Monday, December 17, 2012

Hip to be Square!

Kate's just put up a screenshot of one of our Squares pages - take a look!
Isn't it exciting that so many artists are finding inspiration in the most basic of beginnings?  And then taking it 10 steps further?

The response to the Specials for Pre-orders eBook has been overwhelming and overwhelmingly positive.  It's a rare thing to receive so much community feedback and involvement and find chords being struck with other bead artists around the globe.  Beadwork is truly a global artistic language; without barriers, borders or  limitation.  Multiple artists are discovering similar or even identical techniques through their own explorations, then those explorations lead to further enhancements and embellishments... the truth is that NO ONE is born knowing how to bead.  We all have to learn.  If someone knows something you find intimidating to contemplate, but would like to be able to make, just know that they've either had more time to play with their beadwork than you have to date, or they had exposure to a teacher or class or book that you haven't encountered yet.

The community involvement with Contemporary Geometric Beadwork has helped us to ensure that the techniques we present go beyond the usual project-oriented book.  We want our readers/beaders to understand WHAT they are doing, so that they will own the idea behind the technique and be able to apply it at will, to bring forward their own, entirely new, original designs.  Those new designs will then inspire others, and so on and so on....

Happy Beadsday!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rainy Sunday Happiness

I truly love the rain.  I like being wet.  Being cold is quite novel for me and something I enjoy.  The sound of rain makes me happy all the way through.  Yeah - I'm weird! *G*  I awoke this morning to a glorious rainstorm, tip-tapping away at the downspout outside the window, dancing with plinking steps across the puddles in the driveway and whooshing commandingly  through the gutters, to the great dismay of a number of squirrels trying to leap from house roof to garage roof and vice versa.

And then the day got even better.

I checked out the blog of Cath Thomas, a brilliant beader based in Geneva, Switzerland, and she has posted a beautiful review of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.  She not only took the time, obviously, to go through the Pre-Release eBook but also noted all the little extras we have been spending time and energy to get just right - from the perfect quotations to illuminate an idea, to the encouragement to expand beyond a pattern into utilizing technique at will...please take the time to read this review; I think it does a great job of introducing the book to everyone.  For more thoughts, check out our FaceBook page for community comments.

Thank you, Cath, for your kindness in taking the time to do this and posting your thoughts for others.

Happy Beadsday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's madness out there!

I cannot believe the THOUSANDS of people accessing our pre-release eBook on the Specials for Pre-Orders page!  It is BLOWING MY MIND.  And they have such NICE things to say....*G*

To add to the happy hubbub, I spent a delightful time skyping with the fabulous beader Cath Thomas, who is featured quite nicely in Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.  We got in touch to discuss a pattern and before I knew it a full hour and a half had flown!  She's absolutely terrific and so much fun to talk to...the fact that she's a bad-ass beader is a total bonus! *G*

I can't wipe the smile from my face and return to my chores - it's just too much of a happiness day!

Happy Beadsday!

Happy Saturday!

The Pre-Order Special of the eBook has been added to the Specials for Pre-Orders page and it is OFF THE HOOK (or substitute whatever laudatory phrase you wish).  Just check out our FaceBook page for some of the earliest responses - it`s a hit!  I`m so delighted and glad that people are appreciating the mountain of work and design and generosity of spirit that are involved in creating something of this nature.  Kate has really designed a whole new way of communicating with beaders - new or advanced - in a way that clearly resonates!

I cannot put in words how humbled and grateful I feel when people whose beadwork I`ve admired for years take the time to comment on my work and share their delight in what we`re creating.  It`s truly a global phenomenon and I`m being contacted by people from around the world - what more validation could any artist desire?

So, to everyone out there - THANK YOU!

