a picture of another new pendant- my lampwork with sterling chains and Swarovski crystals. I'm really happy with it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I've had a parade of house guests for over a month, with a just a few days in between them. I've been working on one piece the whole time, and I'm somewhere near done with it. It's going to be worth the wait, I think. It's a twisty spiral peyote necklace in soft raku green beads finished with clear drops that may be dew or may be ice. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Gotta Play Hurt

I've been having a run of injuries lately, mostly to my hands. This has resulted in me getting a lot less beadwork done than I'd like. I'm trying to be much, much more careful from here on out. As I heal, I'm trying to catch up on photography and blogging.
Here's a new pendant made with one of my lampworked beads, some gold-filled chain, and some Swarovski crystals.

Now I'm off to try to find a flat surface in my studio. I'm sure there's one in there somewhere...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The View From The Studio

I have been trying to teach myself to work with wire. I love the look of wrapped loops, and I'm currently head-over-heels in love with the new Sunshine color by Swarovski. So I made a pair of earrings. I took a photo of them right away, and after downloading the photo, realized that it says a lot about my process.  I seem most comfortable creating in the midst of chaos!

Anyway, here are the new earrings, amid the clutter.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Won A Gold Medal!

I'm so excited! Fire Mountain Gems has awarded The Tzarina's Collar a gold medal in the Wedding and Holiday category of their Gemstone Contest. The necklace came home yesterday with a beautiful plaque and a lovely gift certificate. I'm overwhelmed and beside myself!

Here's a link to the page with the info:  Fire Mountain Gems Gallery of Designs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

But What Do You DO All Day?

What do artists do with all that creative free time? I often wonder about other artists, so I thought I would try to wake up this semi-moribund blog and share a little about my latest project.

It started, as so many things in my life have, at a church rummage sale. There was a lovely, odd-shaped bottle sitting on a card table. It was full of ... something that was once perhaps fruit, and it probably decorated a church lady's kitchen, where it looked like jewels in the autumn sunshine. As the years went by, though, it lost its sheen. The fruit broke down into something lumpy and brown, the wax seal on the bottle grew sticky and then dusty. She couldn't bear to just toss it in the trash, though. Not after it had given her so much pleasure. She tucked it into the box earmarked for the church sale.

I scooped it up with a clear vision in mind. I would clean it out, bead to my vision's specifications, someone would instantly fall in love with it and buy it. My visions are fairly diverse but they all have the same ending.

And it sat on my kitchen counter for a couple of weeks before I started to scrub it up. When I opened it, the vinegary smell made my eyes water. I upended it over the sink and all the vinegar ran right out. The fruit was too swollen and wouldn't fit through the neck. I filled the bottle with hot water and shook. One tiny lump of fruit came out.

I dug a pair of long hemostats out of the studio and went out into the garden where there was a fresh breeze. For the next two hours, I painstakingly drew tiny gobbets of ex-fruit down the narrow neck of the bottle and threw them into the garden, much to the amusement of my dog and the disgust of the blue jays.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

YaYo Beads

Yayo Beads
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Last fall, one of my oldest friends died after a shockingly short illness. I went back to her house to help her kids sort through the accumulation of a lifetime and brought her ashes home with me for scattering later, when all the kids would be available. Laurel's ashes went on my cookbook shelf, cozied up to The Joy Of Cooking, which book she bought for me a thousand years ago.

I got used to having her there on the shelf, and though I'm not a believer in any sort of afterlife, I did address the odd remark to the urn. Then I started to think about beads. Glass beads in particular, and I wondered if there was some way to incorporate ashes into a bead for some sort of permanent memorial. The internet confirmed that not only could it be done, it had been done. I got in touch with all the kids to make sure they would be okay with that. They agreed, and I decided to give it a try.

I was shockingly unprepared for the visceral reaction I had to opening the urn and realizing that the pile of grit and ash and metal (metal?) was all that was left of my friend. I sifted a tiny bit of powdery ash into a baby food jar and walked blindly into the studio where I sifted the ash through several very fine mesh filters until I had something more like face powder than ash.

I lined the powder up on a graphite pad and was inevitably reminded of cocaine. At this point I started talking aloud to Laurel, crying and laughing at the same time. I lit the torch and laid down a base bead of black glass. Once it was a good shape, I got the surface of it cherry-red and lightly rolled it through the line of ash. Then I encased the ash with a thick layer of clear. As I said before, I'm not a believer in any conventional sort of spirituality, but this was perhaps the most profound experience of my life to date. I felt my friend standing at my shoulder, and as I made bead after bead, I was able to say some of the things I didn't get to say after she got sick and died so fast. When I had a kiln full of YaYo beads (what the littlest one called her- he couldn't say Laurel- and of course it caught on) and no more tears left, I gathered up the tiny bit of ash that was left and put it in the garden.

