Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring is Flinging Changes!

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, and here the bluebird invite is!

Okay, so it's a rough fit.

I am hereby cordially inviting you to visit my relocated blog at Spiritbead and correct your bookmark or re-subscribe at the new location.

There is so much buzz about Contemporary Geometric Beadwork on social networking that I have finally bowed to the pressure to interlink my web presence. *sigh*  The walls, they are a-crumbling.

Please do come visit.  I love you all and will miss you terribly should you choose not to come along for the ride.  Always more happening....

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The name really says it all, doesn't it?  I'm LOVING introducing you to the wonderful bead stores in my area.  I started with the oh-so-fabulous That Bead Lady in Newmarket, and I'm continuing today with BeadFX in Toronto.

BeadFX is a great well-rounded jewellery artist's shop - from seed beads to metal clay, they have it all!  I recently had a run of FASTfire BRONZclay fired by the shop and was impressed with the knowledge exhibited about the product, appropriate firing method and request for me to select an item from my order (26 pieces) for a test firing.  Now THAT is thorough!

Now I love my metal clay, and seed beads have my undying devotion, but what marks BeadFX as a unique place to shop is their endless, ever-changing supply of lampwork beads.  From elegant small spacers, to complex, patterned and textured focal designs, the lampwork gets me (and my budget!) every time!  This is the ONLY bead store I know of that carries lampwork and they do it very well, indeed!  A number of artists are represented so no matter your need, there's a lampwork bead to fill it.  I tend to work within a variety of favourite monochrome colour palettes and it is a difficult decision which beads must remain behind when I leave!

Another singular aspect of BeadFX is their dedicated workrooms.  There is a large, purpose-built metal working bench and exhaust hood in one room, another well-ventilated and spacious room for lampwork and other torch or kiln firing with a THIRD space for seed bead work!  The benefit of having dedicated spaces in which to conduct classes is obvious, but they also offer studio time for customers without a workshop at home to work on their art in a properly set-up space.

BeadFX is hosting a Book Party for Contemporary Geometric Beadwork on Saturday April 6th from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM.  For those seed beaders out there, I will be teaching a workshop from 2:00 PM until 5:00 PM.  I know a lot of people living in Toronto don't have cars to be out and about everywhere, but public transportation isn't difficult; I think you'd call this location NE Central.

I hope you'll come out; I'd love to meet you.  Remember, you can check my calendar at the bottom of my page for workshops at BeadFX and That Bead Lady.  I'll be posting more as dates are confirmed.

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Surprises, as promised!

I did promise some happy news yesterday, didn't I?  Well, I do work hard to keep my promises!  I am thrilled beyond words to let you know I have booked four new workshops and a Toronto-area book launch!  I've had the opportunity to introduce you to That Bead Lady - the fabulous beady haven in Newmarket that I love so well - and will be teaching three workshops in the coming weeks:

Bellybands, Wings and Horns (April 28, 2013; 12:30 PM-3:30 PM)
The Rainbow Helix Bangle (June 1, 2013; 9:00 AM-4:00 PM)
Double ConeFlower Ring (June 16, 2013; 12:30 AM-3:30 PM)

The shop is a bright and beautiful place to bead, so visit That Bead Lady and sign up for your chance to play with us!

I'll post tomorrow to introduce you to the shop itself (at least as I see it), but I'm far too excited to keep the news a secret another minute!

I am happy and honoured and pleased as punch to announce that we have booked a Book Launch Party and related workshop for the Toronto-area crowd at BeadFX on April 6th!

Join us at BeadFX on April 6th from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM for the book launch - lots of lovely books, beads, beady people and creative conversation!  From 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM I'll be teaching Bellybands, Wings and Horns - a workshop specifically created to introduce the essential building basics from Contemporary Geometric Beadwork.

Isn't life a wonderful, beady place to share?

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, March 18, 2013


I think I've been grinning at least this large since first arriving at That Bead Lady yesterday morning to launch Contemporary Geometric Beadwork!  And it was noted by many today that I haven't STOPPED grinning yet!

Great kindness, great conversation, great fun and great passion have this all-too-clear effect on me.

To spend a day surrounded by beady beauty, with fellow beaders to talk with, and student beaders to share with....*sigh*.  Heavenly!  Quite simply heavenly!

Beads are such an elementary communication between people.  Before any written or etched symbols achieved common use, we communicated via our adornments; status, wealth, ownership, skill - all these important social and societal cues were shared without a word being uttered, simply by the aristocrat's rare gems or the slave's bolted collar.  From involuntary shackles to joyously donned betrothal bands, humankind has found myriad ways to adorn our persons to convey information.  Even without a common language, the earliest nomadic populations could identify the leaders of any community they came across by their additional ornamentation.