Happy Beadsday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Attack Of The Killer Butterflies

Tomorrow morning will see the release of our Totally Awesome Preview to our pre-orders.  Our Specials for Pre-Orders page will see a whopping 180+ pages of amazement  I get dizzy and nervous and excited and thrilled and terrified all at once just thinking about it!  The actual paper book will have a further 60 pages of total bead delight, so once you've seen this preview remember - we have more coming your way! *G*

It's a wonderful thing to be part of this whole endeavour.  The community input is truly unique and the participation from beaders worldwide adds an incredible spice to the stew we are making.  Eventually there will be an interactive, ever-evolving and active eBook for subscription as well, but right now we are finalizing the print edition and it feels GOOD.

The print edition will be sent to the various distributors (Kate, me, etc.) on JANUARY 9!  From then, it's a quick wrapping, labelling and off to the Post Office!  It's only about three weeks from now - yahoo!

Remember, if you are ordering your book prior to publication as a pre-order, you will receive not only the book, but also the benefits!  You'll have immediate FREE access to our Specials for Pre-Orders page, as well as well as a FREE copy of the "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork" ebook, both PDF and interactive live form (sent as available) and a FREE Secret Swag Bag that is a little thank-you from me, to you.

Just LOOK at all the amazing things you'll enjoy exploring, right along with us!

I am so excited and I can't wait to start seeing even more photos and hearing from people about their own new ideas and creations, sparked off by the book.

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Time is Fleeting

Every day is passing far too quickly - we're in the countdown to release of the eBook and in a mad dash toward holding our precious book in our hot little hands!  The eBook will ROCK your SOCKS so be sure you have access to an eReader or computer - you will NOT want to miss having it!  And of course you'll also want a hardcopy for your Bead Library.  This is a book unlike any you've seen before.  We have GOBS of eye candy and inspiration and endless photos of beady wonder and madness.  We have bent every effort to make sure the information is clear and presented in multiple forms so that any and every beader can master the beauty of geometric beadwork.  You'll be amazed at what you can create after mastering a very few specific techniques.  We've plumbed the beady depths of brains around the globe to distill exactly what you need to know to create magic for yourself and design pieces unlike anything you've dared imagine before...  I can't wait to share the excitement; there's nothing better than sharing a piece of your passion with someone and having it reflected back through their eyes.  I hope you'll share your photos and explorations with me so I can enjoy your journey, too.

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I’m not sure if any of you have seen my candid portrait, taken  by Kate McKinnon outside of The Hub, a great eatery in Tucson.  You may even remember my shot of Kate in her Angel Wings.  Oddly enough, the bad guy stuff was painted low on the wall for those of us who are vertically-challenged, while the good guy stuff was painted high on the wall – I’m not sure if that was for the vertically-endowed or a comment upon aspiration…  Sorry I haven’t had time to write / photo anything for you.  We’re into the final home stretch of the book, then it goes to print.  The eBook will be delivered on December 15th, so those who have pre-ordered will have it in hand on that date (get your Wish Lists going for the holidays and make sure you have a Kindle, Kobo, tablet or laptop on it!) with the print copy to follow when it’s back from the press.  I am practically incandescent with anticipation;  I know you’re going to love it and I just can’t wait to share!  Remember, the eBook and various swag goes out ONLY to those who pre-order the book.  Don't miss out! *G*

Happy Beadsday!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


What a beautiful day it is today.  The sun is shining brightly, and it’s just overcast enough my eyes don’t hurt…lovely whispy clouds over the escarpment.  Have you seen this bracelet yet?  It’s on Jean Powers’ FaceBook page since it uses triangles and dimensional triangle-based shapes in ways very similar to those she does.  You'll have to scroll down the page - Jean is a PROLIFIC communicator; all the better for us bead-addicted souls....  My bracelet has a hidden clasp that I am absolutely DELIGHTED to state has been hard for even my best beady buddies to locate.  Hehehehe….  Isn't it great to see what little moments, such as throwing in a continuous green accent line, can bring out of a piece?  It's much easier to appreciate the colours and shapes when the green leads your eye about the piece, isn't it?

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

POWERfully Happy Today!

