Sunday, December 22, 2013

C Koop "Book" Challenge story

As part of the C Koop "Book" Challenge (see my most previous post about my process for creating my challenge piece), we were to write a story that would accompany our piece.

My book focal was created in memory of my dog, Reggie, and I tied various components of my accompanying necklace into that theme.  I am really happy with how it turned out and when I'm not wearing it, it is displayed on a bust next to my computer.  So, I'm gazing at it now ...

Here is the story that I wrote to accompany my "Reggie" book.

The Little Brown Dog

Reggie, the Border Terrier, was a little brown dog who was part of my life for far too short of a time.

He was my third dog and even though I loved my other two dogs, Reggie was my first dog in many ways.  He was, as those who are in the dog world know, my heart dog.   He and I learned so many things together.

Reggie earned his American Kennel Club Championship before he was 2 years old and then we went to Canada and earned a Canadian Championship too.

Wondering what to do next, we started to train for other events.  Agility was not his first love.  But Reggie was still a great team-mate with patience for the most part, although he did like to do things his way.  He earned Novice, Open, and Excellent titles in agility.  And then we started all over again in the Preferred classes.  Any mistakes in our runs were typically my fault, but he didn’t mind as long as there were treats and a “good boy!” after he finished his run.

We also participated in Rally Obedience events.  That was a little harder for us because I think training for obedience is boring, but Rally is more fun and it reminds me of agility with the courses.  Together, Reggie and I earned a Rally Advanced title with the help of my friends.

Earthdog was Reggie’s passion.  He absolutely loved going to earthdog tests and participating at each level.  He easily earned his Junior, Senior and Master titles and we continued to participate because he loved it so much.

When Halo (and I) had our first litter of puppies, Reggie showed me his gentle side as he was the best Uncle to the babies that you could ask for.  When I brought the puppies out to the living room for the first time, Reggie pulled one of his toys out of the toy box and dropped it on the floor next to the puppies inviting them to play even though the pups at the time just learning how to walk.  When the pups got old enough to play, he would roll over on the ground and let them crawl all over him or he would play tug and drag them all over the living room.

Along the way, he also earned a Certificate of Gameness title and passed the Canine Good Citizen test.  I was so proud of him on the day I received his Border Terrier Club “Versatility Excellent” certificate in the mail.  But the best times of all were sitting on the sofa with my companion by my side.

I lost my best friend to cancer in December 2011.  Even though I still shed tears over his loss, I know his spirit is with me and we will see each other again one day.

Am/Can CH Meadowlake No Regrets RA AX OAJ AXP AJP ME CG CGC VX
♥ Reggie ♥

Monday, December 16, 2013

C-Koop "Book" Challenge

I have always loved participating in challenges.  For one, it gets me to think outside of my comfort zone and it seems to give me that spark of creativity that I feel I lose sometimes because I'm making the 'same old thing'.  I got the opportunity to participate in a new challenge when Lorelei Eurto recently hosted a C-Koop 'book' challenge on her blog.  I have taken several bookbinding and mixed media classes at European Papers, a local shop for me, and have been wanting to combine my love for beading with bookbinding/mixed media.  Participating in this challenge was the perfect way to dip my toes in the water so to speak.  Fortunately for me, I was one of the 11 participants chosen out of 67 plus who commented!

The requirements for the challenge were:
  1. To purchase at least three items (and identify them) from our local bead shops.
  2. To write a story to go with our 'book'.
  3. To use the completed book in a piece of jewelry.
Item number 1 is a non-issue for me as I purchase almost all of my bead supplies from Gahanna Bead Studio, except for some specific findings, vintage beads, and stones that I purchase from my favorite online bead shops.


For my book, I decided to write a story about my dog, Reggie, who passed away in December 2010.  Even though there were times when living with him could be a challenge, he truly was my heart dog, and I still miss him to this day.

I loved, loved, loved the book component I received in the mail.  The colors couldn't have been more perfect for me!  I used a picture of Reggie that I took when I first brought him home and collaged the front of the book cover with it and his name.  The wings and stars symbolized his place in heaven.  Adding the bone shaped 'bail' was the perfect way to attach the finished book to my pendant and tie in with my Reggie theme.

After I was happy with my Reggie 'book', then it was time to move on to the pendant components.  The 'word bar' is one of the items purchased from Gahanna Bead Studio and I thought the message and attached heart charm were a great tie in to my theme. 

I knew I wanted to use some vintage bone shaped beads that had started my beading career.  I found them in a quilt shop and bought them because they were related to dogs and realized I needed to learn how to use them in a piece of jewelry.  For Reggie's pendant, I decided to make them into a beaded chain so added the topaz Swarovski bicones on each side of the bone shaped bead and then made several to become the beaded chain on one side of the pendant.

