Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wrapping & Coiling

As you may have noticed, as of today my blog has a (slightly) new name. When I googled it I found out that someone else had a blog with the same title (My Life in Knots) as mine and (gulp) she had it first!  Now any truly smart person would have checked this out before naming their blog but I didn't - so henceforth my blog will be "This" not "My" Life in Knots. No big whoop...

Waxed Linen Hair Ornament by Joan Babcock
But since I'm here I thought I'd share something I did recently that doesn't have anything to do with knots but has a lot to do with fiber. Last April I took a class with fiber artist Ferne Jacobs. It was a treat for me to relax and be a student for a change (no pressure!). Ferne makes these incredible wrapped and coiled works of Fiber Art that are truly wonderful. Anyway, I haven't gotten very far on my coiled basket that I started in class (as it is equally time consuming as knotting) but I did think that wrapping and coiling would have some interesting jewelry applications. I've done wrapping before in some of my pieces using Nylon cord, but waxed linen really is easier to work with. 

This is a hair ornament that I made with waxed linen wrapped around rope. I'm working on a bracelet next - I'll post a photo when/if I finish it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Knots, Beads, and Trolls

Sundial Earrings
New Book Coming Soon (I hope!)
Wow, it's been a long time since I posted! So for those who may have wondered - here's what I've been up to. Last year was busy, busy, busy with more teaching than I've ever done. On the whole it was a good experience and I have no complaints about the students I met, who were a real joy to hang out with. But (isn't there always a "but"?) frankly I got really physically burned out with the traveling part and yearned to spend more time at home. So that's what I've been up to - hanging out around my studio and diligently working on my next book. There were several finished projects that had been languishing on my computer for years so I thought the book was mostly done and that it would be a breeze to finish - - - wrong. It's been a slow and tedious path (is Mercury in retrograde?) but I am making progress. This book will be aimed at those who are past the beginner stage and need/want more of challenge. And I'm really happy with what I've come up with so far - hopefully I'll have it done and out there by this summer.

African Trade Bead Necklace

Somebody Else's Beads
Other than that, I've had a little time to do some jewelry making. Recently, I got an email request from someone asking if I could make a necklace for her using her own treasured African trade beads. My first reaction was to say no because long ago I promised myself that I wouldn't do any custom orders using somebody else's beads. First of all it's difficult to know what someone really has in mind. Is it the same necklace I'm envisioning in my mind's eye? A Vulcan "mind-meld" would come in really handy at this point! But she assured me repeatedly that she would be happy with whatever I came up with. But it's still tricky when working with somebody else's beads - what happens if they don't like the finished product? Do you cut out all of the beads and say "nice try"?  Well - long story short, I decided to trust my intuition and break my own rule and go for it. And luckily she loved the necklace and it turned out to be a good experience for all. Yay!  So in this case, trusting my intuition paid off. I wish that would happen every time!

Troll Obsession
When I was a child in Miami, Fl. I used to watch a local kids TV show called the "Commander Bolt Show". One time they had a contest to win an "Iggy" doll (otherwise known to all the world as Troll dolls). So, lo and behold, I won the contest with my pathetic and heart wrenching essay about how we had to give our dachshund "Penny" away because she nipped a neighbor's kid on the nose and my mom didn't want to have a dangerous animal in the house (and I was heartbroken, etc, etc…)  From then on I was an Iggy aficionado and collected many. My brother Kenny and I loved to play with them and made Iggy houses and Iggy clothes - we even invented our own dialect called "Iggy Talk". I am so fond of Iggy's that I dressed one up like an angel and she tops our tree every Christmas.

So why am I telling you all this??? Because last night I had the strangest dream. In the dream I was meeting some friends of my husband and the woman in the couple seemed uninterested in me until she saw my fascinating necklace. Not an intricate macrame/beaded concoction. No, the necklace had a simple chain with an upside-down troll doll hanging from it!!! And after seeing her positive reaction I thought - "well maybe I should make more of these".
So, what do you make of that - a new trend perhaps? An upside-down troll necklace sure would be easier to make!