What a lovely day!  The fog gave a clean, white cover to a grubby industrial city and I'm finally close to catching up at the office.  To make things good, better, BEST the gorgeous (and oh! so generous) Jean Power sent me a lovely note and a copy of her new book!  Have you ordered yours yet?  You will definitely want to add this to your bead book collection.  It's a wonderful companion volume to the book we have coming out soon.  "Geometric Beadwork" encompasses a completely satisfying and thorough exploration of geometric possibilities explored by Jean Power for an extended period.  There are wonderful projects, clear and concise illustrations, beautiful gallery photographs and endless inspiration.  You can find the link to order Jean's book on my Shop page.

Happy Beadsday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

I'm safely home after another marathon session of aircraft; this time I viewed the (internal only) delights of Dallas, Texas and Washington DC International Airports.  Great views out the airplane window leaving Tucson... I'll post some when I get time.  Right now I'm just glad to say I am home with a gajillion new ideas percolating, a new zest for life and the living of it, several paradigm shifts to my mindset and a great new profile picture, courtesy of the photographer-savant-en-iPhone, Kate McKinnon.  Thanks, Kate, for the best time EVER and a current photo, too!  You ROCK!

Happy Beadsday, everyone! *G*

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The only word to even begin the pathway to what I feel today is "privileged".  Kate McKinnon has welcomed me into her sanctum sanctorum and allowed me to feel at home.  I have enjoyed every single cup of coffee during this time in a beyond-words-gorgeous owl mug by the talented Allison Shock.  The detail and beauty of this clay creation moves me profoundly and unexpectedly.

Kate has also shared her acupuncture and although I have long had an interest in this, it's not something you'd undertake without a personal recommendation of practitioner.  Larry was personable and open and made my first experience of acupuncture not only painless (utterly - never even felt the needles go in OR out!), but profound.  I now know so much better, so much CLEARER, what Kate has been saying about the effects on her.

Those who know me know how much I crave a chill, the opportunity to cozy up in a sweater and curl up in a comforter, but I can never do this as my personal thermostat seems to be perma-set on "BOIL".  Well, to illustrate just one of the myriad small changes accumulating for me, I was COLD in bed last night and actually pulled up extra covers!  The real kicker, however, is that it is currently 61 degrees in Tucson, which for me is a balmy summer day - usually!  However, I am actually sitting here in jeans wearing a SWEATER for heaven's sake!

Not only is my corporeal being working more correctly and efficiently to design, but the book work has been a JOY.  It's incredibly easy to work with Kate; she has so many of the same perceptions that I do and it's so stimulating to discuss any differences or concerns.  We've worked long, LONG days and things are coming together so beautifully. I know this book will be one for the ages; long after a beader masters a concept they'll still be referencing it for details and inspiration.  I am so utterly humbled by the generosity of spirit and calibre of design people have so wonderfully contributed to make this book.  Thank you all!

Happy Beadsday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Coffee at the Casa di Kate

Morning is gorgeous today - it rained quite hard last night (wonderful soundscape to fall asleep with) and everything this morning is newly bathed and brilliant.  A cup of fabulous coffee, a cushioned seat with a view of the loveliness that Kate is growing....*sigh*.  Take a look at the variety of fruiting trees and bushes, there are umpteen kinds of vines and cactus, bird feeders, hummingbird feeds, pretty charms and pieces of whimsy.  After this start to the day it's not hard to get back to work on such an exciting endeavour as the book - how can you NOT appreciate the infinite variety and variation of the beadwork everyone is creating.  We had a conversation this morning and have agreed that the possibilities are only limited by the global bead supply... when you have finally used the last bead available or able to be created over the entire world, only THEN will you have to stop.  Which does not include the fact that the IDEAS can still continue to develop!  Ain't life grand?

Happy Beadsday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Kate took me out tonight to show me a bit of her 'hood, and it was great!  I brought the rain with me, it appears, so we had a lovely rainshower, too; whoduthunkit?  She obviously loves her chosen home and  it isn't hard to see why.  They have gorgeous street art and wonderful old buildings.  There was a great walkway made to look like a rattlesnake, safely conveying pedestrians over the through street.  My folks would LOVE the cactus growing all about....Hey, Dad - Kate has grapefruit, lemons, tangelo, limequats and umpteen other fruiting trees and bushes.  You'd go mad for her garden.  Mom, you'd just go MAD...the profusion of different cactus varieties out front AND back is really beautiful.  I love the scrubby trunks of the desert trees and the amusing squat, spindly or majestic date palms all about.