I also went through my stash and felt fortunate to find a mouse charm that I had purchased many, many years ago (I really need to get my beading supplies organized!).  The mouse symbolizes Reggie's love for the earthdog activities so I used resin to attach it to a Tierra Cast connector frame.

Everything was coming together, but the brass stars looked a little plain to me, so I added some Swarovski bling by using crystals that tied into the colors in my book cover.  Just like Border Terriers are little brown dogs (and not fancy), I didn't want to overpower my Reggie book as the focal piece to my necklace.

I just love my finished book and pendant.  When I'm not wearing it, it's 'stored' on a bust next to my computer so I can see it every day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Which Creative Type Are You?

I like to borrow various bead / mixed-media books from the library because it gives me an opportunity to see the book content without having to purchase the book.  Some books I really, really like and I'll extend my borrow time frame or reserve it to read again.  And a lot of times, I will purchase books that I think I can't live without.

I recently brought Margot Potter's "Beyond The Bead" book home from the library and have already reread it twice now.   Margo starts her book introduction by saying "Creative types tend to be extremists.  Either they zero in on one art form with an unrelenting focus or they endlessly seek new materials and techniques to add to their repertoire."  Wow, I really felt like she was talking to me as I am definitely in the latter category.

When I first started working at DesignGroup (my day job), I was competing in ballroom dance competitions and did well in the Pro-Am Competitions that my dance instructor and I participated in, we actually won the first one that we entered.  Then I started cake decorating and ended up teaching cake decorating classes at JoAnn Fabrics for a period of time.  While taking my classes and later teaching, I also entered the state fair over a couple of years time and came home with Best in Show ribbons for my decorating level and also received the People's Choice award the last time I entered.  My co-workers all joked that they wondered what I was going to take up next.  Beadwork, of course!

I have taken many beadwork classes over the last couple of years, learning new beading techniques and was fortunate to place as a finalist the first year I entered Bead Dreams.  The following two years after that, I was teamed with two fantastic lampwork bead artists and those collaborations were accepted for juried traveling shows.  But the last year or so, I've been wanting to do more.  So I've taken bookbinding classes, lampwork glass classes, a steampunk art class, and collage classes to name just a few.  And, I keep trying to figure out a way to incorporate any and all of those with beadwork.

Maybe I'm really in the first category mentioned in Margot's introduction and I simply haven't found my niche yet.  I guess only time will tell ...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Laura Mears Challenge (Beyond Beads Gallery)

I love Laura Mears porcelain pieces and have bought a couple of her pieces in the past.  When I saw that Beyond Beads Gallery was going to have a bead challenge with a kit that included a Laura Mears totem piece, I had to participate.

The rules of the challenge were that all beads provided in the kit had to be used in the finished piece (or at least enough that they could tell each bead had been used).  The Laura Mears totem was selected at random and everyone received a unique piece (no duplicates).  And, participants could add up to 5 additional components.  The kit provided included a teal 11/0 seed bead, a cream lined clear 11/0 seed bead, green peanut beads, matte bronze drops, and a blue/green bicone crystal.  We could also use more of the beads included in the kit so I added more drops and bicone crystals to my design.

The totem I received was the elephant.  At first, all I could think of was how in the world was I going to be able to come up with something that incorporated an elephant head.  But, as I kept looking at it, I remembered how the elephant is treated like royalty in India.  And, I really wanted to do something that honored the majesty of the elephants.  So I started to google images of Indian jewelry and got a couple of books from the library to research.

I actually started off imagining a different design for the bead embroidered pendant part, but as I started working my design evolved to become the star flower shape instead.  The head dress for the elephant was to help incorporate the elephant into the design (plus it covered the hole that runs from top to bottom). And I ended up coming up with my own version of right angle weave for the chain portion of the piece.  Because I wanted to use as few additional components as I could, I also made the toggle clasp.  In the end, I added three additional components; a brown 15/0 seed bead, the burgundy pearls, and the brass filigree piece.

In Honor of His Majestic Wisdom

I really like participating in challenges because, in a lot of instances, it forces me to work outside of my comfort zone.  I LOVED how my elephant turned out.

In the end, my elephant pendant ended up receiving the most votes for a first place finish and I was extremely honored to learn that it also received the Artist Award from Laura Mears.

My friend, Helen O'Donnell was gracious and took a photograph of the pendant before I shipped it (and I need to get it off my computer but click the link above and you can see the overall picture that Beyond Beads took for the website and the online voting).  The link below will take you to the announcement page of the three finalists on the Bead Beads Gallery website.

Laura Mears Bead Challenge