Living in a place and time where languages are increasingly common and points of reference easily shared, beading has achieved the timelessness of true art.  It has returned to its roots in conveying information from heart straight to heart, without any known language being involved, simply by being.  The opportunity to share the skills and insights I've come to love is a rare and delicious gift and I cannot think of any way I would rather spend a day, than in teaching and sharing this wonderful world I love so well.

I've already listed additional workshops with That Bead Lady, so please check my calendar.  I have more lovely surprises coming soon, so I hope you'll visit me again.  If you have a beady story to share feel free to email me; remember, TO PLAY IS HUMAN, TO BEAD DIVINE!

Happy Beadsday!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

That Bead Lady Book Launch Party

 What a day!  What a wonderful, fabulous, fun and exciting day!  "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork" is a hit!

I arrived at That Bead Lady to find Cathy Lampole and her manager, Allison, had set up coffee and beverages, and surprised me with a cake!  Flowers on a display table, books and samples and cards galore - what a great welcome!  People were excited going through the book and it was wonderful signing their copies to them, knowing that they'd be exploring the ideas and trying their own in short order!

My workshop was full and I was astonished and delighted to find beady buddies had found the class listing online and signed up, coming from around Southern Ontario to join the class on this most special, wonderful day.

I am so blessed.  So many delightful people willing to share their love of beads and beading, explore techniques they've never attempted,  and encourage each other to build and grow in their skills... today was truly eye-opening for me.  My heart and soul have taken wing and I am flying.  Thank you all.

Happy Beadsday!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Party Party Party!

Are you ready for your visit to That Bead Lady tomorrow?  Cathy Lampole decided to open EARLY at 11:00 AM so we'll have more time to chat about Contemporary Geometric Beadwork and all things beady both before and after the workshop (12:30-3:30PM).  Staff will be on hand to help you with your bead choices and selections all day long, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

It is an unfailing source of amazed and amused delight when I reflect on the fact that it was fully 40 years ago that I first began to work with beads.  Roughly shaped, opaque seed beads were sold in glass test tubes with cork stoppers and were very hard to find.  Monofilament fishing line (in the days before legislation-mandated UV breakdown) was the fibre of choice.  Having no other resources, I looked at pictures of what I wanted to make and came up with what I now know is a cross-needle Right Angle Weave variation.

Who knew that the nerdly, quiet, fearful child would find in those most basic materials the stuff of which dreams are made?

I look forward to meeting you and hearing how you first made the acquaintance of bead art in your own life.

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Party Time!

Please consider this my personal invitation to you to visit That Bead Lady on Sunday March 17.  Cathy Lampole and her staff are almost as excited as I am that the book is finally out and are throwing a party to celebrate!  I'm teaching a workshop from 12:30 - 3:30 and will be on hand all day to sign books and answer questions.  Bring in your book for signing, or purchase one on Sunday.

You'll enjoy owning a copy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork and  this lovely store will see you well-stocked-up to try all the new techniques from the book.  Come join the fun!

Happy Beadsday!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring is springing....

... and beads beg for beading!  Baby Bette just had a romp on my bead tray and drifted off to sleep in a piece currently under construction....isn't life FABULOUS?

Add to that - MY BOOKS HAVE ARRIVED!!!!  Everything will be mailed out this week and I cannot WAIT to hear what people think about it!!!!!  This book really is unique and different and a new way of enticing beaders to stretch their personal envelopes and add to their toolbox of techniques.  Have you ordered yours yet?

Lots more to come!

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Another Hurdle Cleared

My sweet daughter, C, came home for reading week on the weekend.  Being a clever and foresighted kind of a girl she booked her wisdom teeth removal for this morning (despite it being Family Day, a statutory holiday here, the dental surgeon was working).  At 9AM sharp she went in for the surgery and by 10AM we were leaving.  Of course, we were leaving again at 10:15AM as the nausea kicked in just as we got to the door the first time... poor little, puff-faced thing just went where guided, murmuring over and over "sorry, sorry, sorry....".

Safely home and tucked into bed on the sofa with painkillers, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics on board.  Quite a nice set up - cushions, covers, fireplace, picture window onto greenspace and sky, television, video, water, juice, kleenex, ice packs.... if only she were in shape to enjoy it.  Thank goodness the wisdom teeth will soon be relegated to a fast-fading memory, to be remembered with a shudder and no more.

Three impacted wisdom teeth came out, so I expect she'll be hurting for at least a few days.  I am (almost) glad, since it gives me a great excuse to hover and baby her a bit.  With my youngest child, C, only a year away from a DOUBLE honours bachelor's degree in TWO science programs, you get fairly few opportunities to take care of her like the baby she will always be to me.