I made a friend with a little critter just before we ducked into The Hub for supper; now would you call him a Butterbil or a Gerbfly?  He's quite cute and friendly and not a bit shy!

Yes, my beading buddies, we DID work on the book today - I am absolutely in AWE of what's been accomplished by people all over the world, just from our pre-release patterns posted for those who've preordered the book - if you haven't already ordered it, YOU ARE MISSING OUT.  It's going to be AMAZING.  

The photos Kate is taking are breathtakingly clear and beautiful.  Advanced beaders will be able to work from those alone!  Beginners will be able to see how each and every bead places in context to be able to learn the techniques with real clarity and comprehension.

Simon came to keep me on task, so back to work I go...

Happy Beadsday!

At Last!

I finally made it to Kate's place in Tucson a bit after 3:30 this morning (local time - more like 6AM hometime!).  After running for 24 hours hitting the hay has never seemed so appealing!  Kate McKinnon is definitely the hostess with the mostest, as she has me off in a whole WING of my own - lavatory, bed to-die-for comfortable, tons of space...*sigh*.  So extra welcome as when we finally landed about 2:40 AM, there weren't any taxis!  Several folks who had cellphones called taxi companies, who didn't seem to think they were serious that there were a dozen people just into Tucson International who needed cabs...the people with phones were eventually picked up by friends and a couple of taxi stalwarts eventually came for the rest of us.  Being a bit of a crocus, rather than Kate's desert rose, I was worried that despite exhaustion I wouldn't sleep because of heat - wrong!  I was out like a light as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Got up this morning to find Kate enjoying the morning in her personal paradise, tucked up on a swinging seat under an arbour... she has a whole FLOCK of doves and others tweeting and chirping and whistling and beating their wings en masse - a truly "flocking" sight!  Her home is a lovely piece of Katefulness - little whimsies and happinesses at every turn.  It's hard to decide if the fabulousness of gilt walls or vintage furnishings and fabrics are more eye-catching.  Her utilitarian pieces (cups, bowls, etc.) are almost entirely handcrafted or strikingly vintage (think circa-1950's, the space age).  Delicious, all of it!

I've had a peak at a lot of gorgeous beadwork by people inspired by our work on Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, and a chance to show Kate some beautiful samples beaded by a friend of mine, Tiena Habing, Beadweaver Extraordinaire and Teacher Par Excellence.

I've seen the gorgeous little kits being prepared for mailing to those fortunate few who managed to get one ordered before her shop ran out (those cigar boxes, by the way, are BEAUTIFUL - not the ticky-tacky balsa wood ones, but the real deal!).  Kate was right - the Japanese puzzle erasers and too-cool-for-school pushpins she's putting into certain items are super cute and really fun!

I have so far been overwhelmed by all the eye candy and have only managed to decide that THIS is the lampshade I'll wear, should I have occasion to do so....heheheheheeeeeee.

All this and while I've been packing and flying and sleeping and playing, Jean Power has put some of my beadwork on her facebook page - what an honour!  Thanks, Jean.  I'm happy to be there!

Happy Beadsday!

Good Things

Well, if all good things come to (s)he who waits, I kinda think I'm due some serious good times!

I should have known something was up when I found out with about 20 hours notice that the first leg of my tripod journey to Tucson was cancelled!  I managed to rebook for a flight leaving only an hour later, which was fine although it involved a layover at a different airport, time added to trip, etc.  Still, not bad.  I even enjoyed a pretty start of the sunset as we left Buffalo.

Once in Chicago it was a breeze, just a long walk to the specific gate - no problem, right? Hah!

