January 20, 2013

13 Months and Counting...

Gosh it's been a long time since I posted on my blog. Motherhood has taken center stage and I am just loving it. It has been quite a struggle, balancing my professional life with my family life. I yearn to spend time in the studio alone, working up new designs; but I worry that this is at the expense of time spent with my daughter. Maybe I should change the name of my blog from Lisa's Kitchen Sink to Maeve's Diaper Pail. Speaking of, let's take a look at how that girl has grown:
What can I say, the girl likes pearls
We have passed the year marker and it is time to dip my toes back in the pool of creativity. Many of you may have noticed that I do not travel as much to teach classes. Currently I'm only teaching at my local store Baubles & Beads in Berkeley, CA and at The (who could ever give it up) Bead & Button Show. More info on my classes in the next posting.

Woven Chain Mesh Bracelet DIY Tutorial
With a smaller teaching schedule I've had to get a "real job". I am currently the webmaster for Baubles & Beads. I have worked with this store for over 15 years now and I feel lucky to work with people I also call my friends. It feels good to be surrounded by beady people and things on a daily basis. I am responsible for their social media, which is funny, seeing as I can't even keep up with my own blog.   The best part of writing their blog, BeadShopGirl, is making up the DIY Tutorials. Click on the pics for links to the tutorials.

Bead Studded Bangle -DIY Tutorial
As most of you know, everything changes when a baby is born. This is my new path. Watching the best thing that I ever made grow up, learning how to maintain who I am creatively, and figuring out how to lead this new life.

February 01, 2012

Maeve Elizabeth has ARRIVED

What a difference a year makes! On December 1st my partner and I were blessed with the birth of Maeve Elizabeth. Weighing in at 9lbs 2 oz she made a statement from the beginning. 

I will admit the pregnancy and birth overshadowed everything in my life including my jewelry. Early into the pregnancy my eyesight changed and objects up close became blurred. At night my knuckles swelled up and felt like I imagine my grandmother's felt everyday due to her arthritis. Oh, how youth escapes us so fast. And then this glorious moment happens when everything you have been waiting for arrives and she is so small and so sweet and the aches and pains of pregnancy seem well worth the sacrifice. My most beautiful creation.

2012 brings about many changes. I have had to cut back on traveling and will only be teaching at the Bead and Button show this year. My family lives near Milwaukee and Maeve will be coming along for a wild ride of beads and extended family. Maybe you will meet her there...

February 16, 2011

2011 Teaching Calendar, February-June

Spring has sprung!! Today marked the change. A little bit of hail and rain with the sun shining bright. I look out my kitchen window and there is a rainbow, wait a second, it's a double rainbow! I will take this as a sign that my annual winter creativity slump is on the upswing.

I walk outside to my studio and there is the first daffodil of the season standing tall. Upon closer inspection I notice many little tulips beginning to push through the soil. I'm so excited, my bulb planting project from the fall is beginning to pay off. There are nearly 40 freesia now standing at least 5 inches. I can't wait for that sweet scent to greet me every time I walk outside.

Now I can look forward to a year of blooms. It will be a busy year. From Bead Fest to Bead & Button to Wire Masters and a guest appearance at a New Jersey bead store near you. Take a peek at my class line up and see if what you have been waiting for is here.

Baubles & Beads: Berkeley and San Rafael, CA  Ongoing

I am so lucky to have a local bead store that offers a full range of classes and products. This is my home turf where all my new classes debut and where the smaller class sizes allow me to delve deeper into each technique and how we can take it a step beyond. If you visit the San Francisco Bay Area be sure to check out their current class listing, it is ever changing and always moving forward. Take a look at my current class offering and be sure to peruse great classes by other nationally known instructors: Joe Silvera, Steven James, Anat Silvera, Colin Mahler and many local artists.

Bead Fest Wire: King of Prussia, PA April 7th-10th, 2011

A little bit of wire...A little bit of metal makes for a great show! If you have never been to Bead Fest in PA you are in for a treat. King of Prussia touts itself as the East Coast premier shopping destination. If you still have energy to shop after all that bead buying and class taking, shop till you drop at the nearby mall. Click here for a quick link to all of my class offerings at this show.

Beads By Blanche: Bergenfield, NJ April 29th-May 1st 2011

I have long heard of this beadstore and its classes. I usually only teach at my local bead store and bead shows but when the invitation to teach at Beads By Blanche came around, how could I resist? Textile techniques in wire and a little metalsmith hammering to let off steam.

It will be a great weekend! Check out the details of the classes I will be offering and while you are there be sure to look at all the other classes this store has to offer.

Bead & Button Show: Milwaukee, WI June 4th-12th, 2011

B11253 Wire Bezel Wrap

When you think of the Bead & Button show, think dizzy thoughts of glitz beads piled row after row with the clink of 650 classes going on in the background.

The energy at this show is amazing. In 2010 over 14,000 (yeah, look again at that number) attended the show. Milwaukee is close to where I grew up. For many years I finished the show with a stay a Grandma's house. I remember one year she saw an ad in The Kenosha News that featured one of my pieces. The memory of this warms my heart because Grandma was one of the few in my family never had a bad word to say about my wanting to grow up and make jewelry for a living. I will always think of her when I attend this show.