I love the time spent with my other baby - art - but children are wondrously special.

This past weekend was particularly child-filled as I spent two days with my youngest niece, E, who is 9, while her Mommy was indisposed.  My elder niece, K, is only 13 but called to let us know that she has been invited to enroll at a highly-thought-of boarding academy, and my nephew, A, who is already 17 has, thus far, been accepted at every university to which he applied and has merely to decide which program he most wants to accept.  My daughter is home for her wisdom teeth / reading week and my son, R, who is almost 24 is finishing the first half of his graphic design course at college...

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy watching these bright young people develop their own, special wings and fly bravely toward their futures.  I am so grateful to be spreading my own wings with such a positive, encouraging and hopeful response.

Life truly is beautiful.

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

That Bead Lady

 Now, I know that many of my readers aren't from Ontario, or even Canada, and that's a real shame for any number of reasons.

One reason is the exquisite jewel box of a bead store in Newmarket, Ontario.  "That Bead Lady" is owned and operated by Cathy Lampole, her gracious manager Alison Layton, and a loyal crew of lovely ladies.  They always have a cheerful greeting and a welcoming smile for everyone.

I know quite a few bead stores and as far as I am concerned, they are ALL splendid - covered inside with beads how could they be anything different? *G*  Some shops are brisk and bold and eye-grabbing, while others are warm and cozy and fascinating.

"That Bead Lady" is bright and cheerful and fresh.  The various types of beads are arranged by size and colour and type.  The open floor plan and waist-high tables make it easy to browse for specific items, or consider an inspirational find.  The displays are put together by Alison, who has a special flair for setting these up.  I particularly like how the samples on display run the gamut of style and colour and are clearly labelled by the name of the beader; it's lovely to see from one to the next how a specific style is particular to each person.  The light is bright and clear and shows the beads very well, making selection a breeze.

I have to admit my favourite place is the bench by one window.  There's a window ledge almost a foot deep, where I love to put beads while considering colour combinations, so I can see them in natural light.  In fact, I think I can safely blame the myriad of beads used in my pink Fortunteller directly on the huge variety available and the ability to mix 'n' match combinations at this shop!

I'm pleased to announce that I've booked two dates with this lovely shop.

On Saturday February 23rd I'll be teaching a class that is perfect for anyone wanting to expand their Peyote skills.  We'll work with increases, decreases and variations to create dimensional, geometric shapes, perfect for component work.

On Sunday March 17th we'll have a bit of a party to celebrate receiving the actual, printed, GORGEOUS first-edition copies of "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork".  You can purchase a copy at the store, or visit my shop if you're not local.  I'll be delighted to personalize a copy just for you!  There will also be a slightly more advanced class that will expand on the February class and explore some of the concepts central to the book - bellybands, wings and horns.

We are going to have TOO MUCH FUN! Wanna come play?  Visit "That Bead Lady" to register.  I can't wait to meet you!

Happy Beadsday!

The Book Is Coming! The Book Is Coming!

The beautiful, BEAUTIFUL book now has a confirmed shipping date of February 28th!!!!  I've got my labels all ready to go and am putting together the last bits of swaggery... I'll get them off in the post as soon as is humanly possible after arrival.

Do you have yours on order yet?  I've been through every page, in full colour, and you are going to LOVE THIS BOOK.  It's so different from anything I've ever seen before; all due to Kate McKinnon's distinctive genius, I assure you!

A TON of eye candy, with plenty of descriptive and illustrated information regarding technique, elementary instruction, exciting projects and a host of inspiration to super-charge your own geometric explorations.

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow Day!

Oh my goodness, what a snow we just had!  Inches and inches fell in huge, light flakes for hour after hour... we ended up shoveling / snowblowing / scraping the driveway every hour on the hour just to keep up!  The following day was a gorgeous blue sky over a thick, clean white blanket - very pretty! 
Even Baby Bette decided to take a walk; with snow 18 inches deep (at the LEAST), she had to stay on the driveway.
Our poor garden lights were just about covered up; if I had a decent camera I'd have taken a picture of them in the evening. When they lit up the snow around them just GLOWED with light.  Thank heavens the solar-power collectors on their tops were clear to allow for charging; the lights were completely swallowed at the bulb height!
 Our lovely neighbours are a big part of our lives so we keep a walkway open for them (and the post carrier, newspaper delivery, etc.) in the middle of the dividing hedge - those poor privet bushes are quite literally encased in snow!

My poor father was worried that the gas mains weren't free of snow and could potentially ice up, so these are his footsteps around the front of the house, looking toward the neighbour across the street; he sank past his knees with every step!

I hope you're happy and warm right now.

Happy Beadsday!