Land in Los Angeles to find my leg to Tucson has been delayed - from 10:18 PM to 12:04 AM!!!  Poor Kate - I sent her an email to let her know NOT to wait up.  At least they added enough time to the layover to make it worthwhile unpacking the old computer - there really ARE advantages to having no checked luggage!  I just put my feet up, powered up the old laptop and here I am, updating you already!

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teetering On The Brink...

...of adventure!!! *G*  Despite Sandy having forced a cancellation of all flights through Newark and a rejigging of the ol' travel arrangements the countdown to Tucson has begun!  I'll be hopscotching almost as much as the Presidential candidates have lately - Buffalo to Chicago to Los Angeles to Tucson!  The early results of closing polls are starting to be called and it looks like a possible rout for Romney - go Obama! *G*  It's lovely to be a Canadian and safely out of this hard-fought battle.

I heard from Jean Power today; she's finally taking a VERY well-earned break to have a bit of a lie-in...then off on her next adventure!  Does this talented powerhouse (pun unavoidable) EVER slow down?  I swear she must have been born in overdrive and is still pushing the pedal to the metal!

I can't wait to see Kate - it's been so long!  What could be more fun that seeing Kate McKinnon in her home territory?  We know how she loves her desert abode and now I'll finally be able to see her in her natural element.  Too cool!

Happy Beadsday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lovely Happy Beadiness

I am so busy every day, all day.... if I could only be spending all the time on the book!  I've got a  teaser pic for you here for another piece I've recently completed.  I have so many ideas and never enough time or beads with which to work.  What a wonderful dilemma.

Every single day brings new delights and views of yet another interpretation of a design born in my mind and fingers... it's better than Christmas, better than birthdays!

Can you think of anything more humbling or a greater honour than to have other artists want to play with your ideas?  It's a roller coaster ride of joy with every image that unfolds in my email.  Thank you all for sharing.

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crazy Busy!

Ain't life grand?  This horrible storm has brought out the best in so very many people... let's hope the good effects last a bit longer than the less kindly ones!

I have been busy, busy, BUSY on the book - time is almost up!

Off to Tucson next week for some serious crunch time with Kate (and a bit o' sun!).  Have you seen my new SHOP page yet?  Only the book *SO FAR* <hehehehehe>...

So many wonderful comments I've been enjoying in my email, such lovely photos of works completed and works in progress - truly, the sharing and sharp-eyed creativity of the Beady Irregulars inspires me daily.  I am constantly delighted, surprised, stimulated and challenged.

THANK YOU ALL for your wonderful openness, support, insight and generosity of spirit!

Happy Beadsday!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


  What an amazing Fall we are having this year!  Last year summer kind of faded into fall that faded into winter that draggled into summer....a very weird year, weather-wise.  This year we had a more traditional summer, complete with droughts, and are being rewarded with an awesome display of Fall colour.  I've been too busy to get out with my camera (boo!) but my lovely daughter has shared a few pics that she's taken (yay!).  I always have a short bad time with headaches with seasonal changes; can't decide if it's the allergens switching to the new season or the barometer playing leap frog, but whatever it is, it sucks the fun out of life.  On the other hand, the colours are gorgeous, the weather is cooling nicely (which I love; but hey, people, SOMEONE has to! *G*), and life is good!

The book is coming into structure amazingly and people are being so creative with the concepts that it's painfully clear that YES, there HAD to be two books; otherwise we would all miss just too dang much wonderfulness!  Kate has her nose to the proverbial grindstone and mine as well and we're gonna get this thing done on time! So there! *G*  And Jean has asked that I participate in her book too, which is a HUGE honour and a wonderful thing in my life, too.  I also just got an email to offer work for Marcia DeCoster's next book - another wonderful lady, fabulous artists and darn cool gal, too!  Isn't life wonderful?  Just when you are looking down so long you forget there are doors, the universe lights up and shows you a wealth of portals

Happy Beadsday!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'll confess.  I like the rain.  My favourite weather is cool, raining and overcast.  My skin feels better, somehow, in the damper environment.  My eyes feel more comfortable in a more gentle, diffuse light.  It must be all those northern Atlantic forebears bequeathing me their hot blood - I don't need the sun to be passionate! *G*