I'll be busy this week! 10 classes makes for a bead & jewelry workout!
B11248 Fused Fine-Silver ChainsB11249 Herringbone Weave Wire WrappingB11254 Wire Flower LinksB11252 Fundamentals in Wirework with Lisa ClaxtonB11250 Fused Ball-Link ChainB11817 Crochet Wire RosettesB11251 The Eclipse ChainB11816 20-Minute Spiral Ring

November 09, 2010

One Night Stand

Last weekend I was invited to sell my jewelry at the Oakland Art Murmur with 16 other artists. For weeks I had agonized over making jewelry to sell. It doesn't usually work this way for me. The act of making jewelry for sale is stressful to say the least.

In the background I hear the ca-ching of of a cash register ringing as I add this little 30 cent ring here, make some ball-end headpins for dangle, 3 feet of chain at $6.45 a foot, oh my silver is at a 30 year high, let's spend 20 minutes on the bail top and another 30 minutes adding patina and then polishing it off.
I'm impressed with those who do this for a living. Ok, nightmare jewelry making fears set aside, it was time to come up with some new designs and not keep making the same 'ole stuff. So I set aside some time and started playing back and forth with finishing things I had already begun and trying to make something new.

Then two days before the show it hit me. Bird's nests. To be exact it was crochet wire bird's nests. Oh my, these little guys are so lovely and sweet. I made about a dozen in no time and was so proud that for once I made something that worked up fast and easy.  Later that night I bit my tongue, as my wrist ached from working the wire into that cute little shape. So now I hear the ca-ching once again as I add the repetitive motion injury surcharge. Oh well, I never expected to pay the mortgage with birds nests anyhow.

Oh yeah, I should mention, I sold one $45 necklace at the event but I did get to talk to several other wireworkers throughout the night.

And now for a little audience participation. What steps do you take protect yourself from injury while making jewelry? Please Comment.

October 12, 2010

Time Flies When We Aren't Even Looking

Oh my, it's October! Suddenly when the months turn to double digits it feels like the end. I have the desire to drink warm cider and curl on the couch with a blanket but it's 90 degrees today.

The biggest question is what is happening in the studio. I admit, besides a few bead shows I took much of the summer to leisure about.

My niece visited and we signed her up for a arc welding class at The Crucible in Oakland. They have a sweet setup there. She made a sculpture of Wall-E for the yard as a thank you. Then she recommended that I take a tig welding class as that's more my style. I took her advice and signed up. Man, I sucked. I made a flower for the yard and it took a lot of the instructor's help to get that far. Guess I'm not as refined a welder as I had hoped.

I have been working though, little by little on my jewelry. Two of my newest classes include Fused Ball Link Chain (who doesn't love melting wire into balls) & Crochet Wire Rosettes. Both of these classes will be offered at my local store and Bead & Button in the summer of 2011. Yep, we are already working on 2011.

April 12, 2010

Bead & Button: Memory Lane

Yep, it is right around the corner!! The Bead & Button show is much like attending the Super Bowl of bead shows. With nearly 650 classes to chose from you can't go wrong. Of those 650 classes I will be teaching a mere 11 of them. It is akin to a marathon of creativity and jewelry making!

When this show first began it went under the name Embellishment and was first located in Texas. In those days I was a budding obsessive beader who dreamed that one day I would be able to attend. The chance came when the show changed its location to Sacramento, CA for one year.

The day before the big show I went on a date. We ended up going to a nude beach (I was 20 something and a bit firmer) in Marin County. Lesson learned: wear waterproof sun block at nude beaches when swimming. Needless to say, I burned my top half to a light shade of purple. But there was no way I would miss that show! The temperature in Sacramento during that weekend was a paltry 108F. I didn't know if the stars before my eyes were of excitement or heat stroke.

I haven't missed a show since. These days the show is located in Milwaukee, WI. I am looking forward to this years show, busily making mental notes of what to bring and jewelry to wear.

I'd love to hear from the other side of the monitor. What are your favorite shows and why?

April 05, 2010

Alverda's Collar

This is a story of finishing something I began before I knew what I was starting.

I admit there is quite a lot of laziness to my work. More often than not, the goal of my work is to complete enough structure that the piece can be worn and pose as jewelry. For those of you who are familiar with the blog you have heard this story before and finally it is coming to a close. Or so I believe at this moment.

The crocheting began with my grandmother Alverda Moore's death in September 2009. Funny how we take something so crushing and remake it into something of a dream that glistens in the light. I think she would be very proud of this piece.
After returning home from her funeral I found regret was deep inside me, as I am sure it is with all of us after losing someone we love. Why didn't I call more, why didn't I take more time to sit with her, why didn't I pay more attention. Why do I still resent her attempts to make me a calm girl who can cook, sew and serve her family well.

A bit obsessively, I began crocheting wire with her crochet hooks.
At first I did not intend to incorporate beads into this project. But as time passed, I noticed I was losing my focus and lifting many of the rosettes to complete other projects on the side. I began using beads as a means of claiming certain pieces to my grandmother project. Solidifying them in stone so to speak.

After completing the rosettes I decided to patina the metal. This was a hard call, as polishing crocheted wire with beads is no easy task. But life tarnishes use all in the end to some degree so why not embrace what we know will come with or without us.

Over the course of creating this piece the layout changed about many, many times. My first intention was to keep it small but impressive all the same. Deciding when we are finished is one of the hardest choices we make. Letting this project come to a close is the end of a chapter I have spent nearly six months on. During the entire process I have felt that I was serving the memory of my grandmother, but what does it mean now that I have finished?

I love you Grandmother and I will think of you often and fondly. Maybe some day I will learn to sew.