The next morning I took the beads out of the kiln. They were spectacular- each one a tiny universe of stardust spangled across a black or blue background. The ashes look like galaxies, like the promise of infinity, like maybe somehow it all makes sense. There were enough that all of the kids and all of their kids could have one. There was one that quite clearly belonged to me. And they resonate.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

John Kasch

John Kasch
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Since this portrait has arrived safely at my sister-in-law's house in time for her birthday, I can show it to the world.

This is the project that's been taking all my time lately! I was working from my late father-in-law's Navy portrait. This is a companion piece to the portrait in beads I did of my late mother-in-law, last year.

My sister-in-law was surprised. I think she likes it. :-)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

John Botts Quote!

"The interest in color is always present. A simple comment might be that where color seems least present, or most lacking in intensity, one finds more color."

A quote from John Botts, the artist who I swear kept me alive when I was a teenager, and who I am only now beginning to appreciate.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Under Construction

Under Construction
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's what I started with this morning. I chose the lampwork beads first, from my last torch session, and then I made some bead soup to go with them. I am envisioning a multi-stranded necklace, with the dotted bead as the central focal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Custom Order

Custom Order
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Another adorable custom order. This one was really fun because the customer and I traded a bunch of emails back and forth, trying to come up with designs and backgrounds. She was awesome to work with, and I want to do lots more custom stuff. I love helping someone get exactly what they want!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dancing Harlequin

Dancing Harlequin
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's a cute little made-to-order bracelet. The vintage button is really special- it's glass coated with some sort of AB reflective finish, which really adds a bit of sparkle.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snow Princess Lariat

Snow Princess Lariat
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Finally had an overcast day (imagine that, in the Pacific Northwest!) and got some photos of some of my newer beadwork.

This, the Snow Princess Lariat, is all pearly white with accents of 24K gold-plated delica beads scattered randomly along the 71" ndebele rope and sparkling Swarovski AB crystals at the termini of the fringes.

It can be worn as a necklace, a choker, a belt, a headband- the possibilities are nearly endless.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Oh, Domino!

Oh, Domino!
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I woke this morning from dreams of my grandmother. She's been dead a little over a year, and I find myself with her fairly often in dreams. We used to play dominoes by the hour, and last night we played again. So I woke thinking of dominoes, and then I thought of beads. I generally think of things in the context of beads! I sat down with my pencil, and before too long had a basic sketch. I had to bead it right away, so the bulk of today has been spent making this bracelet. I think it's pretty cute. :-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lung Outlines

Lung Outlines
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I got the lung outlines done late last night. Early this morning. Whatever. I can stop any time I want to.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Liver & Stomach

Liver & Stomach
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I got started on beading the doll today. The liver is size 11 seed beads, the stomach is size 8. I though the stomach ought to be a little chunkier. I've got the lung color picked out, and will be starting them next.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Originally uploaded by satyridae
I found this wonderful plain cotton doll the other day, and the idea for my next bead embroidery project was born.

Here's the initial sketch of the viscera.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Opal Collar Complete

Opal Collar
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Ta-da! Here it is. There are LOTS of photos on flickr, click through to view.

I'm very happy with it. It's not listed on etsy yet- but it will be!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Opal Collar Strap Prototypes

Here's a photo of the straps I'm dithering about with. There's a single strand of pearls and gold beads, a 4-bead herringbone rope, a twisted pearl and gold rope, and an 8-bead herringbone rope.

I am leaning toward some combination of these, but I do think the 8-bead herringbone rope is too big.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Waiting For Beads!

I'm not ignoring the collar, exactly. I've a good idea now what to do with the necklace part, but I had to order beads again. In the meantime, I've had houseguests and lots of non-beading activity in my life.

Updates soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Opal ... beard?

Opal ... beard?
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's what the kid suggested we do with it.

Thanks, Ed. But no.

Opal Collar Step19

Opal Collar 19
Originally uploaded by satyridae
The collar is done! I edged it with gold and crystals and it's done, done, done!

But I don't know what I want to do for a chain, how I want to suspend it around the neck.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Opal Collar Step 18

Opal Collar Step 18
Originally uploaded by satyridae
This is the backside of the opal collar. It's covered in a very soft leather, over a small amount of fiberfill. The pillowy look helps it look like it's floating.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sewing the Collar

It's been cold and dark and rainy here. Big surprise, it IS Oregon in the winter, right? I've been working on the opal collar. First I had to find a piece of leather that was soft enough, supple enough, strong enough and the right color. That took longer than I expected. Now I'm sewing the leather backing onto the back of the collar. I'm adding a little bit of fiberfill for a puffed texture. Yes, I realize having a photo would be good. I'm working on it. :-)

In the meantime, I've made 3 new necklaces in my Coco line. I've listed 2 of them and plan to list the third today. I do like making things with my own lampworked beads!