Another thing I love is colour.  You may have noted in the past few posts that I'm a little preoccupied with colour and its possibilities lately.  I looked out my window this morning and this is what I saw:

It wasn't until I was pulling up the colours that I realized just how diverse are the hues in my rainy, urban industrial area.  From the bricks of the (rather large) detention centre close to my office, to the myriad greys of different pavings and walkways, it was hard to cull back the selection to something postable.  I think that's another reason I like the rain so well; it gives a completely different aspect to the things we see every day.  It deepens some colours and washes clear others.  A fresh new palette with every rainfall - gotta love it!

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Got Colour?

Colour fascinates me, so I thought we'd discuss that a bit today.  

My daughter, C, has the best innate colour sense of anyone I’ve ever met.  She’s now 21 but her taste is spot-on, always.  Years ago I was renovating my parents’ home for us to join them and decided to let my two children have a free choice of how they wanted to have their new rooms look; they were old enough to have definite tastes and after all, the rooms were for THEM.

C, then only 9 years old, selected blue carpet, white woodwork and ceiling, and JOLTING BRIGHT lime green walls (the colour name is actually “Leap Frog”!).  She set it all off with dashes of electric blue, aqua, hot pink and burnt orange.  Much to MY surprise (having been ready to see her already high energy levels zinging through the ROOF with such a stimulating colour scheme) it turned out to be perfect.  A small window provided only a little light, but with such happy colours awaiting it, even that little bit of sun seemed to warm the entire space.  Twelve years on and the colour combo still looks fresh and inviting.

A game we used to play was “Bead Soup”.  At the time I was doing a great deal of freeform peyote work, which basically BEGS for bead soup!  I would ask C to make me a bead mix and provide guidelines for her.  I'd give her an amount of mix I needed (for example, “fill this small dish”…), what sizes / shapes / finishes I would like used (such as “nothing bigger than a size 8 seed bead or smaller than a size 15 but any shape and only shiny finishes”) and a theme word (“Forest”, “Icestorm”, “Candy”, etc.).  She would then dive into my stash and return after a time with the most GLORIOUS mixes.  She could always intuit the atmosphere I wanted to work with and instinctively selected what would be needed to evoke my idea.

Now that my personal colour maven is in University, I'm down to my own resources.  As many people do, I’ve found that there tend to be specific colourways to which I gravitate.  These include:




Cafe Au Lait

Have you found a particular group of colours that works for you?  I'd love it if you'd share YOUR perfect "go to" combination.  One of the things I truly love about teaching beadwork is the opportunity to work with students, finding colours that work well together as well as suit their intent.  

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

'Tis The Season... play with colour.... *G*

Isn't colour fabulous?  A quick glance at certain combinations brings immediate recognition.

Red / Yellow / Blue?  Kiddies!
Pink / Green / Yellow? Easter!
Green / Red / Gold? Christmas!

Knowing that a lot of beaders are already working on their holiday presents I thought it would be fun to take a look at that ever-so-evocative combination of Green / Red / Gold (or silver!).

The classic combination is beautiful.  But "it's been done"! *G*

Have you considered ramping up the richness and going for deeply jewel-toned hues, like Emerald / Merlot / Metallic Gold?

A great way to shake up the standby, yet keep the idea recognizable is to use muddier tones, such as Mustard / Brick / Olive.

Of course, a modern take can be simply a nod to the token traditional colours - have you tried Lime / Fuschia / Crystal AB yet?

Taking a traditional colourway as a starting point is a great way to build on your own colour tastes and develop colour schemes that work for the occasion as well as your preferences.  Begin with the traditional, then mute it, or vamp it, or tweak it sideways - use secondaries or even tertiaries; the possibilities are endless and the exploration is sheer fun.