Friday, February 1, 2013


A lost and lonely soul has chosen to move on to the next world.  If only he could know how much bright promise he held within and how many people would have helped to lift him up, if only they had known...May his broken wings heal beautifully strong and carry him where he needs to be.  I will miss him.

Friday, January 25, 2013

... and getting hotter!

I have no idea where Baby Bette is running off to, but she's trying to drag my newest project along for the ride!  Something tells me she's got the heart of a magpie....  The ideas overflow and I cannot bead quickly enough...

Remember - preorder swag goes only to those whose book is ordered and paid for by January 31st.  I should be sending them out by the end of February, and I am just so excited for everyone to hold it, see it, devour it....*sigh*  I hope you all have cameras!  I'm dying to see what you make after reading it!

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Country Girl

I love driving around Southern Ontario - our landscape varies so beautifully.  Fields, cities, rivers, meadows, forest.... I love ALL of it!  I enjoyed a wonderful time driving to/from Toronto and spending a gigglicious evening with my 9 year old niece, E.  You have just GOTTA love a little girl who, when offered to go anywhere she chooses for dinner with her (admittedly indulgent) aunt, picks Japanese every time! *G*  Not only that, she chose her school reward this past summer to be learning to bead from me; just like her older cousins did in previous years.  I have such a cool crop of young people in my family...love 'em all to bits!

Sunday was a great country drive on highways and byways and various laneways....the de-icing sprayers were out working hard before the predicted snowstorm.    The sky was gloriously blue as I sped home, but you could see the snow clouds gathering thickly on the horizon - beautiful!

I spent a fabulously fun day peeking and poking through someone else's beadwork and stash and filling up with happy and inspiration and all things good.  There is nothing more positive and uplifting than someone sharing their work with you.  Seeing their colours, the way they envision connections, hearing what they were thinking while the design came together... I think I need both more time AND more beads! *G*

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Red Hot

A wonderful side effect of the acupuncture I enjoyed in Tucson is that I can finally feel cold!  It has literally been years since I could wear a sweater, enjoy a curl up in a comforter or wear a scarf with an outfit.  I don't know the specifics of it, but I know my energies are getting stronger and healthier and in better balance daily, because I can FEEL it.  I'm cuddled into sweatpants right now, revelling in the warmth for a delightful change.  Even after weeks of the cold, wet weather we've experienced it is STILL a novelty to enjoy the sensation of warmth as welcome, rather than burdensome.  I may even have to buy a winter coat!....well, not yet.  Maybe next year, after I get some more acupuncture!  I'm so amazed the results continue to develop.  Larry Gatti of Tucson Community Acupuncture - you rock!  Heck, I don't even mind your first name anymore <inside joke - if you get it, no explanation needed; if you don't, just think about it.....>; you could be called ANYTHING and I'd still seek you out.

In keeping with my renewed physical being, it seems appropriate that the work springing to life at the moment is a hot red number, ably modelled by my mini-friend, Baby Bette.  BB is having fun dancing about with the work in progress and I'll have to close her in a drawer if I'm to get any more work done!

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Illustration by John Tenniel for
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
I can feel the new life, new inspiration, new hope growing within me.  My mind and muscles are expanding and finding new ways of working.  Perception is altering and the byways and footpaths of creativity have never looked more inviting.  How appropriate for a New Year!

Volume I of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork is off at the printers, and it's time to get on with packaging, sorting, planning, etc. and a host of other duties involved with getting the books from the printer to YOU, you beautiful world of beaders!

Thank goodness for Kate McKinnon, who has generously shared her hard-earned knowledge and expertise with me about the fine-points of self-publishing, etc.  There is so very much I simply never considered, that now seems so clear I think I must have had blinders on earlier in the process.

Volume II is already working up and looks FABULOUS; new works, new ideas, new structures plus variations of everything you'll learn in Volume I; the universe has opened her treasure chest of possibility and there's no locking it back up now that we've found the key!

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looks like...

A beautiful sky today with fluffer-nutter clouds and clear, limitless blue.  I am so full of joy - our book has gone to the printer!  The plates are being prepared, there is a little more colour-proofing, etc., and before you know it, your post carrier will be bringing you YOUR book!

All orders finalized before the end of January will STILL be given immediate access to our pre-release treats on our Book Blog, as well as the goodies that will be sent with the book.

The generous sharing of talents by a multitude of beaders and more around the world has really been a tremendous inspiration and lesson for me.  Too many to mention have shared their finished work, asked perceptive questions that forwarded the efforts to explore and offered different perspectives that gave clearer illumination to any number of concepts.

I am grateful to you all and so blessed to have gotten to know you.

Thanks for a wonderful journey; I can see many byways, turns and wanders leading far into the future...

Happy Beadsday!