Happy Beadsday! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The world is just offering up so much fabulousness...the beady world is going to be graced by TWO geometric beadwork books this winter!  Kate McKinnon and community will be providing the instruction and eye candy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork (which will still include the utterly amazing work of Jean Power), and the OVERLOAD of Jean Power's cool geometric designs will stuff ANOTHER amazing must-have book!  I'm not that surprised; when you get two incredible geniuses focusing towards one goal, you are simply BOUND to get more ideas than can be reasonably fit into one book!  Rather than chop it up into bare tastes of the subject matter or overwhelm with a multi-volume SET of books, they sat down to consider how best to handle the overwhelming volume of creativity and came up with what IMHO is the PERFECT solution.  Jean's work will still feature in Kate's book, while the wide-reaching body of work that is Jean's OTHER work, that cannot be crammed nor shoehorned into Kate's book, will fill an all-Jean, all-POWER book of her own.  I am so thrilled to be associated with two such generous, fabulous women artists.  These gals both know how to SHARE!  Something I've had recent occasion to value highly....

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Caught In The Vortex

Cones are still occupying my mind... there's a fair bit of room in there! *G*  The pre-release goody of the week is going to be Cone instructions.  Have you ordered your book yet?  The cones are just so fabulous to play with... You may have seen my Double Coneflower Ring on an earlier post; this is what happens when you make the narrow portion VERY VERY LONG.

Now mind you, this is only a start!  Before the piece was complete the lonely ends had a bit of company!  I cannot show you the complete Cones Of Darkness Lariat as it now adorns the neck of its new mistress, the lovely Kate McKinnon, but we'll see if we can sweet-talk her into a photo soon.

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cone Heaven

I've been knee deep in the delicious delight of cones for a couple of days now, writing up instructions for various projects and new designs.  I have BARELY begun to explore them, but already have a ring, lariat, pin and more done plus more in the making!  This is being seriously TOO MUCH FUN.  The possibilities are pretty well limitless.  Every single beader brings their own style sense, colour awareness, personal aesthetic, cultural sensibilities, etc. to every item they make.  You can send out identical instructions and even when followed to the letter, different individuals will produce very different work.  It's so exciting to see all the work people are sending for the book.  Seriously, if you haven't pre-ordered you are SOOOOO missing the boat!

Happy Beadsday!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hard Work But Worth It!

I stayed up far too late last night preparing the documents for release today of my Double Coneflower Ring to the book pre-order people.  Have you popped over to check out the blog on Contemporary Geometric Beadwork yet?  Or stopped at the Facebook page for it?

I simply cannot WAIT to see what other people choose to do with the pattern.  Hopefully they'll share pics with me, then I can share them with YOU.

Happy Beadsday!


I am so excited - the book I'm working on is pre-releasing little special tidbits to the pre-order folks and my second special project is going out into the great big world tonight!  Super tired but oh! So elated!

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Inspiration comes from so many place - I can look at the sky, graffiti or the texture of a building and see possibilities in it.  Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by unexpected beauty in a place you surely didn't expect any?  Today I was simply cataloging some photographs taken last spring and all at once I saw a quick little pic I took of a bunch of lillies of the valley.  I love lily of the valley - it's one of my favourite flowers - and am blessed with a lovely large patch in our back 40 that is kept in check only by mowing over the margins of the spreading bed!  I often grab large bunches to share out with my friends and neighbours and this was a quick handful for my desk... so pretty I had to grab a quick photo.  Today the colours seem to have caught my imagination and I can just see it as the palette for future beadwork.  The lushness of the pristine white, set off so beautifully by the lively green and accented by the trace of black...I think I know where I have lampwork beads stashed that would suit...<wandering off to check>...

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, August 27, 2012

How Do You Work?

How do you like to work on your beautiful beadwork? I've been beading for too many years and tried too many ways to think there's one magic answer. The answer that works best for me is, "on my lap, on a tray that has a rim (for preventing tubes from rolling off), a Vellux mat (to keep the beads where I can see 'em) and room for the project (when I invariably have to lift it to one side to deal with some other item calling for my attention)". This isn't an ideal solution for many people, but I have a lovely overstuffed armchair with broad arms (all the better to prop elbows upon or needles within), an ottoman or table in front (for feet or tray, depending!), a lovely floor standing work lamp with my Ottlite securely attached and a metal shaft that holds metallic items via rare earth magnets. This works FOR ME, I must stress. I know how my body works and moves and needs support or not. For most people I know, they may enjoy an uninterrupted location or to bead while watching television or chatting with others.

Usually the essentials are a supportive working chair, adequate lighting and space around you and a properly ergonomic height for your work tray. A low cost solution for sofa-sitters is a lap desk (often sold in plastic for children, with a pocket on each side to form legs) or breakfast-in-bed tray. These give sufficient height while allowing a beader to sit more comfortably. For those experiencing neck-aches while working, I suggest taking the same lap desk and moving it UP - onto a table top. The space beneath can hold scissors, etc., while the beadwork is now lifted up to a height that remains easy to reach and work with, while decreasing the angle your neck must bend to see your work clearly. Do you have any tips you've come up with during your beading? I'd love to hear your ideas, too!

Happy Beadsday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Looking Ahead

So, now that we know each other a little bit, what am I up to these days?

I am honoured, delighted and amazed to share that I have been upgraded to an official collaborator for "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork", a fabulous new book by Kate McKinnon and Jean Power, with Dustin Wedekind, Gabriella van Diepen and ME! *G*

While I was happily contributing various items to the book, I think I had assumed they would go into some general eye-candy gallery. Imagine my delight when July rolled around and I was invited on board! There is so much true genius out there and Kate and Jean are but two examples! People who pre-order the book are not only contributing the necessary capital to get the book into print, but in return are being given the "inside scoop" on things each week, including tips, tricks and pre-publication access to selected patterns. The photos come flooding in, all day long, giving the creative response of beaders from all around the globe and they are AMAZING!

One of the earliest patterns to be shared with book pre-orders was my super fun Colourwheel Helix Cuff, shown above in one of my all-time favourite photographs. Kate McKinnon took that amazing shot, and set it up as if the tiny dino had an exercise wheel!

Believe it or not, it grew from a quick "sketch" of an idea sparked by Jean Power's rivoli stars (photo by Kate McKinnon).

Which led me to imagine a different scale and application of the technique, that I quickly sketched out in size 8 Japanese seed beads (photo by Kate McKinnon).

Which led to the need to run for my favourite size 12 cylinders (I know the rest of the world calls them size 11, but they ARE smaller than size 11 seed beads and I am a die-hard nitpicker!) in a full spectrum array (yes, this photo is also by Kate; she swears by her new iPhone4S and uses it to get these amazing shots. Aren't they great?).

Happy Beadsday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

History Lesson

So, who am I, anyway? I am Christina Vandervlist and I am a bead-addict. I began beading at age 10 in self defense (yes, really! - 'nother story, 'nother time) and I've never stopped. When life got busy or time otherwise evaporated the beads would get a little dusty, but wherever I went my treasure boxes of beads came with me.

I love complex, freeform creations using many different off-loom beadweaving techniques, as well as mathematically addictive geometric structures and the distracting wonderment of bead embroidery. I've applied myself to learn as many beading techniques as possible with the occasional foray into a complementary skill - wirework, metalwork, precious metal clays, fibres, needle- and wet-felting and oh! So MUCH more! But these are all in service to my need to bead.

I've been beading now for 39 years and enjoy endless enthusiasm for the possibilities encompassed in the simple supplies of beads, needle and thread (I'd better add scissors, too!).

One very cool thing in my past is the cover of Beadwork magazine. What a magical, delicious and unexpected honour! It's a bit on the older side now, but some beadophiles may actually remember it:

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I'm so glad you found my corner of the blogosphere. Here is where I'll be showing, discussing and sharing the joy I find in beadwork. My primary interests are in the fusion of science and art, including contemporary geometric beadwork and the freestyle pleasures of bead embroidery. I am just activating this blog, so please be patient and I'll bring it to life as fast as I can! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me; thanks for your patience!